[Kink Product Review] Three Mini Reviews: Cuffs, Rope, Paddle

It’s no secret to my readers that I love small, independent, women-owned-and-run businesses, especially when they sell exclusively body-safe adult products. That’s why I am proud to be an affiliate of The Pleasure Garden Shop, a homegrown (pun intended) online feminist sex shop right here in the UK.

I must first apologise for the delay in getting these reviews out – my health (physical and mental) have taken a nosedive since the beginning of the year and Mr CK has been unwell too. As such I am woefully behind on testing and writing about everything! But no matter – we’re here now.

I was really excited when Francesca, owner of The Pleasure Garden (who I interviewed recently!) reached out and suggested a series of mini-reviews of kinky products that might appeal to people looking to explore BDSM for the first time, along with some handy tricks and tips on using them safely. This is the first of such a series – let’s take a look at what was in my very exciting parcel when it arrived…

Bound Noir Slim Wrist Cuffs

People who have seen me getting my sexy on will know that I kink super hard for leather. (Yes, I know, as a vegetarian this makes me a horrible hypocrite – don’t @ me!) Good quality leather also tends to be expensive, which is probably why I don’t own that much of it.

Bound Noir black leather cuffs

So the Bound Noir Slim Wrist Cuffs had me squeeing for joy! Not only are they super stylish, made of soft black leather with gold coloured metal accents, they’re also an absolute steal at £32.99. I’ve seen leather cuff sets go for £100+, but there’s no need to spend that much when these are so good! They come with a removable connecting chain with clips at either end, and each cuff has two D-rings – so lots of ways to fasten your sub to something (or to themselves) should you desire.

Bound Noir black wrist cuffs on anonymous hands

These cuffs feel super luxurious to wear. The leather is really soft and supple, and just gets softer with use as you break them in. I’ve worn them for well over an hour before, including in a session where my wrists were above my head. They remained comfortable the whole time. The gold accents give an elegant feel. The perfect accessory for any sexy outfit!

Bound Noir black wrist cuffs on anonymous female hands

They’re super adjustable. They have 5 notches, and there’s no reason you couldn’t get an extra one put in if you wanted to. (Take them to a professional leather worker, you could ruin them if you try it yourself!) The adjustability means they’ll work on most bodies. I have tiny wrists so I use them on the tightest setting. But I’ve also used them on people with much bigger hands/wrists than me with no problems at all.

Leather Wrist Cuffs Tips & Tricks…

Bound Noir black leather wrist cuffs on anonymous female hands
  • Experiment with different positions. Not everything will be comfy for everyone. Clip your partner’s hands together behind their back, hook their arms around the bedpost, tie their hands to something above their head.
  • Pair with a set of ankle cuffs and a 4-way hogtie for more complete immobilisation.
  • Cuffs should be loose enough that you can slip 1-2 fingers between the cuff and the skin, but tight enough so your partner cannot wiggle free. Experiment with different settings and check regularly. If there is any numbness, tingling or pins and needles in the hands, take the cuffs off IMMEDIATELY.
  • Never, EVER leave a bound person alone.
  • Store your cuffs flat, not fastened – the leather will degrade quicker if you store them closed.

Bound to Please Hemp Bondage Rope

Ask any rope bondage aficionado about their favourite type of rope, and you’ll get wildly different – but equally passionate – answers. We all have our favourites. I’ve always been a jute fan; I love the smell of it, the feel of it and the way it handles. But hemp is also a really popular choice. So I was delighted to try out this hemp bondage rope from Bound To Please.

Hemp rope coiled

This rope comes in 10 metre lengths and 5mm width. I believe this is the most ideal rope thickness for most bondage – any thicker and it starts looking bulkier and less elegant, any thinner and it starts to make ties more painful due to the way thinner ropes cut against the skin. (Not necessarily a bad thing if you like pain, but I don’t suggest tying with anything below 5mm until you’re experienced!) Each length costs £12.99.

