Things I love Thursday 29/6/2017

 

I’ve had a bit of a down week.  Work has been insane and I’ve had trouble dealing with the stress and mayhem.  But I’ve gotten myself through by just trying to focus on the task at hand and not looking at the piles of files that are growing all around me.  I’ve also found it helpful to think about the little things that have made me happy this week.  Let me share some with you….

  • Discovering filters on my phone.  I’ve been playing around with my new phone and the camera has lots of fun filters to play with.  I particularly enjoy the ones that morph your face or let you play dress-ups.
  • My boyfriend.  It is so fantastic to find someone who just gets me.  He and I have such similar values and views of the world that we are not only on the same page, but on the same line.  He has been incredibly supportive this week, and I’m very lucky to have him in my life.
  • Sweet potato and pear soup.  You wouldn’t think that those two flavours would go together, but they do.
  • Glow.  I’m only two episodes in, but I’m loving the 80’s costuming and girl-power attitude.  I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
  • Diamond Dogs by David Bowie and Gravity Won’t Get You High by The Grates. Both have been playing on repeat in my flat.

Cuddle buds! #catstagram #cuddles #besties

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  • Epic cuddles with Branson, my Dad’s cat.
  • The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.
  • Sunday morning texts from my bf’s mother to check in with me.
  • Knitting loads of hats for friends.
  • Seeing my parents joyfully planning holidays in their new caravan.  They both work so hard and it’s amazing to see them finally getting to go on a real adventure together.
  • Huge coats
  • Making myself into a burrito with my doona.
  • London Breakfast tea from T2
  • The tippy-tap sound my fingers make on the keyboard when I type quickly.
  • Chocolate soy ice cream with a dollop of peanut butter on top.

What do you love this week?

Product review: Pure Aluminium Medium Pink by Pipe Dream

When it comes to sex toys, I’m always on the lookout for interesting materials and textures.  So when I saw the Pure Aluminium range by Pipedream I was instantly intrigued.  The range comes in five different colours: purple, pink, blue, silver and gold.  Each colour has three sizes: small, medium and large.  And each toy has a different shape.  There are ribs, bulbs, curves and bumps in a variety of configurations.  After much deliberation, I chose the Pink Medium to try for myself.

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The first thing I noticed when I picked up this vibe is it’s weight.  This is one of the heaviest toys that I own, and that is a very good thing.  I like toys that have a bit of heft to them, and this one feels solid and weighty in the hand.  Despite being the colour of a Barbie convertible, this is one toy that means business.  The shaft of the vibe is rock hard and unyielding.  If you’re craving something that has absolutely no give, then this is the toy for you.

The texture of the Pure Aluminium Pink is one of my favourite aspects of this toy.  It has a defined head, which is ideal for pin-point clitoral stimulation.  In addition to that head, the shaft has another two large bulbs, which feel wonderful during thrusting. Although I’m a lover of textured toys, I find that often my vagina can’t feel small ribs or bumps.  The exaggerated curves and swerves on this vibrator are a whole other story.  I have no problem detecting each bulb as I move it inside me.  It’s a sensation that I love, and one of the reasons that I keep coming back to this toy time and time again.

Another textural feature of this toy is the slippery-smooth finish.  Aside from my glass toys, I’ve never found another vibrator that is as incredibly slick as this one.  It is also ideal for temperature play.  This toy starts out cold to the touch, and can give quite the shock when you first place it against your body.  It quickly warms up to body temperature, and actually feels hot after a short amount of playtime.  The metal holds temperature really well, so you can cool it down or warm it up to provide a variety of sensations.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the feeling of the cool metal against my skin, and although it’s a bit of a shock, it’s so much fun to play with a chilly vibe.

As a dildo for penetration, I love the texture, weight and temperature of this toy.  But what about as a vibrator?  The Pure Aluminium Medium range are all three-speed, battery operated vibrators.  When I picked this toy up, I had moderately low expectations for it’s vibration power.  In my experience, I’ve found battery-operated vibes to be fairly underwhelming in terms of power and longevity.  But I was shocked by how well this vibrator works.

