You may be thinking, why the hell is Ella doing an end of year post halfway through January? Is she having some kind of breakdown? Or did she just do what she’s been threatening to do since July and hibernate until the doors closed on the global shit-show that was 2016?
Everyone else did their roundups somewhere in December, which is perfectly sound given that the year does actually end then. My year, though…my very first year of blogging doesn’t end until midnight tonight. Yep, on the 16th of January 2017, Scandarella will celebrate its first Blogiversary.
It’s been a hell of a year. Full of ups, like discovering new things, e-meeting some fantastic new people and working with some amazing companies, but also downs too, the majority of which have been personal. Thoughts like am I good enough, do people like this, do they like me, am I wasting my time, have all claimed more than their fair share of my headspace in the past twelve months.
But with a little help from some friends, not to mention my amazing Fella, I’ve managed to get over myself – mostly – and just do what I love to do for me. If other people like it I consider it a bonus. One helluva bonus that makes me so happy I can’t even begin to tell ya.
So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of everything I will remember about the year Scandarella was born.
The discovery of blogs
Woah! Who the fuck knew there was so many blogs out there? Okay, so you might have, but I certainly didn’t. I wandered onto the blogging scene with names like Cara Sutra, Epiphora, and Dangerous Lilly in my head. And the Carnal Queen, of course. Must not and will not forget that gem of a woman.
But after a few months of following the very sticky web of retweets and conversations on Twitter, I realised there was tens of dozens of fab blogs out there, filled to bursting with amazing content. Molly’s Daily Kiss, Exhibit A, Deviant Kitten… and that’s just a few.
Something else that happened in my first year was this; many other brand new, shiny blogs were born. And some of them are pretty special. Subsmissives, Candy Snatch, and Echo Explores are all blogs that will celebrate their 1st birthdays this year, and they’re all run by wonderful people who do wonderful work.
Finding – and being found – by new companies
I’ll confess to only having been aware of half a dozen ‘adult retailers’ before Scandarella happened. As you likely know, reviewing for Lovehoney was where my confidence in sharing my writing first began to blossom. They have long been my go-to shop for toys and bondage gear, and I only really branched out when they didn’t have what I was looking for.
But now? Now I’ve discovered and worked with loads of fantastic places I never knew existed, and their willingness to work with a noob like me, even when my followers were paltry and my blog content sparse, has gone a long way to having Scandarella well on its way to seeing its 200th post.
Winning a thing that got me a ticket
Possibly my proudest moment this year was winning a competition run by Sinful Press. A piece of erotica I wrote based on a picture of Molly from Molly’s Daily Kiss bagged me a ticket to Eroticon in March. I am shit terrified of going to London all by myself, and I’m even more terrified of meeting a bunch of folks I’ve never met before. But, it’s an opportunity to get a couple of steps closer to realising my dream of being published, and I’m not gonna let anxiety and fear stand in my way. To anyone reading this who’s attending Eroticon: yes, that likely will be me under the refreshment table. Lift the tablecloth and say, hi.
Behind the scenes giggly things
I know from talking to ‘real-life’ friends that many people think blogging is easy. As one said, “I bet it’s a piece of piss, really.” My reply? “Well, you would lose, my friend, so bet big.”
Blogging isn’t as easy as I thought it would be myself, and neither is reviewing sex toys full time. Here’s a few outtakes and bloopers that occurred in the making of Scandarella content:
- Zapped vulva – ever tried yanking a Mystim E-Stim Vibe out of an intimate orifice when it’s switched on full? If not, don’t. I like e-stim but that just felt like my labia had offended Zeus.
- Broken toes – picture the scene…a girl riding cowgirl on a hard cock. Cock owner fancies a change of position so girl on top gets off, and without warning the stainless steel butt plug she’s wearing slips out. It becomes an aerial bomb and lands squarely on the cock owner’s big toe. I laughed, but the Fella didn’t.
