Things I love Thursday 20/10/2016

I am overflowing with joy this week.  Although I’ve been really busy, there are so many wonderful things filling up my days and I just can’t hold in my happiness.

This week I love:

  • Mr Selfridge.  I started watching this show a few weeks ago and I’ve blown through three seasons.  I love it for the vintage fashions and the way it highlights how much shopping has changed in the last century.  By far my favourite character is Miss Mardell.  I can’t get enough of her.  She’s tough and ballsy while still being romantic and kind.  Single and childless, she’s still one of the most successful characters in the show and manages to turn the stereotype of the lonely old spinster onto it’s head.
  • Having a song written for me.  My boyfriend, David, and I celebrated our six month anniversary last week.  He is just the bees knees and he makes me so happy.  He wrote this song about me, and I was crazy excited to have a song with the word “shit” in the title dedicated to me.

  • Mr Ringo.  My poor little man has been very unwell with a urinary tract infection but he is all better now.  We had to take an emergency trip to the vet which was very frightening, but our new vet was exceptional with my anxious little dude and he’s now fighting fit again.
  • Roses, geraniums and daffodils, which are all popping up in my garden.

Stocking my drawer with hand crocheted dish cloths. #crochet #dishcloths #eco #green #craft

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Working on some handmade cotton dishcloths.
  • Decluttering.  I’m on a real minimalism kick, which has meant doing some ruthless clearing out of drawers and cupboards.  I have gotten rid of bags and bags of items that I don’t use, and I’m doing quite well with resisting buying more items to fill the space I’m creating.
  • The Conjuring.  I watched it last week and it was so scary!  If you like creepy stories of hauntings that re based on true stories, this could be one for you to check out.

Scored this adorable cardi at the op shop on the weekend. #thrifting #cardigan #outfit #hearts

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Sweater clips.  I’ve never gotten into them before now, but I was gifted this awesome Erstwilder set for my birthday.  This new (to me) cardigan was the perfect companion to my lipstick-and-mirror clips and I now can’t get enough of them.
  • Dark nail polish.
  • Finding PG Tips teabags in the import section at the supermarket.
  • Leaving work at the end of the day with my desk completely clear of paperwork.
  • Dr Pepper and 90’s slasher flicks.

What do you love this week?

A helping hand for Jessica

I’m been feeling a bit adrift these last few days.  I got some dreadful news about something terrible that has happened to a sweet friend of mine.

1940s vintage navy blue dress and hat, cranberry tights, at the Penticton Rose Garden_6

Photo credit: Jessica Cangiano

Some of you may remember my lovely friend Jessica Cangiano from her blog Chronically Vintage.  She’s a regular reader of this blog and I even interviewed her a while back.  Jessica is one of the sweetest people on this planet, and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.  She is an avid vintage enthusiast, an animal lover, an artist, an incredibly talented writer and a gorgeous human being.  In addition to creating a virtual library of articles about vintage fashion and lifestyle, Jessica does a huge amount of work in the vintage community.  She runs an etsy store and regularly organizes events for the online vintage community, such as her annual Christmas gift swap.

It was with a heavy heart that I learned that Jessica and her husband Tony were the victims of a house fire on October 13th.  Their home in British Columbia was destroyed when an arsonist set fire to an apartment in their fourplex.  The couple managed to escape with the clothes on their backs, their phones, Jessica’s purse, their car and their dog, Annie.  Heartbreakingly, their beloved cat Stella hid with fear and could not be found before Jessica and Tony were forced out of their home by the choking smoke.

Their loss is unfathomable.  All of their furniture and personal items are gone.  Their mementos, Jessica’s scrapbooking and crafts are gone.  The incredible vintage collection that Jessica has spent her life curating is gone.  Tony is a photographer by trade, and his cameras and equipment were destroyed.  All of the stock and items for Jessica’s etsy store were also ruined.  This means that in addition to losing their home and belongings, the couple have also lost their livelihoods in one fell swoop.

I’m reeling with a sense of grief and helplessness for Jessica and Tony.  I can’t wrap my head around what’s happened, and how quickly.  I’m furious, because they are two incredibly sweet and kind people, and it seems so unjust that this has happened to them.  But there’s no real point in sitting around being angry and mad.  I want to do what I can to help them.  I’ve already sent a donation, messages of support and I’m in the process of putting together a care package of creature comforts.