I can scarcely believe that this toy runs on two measly AAA batteries.  The vibrations are strong and powerful, and generally fairly rumbly.  Although there is a touch of buzziness about this vibe, the heft of the material really help to conduct the vibrations, making it feel much stronger than if it were made of silicone or jelly.  The battery life is pretty great with this toy, and it lasts for ages before dying out.  I find it also gives a little warning, slowing down a tad a few minutes before it cuts out.  I’d much prefer this to a toy that just abruptly dies in your palm. The motor is also surprisingly quiet for a battery operated toy.  There are three vibration speeds and no patterns.  I personally quite like this, because i only rarely use the pattern functions on my toys for solo play. The vibrations do get a tad buzzier as they become more intense, but not by much.

The one drawback to this vibrator is the controls.  The Pure Aluminium Medium vibes are controlled with a single push-button on the base of the shaft. You press the toy once to turn it on, and press again to turn the vibration up.  Because of the positioning of the control button, it’s very easy to accidentally push it during play.  I find this really annoying, because I often wind up turning the toy up higher than I want it, or unintentionally turning it off at a crucial moment.  Additionally, I don’t like the fact that you have to cycle through all three speeds before you can turn the toy off.  I prefer toys that have a separate on/off switch so that you can turn it off in a hurry if you are interrupted, or if you want the vibration to cease immediately.

In addition to feeling amazing, aluminium is body safe and super easy to clean. It’s non-porous and can be used with water based or silicone lubricants safely.  The battery chamber of this vibe has a rubber seal, which makes it water resistant, but not water proof.  So you can safely clean it in the sink, just don’t submerge it in water.  I find a quick rinse is usually enough to get this baby sparkling clean.  There are no cracks or crevices where gunk can get caught, which makes cleaning an absolute breeze.

The Pure Aluminium toys are relatively inexpensive, with the Medium vibrators selling for around $40-$50 each.  Based on the performance of my pink model, I’d say this makes them an absolute bargain.  I own some significantly more expensive toys that don’t perform half as well as this one.  For a battery operated vibe that has strong vibrations, a unique texture and loads of possibilities for temperature play, this is a steal. This is a great quality toy that won’t break the bank, which can be used a multitude of ways for hours of sexy fun.

Things I Love Thursday 22/6/2017

This past month has flown by.  Since the beginning of June, I took a little holiday from work, caught up with loads of friends and celebrated my 31st birthday.  There have been so many things that I’ve felt proud of and grateful for.

This week I love:

  • My friends.  I got so many messages of love and celebration on my birthday and each one brought an ear-to-ear smile to my face.
  • Michael Jackson.  David and I watched This Is It together and it was amazing.  I am a huge Michael Jackson fan and it breaks my heart that he didn’t get to perform his final masterpiece at least once.  I found the rehearsal footage breathtaking, and it’s hard to imagine what the final show would have been like.
  • Putting my cupcake hat on Rupert, David’s cat.  He purred like a maniac and wore the hat for a full half hour before he fell asleep and it toppled off his head.
  • Poking around vintage markets on chilly afternoons.
  • Bean burritos
  • Vegan vanilla cupcakes that look like they were pooped out by a unicorn.

Helloooo! Awesome birthday pin from my brother. #mrsdoubtfire #pins #birthday #geekery

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  • My new Mrs Doubtfire pin from my brother.  I am slowly building quite a collection of cute enamel pins, and this is the newest addition to my hoard.
  • Watching the Top 1000 Songs of the 80’s countdown on Foxtel and taking bets on what would be number 1. ( I lost.  I voted Thriller, which was edged out by Living on a Prayer)
  • Kate Lister’s website Whores of Yore.  Kate is a sexual historian who explores the history of sexual practices, language and culture.  Her website is fascinating and funny as well as highly educational.
  • My new heated throw blanket.
  • Watching my cats wriggle on the floor after their dinner each night.
  • The smells of winter mornings: wood smoke, frost and wet grass
  • Booja Booja chocolate salted caramel truffles.  And also the name Booja Booja, which is really fun to say.
  • Skins.  Various friends over the years have urged me to watch this show and I’ve never listened.  Now that I’ve started, I can see why they thought I would love it.
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife.  I’m not usually into romance stories, but this one is so clever and thought-provoking.  Dr Who fans who enjoy the romance between The Doctor and River Song should give this book a whirl.
  • Gloves

What do you love this fine Thursday?