“How much rope should I buy?” is always a question beginners ask me. It depends on a number of things, including types of ties and the size of the bottom. If you eventually want to move on to complex ties and suspensions, you’ll need more. If all you want to do is tie your partner to the bed for sex, you can get away with a couple of lengths. As a rough guide, for a TK (Takate Kote or Box Tie, the first formal harness tie most riggers learn) you’ll need 3 lengths and possibly 4 lengths for larger bodies. (If your partner is very petite, you might get away with 2.)

(I should just write a Big Guide to Choosing Rope, shouldn’t I? Okay, coming up…)

Anonymous leg tied in a futomomo with hemp rope

The thing I really love about natural fibre ropes, and especially hemp, is the smell. Hemp rope has this slightly undefinable sweet/woody smell and it’s gorgeous. I love tying in a room full of rope enthusiasts because the mix of natural fibres, bodies and sex in the air is just so intoxicating. Natural fibre ropes also get softer and smoother with use, as they are handled and absorb the natural oils from your skin.

Yes, I LOVE this rope!

Rope Tips & Tricks…

Close up of part of a futomomo in hemp rope on anonymous leg
  • Firstly and most importantly, always – ALWAYS – keep a cutting tool to hand. The safest and best tool is a pair of EMT shears, like this, which you can by for a few quid on Amazon or from a medical supplies store.
  • Suspension looks cool and is great fun, but it is NOT the be-all, end-all. It is also very dangerous if not done properly. Gain proficiency in floor-work before you even think about suspending, and then do it under the tuition of an experienced rigger. Bottoms, this applies to you too – don’t ask someone to suspend you when you’ve never even worn a basic chest harness before.
  • Rope is for everyone! No matter the size of your body or your ability level, you can do rope if you want to. Listen to your body and be prepared to adjust.
  • Get some lessons! Rope bondage is inherently risky, and can be dangerous if not done properly. If you’re really lucky, there might be a rope studio near you. Otherwise, see if there’s a Peer Rope event in your area (these are usually listed on Fetlife) or find a trusted private tutor.
  • Check out some instructional Youtube videos. Ask in your local community or on Fetlife for recommendations, as not all teachers are created equal.
  • Get a book, such as Shibari You Can Use or Showing You the Ropes.
  • Learn about the safe areas of the body to tie. This is a great and thorough guide to bondage safety.
  • Rope can be a scene in itself. “Tie them up and fuck them” is great if that’s your thing, but don’t discount the possibility of rope for the sake of rope. Some of my most amazing scenes have been rope and nothing else.
  • To keep your rope in the best condition, coil it and put it away as soon as you can after a session.
  • This is worth reiterating: NEVER leave a bound person alone!

Bound to Please Silicone Paddle

I’d never used a silicone paddle before, so the Bound To Please Silicone Paddle was an exciting new addition to my impact play collection. It measures 41cm long by 6cm wide and is nice and light to handle. Silicone is super easy to clean and sterilise (just chuck it in boiling water or use a body-safe medical wipe), and as it contains no animal derived materials is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

BLack silicone paddle

I tested this one out with The Artist. From what I recall, my reaction to it was a string of profanity, followed by tears (because it hurt so fucking much, y’all). Due to the density of the silicone and the slender design, what feels like a relatively light stroke to the Top can deliver a hell of a sting to the bottom.

This thing is fucking vicious.

SIlicone paddle

I absolutely adore this paddle. But I am an experienced bottom and have been doing impact play for well over a decade at this point. Unless you have a high pain tolerance and a very clear idea of your body’s capabilities and limits, I cannot recommend this paddle to a beginner.

A wide leather paddle or a paddle that is padded on one side are great options for a gentler start for complete beginners! If you’re feeling brave enough to try this fucker, it retails for a very affordable £24.99.

Paddle Tips & Tricks…

Black silicone paddle in anoymous hand
  • Start slowly. People can take more impact if you build up gradually rather than just whack them at full force straight away!
  • Remember that the goal isn’t “take as much as you possibly can”. The goal is for both of you to have fun and get something out of the session.
  • Get clear about what kind of scene you want and what impact play means to you. Playing with punishment is hot to some people, and emotionally painful for others. “Teacher spanking a naughty student” roleplay is a VERY different scene to “I’ve had a terrible week and need you to spank me until I cry“, even though both might superficially look similar.
  • Learn the safe areas of the body to hit. Upper back and butt = good. Thighs, chest and genitals = yes if you’re careful. Face, head, joins, spine, lower back and neck = absolutely not.
  • Making your partner count the strokes and/or ask you for them can be super hot. Try phrases like, “Thank you Sir/Miss, may I have another?”

