[Health & Beauty Review] The Butters Coffee x Sea Salt Scrub

I’m back with another mini review in my series for The Butters Hygienics Co, a Black- and queer-owned business making body-friendly and vegan health and beauty products.

When The Butters approached me, picking out the products I wanted to review was a challenge. There’s so much good stuff! This one, however, was an easy pick. “You had me at coffee,” as the saying goes. Kinda.

By the way: there’s a discount code for you at the end of this post!

The Butters Hygienics Co. Coffee x Sea Salt Scrub

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very choosy about my cosmetic products. A lot of the harsh ingredients in commercial products don’t agree with me, and I like my beauty cruelty-free and vegan. That’s why it’s so great to find companies like The Butters and know I can buy anything from their range in confidence.

Jar of coffee body scrub with sea salt

Today’s scrub contains just a few ingredients: organic dark roast coffee, kosher salt, sea salt, baking soda, polysorbate 80 (a commonly used emulsifier), and an organic preservative. That’s it. Sea salt is packed with nutrients that are good for our skin. Studies have even shown it to have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. Caffeine also has a number of energising and nutritious skincare benefits (as well as being, you know, the stuff of life.) Read more about the ingredients here!

The Coffee x Sea Salt Scrub is a rough and gritty exfoliator that effectively removes dead skin cells, giving you silky-soft skin all over. You can use it pretty much anywhere on your entire body. All you need to do is scoop some into your hand and rub it all over warm, wet skin. Leave it for a minute (optional) to soak in, rinse, and you’re done.

The Butters Sea Salt Scrub with coffee exfoliator

The Coffee x Sea Salt Scrub smells, as you would expect, strongly of coffee. Despite the intensity of the scent when you open the tub, the smell that lingers on the skin after you rinse is fairly subtle (though still yummy!)

I truly cannot believe the difference this stuff has already made to my skin. I’ve been using it around four times a week (it’s just a little too harsh for me to use every day). My skin feels so much softer and healthier after just a few weeks. I like to scrub with this and then moisturise with The Butters’ Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butters moisturiser. A truly dreamy combination!

Womans hand holding coffee exfoliator sea salt scrub

Since it’s all natural and biodegradable, this scrub is environmentally friendly. You can just wash the remnants away down the drain of your bath or shower when you’re done.

A 2oz jar costs $4.25, and the 4oz version costs $9 usually but is currently on sale for $6.75. You’ll get at least 16 uses out of 4oz jar and it has a shelf life of around a year.

You can also get 5% off your order of the Coffee x Sea Salt Scrub or ANYTHING else from getthebutters.com with my code, “coffeeandkink”. Go get yours, and enjoy smelling like the inside of your favourite coffee shop. (Anyone else miss coffee shops? *sigh*.)

Thanks to The Butters Hygienics Co for sending me this product to review! All views, as always, are my own. If you use my discount code, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

[Health & Beauty Review] The Butters Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butters Moisturiser

This is the third in my series of mini-reviews of products from The Butters Hygienics Co., a wonderful Black- and queer-owned small business. I’m not really a health and beauty blogger, so this is a new venture for me. How are these reviews working for you folks? Please let me know if you’re enjoying them or if there’s anything else you’d like to see. I’ve been having fun writing them and might try to do a little more in this space in the future.

Anyway – without further ado, let’s look at today’s product!

The Butters Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butters Moisturiser

The Butters Hygienics Co Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butters moisturiser

This specific blend was actually a limited edition product for Christmas and isn’t available any more. So I can’t tell you to go and buy this exact one! (Though Jerome and co if you’re reading this, please bring it back!) However, The Butters’ moisturisers are all made with similar base ingredients and natural oils and fragrances, so I feel comfortable recommending any of them.

Check out the whole range and use my code “coffeeandkink” to get a small discount and send a commission my way.

I’m generally very picky about cosmetics and skincare products. I have pretty sensitive skin and a lot of the harsh ingredients in mainstream brands just don’t agree with me at all. I will also only buy cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, because beauty isn’t beautiful if animals were harmed for it!

Fortunately, The Butters moisturiser ticks all my boxes. The ingredients include cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, and guar bean powder. There’s nothing nasty, nothing harsh, and nothing synthetic. It comes in a semi-solid form that is easy to apply and blends quickly into the skin. The moisturiser is a vibrant yellow colour (that’s due to the shea butter!)

The Butters Hygienics Co Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butters shea butter moisturiser

I like using my Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butter moisturiser over basically my entire body immediately after a hot shower and a scrub with The Butters’ Coffee & Sea Salt Scrub (review coming Thursday!)

The combination leaves my skin feeling absolutely amazing and smelling divine. Seriously, a few days ago I’d tried this moisturiser for the first time. When my partner got home from work I was like “pet my skin! Sniff me!” The scent is sweet and warming, distinctive without being cloying or overpowering.

In between using it post-shower, I also keep the tub on my desk and apply a little bit to my hands a few times a day. In this era of copious hand-washing, our skin can get really dried out – and mine tends to dry and crack in winter anyway. But just a few applications of this moisturiser and they’re already doing noticeably better.

Yellow shea butter moisturiser on womans hand

The Butters Sweet Bourbon Cocoa Butter moisturiser also doesn’t leave my skin greasy, which a lot of commercially available skin lotions tend to do. I don’t find myself wanting to wash it off immediately after application, which – for someone who has sensory weirdnsss around greasy things, particularly on my hands – is a big win.

