Goodbye 2016! It’s Been A Rollercoaster
Analysis of a difficult year
What a year 2016 has been. Personally, it’s been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions, running the gamut from the crushing depths of anxiety to dizzying relief, contentment and happiness. And that’s just in our little family. I know plenty of people who have had an extra challenging 2016 – some have had a truly terrible year – and then there’s the shocking and at times, depressing world events. Ugh, politics. Ugh, celebrity deaths. Ugh, 2016. Goodbye, and thanks for all the tears.
I’ll start with some personal shit from 2016. Then I’ll move on to happier things, I promise. As I’ve already blogged, we started the year on a real bum note… we were told by our landlord we had to move out of the family home we’d loved for the past couple of years. The house was perfect for us. A large barn conversion with downstairs bedroom & bathroom for disabled MIL, and a separate lockable office for Sable and I to work in, day to day. The boys were settled in school and nursery in our little village. Neither of us drive, and our location is in walkable distance of necessary amenities: shops, doctor, dentist, chemist, post office, schools, butcher, baker, candlestick maker. Maybe not the last one. It’s a brilliant location for us though and all of a sudden we needed to find somewhere not only within budget, with the downstairs rooms for MIL *and* the extra space we need to both work from home, but somehow also in the same town.
It didn’t seem possible at all, especially after a look at property rental websites. Nothing to rent which was even nearly suitable. There *was* however, something else… an almost completed development of brand new family homes. Within walking distance. To buy, not rent.
After a long time worrying, crying, panicking, crying some more and getting plans in action (and I’m talking many months – the majority of this year), we reached a point where we had the required deposit, filled in the hundreds of forms and somehow managed to attain a mortgage despite both working as freelancers in an industry snubbed by many financial institutions. That day will go down as one of the best in my life. So will the day we finally moved into our forever home, in the first week of September. More on that in a bit.
Because we needed to save so hard and work so hard and fill in so many bloody forms, go to so many bloody meetings and generally worry our arses off all year, I didn’t attend any industry events. It was a shame to miss them and I missed meeting up with all my friends, but it was necessary unfortunately. I still managed to have a hand in organising the BlogSpot area at the ETO Show in June which many bloggers and attendees said they thoroughly enjoyed – thanks to Mel MacFarlane for hosting the area at the event.
The stress of trying our absolute hardest to arrange a mortgage and buy this house took its toll on my physical as well as mental health. I suffer with old injuries in any case, but the stress made my broken shoulder and collar-bone pain even worse. Usually I can deal with the aches and niggles from the years-old injury, but the stress made it flare up so badly that I wasn’t sleeping. When I did sleep I’d fall into a fitful, disturbed snooze, where my arms had to be raised above my head in an awkward position and I was forced to sleep on my back, which I hate. The intense pain -which saw me on strong painkillers and daily voltarol patches- didn’t abate until the mortgage was agreed. It’s scary how much mental stress and turmoil affects the body.
Outside our family life and worries, 2016 was a nightmare for plenty of other people too. There was a point this year where you couldn’t wake up in the morning without hearing that some beloved famous figure had died, and even now when a celebrity name is trending the first thing people think is that they’re dead. We’ve lost David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Pete Burns, Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Ronnie Corbett, Denise Robertson, David Gest, Jean Alexander, Alan Rickman, Mohamed Ali, Paul Daniels, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughn, and Fidel Castro. That’s a quite ridiculously talented bunch of people to lose in the space of a year. So incredibly sad.
Oh, and then Trump happened. In case 2016 hadn’t yet been cemented in your mind as a cunty ballbag of a year.
Ok, so that’s the depressing crap filed. What about the good stuff?
Finally, in the first week of September we moved into our forever home. The day we exchanged contracts only comes after the birth of my boys in my best days ever list.
Since we moved in we’ve had to juggle sorting the new house, working, the family as usual (including disabled MIL) but we all feel much happier regardless of how much is going on, because we’re in our lovely home. And of course since moving day the year has been in freefall to Christmas – I have no idea where the time has gone.
I found a chiro who is amazing, as well – and she regularly does what she can to ease the pain in my broken collarbone and shoulder. It’s an injury from an abusive ex and the breaks can’t ever properly be healed, but the surrounding musculature can be strengthened and unknotted.
Blue starts Proper School next year so will be moving on from nursery – and with his autistic tendencies it’s been worrying thinking of how difficult he might find it. Happily, we have a great support network of therapists and officials helping us with his needs, and we’re now liasing with the local SEN (special educational needs) team who are assessing his requirements in terms of school. So hopefully the transition will be as pain-free as possible for him – and for all of us.
As a working mum I’ve not been able to spend the year 100% on family issues; I have my day to day work to consider as well. Although it’s been a challenge keeping up the momentum and enthusiasm with the struggles we’ve faced this year, there’s been some memorable occasions and bits of happiness I can share with you now.
Interesting new adult products
It’s always fascinating seeing what the adult industry come up with (#sorrynotsorry) next in terms of sex toys & other pleasure products for their stimulation-hungry customers. This year has been no different and there are a few products which really stick out in my mind.