Other recommendations for your beginner kit…

When you’re just starting out in kink, you don’t necessarily want to spend a fortune on kit – especially before you’ve fully worked out what you like! Exactly what you prioritise spending your money on will, of course, depend on your interests. But here’s a few things I think you should consider for your basic all-purpose kink kit…

Thank you to Francesca at The Pleasure Garden for sending me these items to review. Please check out the affiliate links in this post – by buying from The Pleasure Garden, you’ll be supporting a small woman-owned business as well as sending a little commission my way to help me keep doing what I’m doing. All views are, as always, my own.

[Toy Review] Rocks Off Chaiamo

I have a major soft spot for Rocks Off. I encountered them at my first Eroticon, where I met the wonderful Tabitha Rayne and bought her brilliant creation, the Ruby Glow (the first toy I ever reviewed!) One of the main things I love about this company is that they create body-safe toys at really accessible, entry-level prices. Their stuff is even available in my local Sainsburys, which is just brilliant.

So I was thrilled when Tabitha offered me RO’s latest creation to review. Enter the Chaiamo!

Chaiamo Vital Details…

The black Rocks Off Chaimo vibrator.

The Chaiamo is a straight vibrator with a gently tapered tip – the classic “lipstick” shape. (Though without the ridiculous “let’s try to actually disguise it as a lipstick” gimmick, thank Goddess).

It is a little over 6″ long in total, with 5″ being insertable. At the widest point, the width is 1.25″. The Chaiamo is fully waterproof and USB rechargeable. The advertising copy says it gives around 3 hours’ use for a single charge, but mine was definitely more than that – probably closer to 4 hours in total, over several uses.

This toy comes in three colour-ways and, praise be, NONE OF THEM ARE PINK. It comes in classic black, a stylish deep burgundy, and a pretty turquoise. Good on RO for bucking the “make everything pink” trend. Chaiamo currently retails for $44.99 at Peepshow Toys and $39.99 at Shevibe. UK readers can pick one up for £39.99 at Lovehoney.

Materials, safety and cleaning

The Chaiamo’s main body is made of soft silicone, with metallic accent at the base. This means, of course, that it is phthalate-free, non-porous and totally body safe.

The black Rocks Off Chaiamo vibrator in a woman's hand.

As the Chaiamo is waterproof, you can clean it using warm water and a gentle soap, or use a body-safe medical wipe or 10% bleach solution to sterilise it more thoroughly. Remember not to boil-wash toys with motors!

The Chaiamo’s shape is ideal for using with a condom if you’re sharing with a non fluid-bonded partner. As ever, a good quality water-based lube is recommended.

Settings & Controls

The Chaiamo runs on a very simple one-button interface. The button (which sports the cute Rocks Off logo) is large and intuitively located on the base of the toy. It is easy and responsive to press. To turn the toy on or off, you simply hold down the button for 2 seconds.

The black Rocks Off Chaimo vibrator

The problem with one-button interfaces is that you cannot go back a step if you accidentally skip the setting you want – you have to scroll all the way back through. It’s an annoyance and the reason I generally prefer toys with +/- buttons, but it won’t ruin an otherwise good product for me.

The Chaiamo has ten settings in total: three constant speeds and seven patterns. I, along with (it seems) most of the sex blogging world, can honestly take or leave patterns. I occasionally enjoy playing around with them, especially if I’m doing a teasing or edging session, but if I just want to come then constant vibrations are where it’s at. Toy manufacturers, please consider this a plug for toys with more constant speeds and fewer patterns!

So how did it actually fare in use?

I’ve sometimes found Rocks Off toys, fab though they are, to not be quite powerful enough for my preferences. I love my Bamboo, but I tend to reach for it as a warm-up toy or when I am feeling especially sensitive.