Daily outfit: Blue and BB-8

One of my new years resolutions for 2017 was to make a knitted garment of some kind.  I saw a bunch of boxy knitted jumpers popping up on ASOS and I loved them.  I thought it would be a fairly easy thing to make for my first project.  I managed to whip up this TARDIS blue jumper with a minimum of fussing and I really like it.  It’s nice and warm and super comfortable for lazy days.

I am wearing:

  • TARDIS blue jumper (handknitted)
  • Blue pucci shirt (thrifted)
  • Bootleg jeans from K Mart
  • Dr Martens boots
  • BB-8 enamel pin from Hannah Hitchman Illustrations
  • Skull ring from ASOS
  • Moonstone ring from Lovisa
  • Fleur du Lis ring from Equip
  • Clog earrings (thrifted)

 

 

I topped off this outfit with my new BB-8 pin from Hannah Hitchman Illustrations.  

I have been obsessed with enamel pins lately and I bought a few as a little treat right before my birthday.  This dude is adorable, and I love that he’s doing the “thumbs-up” pose with his lighter.

I wore this outfit for a run to the shops, reading on the lawn and loads of decluttering.

Full time work and mental illness

This month marks three years since I began working full time.  The news that i had attained my first full-time job was clouded with trepidation.  I had never thought that I’d be able to manage full time work because of my mental illness.  I was sure that my depression and anxiety disorder would make it impossible for me to bear a full time workload.  But here I am, three years on and still doing the full time thing.

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Although I manage pretty well, there are some pretty serious bumps in the road.  I often struggle to cope, and at times have thought about pumping the brakes and going back to part time work.  Today I wanted to share some of the challenges and benefits to working full time when you have a mental illness.

 

Finding time for self care

For me, managing my depression consists of a carefully-structured routine that centres around self care.  Years of trial and error have led me to a series of self-care steps that generally manage to keep my mental health on an even keel. I know that in order to feel my best, I need to eat properly and get enough sleep.  My yoga practice keeps me fit and helps calm my monkey mind.  Journalling several times a week gets those anxious thoughts out of my head. All these steps are choreographed into a daily dance that helps keep my head above water.

When I was working part time, it was much easier to find the balance between working and self care.  Now, when eight-and-a-half hours of each day are spent at the office, that leaves another eight for sleeping and then a further eight for eating, household responsibilities and self care.  That doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for socialising or family time.  And I’m often jammed between choosing to spend time with friends at the detriment of my self-care regime.  If I spend too much time with my family, or my boyfriend, or my mates, then my mental health begins to slide because I’m not able to keep up with those vital self care activities.  But it’s not always easy to leave a family dinner early because you need to do your yoga or because you just need to be alone for a while.  It’s difficult for people to understand why you’re piking out early, or declining invitations.  And after a while, they stop inviting you altogether if you bail too often.

 

Working full time has made it a lot more challenging to fit in those ever-important self care rituals.  And sometimes I’m overwhelmed with frustration because it feels like all I do is go to work, come home and run through the motions of keeping myself sane.  It’s maddening when it feels like there isn’t time for anything else in the day, and when you feel like so much more is expected of you and you aren’t able to achieve it.

 

To tell, or not to tell?

I’ve grappled with the decision of whether or not to tell the people I work with that I have depression and anxiety.  I’ve had mixed responses in the past, and when I begin a new job I’m always a bit gun-shy about disclosing my illness.

There’s the risk that the people you work with will treat you differently when they find out you have a mental illness.  There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness, and it can be hard to work when you feel like people are walking on eggshells around you.  There’s also the unpleasant feeling of knowing that a workmate is internally rolling their eyes at you and wondering why you can’t just toughen up and manage your life like everyone else does.

