Style icons: Harley Quinn

I was pretty rapt with the Suicide Squad movie.  Even though the critics have kinda panned it, I really enjoyed the film. There can be no doubt that a huge part of my love for the film came from the presence of one of my favourite DC characters, Harley Quinn.  After seeing the film, I was so inspired by Harley’s awesome sense of style, and I wanted to dedicate a Style Icons post to the mad clown queen of Gotham City.



Mod Harley


There can be little doubt that Harley is the queen of colour blocking.  She likes large panels of bold colour, usually in a half-and-half style.  Her favourite combos are red and black and blue and red with splashes of white thrown in for good measure.  Her two-tone look even extends to her hair, often worn in pigtails with dip-dyed tips for dramatic effect.
Casual Harley


Harley’s outfits are usually form-fitting or scandalously brief.  She loves being the centre of attention so eye-grabbing pieces are a must.  But although you might want to touch, you’d better keep your mitts to yourself.  Harley’s relationship with The Joker is anything but open.  He keeps her on a tight reign, and while their relationship is pretty dysfunctional, there are also strong elements of dominance and submission present.  I really liked the way that bondage gear and winks to Harley’s BDsM relationship with Joker were woven into her costumes.  Her “Puddin” collar, ”Yes Sir” cuffs and “Property of Joker” bomber jacket all speak to her submission to Mr J.
Daddy's disco princess


It’s the tiny details that are key to Harley’s outfits.  She particularly partial to diamond shapes, which harken back to her harlequin-inspired costume in the original cartoon.  Jagged edges and circus-goth finishings are also perfect for a girl who is more at home on a tightrope or aerial silks than with her feet firmly planted on the ground.
Rev her up


Interestingly, a large number of items in Harley’s wardrobe are inspired by sporting apparel. From her triple stripe sneaker stilettos to her baseball tees, Harley likes to blend a bit of activewear in with her outfits.  This possibly has to do with the fact that her weapon of choice is a baseball bat (when she’s not wielding her comically-huge mallet).  Harley likes to match her baseball jacket with teeny tiny shorts and a liberal application of bling.
I’m head over heels in love with Harley’s look, and it’s so tempting to sprinkle a bit of madcap circus-gal fun into your own wardrobe.  You could quite easily add a few small touches, or go for the full-shebang in two-toned gear, a collar and booty shorts.  It’s up to you how far you take the look, but once you get going, it’s hard not to go a little bit nuts.
Are you a fan of Harley’s look?  Which parts would you like to incorporate into your own wardrobe?

What I wore 9 August 2016

I recently purchased my first ever flannelette shirt. This may not seem like a big deal, but it kinda baffles me that I’ve gone thirty years without one.  They are a staple item in Aussie wardrobes, and a huge part of the grunge and punk rock looks I love so much.  How have I never bought a flannelette shirt before now?  I picked up this one last weekend and I had to rock it immediately.  I’m in love.  It’s warm, it’s soft and so super comfortable.

My initial instinct was to style this bad boy with jeans and boots.  But I didn’t want to be too predictable.  I wanted to push my boundaries a little and wear it with something slightly unexpected.  Enter this black lace corset dress, which has been in my wardrobe longer than I’ve been writing this blog.

I still wore my trusty Doc Martens for a classic 90’s grunge look.  My boyfriend told me I looked like I’d stepped out of The Craft.  I was only too happy to take that compliment.

I am wearing:

  • Red flannelette shirt from Jay Jays
  • Black corset dress from 7 Angels
  • Black cage tights from Pulp Kitchen
  • Black Dr Martens boots
  • Deathly Hallows earrings (gift from my brother)
  • Christopher Walken pendant from Etsy
  • Silver rings (assorted)
  • Leopard print socks from Sportsgirl



I felt pretty darn awesome in this shirt, and I’m looking forward to wearing it again.  Maybe with the jeans-and-boots combo that I’d envisaged or perhaps with something completely different.


Is there an item that you’ve recently added to your wardrobe that you can’t believe it’s taken you this long to wear?

The three common principles of BDsM

I’ve had a few requests for some posts about BDsM.  Some of you might know that I’m interested in BDsM.  I’m both a scholar who likes to learn about new techniques, fetishes and relationships and an active participant who likes to indulge in BDsM  play in the bedroom and in day-to-day life. I’m by no means an expert, but this is something that I’m fascinated by and passionate about. I’m happy to write about this part of my life as long as my readers are interested.  And since I casually mentioned it and got a few responses asking for more information, I’m guessing that at least a couple of you are.


