Why Every Woman Should Get A Vibrator For Valentine's Day

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smile-makers-love-box

*This post contains paid for content, see my pr page for details*

I've been collecting sex toys for about 4 years. I always have an open tab on the sale section of a kink store or vibrator emporium, like most people would with their fave clothing shop. Everyone has their thing. This is my thing. I've tried nearly the entire Smile Makers range (I'm obsessed with their lubricant, I don't even care who knows) and today, for Valentine's Day, I want to tell you exactly why I think we should all be trying more toys.

They Free You From Always Needing A Partner - Everyone goes through times when they want to be alone, or when casual sex is unappealing, or when, for whatever reason, sex with another human isn't on the cards. Having a healthy sexual relationship with ourselves first and foremost is a strong, secure place to come from when going out to seek a lover/s, leaving less room for poor choices made in desperation. It also raises the standard of pleasure we expect from sexual experiences, leaving no desire for selfish/unsatisfying pokes with clueless people.

 And Most Partners Will Find Them Exciting, Not Intimidating - I was talking to my boyfriend in bed the other day, rambling on and on about the new Tennis Coach that just arrived in the mail, and as my thoughts trailed off I said to him, "sorry, I just get really excited about sex toys", to which he replied, "I get excited about how excited you are about sex toys". The notion that your mate will run away screaming in horror when they see the silicone stash you have beside your bed is outdated and untrue. The vast majority of men and women are THRILLED by the idea that their lover has a high enough sex drive, not to mention the curiosity, initiative, and self-knowledge that implies.

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smile-makers-love-box

You Can Double Up For Mind-Blowing Results - Most toys are highly versatile and can be used in a whole combination of different ways, together or alone. The Tennis Coach is an internal massager, designed for G-spot stimulation. I've always had a bit of trouble with internal toys, as I'm quite tall and my G-spot is hard to reach if the shaft on a toy isn't long enough. A way around this is to ramp things up with an external vibe like The Surfer on your clit at the same time, or any other sensitive spots. In a Smile Makers Love Box (either Romantic or Sporty) you'll get two toys and a lube, leaving you loads of room to experiment.

They Help You Figure Out What Feels Good - This is obvious, but deserves repeating often. There is no safer or more risk-free way to discover your sexual tastes than through masturbation. Any worries we may have about contraception, how we are perceived, sexually transmitted infections, performance, what they other person enjoys etc, can all go out the window and leave us free to explore in complete peace and solitude and delicious selfishness.

They Can Help Us Push The Boundaries - I had my first internal/blended orgasm because of a toy. I discovered anal play through plugs and toys. My Hitachi wand helped me break my multiple-orgasm record. The list of experiences I wouldn't have had without toys would be as long as my fanciest black linen Shibari rope. No matter what your sexual goal or aspiration, there is a toy that can help you get there.

Tell me in the comments if you've ever tried anything from Smile Makers, or what your all-time favourite toy is!

Valentine's Gift Guide For Very ~Aesthetic~ Women

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Two-toy Romantic Love Box, by Smile Makers // Coco de Mer salons and day-schools, go to Coco de Mer for availability // Rose Jam perfume, by LUSH Kitchen, subject to availability // "Off To Daddy's House" overnight bag, Alien Outfitters // "Bad Bitch Fuel" hip flask, SkinnyDip // "Babe", by Petra Collins, at all good book stores // Rosebud glass dildo, Alien Outfitters.

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, and if you're anything like me, you'll be spending it gleefully up to your tits in every rose-scented, chocolate-covered, heart-shaped thing you can find. I made my views on Valentine's Day very plain in this post, so I won't bore you with all that again, except to say that this year I'm particularly excited for the big event. I'm lucky enough to be spending it at home with my boyfriend, and it's our first Valentine's together. We'll be exchanging presents, cooking together, taking a LUSH bath, and possibly trying out some of my newest sex toys. I am the easiest person in the world to buy for as I have so many interests, but I know it can be difficult with romantic partners, especially if they are relatively new ones. The above are some unique items and ideas that might spark your imagination for a gift, if you (or the person you're buying for) is anything like yours truly, i.e kinky and all about dem aesthetics.

First we have the Smile Makers Love Boxes, which are a really good choice if your partner is new to sex toys or if they get turned-off by garish-looking dildos and huge rabbits. All the toys from Smile Makers come in ultra-smooth silicone and cute pastel colours, and I'm in love with their range of lubricants! A Love Box contains two toys and a lube, so they make a great gift. If you want to read more about them I did a review of their lightest toy, and I have another one in my drafts, so keep an eye out for that.