On the other hand, many employers and workmates will be exceedingly supportive if they find out that you have a mental illness.  So it’s always a delicate balancing act of deciding whether you should mention it, and if so, when you should disclose your illness.

 

The perils of an invisible illness in the workplace

I went through a period last year where I was going through a really bad patch with my depression.  I was struggling to get out of bed each morning, and I just felt despondent all the time.  But I felt as though I had to force myself through the motions of everyday life anyway.  One morning about three weeks into this hellish patch I woke up with a fever and a sore throat.  I nearly cried with relief.  Why on earth was I so pleased that I was sick?  Well, because I felt like now that I had outward physical symptoms, I could take a sick day. Even though I’d been terribly unwell for weeks, it was only when my illness became physical that I felt like I was justified in staying home.

 

Invisible illnesses come with tricky pitfalls.  There’s always the worry that people will think you’re faking it.  That you’re making it up to get out of work or to avoid responsibility.  When you have no physical symptoms to “prove” that you’re unwell, it’s difficult to justify taking time off.  This is particularly true when you’re depressed or anxious and you simply don’t have the emotional fortitude to assert your needs or argue with workmates who don’t understand that mental illness can be as debilitating as physical illnesses.  For me, I’ve never been brave enough to call in sick when I’ve needed a ‘mental health day”.  Even though I think it would be justified, I still haven’t ever been able to bring myself to do it.

 

The mental load of engaging with others

I am a self-confessed introvert.  I much prefer my own company to the company of others.  I find being around other people (with the exception of a few of my nearest and dearest) mentally taxing.  And when those interactions take place in a professional environment, that makes it just a little more difficult for me.  On my good days, I can manage the daily office banter perfectly well.  I can smile at staff meetings, make small talk at the copier and pick up my intercom without breaking into a cold sweat.  But when my anxiety is kicking in or I’m on the verge of a crash, managing those polite, simple interactions becomes a monumental task.  Just answering a question from a colleague about the stationery order can leave me on the verge of tears.  Each time my intercom buzzes I feel a sharp pang in my chest and my breath comes in bursts.  For me, the mere task of being around other people is taxing and takes a huge mental load.  It’s extremely difficult to keep my professional mask in place and do my job like I’m supposed to.

 

Financial security and the money buffer

One really positive thing that my full time job has brought to my life is the feeling of financial security.  When I was working part time, I was making enough to pay my bills and not much extra.  I would often fall into a panic about what would happen if I had a sudden emergency and needed extra cash.  I wasn’t in a position to cover unforeseen costs, and the idea that I might suddenly require hospital care or need to pay for repairs on my flat was terrifying to me.

 

Now I feel much more secure about my financial position.  I know that my bills are covered and I have enough to put food on the table.  I can switch the heater on or take an extra shower without panicking about the spike in my bills.  And I now have enough that I can save towards some financial goals and stuff a bit of cash away for the future.  For all the stress that full time work brings, that financial security and knowing that I’m looking after myself is really reassuring.

 

A reason and a purpose

Although I’ve mentioned a lot of the struggles I have with my depression and work, taking on a full time job has helped my depression and anxiety as well.  I’ve gained confidence as I’ve learned new skills and managed challenges at work.  I’ve come to see that I’m quite capable of dealing with difficult problems and working with other people in my office as a team. Additionally, there are days when it’s difficult to get up, to shower and to drag myself through the day.  But I do it because I have to.  Because I know I have a job and I can’t afford to lose it.  Because I care about the work I do and I don’t want to let my workmates down. While that could be a lot of pressure for some folks, for me it works well as a motivator and helps me to move forward.

 

Do you have a mental illness and a full time job?  How do you manage it?  What are some of the challenges and benefits you’ve experienced?

 

S is for Sadism

This is part 3. of my ABC’s of BDsM series.  In each post, I will break down one letter of the BDsM acronym to delve deeper into what practices and preferences make up the world of BDsM.  This is by no means a definitive discussion of BDsM, but is rather intended to be a primer for interested beginners.