GODEMICHE, found at G-Silicone.com, have been working incredibly hard to bring new and exciting silicone creations to their customers all year. It’s obvious how hard they’re working, because of the regular newsletters updating subscribers with what’s been happening in the GODEMICHE world that week. There was a glimpse of things to come with the GODEMICHE Adam Halloween Dildo with Spiders but I was all of the squee in at the start of 2016 when GODEMICHE released their Valentine’s dildo (the Be My Valentine Dildo) which has lots of red hearts visible within the semi-opaque white silicone.
The GODEMICHE family has been extended beyond just the ADAM style as well; now you can choose either your colour/size of ADAM or the AMBIT or GALAXY styles. There’s always a lot going down at G-Silicone.com so I suggest you pop over (after you’ve finished reading this!) and check them out. Make sure you sign up to the newsletter too.
The new Womanizer products look very interesting. Although the clit suction style of stimulation does work for me, it’s not my favourite – I’m an old fashioned girl at heart I guess and I like my intense vibrations. I haven’t tried the new Womanizer sex toy (the Womanizer Pro40) yet and it will be interesting to see if it finally blows challenger to the throne Satisfyer Pro 2 (here’s my review) out of the water.
If you know me at all, you know I love my Doxy Wand – so when O-Wand got in touch asking if I’d like to give their wand vibrator a try, I was intrigued. Here’s another wand vibrator which claims to be the most powerful wand vibrator in the world (at this point my head was in sarcasm mode; “oh really? Right, I bet you are”) whilst also being rechargeable, cordless and waterproof. You can read my recent review to find out exactly how I got on with the O-Wand and if it lived up to its big claims.
Sex toys I’ve really enjoyed
MEO.de very kindly sent me my very first sex machine to test & review. You can find the F-Machine Gigolo here at their online sex shop & read my full review here. This thing is powerful, thrusty (SO thrusty) and not as big and bulky as I’d imagined a sex machine to be. It’s not the quietest sex toy (understatement) and it’s certainly not cheap. But if you’re looking for a powerful sex machine that lives up to its name, then the F-Machine Gigolo is the one. Just make sure you have a silicone vac-u-lock style compatible silicone dildo, as the one included is crappy quality.
Like probably several thousand other women, I was desperate to get my hands (yeah, sure… just my hands) on the Sybian sex machine. This legend of porn clips galore, this monstrous orgasmic wonder, this saddled jet engine promises to bring women to orgasm – whether they’re ready or not – just from the sheer power of the thing.
My next challenge is to either rent a separate and remote house to use it in or persuade the rest of the family to leave me alone in the house at least once a week. Yes, it’s powerful. It’s also bloody noisy! Discretion seems to be the common sacrifice for power Queens. *sigh*
I feel like We Vibe have really got it with this new incarnation of their best-selling couples vibrator. They listened to their customers, to bloggers, to sex toy testers. Some people liked a certain shape – say, the We Vibe 2 rounded style – and others preferred the flattened internal arm of the We Vibe 3. I’m not sure what number We Vibe we’re up to now but ‘Sync’ seems the perfect description. You can find the We Vibe Sync sex toy here and read more about it at the We Vibe website.
Not only can you sync this We Vibe toy with the We Connect app on your smart phone – as you could the previous couple of versions – the We Vibe toy itself can be bent in all sorts of ways to create a customized pleasure tool for your unique body. Genius!
This is the small sex toy which was a big surprise recently. I do love bullet vibrators but they’re usually pretty standard – falling definitively on one side of the ‘does it work’ fence or the other. Most are powered by those annoying watch batteries due to their size, and those that do get me off tend to have a high pitched tinny buzz. Rechargeable bullet vibrators do exist, the most famous and arguably most successful of which is the We Vibe Tango – but it’s a bit pricey for those on a tight budget. The style of vibration is also quite deep and thuddy rather than the intense vibration some women need for clitoral orgasms.
When I was asked if I’d like to review the Loving Joy Power Bullet Vibrator I wasn’t expecting big things… it’s another bullet vibe, it’s probably ok, and who knows, it might even get me off. Was I in for a surprise. This rechargeable, waterproof bullet vibrator really packs a punch – and it’s quiet, too. You can read the full review here – and, to quote:
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting great things from the Loving Joy Rechargeable Power Bullet Vibrator – but it’s seduced me, taken me by the throat, held me up against the wall and given me the damn good seeing to that I wanted. Or whatever the equivalent is in terms of vibrating clitoral stimulation.”
Do you need one? Yes, I think you do.
The O-Wand Rechargeable Wand Vibrator
In a similar vein to the Loving Joy bullet surprise, the O-Wand is another sex toy which surpassed my expectations. The Doxy Wand is still my top favourite wand vibrator due to the sheer violent power of it – but I think the O-Wand will appeal to a different type of pleasure hunter. The Doxy Wand rips through my clothes with wild abandon, fucking me with the type of bone-rattling power that aggressive vibration Queens can only dream of – but the O-Wand is a more careful yet still talented clit lover.