Next up we have Coco de Mer salons in London, day-schools and workshops you can attend alone, with a friend or as a couple, that will teach you new sexual skills and introduce you to new sensual experiences. Workshops range from expert instructions on burlesque, to oral sex, from Tantra to rope bondage. It's on my bucket list to attend one in 2017!

LUSH products make amazing presents all year round, but anything Rose Jam feels very right for Valentine's Day. The "Off To Daddy's House" overnight bag is perfect for the girl who just doesn't give a fuck, or wants to show off her babygirl status when she's waiting for a train. The "Bad Bitch Fuel" hip flask from SkinnyDip is similarly badass. "Babe" by Petra Collins makes a gorgeous and thoughtful gift for artistic women, photography-lovers, bloggers, or indeed anyone.

Glass toys are fantastic for many reasons, not least of all their versatility. Some glass dildos are truly Art with a capital A, taking all kinds of whimsical and aesthetically-pleasing shapes and colours. This one is my most recent favourite, as it reminds me a little of Beauty and The Beast. It's by Alien Outfitters, and for something so beautiful, is very reasonably priced. If it's sold out, Lovehoney do similar designs!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links from which I may earn a small commission should a purchase be made :)

How I Got Raspberry Pink Hair At Home (And Kept It Bright!)

As anyone who follows me on Instagram will know, my hair colour is constantly changing. I am a veritable human sunset. At this moment in time, it's a kind of washed-out violet with dark brown roots, but for the most part of 2016, it was a neon, multi-tonal raspberry. I did it all at home - I don't really trust other people with my hair, so I bleach, colour, and cut myself! Even though I've moved on from this look, I still love it and wanted to share the how-tos with you all.

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pink-hair-at-home

I used a blend of several dyes to get this look, some of them by Bleach London, Schwarzkopf Live Colour (this was before I went fully cruelty-free in my cosmetics - if you want to use a cruelty-free dye then stick with the Bleach pinks and purples) and a fair bit of Paul Mitchell conditioner. Paul Mitchell are truly my favourite haircare brand, especially when I'm colouring/maintaining dyed hair. I'll go into that more later, but for now I'll briefly walk you through the hair-painting process.

Prep: Get together some mixing tubs, a couple of hair dye brushes (I got mine in Poundland and they came with a free tub!), your dyes, a conditioner that is clear white, a Tangle Teezer, a ratty old towel that you don't need anymore, and whatever else you want with you.

Mixing The Dye: For this look, I wanted a blend of colours that resembled a sunset or a raspberry swirl in an Eton Mess. I wanted the shades to fuse together naturally rather than create a defined ombre. So, in one mixing tub I stirred 3/4 of a tube of bright purple, into 1/4 of a tube of bright pink. In the other bowl I did the exact opposite, and mixed together the larger bulk of the pink with the remaining quarter of purple. I put a little bit of conditioner in each one, to make the whole formula go further over my extremely long hair! You can add as much as you want to dilute the colour, or to cover more ground. Whatever colours you are using, mixing a little of each into the other makes everything more cohesive.

Application: I started with dry, unwashed, bleached hair. I might do a big post on how to bleach if anyone wants one (let me know in the comments) but for this post I'll stick with the actual hair-painting. First, I separated my hair down the middle, into two sections, and then into four by taking the upper layers of hair away from the lower ones. Going section by section, I took my brush and literally painted the mostly-purple formula from my roots down to the mid-lengths of my hair. Once all my roots were painted, I mashed them together with my fingers to make sure I'd reached everywhere. Then, I took my mostly-pink formula and started to paint the mid-lengths to the ends of my hair, making sure to really saturate the ends. Once all my hair was painted, I took my Tangle Teezer and brushed through all my hair, which helps to mix colours together where they meet and create a smoother look. Leave everything on for about an hour (or however long it says on the box of your chosen dye!) and you're ready to wash off.

Washing: I always wash out with cool water, not warm, and obviously you don't want to use any shampoo or conditioner - your hair is already done. Wash out until the water is getting kinda-almost-clear, but not completely clear. You don't want to wash out more than necessary, because from now on your aim when showering is to keep as much colour in your hair as possible!