So to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Chaiamo’s power was an understatement. At its higher speeds, this baby really packs a punch! I don’t know if RO have changed their motors generally or just used a different one in this slightly higher price-point toy, but good lord. And not only is it strong, but it’s rumbly, too. None of that horrible numbness you get from more buzzy toys. I am able to orgasm quickly and reliably with the Chaiamo, again and again. It’s been added to my easy-access basket of the toys I like best and use most often.

The gentle taper of the Chaiamo’s tip was great for me: I like a certain level of direct clit stimulation but not too pinpoint. (Remember the famed Zumio which I didn’t particularly like?) Be aware that if you like very pinpoint stimulation, this toy probably won’t be a good fit for you. But for my preferences, it was brilliant! Sometimes, it works really well for me by just pressing its length against my vulva and clit.

The Chaiamo is also a versatile toy, in that it can be just as easily used as an insertable as for clitoral play. I don’t like internal vibrations at all, so I didn’t use it in this way, but my friend Isabelle Lauren describes her experience very positively in her review.

Do I recommend it? 

If you’re looking for a powerful and versatile clit/G-spot toy at an affordable price, look no further! A great offering from one of my favourite companies. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

Thank you to Tabitha Rayne and Rocks Off for gifting me the Chaiamo in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, as always, my own. Shopping via the affiliate links in this post helps me make a small commission and keep doing what I’m doing.

Interview: Francesca from The Pleasure Garden

You all surely know by now that I absolutely love feminist, inclusive sex shops? That’s why I was so pleased to partner with The Pleasure Garden, a UK based online company selling only body-safe pleasure products. I’ve reviewed products for them (and have more in the pipeline!) and I’m in their affiliate programme (so, full disclosure, if you make a purchase through one of my links I make a small commission.) Today I’m really pleased to introduce you to Francesca, the brains behind and owner of The Pleasure Garden.

Amy x

A banner for The Pleasure Garden shop for an interview with FrancescaTell us a little bit about you and the work you do? 

My name is Francesca (she/her) and I own and operate The Pleasure Garden – a UK based inclusive sex shop. Its been up and running for about a year now and it has been an exciting ride so far!
At the moment it’s a one man band, so I do almost everything on the site including fulfilling orders, copywriting, social media and managing the website. It can be a lot! I love to work with talented specialists, who make some amazing contributions to things like design and providing expert knowledge, when I get the chance!

What made you want to start an online sex shop?

For a long time I had been interested in starting my own business but I never found the right idea or inspiration. Then I started to read the fabulous Oh Joy Sex Toy which in turn introduced my to a load of other sex blogs as well as the world of ethical feminist sex toy retail. I felt that I had spotted a gap in the UK market for this type of shop.
At this point I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in my current career. When I discussed my options with a friend they told me that I just lit up when I started talking about the shop and nothing else seemed to inspire that kind of passion! So I worked for a year to build the site, identify the products I wanted to stock and do all the other things that you need to do to start a business (talk to me about business bank accounts. I dare you!) I did all this while working full time before taking the plunge and pressing go with the shop.
The long term plan is to open a bricks and mortar store as well (or maybe a few!) so keep your eyes peeled for future developments!

How would you describe the ethos and values of The Pleasure Garden?

The number one priority of The Pleasure Garden is to be inclusive. For me this touches on being inclusive of all gender identities and sexualities, but in particular relates to disability. In the UK approximately 1 in 11 people have some form of disability. Yet disabled people are consistently excluded from almost everything to do with sex. In emphasising inclusivity I hope to provide a space which is as accessible as possible and provides the expertise to help anyone find a sex toy that will work for them. This is as opposed to making something specialist – which in the end just others and separates people.
The core values of the business are also centred around pleasure – it is right there in the name! I think so many people seek out sex toys because they are struggling to find pleasure in an act which society says should knock your socks off every time, whilst also being a source of shame and embarrassment. I want to provide people with opportunities to explore pleasure. This underpins everything – from my choice of products and my stance on stocking only body safe toys, to customer service and promoting the work of excellent sex educators.