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S is for Sadism

Sadism refers to the practice of deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, discomfort and humiliation upon another person.  In the BDsM context, it often involves a consensual exchange of power in which the Dominant partner inflicts pain upon the submissive partner.  Sadism is a strong feature in many aspects of BDsM play, including:

  • Impact play, such as spanking, caning, whipping or flogging.
  • Wax play, where hot wax is dripped onto the skin of a submissive partner
  • Humiliation play, where the submissive party is required to perform actions that they find degrading, wear clothing that embarrasses them or is subjected to ridicule.
  • Knife play
  • Electro-sex, where a violet wand or tens unit is used to inflict electrical shocks, currents and sensations.
  • Bondage scenes where the submissive partner is restrained in an uncomfortable or unflattering position.
  • Torture scenes, which may include breast torture, cock and ball torture or bastinado (foot torture).
  • Role play scenes that are intended to induce fear in the submissive party.

While a lot of these types of play may seem frightening and worrisome to a person who is unfamiliar with BDsM, the fact is that in practice they are carefully planned and controlled.  Although physical and psychological pain are large components of scenes that involve Sadism, most sexual sadist aren’t bullies or meanies.  There are a number of different reasons that a person may be excited by sexual sadism, for example:

  • Enjoying the physical sensation of wielding the tools of the trade, such as floggers, whips and paddles.
  • Relishing the feeling of control and dominance over another person.
  • Being aroused or excited by the reactions of the submissive partner
  • Performing a service for the submissive, by fulfilling their desires and helping them to face their fears and fantasies.
  • Enjoyment in the planning of a scene or the polishing of skills such as whipping or torture.
  • Fascination in the operation of the body, in seeing how the body responds to certain treatment and pain.
  • Feeling a sense of joy or pleasure at earning the trust of a submissive party.

The topic of Sadism is one that I’ve found elicits strong responses in people who are not familiar with the world and practice of BDsM.  And I can see why.  From the outside, the idea of a person who enjoys hurting others can be very frightening. The image our minds conjures up when we talk about torture and humiliation is that of a villain or a bully. But in the real-life practice of BDsM, this often couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many people who practice sexual sadism are caring, loving individuals.  Some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met have sadistic tendencies in the bedroom.  As with any of the other practices in BDsM, there are a number of special considerations that must be undertaken to ensure that the scene you are partaking in is safe, sane and consensual:

  • Long before any play begins, the parties involved should take the time to have an open and frank discussion about personal limits and set specific guidelines for how the scene should progress.
  • The submissive party should disclose any medical conditions or injuries.
  • Safewords should be employed in situations where sadism play is taking place.  A safeword is a word or phrase that, when uttered, brings the action to a halt.
  • The dominant party should be aware of their own personal skill level and limitations and operate within those boundaries.
  • Before participating in impact play, learn the parts of the body that are safe to hit, and those which must be avoided.
  • Make sure that all equipment used, such as floggers or paddles, needles, sex toys or gags, are clean and in working order.
  • Do your research.  Read books, watch videos and visit blogs that deal with the particular type of play you are interested in.  Practice your skills and hone your knowledge before attempting a new type of play.
  • Build up trust and intimacy slowly.  S&M play requires a huge amount of trust between the parties involved, and this can only be built over time.  I don’t recommend engaging in S&M with someone you don’t know well enough to be sure that you can trust them.
  • Never participate in sexual sadism if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If your judgement is impaired, you could wind up badly hurting your submissive.
  • Ensure that you have first aid supplies at hand in case something goes wrong.  Bruises, cuts and scrapes do happen sometimes even in the most carefully planned scene.
  • Aftercare is vitally important in scenes that involve pain or humiliation. Both the dominant and submissive parties need time to come down after a scene, tend to their bodies and minds and debrief.

As you can see, sadism isn’t all about torture and trials, it’s about creativity, curiosity, nurturing and fascination. It’s about eliciting a response and exploring our limits and skills. People who identify as sexual sadists aren’t necessarily horrible or cruel, and most are fantastically caring and kind.  As with all aspects of BDsM, there is a level of danger involved in indulging one’s sadistic urges, but with proper planning and care, they can be explored safely and with great success.