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pink-hair-at-home

Maintenance: Once you have a full-on unicorn hairdo, you have to shampoo like it costs you a thumb. Cleansing your hair is what will strip all your pretty colour until you have to shell out more cash on dye, so use cleansing products sparingly, wash in cool water, and become really good friends with dry shampoo. I wash my hair maybe twice a week when it's coloured. By far the best shampoo I've ever come across for bright hair is this one by Paul Mitchell. It was given to me to try at an event by Salon Success, and I've used it ever since, it really is that good. I haven't dyed my hair in two months, and the gradual fading process provided by this shampoo has taken me really beautifully from a bright fuchsia to a pale, rosy violet. Once my hair is almost bare again, down to it's bleached and ratty roots, I love to clarify and tone down any brassy residue with a silver shampoo like this one before I go off on another colouring adventure. Detanglers are also super useful at managing bleached/coloured hair without breakage.

I know this post is PACKED with information but I hope you found some helpful nuggets and tips on how to create your own hair-painting! Everything I know is just trial and error, so don't be worried to experiment. As always, if you have a question about hair or any colour I've used, just hit me up on Twitter or Instagram.

This post contains PR samples sent for consideration, please see my PR page for more details

26th Birthday Wishlist

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Edward Scissorhands Funko Pop, Leeloo Dallis Funko Pop, both available on Amazon // Pink glass tentacle dildo, Alien Outfitters // Cosmic Metals lip cream in Speed of Light, by Nyx // Audacious Lipstick in Audrey, NARS // "The Performers 111" art print, by Apollonia Saintclair // Amethyst towers, where they at? // Lens, Canon (to replace my broken one) // Rose-gold nipple piercing studs, Amazon.

It's my birthday soon, and I have huge plans for this new year. The majority of them revolve around experiences, not things, but I still have my eye on a few choice items that I think will add value to my life and that reflect the true, weirdo me. All of these picks are things I've had in the back of my mind for a while, so no impulse buys here (impulse buys are being left in 2016), only beautiful objects that will enhance my quality of life or simply make me smile when I look at them. The gallery print by Apollonia Saintclair is something I've lusted after for years now, and finally decided it's time to invest in. I also want to upgrade my starter nipple piercings in regular gold to a prettier set in rose gold that will match my septum. The last few months I've been really drawn to amethyst (so much so that I'm thinking of getting an amethyst watercolour tattoo!) and I want a large piece for my apartment. I love having crystals around me and yet I've managed to lose most of my collection over the years. Lastly, I've been fantasizing about a shade of red lipstick since I was very young, and I think I may have finally found it in Audrey, by NARS. The tentacle dildo needs no explanation.

Oral On Your Own

smile-makers-review

*This post contains paid for content, see my PR page for details*

I am a collector of sex toys. Going shopping for vibrators and rope is one of my favourite things to do with my friends. When I get home, they sit scattered around my bedroom, organised by colour like my Funko Pops. Getting to review them as part of my job will never stop being crazy and amazing. Today I am lucky enough to be collaborating with Smile Makers, a brand I'd already heard so much about before they reached out to work with me. Before I go into details about the toy, I want to talk a bit about why I chose to review their softest design, The Frenchman.

Oral sex ranks as one of the top most-enjoyed sexual activities, across all genders and orientations, and yet within the sex-toy industry, products that mimic the sensation of oral sex are a relatively small and hard-to-find pocket of the market. Most toys are made to go harder, faster, deeper, for longer; I suppose because a lot of the appeal of oral sex comes from its vulnerability, its intimacy, and our subconscious desire to feel totally accepted and devoured by another person, as this video from The School Of Life perfectly explains. That is hard to copy with silicone. But to me, sexual freedom isn't just about sleeping with whoever we wish, but also about getting to a point where we need no other person to have a flourishing sexual life. We all go through times when, for whatever reason, we must be alone. I love people, but I'm an independent little bean. I think we all owe it to ourselves to acquire as much power over our body as we can, so that we choose partners not for a sensation we cannot achieve alone, but for a merging with the other.

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The Frenchman, by Smile Makers, is the first "toy for women who love oral" that I've ever tried, although I definitely fit the demographic. It's a sleek, aesthetically-pleasing design, in pastel blue. The "tongue" is not some garish knobbly eyesore, but a thin, curved, flexible feather. It's made to be used with a light, velvety lubricant to make the experience even more life-like (I used Smile Maker's Stay Silky, which is fragrance-free, paraben-free, and water-based). The Frenchman is totally waterproof so you can even use it in the bath or the shower for extra, ahem, wetness. You have four speeds to choose from, more than enough to adapt to your sensitivity level.