What was/is the most challenging thing about setting up your shop or running it? 

Oh, where to start! Before I started the shop I had never worked in retail, run a business or designed a website. So I had a very steep learning curve. It has been an amazing experience and I am adding skills every day. But it is definitely a process and sometimes it can get overwhelming. It is frustrating when I can’t seem to get the vision of something I have in my head to work in reality because I just don’t have the right set of skills. I am getting better at knowing when to call on outside help! Striking the right balance between the social mission of the business and the actual business part is also a challenge. There are so many things I want to do – but it also needs to keep the lights on!

What about the most rewarding thing? 

Getting to spend every day doing something that I love is pretty awesome! I really enjoy being challenged and learning new things, so launching a sex shop has been a blast. I learn about new things all the time – from the impact of diabetes on erectile dysfunction and how silicone dildos are made, to the ins and outs of Google analytics and financial software.

What’s the best selling toy in your shop? Why do you think that is? 

One of the most popular products I sell is actually the SpareParts Joque Harness. It is a really high quality harness which is pretty beloved by a lot of reviewers, but there aren’t a huge number of places stocking it in the UK. So I jumped at the chance to get it in the shop and it has deservedly done really well.

What’s something that people always misunderstand about your work? 

That is a tricky question! I actually think I am super lucky. I’m surrounded by a lot or really awesome friends and family members who really get what I am trying to do (including my mum, who has on occasion been pulled in to package and post things for me when I have been in a bind!) I think the one slightly annoying thing is the repeated asking of, “So have you tried out everything you sell?” I know people are just trying to be funny, but it gets old!

Who inspires you personally and professionally? 

Professionally I tend to draw inspiration from anyone who has the bottle to take a risk and start something for themselves. It is a lot of hard work, and knowing that other people have made it work gives me hope! There are also some amazing people who are doing epic work in the world of disability and sexuality, such as Tuppy Owens who founded the Outsiders Club, and Gill Leno, a sex educator who works with young people with learning disabilities.

Who’s your favourite sex educator and why? 

There are loads of amazing sex educators out there that I really admire but probably the two at the top are –
Erika Moen and Matt Nolan who create Oh Joy Sex Toy. OJST was my first intro to sex blogging and it really opened my eyes. I absolutely love they way they include a massive range of body types including disabilities, different genders and different sexualities in the comics.
Also, Emily Nagoski – I think Come As You Are should be handed to everyone at age 18! Her work is exceptional, empathetic and engaging.

What’s something you used to believe – about sex, sex toys or relationships – that you don’t believe any more? 

What a great question! I used to believe that I may never find sex satisfying and that that was okay. When my first sexual experiences really didn’t match up with the messages I had from the media and (what amounted to) sex education at school, I just thought that maybe sex would just not be that great for me. It took some time learning about myself, a few sex toys and finding how to communicate (seriously, everyone should read Come as You Are) to find as much pleasure in sex and intimacy as I do now.

And just for fun because it is “Coffee and Kink” – do you like coffee? How do you take it?

Hah! I don’t drink coffee… or tea… or hot chocolate. The only hot beverage I enjoy is a hot Ribena (at it has to be brand name – no ASDA own brand rubbish!)
Thanks so much to Francesca for taking the time to speak to us. Check out The Pleasure Garden – we need to be supporting women-owned, feminist businesses! Banner image is property of The Pleasure Garden and used with permission. 

[Toy Review] Je Joue MiMi

If you’ve been reading my reviews for any amount of time, you will understand that I am a power queen. It’s really hard for a toy to score well with me on intensity/power level, because, well… my clit thinks vibrations can go big or fuck off.

I’ve heard Je Joue’s line of toys referenced on multiple occasions as being good picks for power fans, but this is the first time I’ve got to try one out for myself. My new friends at The Pleasure Garden shop generously sent me one to review.

The Je Joue MiMi, a small pink pebble shaped clitoral vibrator, shown from the front and side.As soon as I turned it on in the palm of my hand, I knew I was going to be impressed with this toy. Even on the lowest setting, the vibrations are deep and rumbly. But first, let’s take a look at some facts.