A tub of moisturiser from The Butters cost from $6.25 up to $20 for some limited edition lines. Most of the varieties retail for a very reasonable $9.25. You get 4 fl oz (around 120ml) in a convenient screw-top plastic tub. You really only need to use a little bit of this moisturiser each time to get the benefits, so a 4oz tub will last you ages. The Butters suggest you’ll get about 3 months out of it with typical use. But no worries if you go through it more slowly – its shelf life is around a year.

The Butters moisturiser feels like a lovely pampering treat for me and my skin. This might be the last skincare product I ever need, and I can’t wait to try out all the different varieties!

Thanks to The Butters Hygienics Co for sending me this product to review! All views, as always, are my own.

[Health & Beauty Review] The Butters Lavender Melody Calming Bath Bomb

This is the second in my series of mini reviews of health, beauty, and wellness products from The Butters Hygienics Co., a Black- and queer-owned company founded by Jerome Nichols. I’m so excited to be working with The Butters. They offer high-quality, ethically produced, vegan products at affordable prices – what’s not to love?

For this week’s review, I got to soak in a lovely lavender bath. Sex blogger life is good sometimes.

Lavender Melody Calming Bath Bomb

The Butters Hygienics Co. offers a range of bath bombs. They occasionally add new variations, and there are currently 7 different products in the bath bomb line.

My Lavender Melody bath bomb came packaged in a branded paper wrap (recyclable, yay!) which displayed the use-by date and storage info.

Lavender Melody Bath Bomb from The Butters Hygienics Co

I could already smell the lovely lavender fragrance through the packaging, Inside, the bath bomb was a pretty, vibrant pink colour with pieces of lavender flower visible.

Lavender Melody lavender bath bomb from Get The Butters

Ingredients

Jerome uses all natural and sustainable ingredients to create his “bullshit-free” products. The Lavender Melody Calming Bath Bomb contains the following ingredients:

  • Epsom and sea salt
  • Citric acid
  • Corn starch
  • Shea butter
  • Natural fragrance
  • Food colouring
  • Lavender flowers

And that’s it! A few simple, healthy, and skin-friendly ingredients, and nothing else. This iteration of the Lavender Melody bomb is made using a base composition Jerome and Co call V4, described as “fizzier, more colourful, easier to clean, and more durable.”

You can use your Lavender Melody Bath Bomb all at once, like I did, or break it up and get two or three uses out of it.

Lavender Melody pink bath bomb

The bath bomb created a satisfying fizz when it hit the water (for best results, put it in while the taps are running) and filled my bathroom with the gorgeous lavender scent. The fragrance is strong but not overpowering, and it smells like real lavender (not synthetic fragrance.)

It turned my water a pretty pale pink colour, and was lovely to soak in. Unlike some bath bombs and salts I’ve tried, it didn’t leave any stains in the tub, either. All I had to do was rinse it down afterwards to get rid of the bits of stray lavender flowers!

Pink bath water with bits of lavender flowers

Lavender is well known to be a relaxing scent, and I spent a very happy and cosy hour chilling out and reading a book. Hot baths have been one of my self-care tools during the last ten months or so, and the Lavender Melody Bath Bomb was an excellent addition.

By the time I got out of the bath, my skin smelled divine and felt super soft and nourished. A real pampering treat!

The Butters’ bath bombs – and all their products – are super affordable. This one retails for $4.25, and the rest of the bath bomb range varies from $3.75 up to $8.

It’s more important than ever that we support small, ethical businesses right now. Buying from The Butters Hygienics Co. is a win-win – great products, great ethics, and a transparent satisfaction guarantee.

Don’t forget to use my code (coffeeandkink) at checkout for 5% off your entire order at getthebutters.com. You’ll also send a small commission my way!

This product was provided to me by The Butters Hygienics Co. in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own.

[Health & Beauty Review] The Butters Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On

The Butters Hygienics Co. is a Black-owned, queer-owned American company, founded by Jerome Nichols in 2015. I absolutely love their ethos – high-quality, body-safe products at affordable prices. Jerome started out making moisturiser and lube, but has since expanded his range to encompass a variety of personal care products including hair care, bath bombs, fragrances, and more.

A few weeks ago, The Butters Hygienics Co. were kind enough to send me a selection of products to try. So throughout January, I’m going to be bringing you a series of mini-reviews. This is the first.

Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On

The Butters offer a range of fragrance roll ons – currently there are 12 varieties in the store. I received the Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On to try.

The fragrance comes in a clear little bottle with a roller ball. It arrives packaged in a plastic pouch labelled with the name of the product:

Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On from The Butters Hygienics Co

Like all Butters Hygienics Co. products, the Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On is made from body-safe ingredients and free from nasties like parabens, glycerin, phthalates, preservatives, and sugar. You can use it with confidence, even if you have very sensitive skin. Everything in The Butters store is also vegan, so you can buy in the knowledge that your products are cruelty-free.

The Black Magic Sangria scent profile is described as “fruity,” and that’s an accurate one-word summary. The base is a mixture of vanilla, apple, and apple. The heart is based on red wine, pineapple, and orange – which is probably why the scent really does remind me of a big pitcher of Sangria. Top notes are grape, plum, and blackberry.

Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On from The Butters Hygienics Co
Get it from getthebutters.com with code coffeeandkink

It feels feminine and playful to wear, and yet also deeply sexy. I can imagine wearing it while sipping drinks at a beach bar, or while flirting with a hot stranger in the darkest corner of a sex club.