The information for The Frenchman describes it as a foreplay aid, but personally, I prefer to use this alone rather than with a partner. To me there's something too cold and distant about having another person sit back and prod me with a toy that was designed to mimic their eager mouth, in much the same way I would never drop to my knees in front of a man and pull out The Auto-Blow 3000. But that's just my own preference. Instead I'll use The Frenchman solo, on days when I want an exquisite, slow-building orgasm. That being said, I would definitely get this out if I were getting ready for a partner to come home and didn't want to lose too much sensitivity. If you've tried anything by Smile Makers, please let me know what you thought in the comments, and also where you stand on tongue-like toys! Are you a fan? 

Crete Photo-Diary: Agia Pelagia

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Crete is the largest and most populated of the Greek islands. It sits quite alone in the Eastern Mediterranean, separating the Aegean Sea from the Libyan Sea. It's nearly as close to Northern Africa as it is to mainland Greece. It is a dry, warm, mountainous island with a hugely varied wildlife and terrain. These photos are from the sleepy seaside town of Agia Pelagia, our base while we stayed on Crete. It's a quiet place with fine-sand beaches, tavernas, a few shops, but no huge bars or clubs. Everyone is there for the transparent ocean, and for the sun. The cafes along the beach feel more like Bali or Mexico than what you would expect in Greece, with huge cacti scattered around and bamboo parasols laid out for sunbathers. While I was there in late September, the weather reached 37 degrees. The ocean water was 25 degrees. All the pink got washed out of my hair. Small street-cats are everywhere in the towns and cities, living off lizards, rats, fish, and the bins from the nearby restaurants. I found one with beautiful blue eyes, playing in a patch of shade, who posed for my camera after I gave it a lump of ice cream.

I couldn't fit all my photos into one post so I thought I'd split them up into a few, covering different districts of the island. These pics aren't even edited much, if at all. The light was spectacular, and everything was photogenic. We're already planning a trip next year to explore a few more islands,  perhaps Kos or Santorini, and a return to Crete.

Being Little

I have only ever called two men Daddy. Neither of them were my father. When I first began experimenting with BDSM, I was much more comfortable with words like Sir and Master; they have a certain civil politeness about them that doesn't feel quite as filthy, or as intimate, as Daddy. With my first boyfriend, it never felt like the right title. I remember the way I cringed every time he reminded me to use it, a game that quickly became a chore. It only began to come naturally with someone who never, ever required me to be a grown-up, a later partner who remains one of my favourite people and dearest friends.
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I am wounded when he and I start seeing each other. We are friends above all else, and so I take him out to a press event at a cocktail bar, a non-date. Both dressed-up and drunk enough to make long, unflinching eye-contact, he runs his fingers through my hair and gently pulls my head to one side, just to see if I will allow him to move me. We hold hands on the way home as he reassures me there's time, that I don't need to panic about missing my train. He can see my nerves tremble whenever I mention the hour, the station, or look at my ticket, but he does not question me too hard. Being friends, no one is trying to destroy or humiliate the other.

And so it happens very quickly. My voice falls out softer and higher in his presence. Yes, daddy. Please, daddy. Deeper, daddy. He is a foot taller than me and when we hug I can hear his heart. I swap one train journey for another, and sleeping and waking starts to get a bit easier, because being little means being cared for. No endearment is too silly or embarrassing. The smaller I feel, the less anxious I become. Even though this is all happening at the wrong time - even though I am often distant and non-commital and everything else I hated people for being before I was wounded myself - I am no longer afraid to wake up and remember what hurts. I am his babygirl. I have permission, and that knowledge keeps me on the earth.

ddlgThe sexual roles I go to out of habit feel like affected and ridiculous characters, an unnecessary layer between us that needs to come down before we can begin. Kitten, bunny, secretary, a devoted Grecian slave tending her warrior. He wants none of them, and what we have left afterwards is somehow the opposite; a regression, a stripping away of everything I have learned in order to please men. He knows when to choke me and when to let me breathe. The rules are designed so that I am forced to practice self-care, they do not exist merely to trip me up and bring me punishment. He knows I have been punished enough. We take our clothes off as soon as we are alone, and the sex becomes our clearest form of communication, an adoration without cruelty. Something in me unbreaks. We spend hours watching Disney movies and eating junk food in bed, and after fucking I fall asleep on his chest, unshowered, and dream of nothing. I am held in place.