The Je Joue MiMi is a small (8.2 x 5cm) pebble-shaped silicone clitoral vibrator. It’s rechargeable via a magnetic USB cable, so you can plug it in to either the wall or your computer to charge. It has 5 vibration patterns and 5 levels of intensity, starting with that low rumble I mentioned and building up to some impressively powerful higher settings.

The MiMi came beautifully packaged in a classy purple box. Inside that is another black box which doubles up as ideal storage for the toy. Top marks for presentation.

But how did it function?

I tried out this baby during some sleepy afternoon sex with Mr CK. I was ready for a good hard clitoral orgasm, so of course – because he’s an evil bastard – he made me put the toy on my clit on the lowest setting, knowing that wouldn’t be enough to get me off. And it wasn’t, but… it was pretty damn effective at warming me up and getting me closer to the edge.

By the time he finally relented and allowed me to turn it on full, it took me less than a minute to come really hard. That’s no easy feat for me, even when I’m really horny. That’s testament to how good this toy is!

Another thing you’ll know if you’ve been reading my work for any length of time is that I don’t like vibration patterns. I find them offputting and annoying at worst, and “meh” at best in 95% of cases. The patterns the MiMi offers are better than some, but still not really for me. The constant vibration setting, though, I really can’t fault.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
The MiMi retails for £65. This price point will make it inaccessible to some, but it’s also much better than many even higher-priced toys I’ve tried. Really good value for money if you can afford it (and comes with a 1 year warranty.)

Materials: ★★★★★
The entire toy is lovely matte silicone, which is beautifully soft to the touch as well as non-porous and body safe.

Appearance: ★★★★
I don’t love that it’s pink – but that’s a matter of personal preference. It’s at least a nice rich pink, not that horrible neon colour of some cheap toys. It does also come in lilac, purple and black if one of those colours is more your style.

In its favour, it’s really small and cute. Pleasure Garden describe it as “shaped like a smooth river pebble,” which is pretty accurate.

Ease of Use: ★★★★★
Did I mention this toy is tiny? I have really small hands and it still sat neatly in my palm. It’s VERY light, too – only 78g. This means the vast majority of people won’t have any trouble holding and using it.

The interface is intuitive – three buttons: on/up, off/down, and change pattern. I like that you can cycle through the speeds really easily. The only disavantage I can find is that the buttons are so small that you need to look closely to make sure you’re pressing the right one. They press easily and make a satisfying “click”. With the toy being so small, it’s easy to operate the buttons during use without breaking your flow or moving positions.

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★★★
The MiMi is smooth silicone and is waterproof, which makes clean-up a breeze. You can wipe it with a sterile medical wipe, or use warm water for a more thorough cleaning. You could pop it into a condom or use with another barrier if you’re sharing it between partners without sterilising. As ever, water-based lube is recommended.

Versatility: ★★★★★
The MiMi has 5 patterns and 5 different speeds to mix and match, making for a really customisable vibe. It’s also waterproof, so you can use it in the bath or shower too. One of the things I love about Pleasure Garden is that they don’t gender the marketing of their toys – and quite correctly point out that though this toy is designed for clits, it will also work really well for dicks, perineums, nipples… or even backs!

Intensity:
★★★★★
I’m really, really impressed on this score. The only other toy I’ve tried that comes close in terms of vibration strength against small size is the We-Vibe Tango (another long-time favourite!) It is rare I can orgasm in less than a minute from something that fits in the palm of my hand. A perfect little powerhouse.

Overall Score: ★★★★★
It’s a five out of five from me, because the downsides are few but the pros are many. If you have a clitoris, or any body part, that likes strong and rumbly vibrations, I don’t hesitate to recommend the MiMi.

Thank you to the lovely folks at The Pleasure Garden for sending me the MiMi to review. Buying toys from them supports a small, ethical, feminist business – which is something we all need more of in the world! – and also supports the blog as I receive a small commission through my affiliate links. This doesn’t affect my views on the product which are, and will always be, my own.

Image is property of The Pleasure Garden and reproduced here with permission.