You really only need a little bit of the Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On to get the scent. The bottle contains 15ml, which doesn’t sound like a lot but really goes a long way! I’ve been using it most days since early December, and I’ve barely made a dent in my bottle:

Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On from The Butters Hygienics Co

Perfume has a (often well-earned) reputation for being extremely expensive. But The Butters’ roll ons are super affordable, retailing for just $9.25 each. I like this one so much that I’m tempted to order a few different ones – I’m not really a “stick with one fragrance” kind of girl, and I like the idea of having different scents for different moods.

You can get a 5% discount on your order of the Black Magic Sangria Parfum Roll On and any other products in the store at getthebutters.com by using coupon code coffeeandkink.

Add a little magic to your life with this sexy, intoxicating fragrance.

This product was provided to me by The Butters Hygienics Co. in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own.

[Wearable Review] Wild Blooms Lingerie by Lovehoney

Content note: this post briefly discusses my wonky relationship with my body image, including weight (no numbers and no diet talk!)

Often, when I review or write about lingerie, I’ll try it on a couple of times, take some photos, and then basically never wear it again. It’s rare that I find a piece I genuinely just want to wear again and again and again.

The official Lovehoney product picture of a white female model with dark hair wearing the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body
Official product photo featuring Lovehoney model. Selfies coming up…

My Wild Blooms Embroidered Body is one such piece.

Blooming Wild…

Wild Blooms is Lovehoney’s latest lingerie offering. It features 3 different designs – a basque set, a bra set, and the body – each of which is available in Standard and Plus sizes. This means all the pieces can fit anyone from a UK size 6 to a size 24.

A close up of my neck and the top of my chest wearing the Lovehoney Wild Blooms Embroidered Body

They’re all made of a sheer black mesh (polyester/elastane blend) and embroidered with colourful flowers in orange, blue, and shades of pink. I actually have a Monsoon dress in a very similar fabric which is one of my favourites!

I received the Embroidered Body to try out – let’s take a walk in the garden…

The Wild Blooms Black Embroidered Body

I love one-piece lingerie! This is partly because I am fundamentally quite lazy when it comes to my femme aesthetic – I enjoy things I can wear and look hot in without battling straps, suspenders, and sets with five separate pieces. (See also: the Catsuit of Joy, and the fishnet dress thing I got as a Halloween freebie and absolutely adore.) And, to be honest, if I’m wearing lingerie it’s likely because I’m going to a kink club, swing night or sex party. Therefore I want something I can take off for play and put back on again afterwards with a minimum of fuss!

A white female-bodied person wearing the Lovehoney Wild Blooms embroidered body.

So the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body was an obvious pick for me. I can get in and out of it in less than 3o seconds, and without getting tangled up in anything. Definitely an A+ for convenience!

Fit & Comfort

These pieces, like most of Lovehoney’s lingerie, don’t come in individual dress-sizes but in S/M/L etc. sizing. The website provides sizing guidance and I’ve generally found them to be fairly accurate. I’m currently wearing a size 14, so I ordered the Large and found it a good fit. I think when I was a size 16 I would have found it tight, so I recommend going up a size if you’re not sure. (Luckily, Lovehoney have a solid returns policy – just keep the tags on and send it back for an exchange if the sizing isn’t quite right!)

A word of caution to those with larger busts: this thing does not contain your boobs! Like, at all! Mine were either “barely contained” or “nipples falling out” depending on the position I was sitting/standing in. Of course, that can be a hot look which a lot of people enjoy! Smaller-busted people will find it provides a little more coverage.

The collar and crotch fasten with simple poppers. The fabric in these sections is somewhat stretchy to provide a flexible, comfortable fit. And, of course, the crotch fasteners offer the opportunity to have all kinds of fun without even taking the body off if you don’t want to!

I had a slight issue with the length of the sleeves. I have shorter limbs than average for my body size, and they were definitely too long for me. Luckily, they can be tucked under easily without ruining the look – and if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could even turn them up with a few stitches.

My favourite thing about this piece? How disproportionately comfy it is compared to a lot of sexy lingerie! The mesh fabric is surprisingly soft. I expected it to be somewhat rough or coarse against my skin, but it really isn’t. It’s sitting next to me as I type and I keep running my hand over the lovely soft fabric. The embroidered sections are a little coarser than the plain mesh parts, but still much softer than I expected when I saw the picture. There are also no wires, no scratchy lace, no digging in or pinching. All around, I’m giving the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body top marks for comfort!

Care & Cleaning

Like a lot of lingerie, the Wild Blooms range is hand-wash only. Put it in a protective net bag and use the cold “hand wash” cycle on your washing machine, or just wash it with cold water and some mild laundry detergent in the sink. The fine mesh can tear easily, so be gentle with it! I recommend storing delicate pieces like this in a separate bag in your lingerie drawer/box – that way, it won’t snag on anything else and accidentally tear (bra clasps are the devil for this!)

Aesthetics & Sex Appeal

I feel so hot in this piece that I actually snapped some pictures immediately, posted them on Fetlife and sent them to my partners!

I have an “ugh” relationship with my body-image much of the time, especially due to a lot of weight gain in the last couple of years. So lingerie that makes me look in the mirror and go “yeah I’d fuck that” is like gold-dust. For me, I find the Wild Blooms Body draws attention away from areas of my body I feel self-conscious about (stomach; back fat) and towards the parts I feel really good about (waist/hip curve; amazing boobs.)

The aesthetic is feminine and elegant. The flower embroidery speaks straight to my femme heart, without being too over-the-top.

Yes, I love this garment!