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Babygirls are often misunderstood. Being little has nothing to do with fantasizing about incest, or pretending to be younger than you are. Those things are normal, healthy kinks in their own right, and as much as I want to clarify a distinction, I also don't feel the need to make too fine a point about it. In their essence, all relationships like these are about the exquisite contrast of a childlike spirit within a sensual, adult body. They are about giving and receiving care in the most raw and instinctive form, and relearning a sense of profound safety that we all lose as we live. They're about healing. Everything else is play.

What It Means To Be Bisexual In A Heteronormative World

I am bisexual. Among my peer group, I am not the only one; women who identify as straight are few and far between. I'm a sex blogger living in a Western city, privileged enough that hiding my orientation isn't a pressing safety concern. I also pass as straight, and as a result, dodge most of the abuse that queer women usually face. I only experience it when I am on dates with women, when I kiss or hold hands with my female friends in public, when I announce that I am bisexual on the internet or to new male partners, and as a child trying to express myself, when I was taught what dyke and whore meant by kids who did not even know themselves.

A girl once took my hand on the high street of my tiny, coastal hometown in Wales, and a man walked straight between us, snarling as he tore our hands apart. She tried to comfort me in a quiet, leafy spot behind a church, ironically the only place we could kiss without being seen. She was 19, a lesbian, and already used to it. We got happy-drunk on Jack Daniels and told my father we were "friends from blogging" on the way to my bedroom. Standing in my front porch while she smoked, people walking past openly stared, and I tried to put a name to the discomfort and the unease that I couldn't shake, that had nothing to do with my feelings toward her. After a while I realized it was because we were two women in public, and should anything happen, I knew I could not protect her, and she could not protect me.

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Out of all the pan and bisexual gal pals that I have, none of them are currently in a relationship with a woman. Not one, out of maybe 20 girls. Many of them are in long-term or short-term relationships with men, and many are single. This is not just an anecdotal finding, so please don't think I'm indirecting if this applies to you, as it does to me. Roughly 85-90% of bisexuals in relationships are committed to a member of the opposite sex, depending on what statistics you find. Bisexual women are also hugely more likely to marry a man than to marry or enter a civil partnership with a woman, and far less likely to ever come out at all, when compared to lesbians.
   
Let me be clear: I am not in any way insinuating that any of this lessens their status as a queer woman. The relationship we are currently in does not define our sexuality or erase our identity. That is actually the whole frustrating, troubling point I am trying to make. Our relationships with men are not a betrayal of our queerness; but queer women are choosing het relationships in overwhelming numbers, often choosing to never experience a female, and in many instances, choosing to live entirely closeted. This worries me.

Relationships can be a hideaway, a safe harbour; so can monogamy, or celibacy, or any form of sexual status. We use them as disguises, to protect ourselves financially, to avoid oppression or maintain privilege. When a bisexual woman chooses a monogamous relationship with a man, many will try to erase her bisexuality. They will say that she's outgrown her lesbian phase; that she was never really into girls; that she is straight now. This is so profoundly insulting and demeaning that most bisexual women in this situation will respond by declaring they are simply "a bisexual girl who just happened to fall in love with a man". But neither stance is entirely true. Queer girls are just happening to fall in love with men at hugely disproportionate rates, no matter where they sit on the Kinsey scale. I mentioned this imbalance to a straight, male friend recently. His response was to joke, witheringly, that maybe it's just because guys are so awesome at eating pussy and having intimate relationships. And then we both laughed hysterically. We laughed for a very long time.

I know queer women who met their male partners while they were at school, at university, living with homophobic family members, or before they'd even met another girl like them; in contexts where it almost makes no sense to talk about free choices. Straight men are also far more likely to pursue bisexual girls; our culture slaps them on the back for doing so, while many of my queer friends say they feel scared to flirt with another girl in case they are rejected or abused for being gay. If dating a girl might get you kicked out of the house, or disowned, or bullied at school, or shot dead in a nightclub, the odds on what gender you end up with are not 50/50. We do not live and love in a vacuum. Hatred, violence, and stigma towards same-sex relationships is very real. Bisexual people can choose to be invisible - and can you blame them? When the alternative is often so horrific.

The reason I am writing this is because it breaks my heart that so many of my friends have never felt safe enough to explore their sexuality. So many feel like they have no place in the queer community, and simultaneously, that they have no place in mainstream culture. Many have turned to the internet as their only means of self expression.

The reasons we fall in love with certain people and not others are hugely complex, and stretch farther than I could ever cover in writing. I do not think it ever "just happens". Love is love, but that doesn't mean it is always treated the same.