When I first started working out where I wanted to go with this post I realised quite quickly that it was gonna be a long one. For a shy gal who actively pursues the quiet life, 2017 was a little bit crazy. I went places I never thought I’d go. Did things I openly hoped but secretly doubted I would ever get to do. My year has been filled to the brim with awesome people, awesome blogs, companies, and sex toys, and all because of Scandarella.
Well, that’s not totally accurate, is it? Cos if it wasn’t for you, my lovely readers, Scandarella probably wouldn’t exist. The fact that you click links that lead you here (whether they come from other blogs, social media, or search engines), that you read my stuff, leave lovely comments, send me emails or private messages, ask for advice and recommendations… it all makes what I do feel like it has value. And that’s why I keep on doing it.
In comparison to 2016, the past twelve months have seen my traffic – your visits – increase threefold and, every day, more and more of you find me. I’m so happy to have you here, so thank you for coming.
Without further ado, here is my year in review:
If you visited Scandarella during the first quarter of last year you wouldn’t have been able to miss all the talk about Eroticon, the sex writer’s conference ran by Molly Moore, Michael Knight and Girl on the Net. I was lucky enough to have won a weekend ticket in an erotica competition, and that saw me doing something I never thought I would do. I got on a train all by myself and journeyed to London. That was such a massive thing for me. It was terrifying, awkward, and uncomfortable but I did it, and after I got home I was super chuffed with myself. I mention in the post I wrote about it that I wouldn’t have left the hotel room if it hadn’t been for the amazing Candy Snatch.
But attending that conference didn’t just get me some knowledge and a couple of new buddies. Attending Eroticon helped me fulfil my dream. It helped me do exactly what I set out to do when I clicked the buy button for this very website you’re a’visitin’…
Eroticon helped me get my name in print! My short story ‘I Am Woman’ was accepted for Identity, the Eroticon Anthology which was published in March by Resonance Press. Then, in August, Sinful Press published their very first anthology – Sinful Pleasures – and my short story ‘The Dream Feeder’ was included. I reckon those two moments are definitely in the top five highlights of my year!
This is another one of those five highlights, and I reckon it could quite possibly have been the most jaw-dropping event of 2017 for me. Imagine my face when I settled down to look through the nominations for the 2017 ETO Awards, just to see little cartoon Ella grinning back at me. Fucking stunned shitless isn’t even nearly how I felt. I knew I didn’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning given the calibre of the other nominees, but it sure was awesome to be nominated.
When it came to the close of the year, the final two top five highlights happened. Firstly, Kinkly released their Sex Blogging Super Heroes list, and to my delight, Scandarella was given places in three categories:
Top 100 Sex Blogs – #14
Top 10 Sex Toy Review Blogs – #8
Top 10 Erotica Blogs – #1
Fucking blown away, people. Blown. Away. Honestly, I was so happy I genuinely cried. And when Molly Moore released the Chaturbate sponsored Top 100 Sex Blogger list I cried again, because I was listed at #8. Being my own worst critic (as I guess we all are) I hadn’t expected my words to be regarded so highly. I know that lists, awards, and nominations aren’t a way to measure myself, my work, or my worth by, but they make me stand a little bit taller all the same.
Something else super awesome that happened in 2017 was blog sponsorship. I already have fantastic working relationships with a wide range of companies, such as Orion Versand, Latex, Leather & Lace, and Lovehoney, and manufacturers like We-Vibe, So Divine, and Rocks Off. But a handful of businesses have chosen to support Scandarella with their money as well as their time and products, so I just want to say a big thank you to Luxury Vibrators, Forbidden Pleasures, Bedroom Adventures, MEO, Cumpanion, Desirables, and my shiny new sponsor, Crimson Princess.
Things That Go Buzz in the Night
Do you know that, in 2017, almost 240 sex toys and kinky accessories landed on my welcome mat? Some were review products, some purchases and others gifts. Up until now, I’ve reviewed 138 of them. Yeah, that’s a lot of wanking, innit?
Now, I’m pretty picky about what I agree to road test, so most of my reviews are positive. I’ve tried some incredible stuff this past year, and also some shit stuff. And, super excitingly, I got to try out some toys that had long been at the top of my lust lists, too!
I’ve loved the Crystal Delights Rainbow Pony Tail, Fun Factory Boss G5, and Tantus Super Softs. I’ve re-opened my heart to E-Stim and, though it hasn’t featured on the blog yet, I’ve tried something I always said I would never entertain: a vaginal speculum!
But the following toys have been some of my absolute faves. Check em out!
Getting to review for Bad Dragon was quite literally a dream come true. I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance so was super chuffed when they sent me not one but two toys. Strangely, the dildo that had been at the top of my lust list since the dawn of time ended up not being the one I fell in love with. Nope, the Tentacle didn’t rock my world as hard as I thought it would, but its travel mate, Kelvin, did. I fucking love this dildo. It’s huge, gorgeous, perfect for all my fave types of play, and it’s also inspired a story in me. And I don’t mean a short story, I mean a book. Ah, so many ideas, so little time.
The very first time I spotted the Split Peaches Unicorn Horn, I think I screamed. Well, it was probably more of a gurgle-yelp-choke, but it managed to convey my desire to get my orifices wrapped around this stunning creation. Finally, I did, and I loved every minute of it. I think large dildos are definitely my faves, and this one is certainly that! But it’s also cute, gloriously textured, and it’s super easy to use despite its size. I love it and I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to try it out.