Get Yours…

The Wild Blooms Embroidered Body is available from Lovehoney for £44.99 at full price (but is currently on sale at £35.99!)

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own. Affiliate links send a small commission my way, which helps to keep this blog going! Official product image is property of Lovehoney and used with permission. Other photos are by me.

Me and My Fur: All About Body Hair

I have all my natural body hair. The last time I shaved any part of my body was over three years ago.

A green razor on a brown surface. For a post about body hair

The pressure to be hairless begins early.

I first shaved my legs at the age of 11, because a girl at a sleepover told me that no boy would want me if I had hairy legs. I didn’t even like boys at the time! But somehow, even to an 11 year old who had privately decided she was either gay or asexual (not that I had the actual language for either concept then,) the notion of boys thinking I was ugly was impossible to shrug off. Less than a year later, my mum gave me an electric shaver and told me to keep my armpits free from hair at all times. She wasn’t trying to body-shame me – she is, after all, surrounded by the exact same toxic culture that I am. I think she just didn’t want me to get bullied any more than I already did.

I held out on shaving my pubic hair until I was 19. My boyfriend had been increasing the pressure for several years. After we went to an event where he saw naked women apart from me in the flesh for the first time, it became apparent it wasn’t an option to keep my hair any more. So I dutifully got rid of it and for the next five years, I pretty much kept my entire body smooth and hair-free. Whether I actually liked it that way didn’t really enter into the picture. It was just part of the package of having been assigned female, like periods and casual sexism.

Realising I had a choice

It was Mr CK who woke me up to the idea that I actually had a choice about my body hair. He has made it clear from the beginning of our relationship that he finds body hair beautiful and erotic (spot the boy who came of age in the era of 7os porn!) But he also emphasised that I had to do what felt right for ME, and that he had no more say over my personal grooming than the people who had pushed me into shaving in the first place.

So I tried going au naturel for a while. Just as an experiment, to see if I liked it. That was three years ago and I have not picked up a razor since. I credit my beloved for reminding me I did have a choice, but the choice I actually made was all mine.

Learning to love my hair

I love keeping my body hair for a number of reasons. The time and money it saves me is not insignificant. My skin is much happier since being free of razors and shaving balms and post-shave rash and ingrowing hairs. And I just fucking love how it looks. When I look at my naked body in the mirror, I love the look of my little patch of pubic hair over my cunt. When I wear my favourite sexy knickers, I like seeing the little wisps poking out. I love lifting my arms and seeing the shadow of my reddish-brown underarm hair. I love how soft and fuzzy my legs are.

If I’m honest, I also enjoy the implicit things it tells people about me. For better or worse, body hair on women is heavily coded “feminist” – because making a choice about how to groom our bodies cannot just be a choice, it has to be a political statement. Thwarting societal beauty norms feels like a simple way to wear my politics on my body.

I have to acknowledge I have a level of privilege here in that my leg hair, at least, is very fine and blonde (my pubic and underarm hair is much coarser, darker and more obvious). Would I feel different if my leg hair was thicker and darker? If I grew hair on other parts of my body? I don’t know. I suspect I might struggle if it was growing on my face, for example, but I cannot say with any certainty as this is not my experience.

The impact on my sex life

Having body hair has definitely impacted my sex life. Mr CK and I swing together, and a large number of swingers will not have anything to do with people who do not shave every inch of their bodies. Pubic hair, in particular, gets us rejected a lot. (Insert hi-fucking-larious joke about flossing during oral sex here).

It’s been less of an issue in my one-on-one sex life, surprisingly. I don’t actually play with new people by myself that often, to be honest, and when I do the barrier to entry is pretty fucking high. I remember when The Artist and I had first established that we wanted to date, asking them nervously how they felt about women with body hair. The giant smiley face emoji they replied with… well, that was the moment I let out a huge breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding. Until I asked, there was a sense of I really like this person… and I think they really like me too… but are they going to be disgusted by my body when I take my clothes off?

For this reason, I tend to disclose it to potential lovers before the clothes come off. I feel more relaxed if I know they’re cool with it rather than waiting for the reaction. I hate that I have to do this. I’d much rather it not be a big deal. I wish I didn’t have to feel like it was something I needed to disclose. But mentioning it to sex partners before we get to the sex feels preferable to how devastated I’d be if a lover said something disparaging about my body when we were already in a sexual situation.

And it’s a surprisingly good screening device, actually. Misogynists tend to self-select out of my dating pool pretty fast when they realise I’m hairy.  To be honest, pissing off sexist men is one of life’s simple pleasures for me. Having hair is an easy way to do that.

The thing I’ve actually found most helpful is sleeping with lovers who actively like body hair. I currently have four lovers who I know are extremely into it. The way they look at me when I take my clothes off,the way they run their fingers through my fur or bury their faces in it, reminds me that I can be beautiful and desirable like this. They’re not settling or putting up with it. They actually like it, and me!

Fear of judgement… and sometimes actual judgement

Sure, I’ve been judged for being hairy. I’ve had gaggles of girl whisper and point and take pictures on the Tube because I had the nerve to get my legs out in public in 30 degree heat. I’ve had disgusted, sidelong glances thrown at me in the gym locker room. When I was regularly nude modelling and dared to go on camera with body hair on display, my picture comments went from “beautiful!” to “nice body but please shave that fur”. (No longer wanting to put myself through things like this is one of the many reasons I quit modelling not long after I stopped shaving).