If you’d like to help too, there are a number of things that you can do:

  • Firstly, it would be amazing if you could make a donation to Helping the Cangianos.  Although the exact amount is unclear at this stage, there is little doubt that the cost of rebuilding Jessica and Tony’s lives will be substantial.  In addition to finding new accommodation, they will need all new furniture, household goods, clothing, photography equipment and store supplies.  Every donation, even just a few dollars, will help tremendously.
  • Some of Jessica’s friends have set up a wonderful Facebook page to coordinate the support efforts.  The page includes a detailed list of suggestions for items to be included in care packages, as well as ongoing updates of the Cangiano’s progress.  If you are able to put together care packages to send to Jessica and Tony, that will be a massive help.
  • Although the practical donations and assistance is amazing, there is nothing more vital than care and support. I can’t imagine how difficult and frightening this time must be for my beloved friends.  If you can, please send a message of support to Jessica, via her blog or facebook page.
  • Finally, please share the donations page and facebook links on your own blogs or social media platforms.  I feel as though the blogging community does a great job of banding together and generating support during these tough times, and Jessica has been such a vital and active member of this community over the years.  Sharing her story and getting the word out will be a huge help.

I’ve also decided that from now until the end of the year, $2 from every item sold in my Etsy store will be donated to Helping the Cangianos.  That includes all four of my e-books and every handmade and vintage item for sale.


My prayers and hopes are with Jessica and Tony during this awful time.  Although there is no way to replace what they have lost, there is a way for us to help them move forward.

5 Fandom Friday: 8 Gateway fandoms that made me who I am today

I haven’t done a Five Fandom Friday post in months, and when I went to check the list of prompts, I noticed that there aren’t any new ones.  So I thought I’d go way way back to the beginning of the list and do some of the prompts that I missed.


Today I’m casting my mind back to some early fandoms that got me hooked on a geeky concept or realm and pulled me into a swirling vortex of fangirly fun.

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  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    As a five  year old,  I was obsessed with the Ninja Turtles.  I would race to the television every afternoon at 4pm and wait for Family Feud to end so that I could catch up with the latest antics of my beloved turtles.  The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was the first movie I ever saw at the cinema, sparking a lifelong love for going to the movies and experiencing films on the big screen.  Now in my thirties, I’m still smitten with those lean, green fighting machines and enjoy watching new incarnations of the Turtles and revisiting old ones. So many of my friendships have been cemented by bonding over conversations of our favourite turtles.

2. The Young Ones

Teenage Ness was seriously into the Young Ones.  Although only 12 episodes ever aired, I was happy to watch those same 12 episodes over and over, memorizing every joke.  The Young Ones were my introduction to British comedy, a love which soon spilled over into Monty Python, Blackadder, French and Saunders, Fry and Laurie and Mitchell and Webb. My slightly absurdist sense of humour and adoration of a dry one-liner meant that I was instantly drawn to British comedy, which appeals to me in a way that American humour never has. I consider myself a pretty funny person, and I think that my personal sense of humour is very close to the likes of those British comedians that I’ve enjoyed since my teen years.


3. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz remains to this day my favourite film of all time.  I’ve watched it more times than I can count, and I can sing every song by heart.  I’ve also done The Dark Side of the Rainbow so many times that I now can’t listen to The Dark Side of the Moon without thinking about which scene should be playing during each song.  The Wizard of Oz sparked a love of Judy Garland, which in turn sparked a love of classic Hollywood films,  which blossomed into an adoration for vintage clothing.  The Wizard of Oz had a domino effect, sparking one fandom and interest after another.  So many of my favourite things can be traced backwards to an early love of The Wizard of Oz.


4. Tank Girl

Tank Girl was my first introduction to the world of comic books.  She provided a talking point that sparked a 10-year romantic relationship with an awesome man.  She was my first ever cosplay costume.  The Tank Girl soundtrack introduced me to Bjork and Veruca Salt.  I have a lot to thank Tank Girl for.


5. Disney

Disney was probably my earliest fandom.  I recall sitting at my great-grandmother’s house at the age of four or five, marvelling at her massive collection of Disney VHS movies.  It was in her loungeroom that I first watched Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and The Aristocats.  Disney set off a lifelong love of animation, magic and wonder.  The Disney cartoons fed my sense of humour while the films nourished my need for adventure and excitement.  I’m still a huge lover of Disney, even though I’m 30 years old now, and I get as much enjoyment out of those films as I did as a child.  I believe that I genuinely need that dash of wonder on a regular basis to stay sane, and Disney well and truly provides that.


What fandoms do you consider your “gateway fandoms?”

What I wore:Black and pearls

I don’t think it’s possible to categorise my style as “minimalist”.  I am usually in the “more is more” camp when it comes to getting dressed. I like bright colours, bold prints, loads of jewelry and plenty of accessories.  But occasionally I like to wear something simple and pared back.

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On this particular day, I started with a pair of lacy leopard tights.  These are a staple in my wardrobe, because they’re easy to wear but instantly take any outfit from dull to sexy.  I paired them with my favourite black heels.

