An Open Letter to Bonnie Hoellein

Hi Bonnie!

I'm sure you probably won't see this but I just wanted to say thank you! Thank you for inspiring me and giving me so much more confidence in walking on the beach.

I started watching your channel back when you only had a couple of videos uploaded and I have watched every single one. I am constantly in awe of your positivity yet honesty in everyday, real life! Sometimes, YouTuber's try so hard to convey such a happy image but hide the real life downfalls of hurdles and difficulties.

Until this year, I have never ever wore a swimming costume or bikini out in public, uncovered. I always wore a cover up, a t-shirt or top over and I more so, I swam with a t-shirt. Plus I even went out of my way to change in the toilets.

I've just returned from a beautiful relaxing holiday on the island of Sal in Cape Verde. I've been walking on the beach and swimming in the pool. I've been sunbathing with actually skin on show! For once, I did it all without anything over the top. I jumped into the pool in just my costume. I walked on the beach in my new costumes and I felt great. I felt happy.

I bought some new costumes that you inspired me to buy. I bought some that I thought would be much more flattering for my figure and actually didn't mind people seeing me in them. I bought them from Amazon - eek! It was the first time so it was a big step for me. I went with a one piece with a peplum central piece turned skirt which covered my big bulge of of a stomach. The second one made me feel gorgeous. It was a bikini but the top was a flow-y lace cami that went long and covered the top of my thighs.

Sure I didn't feel like I looked as stunning as others sunbathing next to me and I still constantly compared myself to the skinny model-like figures sitting next to me. I still am not 100% happy in my own skin but it's a start. It's a start on the way to body confidence. It's a start on the journey to being comfortable in my own skin.

I went to see Louise Pentland (Sprinkle of Glitter) on her UK talk show tour and listened to her talk about body confidence. But as with many people, I listened and I heard but nothing connected. I wished with my whole heart that what she said rang true within myself but instead, I sat there wishing I could implement the honest words she spoke. Unlike so many, I couldn't just say YES! and move on. I sat there cursing myself for being so self-involved and caring about just a petty topic.

Something changed.

I thought you looked beautiful in Hawaii and while I am no where near as stunning as you looked, I am slowly getting to a stage where I feel comfortable in my own skin.

I don't know if it's because I'm older now or I've just gotten to a stage in my life where I have realised that there are more important things but nevertheless, you inspired me.

Seriously the photoshoot was stunning. I can't get over how radiant you looked. I saw the joy on your face. I saw you surrounded by the most precious gifts in the world, your children. It made me smile and that's when I realised. Why do I care so much.

Louise's words came back to me. Is the person sat next to me really thinking about all the negative thoughts I think of my body? No. Of course not.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

You made me enjoy my holiday and finally begin the journey to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Love always, Hannah.

Ps. Since Bonnie has returned from Hawaii and the summer holiday season has started, I have seen more and more people sharing their summer bodies. While most of them are mothers who compare themselves to before and after children, their words and stories stand true.

To all the women in the world helping to make reality acceptable...thank you.