I’ve had couples cancel dates with me and Mr CK at the eleventh hour because they had assumed that of course I was going to shave, and then realised I actually wasn’t. I’ve had guys comment on my pictures on Fetlife, saying “if you were mine you’d shave!” (Good job I’m never going to be yours then, isn’t it, dickbag?) The implication is there that Mr CK is somehow less of a Dom for allowing his sub to go unshaven.

The fear of judgement used to go with me everywhere. Sometimes it still does. When we start messaging a new person or a new couple on the swinger dating sites we use, I worry they’re going to pull out the “ew, pubes are gross” schtick. When we go to new clubs and I run around naked or in lingerie, I’m bracing myself for the “you’d be so pretty if you’d shave!”

Every summer, I weigh up the choice between being unbearably overheated in my oven of an office, or the daily fear of being pulled into a manager’s office and told that my natural leg hair is unprofessional. I sit there quietly while a female colleague bemoans being a woman and having to shave your legs every day in summer. I do not shout “YOU HAVE A CHOICE YOU KNOW!” even though I want to. It’s a constant fucking balancing act between asserting my right to exist in the world with my natural body, and just being tired of it all.

I don’t think I’m good at responding to the judgement yet, when it happens. I usually just want to cry or shrivel up in shame. I’m trying to be better about not letting it get to me, but as someone who grew up bullied, brushing it off is really hard.

Amazingly, no-one has ever actually shamed me – to my face, anyway – in a sex club or kink event. But I’m waiting for it. I’m always waiting for it. Because at most events, I’m the only one – and I see the looks I sometimes get. I see the “ooh, hot girl, nice boobs… oh, never mind” eye-swoop over my body.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “If the judgement bothers you, just shave!” But if you’re thinking that you’ve missed the whole point of what I’m trying to say. The problem doesn’t lie with me. I’m not doing something hugely out there and subversive and wild just by having my body on display in its natural state. I should not have to change it. Nor should I have to constantly defend my choice not to change it.

I like my body like this. The world does not get a say.

Femme identity and body hair

My relationship to femininity has been fraught and complex over the years, but I now sit fairly happily with my femme identity. It’s been a healing way for me to play with my aesthetic and my presentation. To find ways that reflect who I am as both a woman and a queer person. However, for a while I wrestled with the question: can I be femme if I don’t remove my body hair?

Ultimately, I approached this from the same angle as the question about whether you can be femme without wearing, say, lipstick or high heels. There are many trappings that are culturally coded feminine, and femme is about reclaiming these things (which society has often deemed frivolous) and playing with them, making them our own. For me, femme is a way to pick and choose the pieces of feminine presentation I want to embody. A way to escape the rigid codes society enforces about “what a woman should do/be”. To say “in order to be femme you must do X, Y and Z” is just trading one kind of oppressively strict standard for another. Femme is about fun and happiness within your own skin, not following the rules.

For a while, I jokingly referred to myself as “#lazyfemme” for not shaving and for sometimes going out without makeup on. I stopped this, though, because I realised it’s actually playing into the patriarchy to continue coding myself (and by implication other women) who choose not to do these things as “lazy”. As I once furiously ranted online “I have worked sixty fucking hours this week, but sure, I’m LAZY because I’m not wearing lipstick.”

So yes. I am a happy #sparklefemme who chooses the aspects of feminine presentation that work for her, and has decided that shaving is not her thing.

So do I think women who shave are just pawns of the patriarchy?

No! I believe in the absolute right to bodily autonomy for everybody. That includes the choice to shave/wax/tattoo/pierce/adorn/decorate your body in whatever ways you like, or not.

What I wish is that it was a more free choice. I wish there wasn’t such immense societal pressure on women and AFAB people to present themselves in a certain way. That razor companies weren’t constantly trying to sell us the solution to a problem they’ve convinced us we have. That wider representations of beauty were common in our media.  I wish, to be honest, that shaving or not shaving wasn’t such a politically loaded and socially fraught choice.

And I wish we were not teaching little girls at 11 that the most important thing in the world is whether or not boys find their bodies aesthetically acceptable.

Oof – that was a long one with a lot of emotional energy behind it! If you enjoyed it, please consider buying me a virtual coffee!

[Toy Review] Temptasia Bling Bling Silicone Butt Plug with Clear Crystal

I have a complicated relationship with anal sex. For years, it was the hardest of the hard limits – partly thanks to undue pressure put on me to engage in it when I had barely begin exploring my own sexuality. However, I gradually opened up to exploring it with my now-Primary-partner Mr CK. Now I love it. I’m not able to do it often, but when we do I always really enjoy it.

My collection of anal toys is steadily growing (largely thanks to my sweetheart buying them for me as presents when we started exploring anal play together). But it’s much smaller than my collections of dildos and vibrators. So I was delighted when Peepshow Toys offered me the Temptasia Bling Bling silicone butt plug with a crystal to try out.

The Nitty-Gritty

The Temptasia Bling Bling butt plug on a bathroom sink.The Temptasia Bling Bling plug is manufactured by Blush Novelties, who produce a huge range of toys (they’re behind the Gaia, Real Nude and Aria toy lines, among many others).

The plug is made from silky-smooth silicone, which feels wonderful in the hand and the butt as well as being completely body-safe. The base is heart-shaped and embedded with a clear, sparkly faux-gemstone (the gem is made of plastic).

This plug is available in 3 sizes, so whatever your ass is up for, there’s a sparkly plug for you. I chose the medium, which is 2.8″ in insertable length and 1.4″ diameter at widest point. The small is 2.6″ x 1″, and the large is 3.2″ x 1.75″. None of them are huge. If you crave really big things up your butt, they might not be for you.