Oh, you can use the O-Wand wherever you like on your body but let’s not beat around the bush here. As it were. When I use a wand vibrator it’s going on or around my clitoris.
You’ll need to read my recent full review to find out exactly what I thought of the O-Wand vibrator and the ways in which it differs to the Doxy Wand (and other wand vibes). It’s a beautiful sex toy, powerful enough to bring me to orgasm and benefits from being rechargeable, cordless and waterproof too.
I can’t talk about the fails of 2016 without mentioning LELO. Their decision to manufacture a condom of questionable safety which has a spokesperson who is an abuser was shocking and wrong. To say it upset people is an understatement, and many bloggers and product testers (myself included) have moved away from working with, reviewing for or promoting LELO in any way. I’d thought things were getting bad enough with the elitist LELO PINO & the overly novelty LELO TUX products, which seem like April Fools jokes (but surprisingly are not). You can read more about the debacle in my LELO HEX post here.
Other fails of 2016 seemed to centre around Twitter. Douchebro style tweets which are no doubt intended to appeal to other douchebros who might then buy a sex toy or three to wank their egos into.
In October, the buysexmachines social media person thought that posting offensive, fat-shaming & objectifying tweets to sell their products was a good idea. Nope.
Tweets like this are offensive, wrong, unnecessary, unintelligent. Disappointed is an understatement, @buysexmachines.
— 🎃 Cara Spook-Ya 👻 (@TheCaraSutra) October 17, 2016
This comes after the whole GetFifi mess at the tail-end of last year: the masturbation sleeve company who really went to town with the fat-shaming. Why always with the fat-shaming? Do you really think it’s a great way to sell sex toys… to sell anything… to act live a civilised human being?
— Lilly Delvaux (@dangerouslilly) November 11, 2015
I’d respected the Kiiroo company and their products up until their recent decision to post a rape joke on Twitter. This showed a clear lack of respect for boundaries, consent, women, people, their followers & customers… it was bitterly disappointing.
— Sarah Brynn Holliday 🦇 (@SarahBHoll) November 10, 2016
.@Kiiroo In case anyone was curious, this is the kind of attitude that made me leave the company over a year ago. Y'all can fuck RIGHT off.
— Sarah Jane (@marvydarling) November 10, 2016
The most recent fail is from the above business who have since deleted their Twitter account. I’d love to think this is the end of them but the cynic in me says they’ll just open another Twitter account. In any case, asking for porn in exchange for sex toys isn’t a respectful thing to do – in case you were wondering.
Oh my god. This exploitative, predatory bullshit sex toy marketing HAS TO STOP https://t.co/lV8i1ZL4yE
— Erika Lynae (@Erika_Lynae) December 7, 2016
They said some fucked up stuff. Screenshots here. Just, beyond the pale. pic.twitter.com/OStJlCv3zG
— C, Spooky Pink Soufflé (@sex_ational) December 7, 2016
— Emilia (@HystericEm) December 7, 2016
Please, businesses, think before you tweet. If you’re the business owner don’t think you can be excused from disrespectful, triggering, rude, shaming social media updates just because you ‘hired a junior to do the socials and they got it wrong’. It’s your responsibility to make sure that all communications from your business are respectful, professional and inclusive.
Sure, everyone gets it wrong at times – at which point a full apology is required, quickly, and removal of the offensive material with a transparent communication about what happened, why you think it happened and how you will stop it ever happening again.
I am lucky to have some fantastic people to rely on who listen to me whine when I’m sad, sing when I’m happy, rant when I’m angry and waffle on about rubbish when I’m tipsy. Without their support this year would have been impossible to deal with.
A huge thank you to my lovely friends Mel from Voluptasse, Gritty Woman, Minxy Mischief, LittleSwitchBitch, Hella Rude, Zak Jane Keir, Ruffled Sheets and JustIndecerous. I really appreciate you being there as a listening ear, shoulder to cry on and for putting up with my wails and worries.
A humongous thank you and hugs for the Pleasure Panel, who are enormous fun to collaborate with. I love the excitement over the monthly rounds and the enthusiasm and energy you all put into reviewing the sex toys & adult products every month. Thank you 🙂
Massive thanks go to all my sponsors (see sidebars!) who enable me to eat food in a warm house while I blog, review and promote. I’m well aware of how much choice there is now when it comes to advertising & promotion through relevant blogs, and I’m genuinely moved that my sponsors choose to return time and time again to advertise at Cara Sutra as well as benefiting from my many other services such as copywriting, giveaways, product reviews and social media promotions.
What I’m looking forward to in 2017
In 2017 my main aim is to be less stressed than I was this year. Shouldn’t be too difficult, as 2016 was a huge stress bomb. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my lovely friends in the adult industry at some event or another – I haven’t finalised plans yet on exactly which events I’ll be attending, but I hope to visit at least one or two.
Happy New Year everyone!
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