While cutesy Ella loved the big, bright Unicorn Horn, gothy Ella was all about the Fleshlight Freaks Drac last year. I remember the first time I saw it. I was literally drooling but it wasn’t available for sale anywhere but Australia. Then when Fleshlight relaunched the range I finally got my claws on one. I was not disappointed. It’s smaller than the other toys on this list but just as good. The colour is beautiful, the batwing design gorgeous as well as lovely in use. Ugh, I love it!
Godemiche makes awesome dildos. It’s a fact. They’re all made of body safe silicone, they’re inexpensive, and some of the colours they come in are to die for. When I got a chance to review the Hercules I was stoked! It’s their biggest dildo yet and it’s incredible. Super long, decently girthy, textured to within an inch of its life with thick, sexy veins, and with a pair of flappy bollocks that either whap my butt while I play or give me something to hold onto while I thrust. Just awesome!
I think invention of the year definitely has to go to the Dodil, the first completely personalisable dildo on the market. Honest to God, it’s such a simple idea I can hardly believe nobody has done it before. Dunking the Dodil in hot water for a bit softens it, and once it’s completely floppy it can be twisted and scrunched into whatever shape I like. It’s a brilliant way of discovering if you like textures, pointy ends, rounded ends, twists, bumps, vaginal penetration or anal…fucking genius!
When Unbound Box gave me the pick of their subscription boxes for review I could happily have run to NYC to collect my chosen box, cos in it was the Vesper! I’d wanted this wearable pendant vibe for so long I was worried that it would disappoint me cos the pedestal I had it on was so very high. It didn’t, though. I love it. The vibes are surprisingly good and wearing it feels as empowering and bold as it does sneaky. And I’ll always be here for rose gold *heart eyes*.
I reckon the i-Scream by Shiri Zinn could well be one of my very favourite vibrators. Because of its appearance, it’s one of those things you expect to have more novelty value than usefulness, but when I switch the thing on? Powerful, deeply penetrating, delicious vibes that result in toe-curling orgasms. Its such high quality, it’s body safe, it comes in a popcorn-style box that plays jazz – yes, I said jazz! – there’s nothing not to love here.
I’m a girl who dislikes knowing about surprises in advance. I just can’t cope with the anticipation, it kills me. But surprises that jump out at me are a different matter. Those I love. And the Noje Wands from Blush Novelties certainly did that last year! I never thought I’d find a mini toy that could battle the We-Vibe Tango for my clit’s affections and actually win, but these little buggers did it. They’re so good, and you can get two for the price of one Tango!
I’ve yet to meet a Womanizer model I didn’t like, and while the Plus Size isn’t my favourite, it is the one I use most often. Why? Its size and shape. It works so well with my body shape, whether I’m playing with it alone or with other toys. Using it hands-free is as simple as slipping it beneath my knickers, and keeping it positioned during sex is easy because of the long handle. No, it isn’t my fave, but it is the most versatile.
Spoiler alert! I haven’t actually finished my review of the Doxy Number Three yet, but it’s definitely one of the best toys that came my way in 2017. I love my original Doxy and Diecast to death, but I have to admit that my belly makes them harder to use during sex. The Number Three is a scaled-down version of the Diecast and while it doesn’t (probably couldn’t) go toe to toe with the bigger wand it’s still absolutely brilliant. Compact, easy to use, and powerful enough for me to not even think about its big brothers while I use it. The review for this is coming very soon so keep your eyes peeled!
One of the toys on my list of stuff to try was the JimmyJane FORM 2. I love the idea of double-pronged vibrators so much, but I never got a chance to pick one up. Forbidden Pleasures asked if I’d like to give the INTRO 2 – a battery-powered version of the one I wanted – a shot. I said yes but after using it I wished I’d said no. It’s terrible. Horribly buzzy, itchy and annoying. I didn’t learn from my first experience with JimmyJane either, cos I bought the FORM 2. That thing ain’t much better, let me tell ya.
After the disaster that was JimmyJane, I still harboured hope that a forked vibe would come along to blow my mind. When I saw the We-Vibe Gala I was so excited, I really thought this would be it. I was wrong. While the power was certainly better than the INTRO 2 and FORM 2 combined, it still didn’t work for me. I despaired that this kind of stimulation just wasn’t gonna work, but a couple of wand heads taught me differently. The Gala still does nowt for me, though.
The MysteryVibe Crescendo. Oh deary me, the Crescendo. When it first arrived I was so impressed with this thing. Gorgeous presentation, smooth silicone, customisable shape, rechargeable and waterproof. All good stuff, right? But then there was the app, which wouldn’t work with my phone and acted weird on my iPod. And then there were the vibes. They were so bad it was shocking. This one went out for review to my lovely mate Jess and she was about as impressed as I was. Even when MysteryVibe sent her the new, improved version she still gave it the hairy eyeball. Not good at all.
Sometimes things that seem like good decisions turn out to be bad decisions. And then some are discovered to have been really, really horrible decisions. Opting to review the Teddy Love Vibrating Bear was one of the latter. Jesus fucking Christ, it’s the worst thing I’ve come across in almost four years of reviewing sex toys. If you want to know why check out my review. It’ll either make you laugh or cry.
So, yeah. That’s a small selection of the many toys that have been part of my life this past year. Over the next few weeks you can expect to see stuff from LELO, Lovehoney, E-Stim Systems, So Divine, Swan, Persian Palm, Hot Octopuss, and of course that Doxy Number Three review.
You can also expect to see a special post tomorrow. Yes, it’s giveaway time! With the help of my lovely sponsors and some fab companies and writers, I’ve gathered up some goodies! Check back tomorrow or keep an eye out on Twitter to see what I’ve got for ya.
So, Happy New Year from me and the Fella! I’m very much looking forward to sharing this next year with you all. I hope you’re looking forward to it, too.