Each of the plugs has a tapered tip for easy insertion and a slim neck for comfort, as well as a large enough base to make them anal-safe. (You wouldn’t believe the amount of toys I see marketed as “for anal play” that don’t have a decent base/handle. The golden rule is, if there’s nothing to stop it disappearing all the way inside, don’t put it in your butt).

The Temptasia Bling Bling plug retails for $11 (S), $13 (M) or $15 (L) at Peepshow (this equates to about £8/£9.50/£11). Honestly, they could cost twice as much and I’d still say they were good value. Peepshow’s selection is living proof that good quality, body-safe toys do not need to cost an arm and a leg. I wish all the companies selling unsafe products “because people want cheap things” would catch up.

In Use

We used this plug after quite a long break from any kind of anal play, so I was a bit nervous. (“Shit, should have asked for the small!”) I said on taking it out of the packaging. But with some deep breathing and a generous helping of my favourite anal lube, it slipped inside comfortably.

Once it was in, I found the size perfect. It was large enough that I could feel it every time I moved, but small enough so as not to cause any unnecessary stretching or pain.

I’m happy to say that this is one of the most comfortable plugs I’ve ever worn. The silicone is lovely and soft and there are no seams, ridges or imperfections to cause discomfort. The neck is long enough that it sat comfortably, and the base didn’t chafe or rub against my butt cheeks. I wore it for about an hour while we did other things (see this review for details of that session!) and I could happily have worn it for much longer.

It was just so comfortable, you guys.

I also love how pretty these plugs look in use. The heart shaped gem is super cute and just appeals massively to my #Sparklefemme aesthetic. I’m sure they will be a hit with femmes, babygirls and lovers of shiny things everywhere!

Some Notes on Care & Cleaning

Normally, I recommend that you clean silicone toys without motors – especially anal toys – by boiling them in a pan of water for a few minutes. Unfortunately, you cannot do that with toys like this. The boiling water will ruin the glue that holds the gem in place and cause it to pop out.

The best thing to do is this: Give it a rinse to get any obvious butt-gunk and lube off. Then soak it in a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water to one part bleach) for a few minutes. After that, give it a really thorough wash in warm water and gentle soap, dry thoroughly, and store.

The joining line where the gem is glued into the base could definitely be a home for bacteria to hide. For that reason I recommend fully sterilising this plug between uses even if you’re not sharing it with a non fluid-bonded partner, and taking extra care around that area.

So do I recommend it?

Yes. I particularly recommend this plug for those new to anal play. It’s a safe, quality product at such an affordable price. You could even buy all three and use them as a beginner training kit, if you’re interested in conditioning your ass to take bigger insertables. A great product at an absolute steal of a price.

Thanks to Peepshow Toys for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own. If you buy this product or anything from Peepshow Toys, please purchase through the affiliate links contained within this post. And don’t forget you can get 10% off by using code “coffee” at checkout! This sends a small commission my way. This helps me to keep bringing adult product reviews to you all. Photos are by me and not to be used without permission.

Ten Things I’m Taking TO Eroticon

Many of you may remember last year’s Ten Things I Took Home From Eroticon blogging meme. Well, I decided to turn it on its head and, with just a week and a half to go until this year’s ‘Con, tell you a little about ten things I’m planning on taking with me this year.

1. My name

Last year’s Eroticon, I wasn’t Amy Norton yet. I was using a haphazard mix of my kink scene name, a diminutive of my legal name, and just “Coffee&Kink”/”CK.” I’d toyed with different names but none of them felt quite right.

This year, though, I’m comfortably sitting in this identity (so much so that select people in my offline life now call me Amy, and I love it).

Hi. I’m Amy. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

2. A schedule

Last year, I pretty much went in blind to Eroticon. I’d glanced over the schedule, but being a newbie I decided to mostly go with the flow and go to whatever felt right in the moment.

This time, though, I’ve got a much more curated workshops plan in order to get what I want the most out of the ‘Con. In case you were wondering, it is as follows:

Saturday:
Taboo (Remittance Girl)
Making Money from Your Blog (Kayla Lords)
Legal Tips for Sex Writers (Neil Brown)
Podcasting Panel (Kayla Lords & John Brownstone)
Different Approaches to Sex Toy Activism (Emmeline Peaches)
KinkLab

Sunday:
Is There a Book in Your Blog? (Cressida Dowling)
Getting It Up (Fetish.com)
Shocking the System (Kendra Holliday)
How to Give Responsible Sex Advice (panel)
Financial Wizardry for Sex Bloggers (Sarah Bryn Holliday & Sarah Jane)

Naturally, I’ll also be attending the Friday evening pre-drinks and the Saturday evening social. Other plans include a pre-‘Con run with Emmeline, dinner with Sarah, and food and recording a podcast with Kayla and John of Loving BDSM. Of course, my planned schedule is flexible if I find I’m really not in the mood for something at the time, but this is a good cross-section of stuff I want to learn plus all the workshops I consider unmissable this year!

3. The signature kitty ears

I wasn’t expecting these to be such a hit last year! To be honest, I wasn’t even expecting to be the only person in feline-themed headwear! I just wore them because they make me feel more confident and they help me to tap into my kinky, sexy, sparkly self. But I got so many compliments on them and people remembered me for them (I literally pitched an article to Girl on the Net with an email that included a sentence along the lines of “if you don’t remember me, I was the one with the ears.”)