I thought a good place to begin talking about BDsM on this blog would be to introduce you to the three core principles of BDsM.  BDsM covers a vast range of practices, scenes, fetishes, fantasies, lifestyles and roles.  It can be something very extreme, involving complex equipment and dedicated participants, something light and gentle or anything in between.  Even though the scope of the term BDsM is incredibly broad, there are three core principles that apply no matter whether you’re tying someone up and hanging them from the ceiling or giving your lover a few playful swats with a hairbrush.  Those are the principles of Safe, Sane and Consensual.  These three words are the cornerstone of all BDsM play and should be considered very carefully by all players involved.

So what do I mean by Safe, Sane and Consensual?  Let me break it down for you.

Safe” means that you have taken into consideration the potential risks and how to eliminate or minimise them.

  • You understand any and all equipment that you are using during your scene.
  • You have practiced the techniques that you will use.
  • You are aware of what warning signs to look for that may indicate that your partner is in distress.
  • You are able to administer first aid or quickly obtain assistance if necessary
  • You have safety equipment such as rope cutters close at hand.
  • You have discussed any physical ailments or limitations with your partner.
  • If your BDsM play involves sex, you will practice safer sex.
  • Safe words or signals should be decided upon.  If the word or signal is used, play must stop immediately.

Sane” means that you are in a rational and clear-headed state of mind.

  • You will not practice bondage, impact play, sharps play or other dangerous scenes under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • BDsM should not be undertaken to harm another person, to vent anger at your partner or to exact revenge.
  • Proper aftercare should be employed to ensure that all parties are feeling safe and stable after play time is over.
  • The person who takes on a Dominant or Top role must be aware of the vulnerability of their sub or bottom and not take advantage of them or abuse their position.
  • Extra care must be taken if you have a mental illness.  Potential triggers should be discussed with your partner, as well as any additional needs or aftercare that you may require.
  • You must act responsibly and with self-control.

“Consensual” means that all activities are undertaken with full and informed consent of all parties involved.

  • All scenes are negotiated well before play begins.
  • Parties should discuss their limits and boundaries, and those limits should be respected.
  • Honesty is essential to achieve informed consent. You must not lie or mislead a partner about what you intend to do to them during a scene.
  • Make sure that you tell your partner if they are approaching your limits, or if they are doing something that you do not like.

As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of care and consideration which must go into the practice of BDsM.  The amount of planning and negotiation is proportionate to the level of danger or the degree of power exchange involved, but it is always a vital part of BDsM.


I’m certainly interested in writing more about BDsM or play.  If there are any topics you’d like me to touch on in future posts, please let me know.  As always, questions are welcome but I ask that you keep them respectful.


Five Fandom Friday: 5 facts about me (if I lived in the Harry Potter universe)

July has been dubbed Harry Potter month by Heather over at Flying on Ruby Wings.  To celebrate, she’s put together a list of special Potter-themed prompts for Five Fandom Friday.  As I’ve been crazy busy, I’ve missed out on all but the final one.  But I’m determined to jump in and give this one my all.  So I’m delving deep into my imagination and dreaming up what my life would be like if I lived in the Harry Potter universe……(insert harp music here)


1.My patronus is a hummingbird

When I imagine which animal would be my patronus, the hummingbird comes to mind.  Like me, it’s small and fast, they’re often brightly coloured and they’re very partial to sugar.  I’m quite petite and my mind moves a mile a minute, flitting from one thought to the next.

2. I run a vintage clothing shop in Hogsmeade

I think my dream job in the wizarding world would be dressing the witches and wizards who came to visit Hogsmeade.  I can see myself living in a village like Hogsmeade, with loads of quaint stores, delicious eateries and just a train-ride away from London.  My store would be crammed with gorgeously embroidered gowns, frock coats, whimsical jewellery and brightly coloured shoes.  Rather than helping the wizards to blend in with the muggles, I’d encourage them to stand out, to wear something outlandish and richly coloured with a stunning backstory.

3. My best subject at Hogwarts was History of Magic

I know, I know, none of the students enjoy History of Magic.  After all, it’s dull and dusty, and the professor is a ghost!  But I thrive on history, and learning about the past fascinates me.  I believe I would have had a ball learning about the witches and wizards of yore, and in my final year I might have turned in an epic thesis providing an in-depth study on the four founders of Hogwarts, much to the delight of Professor Binns.