- Trapped dildo – if you’ve been with me from the start, you’ll know I love my LELO Ella dildo. If you’ve read my review, you’ll know that I’ve had a few issues of coming so hard when I use it that the hooked tip gets trapped behind my pubic bone. What you may not know is that, while using the Ella for penetration during a morning clitoral vibrator testing session, it got wedged inside me quite firmly. I could not get it out at all. I was due at a friends for coffee and a natter, and I walked there and sat with the Ella in me for three hours, only to have it work its way free while I was walking home again, making me look like I had a semi.
- Butt plug in the laundry – this one is pretty self-explanatory. The cupboard I keep my free standing dildos in suffered an avalanche, and a stray glass butt plug went unnoticed in the clean-up effort. I asked my kid to help me with the laundry and as he pulled a towel out of the basket the plug rolled across the kitchen floor. He didn’t see it. Well, I don’t think he saw it. He never offered up a comment, and I was certainly never gonna ask for one, so let’s just leave that at that forever.
Top of the Cocks & Top of the Flops
I’ve tried and reviewed so many fantastic things it would take ages to list them all, so coming up are some of my top picks from the past twelve months, each one chosen for a specific reason. I’ve been very lucky in the respect that I’ve been able to be selective about the products I’ve reviewed, though. That means that I’m very thin on the ground when it comes to less than positive reviews. There was only one or two, so I’ll leave them until last.
My favourite dildo this year has to be the Keep Burning Cock Skull Dildo. Tall, dark and handsome, gorgeous, gothic and girthy, the Cock Skull is many of the things I love all rolled into one. Each and every time I use this thing I find myself almost crying with happiness, not only because every inch of it feels fucking amazing, but because it’s been on my lust list for time beyond count, and I’m so pleased I can now call it mine.
Another dildo that ranks high on my list of first year faves is the Aubergine from SelfDelve. Their Garden of Eden range is possibly one of the most fun lines I’ve ever seen, and the quality of their stuff is first rate. There’s so much stretch to be had from this dildo, and the entertainment value of fucking myself with a colour changing, body safe vegetable will never lose its shine.
Finally, in the top slot for dildo of the year, is Persian Palm’s Caterina. Everything about this product impressed me, from the attention to detail that’s found in the packaging to the fact that I have my spirit animal and blog name right there, glazed into my dildo forever. Yeah, the Caterina has to be the most beautiful product I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year.
Choosing just three vibey type things for this list was a chore. There’s so many buzzing things that I’ve loved this past year, but these have to be the best. No, the We-Vibe Tango isn’t on here, but that’s only because it wasn’t new to me. These, however, were…
A vibrator that fucks you back…yep, it’s the HUM Artificially Intelligent Vibrator. There’s been quite a few leaps in innovation this year, but as far as I’m concerned, nothing screams ‘THIS IS THE FUTURE!’ like an intelligent vibrator that quickly learns how you like to be fucked. It knows when you want power, it knows when to back off to just a mild buzz. It can sense your frenzied approach to orgasm and it responds accordingly. My mind is transported to a future where lovebots abound, each of them with expert hands, talented tongues and a HUM for a cock. Won’t that be something!
Next on my list is the Power Bullet from Toy Joy. I didn’t think I’d ever see a bullet that could snap at the Tango’s heels, but the Power Bullet is a fantastic option for those who can’t buy or don’t want to buy a Tango. I wasn’t expecting so much power, despite the name it was given by its creators, but it’s definitely a solid alternative to my fave bullet. Rumbly, strong, well made and rechargeable, I really am happy that I have one in my arsenal.
The most powerful product of ever award has to go to the magic that is the Doxy Die Cast. Hard headed yet easy to manipulate, the Die Cast has given me so many effortless orgasms it’s unreal. Literally switching it on and holding it against me guarantees me an orgasm or twelve, unless my clit goes into cardiac arrest, that is. I love it, the Fella loves it, and the only thing that could be better than it would be another Doxy Die Cast, but in red.