Yeah, they’re definitely coming with me again this year. I might even pack a couple of different pairs. Yes, I have daywear ears and formal ears. Doesn’t everyone!?

4. The Catsuit of Joy

Remember this one? It was a review item/gift from my friends at Oscuro Adult Boutique and the cause of The Boobs That Made Straight Girls Question Their Heterosexuality.

Yes, I’m planning on wearing it on Saturday night. Yes, I will also be pairing it with the aforementioned signature ears. And yes, you have my full consent to stare at my chest as much as you like.

5. (Small) sex toys

I’m not interested in hooking up at Eroticon, but I did realise last year that hearing so much glorious smut during the day would inevitably lead me to needing to have a quick wank back in my hotel room before bed. Couple this with the fact that citalopram withdrawal has made my sex drive go a bit haywire this last week or so, and… yeah.

I’m gonna be short on packing space but I think the Tango and MiMi will fit nicely in my case.

6. Fabulous femme things

I can’t wait to get my femme on at Eroticon. I’m already planning makeup experiments of the kind I don’t normally attempt. There will be glitter, for sure, because I need to make the most of this opportunity as I am no longer allowed to wear glitter at home (you get it in the sofa ONE time…!)

There will also be jewellery, made for me by my sweetie The Artist, getting its first outing that weekend.

7. A portable coffee mug and good coffee

Um, hey. Have you met me? I’m obsessed with coffee and would probably replace my blood with it if I wouldn’t die. I just ordered myself an awesome new travel mug, which is coming with me and will be filled permanently with coffee in order to keep me going at top capacity through the whirlwind of the weekend. I’ll probably also bring a stash of coffee bags, because I find the coffee most venues serve leaves a lot to be desired. (Yes, I’m a snob.)

8. My Fuck.com notebook

This was in the goodie bags at Eroticon 2017 and it’s still my favourite notebook to scribble smutty notes in. I’ll be frantically taking notes and story ideas and sound-bites and hanging on every word my favourite presenters have to say!

9. Hugs to give out

There are so many people I want to cuddlepounce the fuck out of next weekend. I will be coming with my best hugging arms and ready to wrap them around anyone who consents.

10. Realness

Last night, I was panicking that I haven’t achieved all of the things I wanted to achieve ahead of this year’s Eroticon. I haven’t lost 50lb, or finished my novella. I haven’t quit my job to spend my days writing about dildos (okay, that one is a pipe dream rather than an actual plan) or completely weaned myself off my antidepressants. Hell, I haven’t even finished my PhD application!

But then I realised: it doesn’t matter. I can bring my realness to Eroticon. I can be a hot mess in all my hot, messy glory, and it will be okay. These are my people and this is my community and I can be both a fabulous, smut-loving #Sparklefemme AND an anxious wreck with a hefty dose of imposter syndrome. Both of these things can be true. It will be okay.

I think the theme of this Eroticon for me will be: I am.

If you’re there too, come say hello!

I’m very friendly. Talk to me about BDSM, sex toys, smashing the patriarchy, what you’re reading lately, musical theatre, coffee, sex ed reform, feminist fiction, femme identity or non-monogamy. Or just tell me about your work and I’ll lap it up.

The Eroticon 2018 rainbow lips badgeIf you want to support my work and help me keep attending conferences like Eroticon, which are the highlight of my year but also expensive, you can buy me a virtual coffee, shop with my affiliates in the right-hand sidebar, or become a Sexy Patron to access some exciting bonus content. Thank you to Oliver, my newest Patreon supporter.

[Wearable Review] Xenia Frame Set by Twisted Lingerie

Update 31.12.19: Twisted Lingerie has now closed down. I have left this review up for informational purposes but removed the obsolete links.

It’s happened, you guys. I am apparently a lingerie person now! It took me a while to get there, but I think I am learning the delights of dressing up (or down, as the case may be) in sexy garments and tapping into my inner sex-kitten.

That’s why I was delighted when Sophie from Twisted Lingerie approached me to work with me. I already wrote a sponsored post for them last week, and they were kind enough to also offer me a set from their gorgeous bondage-inspired range to review. After much deliberation, and with some input from Mr CK, I chose the Xenia Frame set, pictured above.

A package wrapped in pink tissue and sealed with a 'Twisted Lingerie' sticker, and a note which says "Amy, can't wait to read the review. Sophie."

The set came discreetly packaged in a plain black box with no indication what was inside. (Which is good, because we were away on holiday and my mother-in-law intercepted the package!) Inside, the garments were beautifully wrapped in pink tissue paper, sealed with a “Twisted Lingerie” sticker, and even with a lovely note from owner Sophie. Full marks for presentation! But how did the set itself shape up?

My first reaction, I admit, was “shit, how do I get into this?” But when you pause and look closely, it’s actually pretty simple to work out which bits go where!

What came next was a big surprise: I looked in the mirror and went “whoa! Well… hello!” at myself. Suffice to say I do not look like the gorgeous model on Twisted’s site, and I approached this style of lingerie with some trepidation, being a curvy girl with all my boy-hair intact. But as soon as I put it on and looked in the mirror, my inner confidence-meter hit the ceiling.

I love the way the bra frames and accentuates my breasts – which I have long considered one (two?) of my best feature(s). I love the way the straps cross over the butt (which to me is like a “spank here!” X-marks-the-spot). But most of all, I love how this shows off every inch of my curves. There’s no sucking in or hiding away here. It’s pure showing-off, “here is my everything framed for your viewing pleasure and fuck you if you don’t like it”.