4. I’m a Metamorphmagus

Like Nymphadora Tonks, I’m a rare breed of witch who can change her appearance at will.  I mostly use this talent to alter my hair colour and style frequently, but I occasionally put it to good effect for costume parties.  I enjoy meddling with my looks and adopting a variety of disguises for my own amusement. Mostly though, I’m pretty happy in my own skin.

5. I’m great pals with Hermione Granger

If I’d met her at school, I’m sure that I would have found Hermione insufferable.  Probably because her hard-headedness and know-it-all attitude would have been too similar to my own, breeding competition rather than friendship.  But as we met as adults, we’ve grown to be great mates.  We ran into one another at a screening of a documentary about the emancipation of house-elves, and bonded over our similar political leanings and taste in books.  Although we’re both rather busy, we try to catch up on the regular.  Some of our happiest weekends are those where Hermione leaves the kids with Ron and trains it to Hogsmead.  We stay up for hours talking about feminism, history and wizard-age sex toys.

What do you imagine your life would be like if you lived in the Potterverse?  If you’d care to share a tidbit in the comments, that would be awesome.

Things I Love Thursday 28/7/2016

Thursday is here again, so it’s time to lay down a list of the things that are bringing light into my life this week.  It’s been pretty mental over in my neck of the woods, as work has been uber busy and I’ve felt like I’m drowning in paperwork a lot of the time.  Being so occupied has worn me out a bit, and made me even more grateful for the glimmers of awesomeness that have speckled my week.

She's in training for the cat olympics #catstagram #calico #gymnastics

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

This week, I love:

  • Dragging a blanket and some pillows onto the loungeroom floor for snuggle time with my dude.
  • The new 50’s style diner that has opened up two blocks from my house.  I took myself for a dinner date the other night and had the most exquisite bacon burger.
  • Getting an awesome performance review and a pay rise.  Go me!
  • Horrible Histories.  I know it’s meant for kidlets, but I’m really enjoying the silly humour and awesome songs. And I’m learning so much!

Spent the evening colouring on front of the heater. #colouring #bright #babushka #cute

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Colouring with the new pencils I got for my birthday.
  • Knitting socks.  I’ve currently got four different pairs on the go, and I keep finding more yarn that I want to turn into cozy socks for my friends, myself and also my shop.
  • Looking forward to punk rock gigs.
  • Waking up wedged in between Jelly and Ringo as they try to snuggle close to me to share my warmth.
  • Rainy weekends at home alone. I’ve been very social lately, which is awesome, but it’s so nice to have some quite time to indulge my introverted nature.
  • Tina Horne’s podcast Why Are People Into That?  Tina takes an in-depth look at a variety of fetishes and sexual practices and delves into what makes them so appealing to the people who are into them.  It’s a fascinating listen.
  • My new lube. I bought a bottle of Sliquid Sassy lube, and it is gosh-darn amazing.  It’s designed for anal play, and while I do use it for that, it’s also great to use for other sexy exploits.  It’s so slippery, it lasts for ages and it is kind to my lady parts.
  • Hanging with my friend Tom, eating weird cheeses and chatting about books.
  • Big, giant, sweet cups of coffee.
  • Waking up to the sound of rain.
  • Fuzzy jumpers.

What do you love this week?

What I Wore: 12/7/2016

I often struggle to decide what to wear when I go to the theater.  It seems like the perfect occasion to dress to the nines.  But often when I head out to catch a show I grab matinee tickets, so full evening attire is a tad excessive.  And I usually have to travel into the city to get to the theater, so I don’t want to wear anything too uncomfortable or cumbersome.  Such were the dilemmas I faced when selecting an outfit to wear to see Singing In The Rain at the Princess Theater with my mother.

Although it went against my every instinct, I decided to go with jeans for the day.  Jeans?  At the theater?  Surely I’m losing my mind?  Well, I like to think that the jeans were acceptable because they were well fitted, in a fun dark tartan print.  I also made sure that the rest of my outfit was polished so that I didn’t look like I’d just thrown any old thing on.  I wanted to look special but still be comfortable.


I accessorized with this fantastic Erstwilder brooch I got as a birthday gift from my friends Kath and Evan.  It was difficult to get a good picture of it, but it’s a lipstick and hand mirror joined my a chain.  Kath excitedly informed me that it can also be worn as sweater clips!  I don’t own a single set of sweater clips, so I’m looking forward to trying these out in that capacity.