The Womanizer W500 Pro isn’t technically a vibrator, so I’ve decided to call it an orgasm bringer. Pleasure Air technology that by some witchcraft mimics suction even though it’s blowing, the Womanizer pretty much sings my clit to orgasm. Multiple times. The fact that it offers contactless stimulation means my clit doesn’t get over-sensitised. And that means that I can go from orgasm to orgasm, the only effort on my part coming from the finger that presses the buttons to either go harder or softer. Who wouldn’t love that?
Last but not least, is the Eroscillator 2. Again, technically not a vibrator, but definitely the biggest surprise of the year. Once upon a time I fucking hated this product. I literally cursed it and all of its kind to the fieriest pits of hell, because it annoyed me and made me feel broken. Trying again as an older, wiser woman who knows a hell of a lot more about her body, I discovered what could possibly be the best thing ever; full on squirting, gushing clitoral orgasms that are so powerful I choke on my own saliva nearly every time I come. Who’d have thought that would ever be a thing?
Do you even lift?
The last product I want to mention is the Titanium Kegel Eggs from Crowned Jewels. As y’all probably know, I have a bit of a fetish for kegel exercisers. I love that they’ve not only helped with the unsexy little squirts I did whenever I coughed or sneezed, but that they’ve also massively improved my orgasms.
I’ve had a few comments along the lines of, but they’re just so expensive, and I’ve called bullshit every time. Yeah, they’re not cheap, but luxury never is. It wouldn’t be luxury by definition if it was. The Crowned Jewels eggs are the loveliest kegel products I’ve ever had, and I love how special I feel when I use them. Seriously, I feel super privileged to have been given the chance to review them.
U-oh’s and Oh-no’s
Like I said above, I’ve been careful about what I’ve chosen for review this past year. In a way I feel like I’ve done my readers a disservice, because looking back at my picks it looks like I may have been a bit elitist. I’ve not really reviewed much that wasn’t already on my lustlist, and I plan to rectify that in 2017.
But still, even though I’ve chosen carefully, a few duds have still slipped through the net.
Firstly, the Doc Johnson Tryst. Wishbone shaped, it’s a good idea in theory. A one stop shop that supposedly works for cocks, clits and g-spots alike. Except, in the Scandarella household, it doesn’t work for two out of the three. My clit responds to it well enough, but as a cock ring – its intended purpose – it’s a parcel of shit.
Next came the Adrien Lastic Mr Hook. A knicker type vibe with a harness that is supposed to hug your vulva, nuzzling against your clit while the hook penetrates and stimulates your vaginal opening. If you’re lucky, it *might* reach your g-spot. It reached mine, but the vibes are so bad it doesn’t matter. Uncomfy, weak and useless, this is one I know I’m not gonna use again.
Writing erotica in a serious capacity kinda snuck up on me around the time Scandarella launched. I’d written a bunch of naughty shorts for the Fella, but nothing really serious, and nothing that was ever worth keeping hold of. The stuff I was writing in the hopes of finding a publisher was all mainstream, nearly all of the sex taking place off page and between chapters.
I was initially leery of writing about sex for the sake of it. I preferred to tell stories, weave plots and create characters who had time for more than just their cocks to grow. The truth was, I didn’t feel comfortable writing sex. I felt like I would be judged, like people would read my stuff and think, depraved little sod.
But, slowly, Scandarella’s existence helped my confidence to build, and now I love writing about fucking. I’ve had some super encouraging comments this past year, on the blog, in emails and via Twitter. I’ve embraced the smut and the filth, and now nothing makes me happier than sitting down at my laptop to tell stories, weave plots and create characters who have time for all of themselves to grow, cocks included.
I have plans to really grow the erotica section of Scandarella in my second year, but those who come to read my reviews needn’t worry. There’ll still be plenty of those coming up, and just to give you a few teasers, you can expect to see flowery glass, sizzling e-stim, fat dildos, homemade floggers and a plethora of lubes and sex enhancers, and all in January too.
And finally, another teaser for you…
Scandarella’s 1st Blogiversary Giveaway is ready for launch, and you can expect to see a product or two from this very list making an appearance. Come back at midnight tonight to find out which ones.