This is power lingerie.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★★
The Frame set is the cheapest in Twisted’s range of nine sets (you can also buy bras, knickers and suspenders as separates). It retails at the extraordinarily reasonable price of £35. (I should mention that the nipple pasties pictured on the model are NOT included with the set. This is made clear on the site.) Other sets range from £38 up to £79.

Appearance: ★★★★★
I adore everything in Twisted’s catalogue. I was super excited as soon as I started browsing when Sophie approached me. The aesthetic across this whole range is bondage-inspired, which I just find ridiculously hot, and it was the elegant-yet-sexy simplicity of the Frame set that drew me to it.

Materials: ★★★
Well, there isn’t a lot of it, but that’s the idea! The pieces are made of a polyamide/elastane blend, which feels comfortable against the skin and has a comfortable amount of stretch.

Fit: ★★★★★
The pieces are true to size. I ordered a medium, which is listed as being equivalent to a UK 12-14, and it fits me beautifully at my current size 14. What I really love is that these garments are SUPER adjustable – more or less every single strap can be adjusted. This means if you lose or gain weight, you’re not going to size out of your item unless it’s a huge change. I could probably go up or down a dress-size and this set could be adjusted comfortably to fit. Also, what’s really cool is that even though it’s a set, you can order the two pieces in different sizes if necessary. So if you need large knickers but a medium bra? No problem, Twisted’s got you covered.

Overall Score: ★★★★★
The only complaint I have is that it’s too long until my next visit to the club! I want to wear this and smooch and fuck some hot babes, because it just makes me feel so damned sexy.

Thanks to Sophie at Twisted Lingerie for sponsoring last week’s post and for sending me this piece to review. All opinions are, and will always be, my own.

Picture of model in lingerie is property of Twisted Lingerie and reproduced here with their permission. Other image is by me and must not be used without my express say-so.

Bringing Extra Sexy Into Your Life with Lingerie

Update 31.12.2019: Twisted Lingerie, the sponsors of this post, have now closed down. I have removed the broken links but left this piece up for informational purposes. 

As regular readers of the blog will know, I’m a pretty recent lingerie convert. Being a shortish, curvy girl who does NOT in any way resemble a Victoria’s Secret model, and has a general aversion to things like frills and excessive lace, I’d kinda decided it wasn’t for me. I was convinced otherwise when I was gifted a beautiful piece to review and realised I looked, and felt, like an absolute babe in it.

Valentine’s Day is coming up – the time for bringing out those basques, those little slips of latex and lace, to seduce your lover. But apart from the obvious (“wear it to bed and fuck your partner’s brains out”), how can you use lingerie to add a little extra sizzle of sexiness to your life?

Wear it under your work clothes.

If, like me, you’re a “practical undies” type of person the majority of the time, try wearing something really naughty under your work clothes one day. No-one else will know, but you’ll have an extra bounce in your step all day as you feel the sumptuous fabrics against your skin.

Pro tip: do this the day of a big meeting or presentation. You’ll stand taller and speak more confidently because you’ll be feeling gorgeous. Who says “power dressing” can’t be sexy?

Go shopping with your partner.A thin white woman in the Xenia Boudoir Set, a black mesh babydoll with a strap bra.

Whether this is a trip to your local lingerie store, or sitting at the computer together and lusting over sexy pieces like Twisted Lingerie’s stunning bondage-themed collection, make shopping for lingerie (for one or both of you!) a fun date activity with your partner. Whether you buy anything or not is up to you, but trying pieces on – or just imagining your lover in that fabulous bra or babydoll – is bound to get some lusty feelings flowing.

Dress out of your comfort zone.

Stepping out of our comfort zones can be an empowering and enlightening experience. This includes how we dress and what we think of as our aesthetic. Case in point: I didn’t think fancy lacey lingerie was my thing at all… until I tried it.

If you’re on the more femme end of the spectrum, try wearing something masculine-of-centre for a change, and vice-versa. If you normally go for frills, try something with harder lines or a more minimalist style. Pick out a colour or a pattern or a style you’d never typically wear. You might be surprised at how babely you feel!

A thin white woman in the Xenia Goddess set, an elaborate black strap and mesh lingerie set.Wear it while you masturbate.

This might sound a bit goofy, but stick with me. Masturbation is sex with your longest and most enduring sexual partner: yourself. If you’d dress up for a night in with a partner, why not occasionally dress up for a night in with yourself (and your favourite vibrator, if that’s your jam)? Feeling attractive and hot, even if no-one else is going to see it, is one of the ways I tap into my erotic energy. Looking in the mirror and going “yes, I would” makes me want to, well… do all kinds of things to my sexy self.

Take a hot selfie…

…or ten. There’s nothing like a sexy selfie to make you feel like an absolute babe. You don’t have to share it with anyone (though you can, if you like! Send it to a partner or even upload it to your blog, Instagram, Tumblr or Fetlife if you’re feeling daring). But just the act of putting on some beautiful lingerie, playing with lighting and filters and angles to get the perfect shot and then admiring the pics, will remind you what a gorgeous creature you are.

Tweet me: how do you bring extra sexiness into your life with lingerie?

This post was generously sponsored by the lovely folks at Twisted Lingerie. They’re a small start-up and have some absolutely gorgeous pieces. (They’ve also sent me a review item from their collection, so look out for that in the coming days). All opinions are, and will always be, my own.

All images are property of Twisted Lingerie and reproduced here with their permission.

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