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I went for an all-black ensemble because it felt clean and unfussy.  I felt really good about myself that day and I wanted to wear something that looked sophisticated and made me feel like people would be looking at me, rather than staring at my outfit.  While I like my bold outfits, sometimes it can be refreshing to wear something simpler to let your own self shine through.  Every now and then I feel like I’m hiding behind a bright outfit, particularly when I’m down or depressed.  It’s like I let my clothes do the talking, to hide the fact that I’m not feeling very chatty or bubbly.  So on this day, when I felt really positive, I chose something that wasn’t going to overwhelm me, something that I felt beautiful in.

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I call this my “mermaid skirt” because it has the most incredible flare when I walk. It billows out like a mermaid tail and I feel wonderful when I wear it out.


I am wearing:

  • Black bodysuit from Missguided
  • Black maxi skirt (thrifted)
  • Lace tights (Big W)
  • Black patent heels from Nine West
  • Pearl necklace (thrifted)
  • Art deco ring (antique)
  • Faux fur coat (Target)
  • Swarovski crystal earrings (Nana’s)

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I wore this outfit to go op shopping and get coffee at my favourite cafe.


Do you ever feel like you’re hiding behind your clothes?  Do you prefer minimalist outfits, or is your style generally very “more is more”?

What I wore: A day off work

Normally I couldn’t care less about the AFL Grand Final.  I’m not a footy person at all and I just don’t get why it’s so exciting.  But this year I was chuffed about it because it meant a day off work.  Yep, for the past two years the Friday before Grand Final Day has been a public holiday in Victoria.  For……some reason.  But I’m not complaining!  It meant that the office was closed and I had an extra day to chill away from my desk.


I spent my day off shopping for groceries, reading, colouring, doing a bit of decluttering (I’m embracing minimalism) and playing with the kitties.
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In keeping with my recent post about American Horror Story: Coven, I was feeling inspired to dress in the style of the students at Miss Robichaux’s Academy.  I wanted something a little grungy, a little goth and very comfortable.



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I am wearing:

  • Black felt hat from Coo Ca Choo
  • Grey cardi (gifted)
  • Red and black lace slip dress (gifted)
  • Deathly Hallows Leggings from Jay Jays
  • Dr Martens boots
  • Art Deco earrings from Louvisa
  • Indian ring (gifted)
  • Beetle ring from Mansfield Emporium

 photo WP_20160930_11_12_50_Pro_zpsym1d6uy5.jpgIt has been so wet here in Benalla.  We’ve had the wettest winter in decades.  And it was absolutely pelting on my day off, so my thoughts of skipping about in sandals were dashed the second I looked out the window.  Much as I adore them, I’m a bit tired of boots and very much look forward to breaking out some lighter footwear.
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I had shaved my head again for Kink Fest last weekend and I was eager to show it off.  Braids are a great way to frame and highlight my shaved side, so I swept my hair back into a couple of french braids.  This had the extra bonus of keeping my hair from snarling in the vicious wind when I walked to the grocery store.


All in all it was a very chilled out day.  I have been feeling pretty burned out from work lately and I just relished the chance to stay home and re-energise myself.  I’ve found myself thinking wistfully of my school days, when ten weeks of term were bookended by two weeks holiday, three times a year with a glorious six week break over the summer.  Why don’t we do that with full-time work once we’re grown up.  I mean, how much stress are primary school kids under that they need a two-week break every few months.  I believe we should all get a generous break on a regular basis, rather than having to get excited about the odd public holiday.  Whaddaya reckon?

Product review: Tantus Purr dildo

I don’t believe I’ve ever crushed as hard on an inanimate object as I have on the Tantus Purr dildo.  This toy is undoubtedly one of my favourites and I’m extremely excited to share it with you today.

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I purchased the Purr way back in January as part of Tantus’ new years sale.  I was looking for a toy that had either great texture or dramatic size, and in the Purr I got both.  My eyes were instantly drawn to the amazing pink pearl colour.  This particular shade is just so pretty and it really does have a gorgeous pearly sheen to it that makes it look utterly magical.  If pink isn’t your thing, the Purr also comes in Purple Haze, which is a stunning galactic purple shade.
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To begin with, I want to talk about the texture on this toy.  The Purr features a series of deep ribs down the shaft.  I am always a little bit dubious when it comes to textured toys, because often I can’t feel those ridges and bumps during use.  I’ve always scoffed at condoms that are “ribbed for her pleasure” because I’m yet to meet a woman who can detect those puny ribs, let alone derive pleasure from them.  But the Purr is a whole other story.  During entry, those ribs buzz a beautiful tune along my inner lips and drag deliciously inside me.  The feeling is still subtle, but very pleasurable indeed.