 

In my final chapter of The ABC’s of BDsM, I’ll be talking about the flipside of the S&M coin: Masochism.

If you enjoyed this chapter, you may enjoy my previous posts:

Toy review: Slick dildo by Tantus

Can you believe that Masturbation Month is nearly over and I haven’t written a single toy review?  Well luckily the sweet folks at Tantus sent me the Slick Dildo to test and review for you. So in celebration of Masturbation May, let’s get down to it.

The Slick is one of Tantus’ dual density toys.  This means that it’s got a firm inner core and a soft outer layer.  I’ve never tried a dual density toy before so I was rearing to give these a go.  And boy, they do not disappoint! The Slick is like the lovechild of a rock-hard toy and a jelly-soft dildo. It is firm enough to thrust vigorously but soft enough to feel comfortable and sensual.  It’s like the Goldilocks dildo: neither too hard, nor too soft.  It’s just right.

The Slick comes in two shades: Black and Purple Haze.  I got one of each colour and I adore them both.  I have several purple haze toys from Tantus, including my Silk dildos, and the pearly sheen on the silicone is so pretty.  The black is shiny and dark and looks utterly formidable.  I feel like such a badass when I’m wielding that midnight-hued cock in my harness.  I also adore the fact that this toy doesn’t look like a cock.  Many of Tantus’s dual density toys are realistic-looking dildos.  Which is great if you like realistic toys….but I don’t.  I much prefer toys that look phallic, but not like actual penises.

One of the first things I notice when I put these two toys side-by-side is the difference in sizes.  There is a big leap between the small and the large, and initially I wished that there was a size in between. But once I began playing with the Slick dildos, I realised that each size had it’s distinct advantages.

The small Slick has quickly become my favourite dildo for pegging.  The teardrop-shaped base makes it fit snugly into my harness.  The tapered tip is perfect for gradual, easy insertion and it’s a great size. It’s big enough to provide a good amount of sensation and fullness, but it’s not so massive that it’s intimidating to the person on the receiving end. If your partner has a prostate, the spade-shaped tip and slight curve are great for gentle prostate massage. Because the tip is soft and squishy, it provides a gentle sensation rather than a harsh poke.

When I opened the box and saw the large Slick, I shook my head with disbelief.  I truly didn’t think that this monster dildo would ever fit inside my dainty vagina, let alone feel good while doing so.  I’m on the petite side and I know that my pussy is a tight squeeze. In addition to that, I have a fairly low cervix so I was sure that this dildo would be far too large to be inserted very far.  But, as a dutiful sex geek I was determined to give it a red-hot go.

The Slick Large is the first sex toy to ever make me marvel at what my cunt is capable of.  I know that, in theory, a vagina is able to accommodate a baby, and that there are loads of ladies who love being penetrated by big toys.  But I never expected to be one of them. For years, I was deeply afraid of penetrative play, to the point where I saw a sex therapist. The thought that I would one day be tackling a toy of this magnitude, and loving it, would have been ludicrous to me a decade ago.

The dual density texture definitely helped me to enjoy the feel of this toy.  Even though it’s nice and firm, it has a gentle softness that means it doesn’t feel harsh during play.  The silicone is so smooth, the Slick lives up to it’s name, gliding in and out of your body. The head is nice and squishy, so it never once poked me in the cervix (a horribly un-fun experience that I’ve had with other, more solid, toys).

And that head….can we talk about the head for a second?  The spade-shaped head on this toy is genius. Not only does it make initial penetration easier because it’s tapered, but it is incredible for G-spot play.  If you’re new to G-spotting, I heartily recommend this toy.  The head is so bulbous that it’s nearly impossible to miss your G-spot.  And it’s so soft and malleable that it massages that spot so delightfully, moving with your body and gently compressing with your muscles as you orgasm.

In addition to looking and feeling great, the Slick is made with gorgeously smooth silicone, which means it’s body safe and easy to clean.

I absolutely love the Slick, and it has quickly become one of my favourite toys in my toybox.  While I’m not yet ready to wear the title of Size Queen, I think the large Slick has at the very least made me feel like a Size Princess.