One thing I’ve learned from several years of thinking about fashion and dress is this: striking hair and makeup will take a relatively simple outfit to the next level.  And so I paid extra attention to my coiffure on this particular day.  I arranged the front of my hair into a set of swirling pin-curls and swept the rest back and under a hand-made snood.


I swept on a subtle cats-eye liner and let my lips steal the show. This lip colour is Possessed Intense from Lipstick Queen. It’s my current favourite lippie.



I am wearing:

  • Red snood (handmade by me)
  • Black cardigan with faux-leopard trim (gift from my parents)
  • Silver hoop earrings
  • Black turtleneck from Country Road
  • Forever 21 tartan jeans (thrifted)
  • Black motorcycle boots from Big W
  • Erstwilder Brooch

I was extremely pleased with my outfit choice for the day.  I was comfortable and still felt stylish.  And as an added bonus, my hair stayed intact even during the simulated rain inside the theater and a real windstorm outside.  I call that a win.

Product review: Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah Balls.

Right now I’m betting that quite a few of you out there are thinking “What the heck are Ben Wah balls?  Isn’t that a song from the 90’s by Blink 182?”  Well yes, it was, but ben wah balls are more than a punk rock song.  Ben wah balls are basically like dumbells for your vagina. You insert the balls into your vagina and wear them for an extended period of time, using your pelvic floor muscles to keep them in place.  This is supposed to strengthen your kegels, which can lead to stronger orgasms and greater muscle control.  Being the curious little bean I am, I had to snag a set of ben wah balls to try for myself.

I picked up the Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah Balls on sale quite some time ago.  I’ve had them for about a year now, and I’ve tried them a great number of times.  And I have to come right out and tell you that I don’t like them very much.


Let me begin by pointing out a couple of features that I do like about these ben wah balls.  Firstly, they’re silicone, which is my preferred material for sex toys.  It’s body safe, it non-porous, it’s really easy to clean and it feels great.  The silicone on these ben wah balls feels velvety and smooth, which is awesome for such an inexpensive toy.


That’s the second thing I like about these ben wah balls.  They aren’t super pricey.  I picked mine up for about $14, and generally they retail for around $27.  This is a good price for a toy that you’re just trying out because if you don’t wind up loving it you haven’t blown a lot of cash.  And ben wah balls are pretty basic, and not generally something that I’d want to spend a lot on.


The Doc Johnson Ben Wah Balls are very simple.  They are just two weighted balls each about the size of a marble. They only come in one colour: black.  They arrive packaged in a little velvet pouch.


They are also impossible to keep inside me.


Let me be frank.  I used these things a lot.  Like, a whole lot.  The first few times I lamented that my kegels must be as slack as a deflated balloon, as the darn things kept slipping out. I tried inserting them further, I tried squeezing my kegel muscles when I felt them slipping, but nothing worked.  It was only after trying another set of duoballs that I realised that  the problem wasn’t my vagina…it was these darn balls.


I think the issue is the size-to-weight ratio of these ben wah balls.  They are quite heavy, so when you insert them and then stand up, gravity takes hold and they start moving floor-wards.  The small size means that your vaginal muscles don’t have much surface area to grip onto, so they slip out really easily.  To work more effectively, I think the balls would have to be a bit larger so that your kegels could actually hold them in place or a little lighter so they don’t slip so easily.



Now, I know that there are other uses for ben wah balls besides improving your pelvic floor strength.  For example, if you’re into BDsM (as I am), ben wah balls can be a very fun tool.  If you’re a submissive with a vagina, it can be titillating to have your dominant order you to wear ben wah balls for an extended period of time.  Even more so if you are required to wear them while running errands or out on a date.  As fun as that can be, the Black Rose Ben Wah Balls aren’t ideal for this purpose.  They just slip out far too easily for me to be confident wearing them outside the house.  For around-the-house play they could work, particularly if you like humiliation as these are really difficult to keep in place.


These ben wah balls can also work nicely if worn during sex in certain situations.  If you are having penis-in-vagina sex with a partner who is not well endowed, popping one or both of these into your pussy first will give you that full-up feeling, as well as being very stimulating for your partner.  They also work nicely for providing extra stimulation during strap-on sex or fingering.


Overall, I’m not terribly impressed with the Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah balls.  They just didn’t work well for my body, and I’ve found a number of better sets of ben wah balls and duo balls.  On the plus side, they are well made and inexpensive, but they just don’t perform as well as I’d hoped.