The Purr is what I call a “front-loaded” toy, in that it has a pronounced head and is heavier towards the front end.  I personally love toys that have this particular weight distribution because they feel wonderful against my G-spot.  The Purr also feels great during shallow thrusting because of that big, bold head.  The head is perfectly rounded which makes it easy to insert, although it’s not as tapered as some other toys I own.


Now, we need to talk about the size of this toy.  When I pulled it out of the box, my eyes watered a little because I thought it would be much too big to play with comfortably.  Before this, I always imagined that my vagina was a dainty little flower which should only be penetrated with slim, slender toys.  And up until this point all of my toys fit that description.  But the Purr made me realise how much I enjoy big toys.  I don’t think I’ve quite earned the title of Size Queen, but I’ll comfortably admit to being a Size Princess.  The Purr is 6.75 inches long and 1.4 inches wide at the head.  So it ain’t little.  But boy, does it feel great.  The silicone is fairly firm, which means that it doesn’t have a whole lot of give to it.  This and the girth of the toy means that I usually need a little warm up before I’m ready to jump in with this one.  But once you’re properly ready, the size and width of this toy will fill you up and feel wonderful.

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The flared base of the Purr is a very important feature.  Firstly, it makes it harness compatible.  It slips neatly into my harness and I honestly adore the way this looks when I’m wearing it.  The flexibility of the silicone combined with the weight of the head give it a nice little ‘bob’ when you walk which I quite love.  Additionally, the flared base means that you can use the Purr anally, for pegging or solo play.  The size of this toy means that it is definitely not for beginners to butt play, but experienced pegging fans may enjoy tackling the challenge.  Admittedly, I tried this one in my butt because I was dying to experience the intensity of those ribs, but sadly it had me beat.  Although my vagina loves big toys, my butt still prefers the small, dainty variety.

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You’ll also notice that the Purr has a hole in the bottom of the base.  What on earth is that for?  Well, it has two uses.  The first are to insert a suction cup, which allows you to attach the toy to the shower, a chair, the wall or another flat surface for hands-free fun.

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Secondly, the hole can be used to house a vibrating bullet to turn your dildo into a vibrator.  The Purr comes with a small Tantus bullet, which fits snugly into the hole.  Admittedly, I found the vibe very disappointing when used this way.  The dense silicone really muffles the vibrations so they are pretty well dampened by the dildo.  But on it’s own, the bullet really packs a punch.  For a battery operated bullet, this thing has a fair amount of buzz.  It operates with a single click-on-click-off button and only has one power setting, but it’s a nice basic bullet.  I prefer using the bullet on my clit while thrusting with the Purr rather than using it in the intended way.
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The Purr is made with Tantus’s gorgeous glossy silicone, which is smooth to the touch and completely body safe.  It is waterproof and can be cleaned in the sink or even in the dishwasher for a really thorough clean.


The Purr retails for $74.21 on the Tantus site.  However, you can use the code NESSBOW15 to get 15% off your purchase at the checkout.  The quality of this toy make it well worth the price, and I’d happily recommend it to my readers.  Although I purchased it nearly a year ago, and I have loads of other toys, this is one that I come back to over and over.  It’s a winner in my eyes.

Oz Kink Fest haul

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Oz Kink Fest Expo at the Fitzroy town hall.  It was like a cornucopia of amazing sex toys, bondage gear, lingerie and sex positivity.  Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and bought a stack of new goodies.  I thought I would make a video to share my sexy treasure trove with you.



As I mention at the close of the video, I was completely blown away by how inclusive and open the expo was.  There were people in various states of dress, some in full fetish gear and some in street clothes.  There were a myriad of gender expressions, body shapes, relationship types and kinks represented and I didn’t hear a single nasty or creepy remark.  Every person I spoke to was incredibly open and respectful and it was truly fantastic.  I felt so proud and happy to be in such a sex positive space.


I bought a lot of toys at the expo.  Online shopping good and all, but there’s nothing like shopping in person for sex toys.  It’s wonderful to be able to touch the toys. to decide if you like the feel and weight of them.  You’re able to press buttons and you’ll know right away if a toy is horribly buzzy or emits a noise that sets your teeth on edge. Best of all, you can talk to people who know exactly what they’re talking about and get lots of great advice when choosing your toys.  The prices at OzKink Fest were insane, and I got a lot of things super cheap.  There were toys in my haul that have been on my wish list for years, but this weekend I saw prices that I just couldn’t pass up.  I’m very pleased with everything I got and I can’t wait to review them for you.


I hope you enjoy checking out what I bought.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments or shoot me an email.