Relationships require work!

Quiet Reflections from Bunny

It’s been a while since I posted some of my musings. My posts of late have generally been reviews. Lucky me to have all these lovely toys to try,  and to tell you about! I appreciate for some of my readers, reviews can get a bit repetitive perhaps. They like to know a bit more about the writer behind the blog, and what makes them tick.

Whilst we’re on the ‘clock analogy; ‘I’m not exactly a ‘spring chicken’ but I do have yet to be past my ‘prime time.’ I have a few miles on me, some well-travelled; others less so. One thing I’ve learnt in my 35 years, is that if we are to live our lives to the fullest, we need to make an effort! Whether that’s a phone call with a friend we perhaps contact a couple of times a year. Or getting something special for our significant other. No matter how small or grand the gesture, it will likely be noticed.

Moreover, said effort will be appreciated. You may well be thinking, “well, I’ve not heard from so-and-so in the past 6 months. Why should I bother making the first move?” The answer could be as simple as they’ve had a really stressful or busy time. They’ve been working all hours; any free time they have is spent ‘catching up’ on life stuff or resting. Someone close to them could be unwell and depending on your friend for day-to-day help. So many reasons. Notice I say reasons. Not excuses. There’s a difference.

Excuses, excuses…

Passing up on an invitation because you’re comfortable at home and you really can’t be arsed to get dressed up and go out is an excuse. Not getting a gift or card for someone because you ‘had a lot to do’ is also an excuse. It also makes the statement, “you are not special enough to me to make the time to either come out with you or get a token surprise for you.” A pretty powerful statement.

So far I’ve been taking about general relationships. Both with friends, family and with significant others. I want to focus on the latter. How you get on with your significant other. I use this term, since you may or may not be married. You may or may not be co-habiting. And lastly I believe you are two individual people, so you are not the other one’s ‘other half.’

A contractual partnership

I happen to be married to my significant other, so that is my personal experience. We were not always married though. I did realise that marriage is ‘only a piece of paper.’ It wasn’t a contract saying my husband or I had to change ourselves to be more acceptable to the other. Nor was it a label saying that we ‘owned’ each other. We are still very much individuals. What it was and still is, however, is a contract saying that we will love, respect and cherish the other through sickness and in health, through good times and bad.

We invited our family and friends to be witnesses to these vows and to help us celebrate our union. How have these vows panned out? I find myself questioning whether I did or did not marry for the ‘proper’ reasons. I wanted and still wish for a life partner. We both wished to have a family. Somewhere along the way though, it seems our priorities have become mis-aligned.

In the main, they are in harmony; both of us strive to create a home environment we feel happy and comfortable in. We wish for our daughter to experience all she can from life, both positive and negative. We endeavour to educate her and make her aware how fortunate she is. It is also our aim to make her understand that there needs to be a strong work ethic if she wishes to succeed. Then there is the important lesson of actions and consequences.

So many lessons for a little toddler to learn. They are important though. Whilst we may be her parents and guardians in teaching her these life values, we also need to remind ourselves of them from time to time. This may be starting to sound reminiscent of the Queen’s Christmas speech, and in some ways, I like to think of it as my own version of Her Majesty’s message to Her people. My main theme is to focus on being grateful for what you have, not lamenting that which you do not.

Perfection in imperfection

None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be. But we can always work on bettering ourselves. If not for the sake of our extended families and friends, children and significant others, then at least for the sake of ourselves. We are only here once so we need to make every day count. That means living the best life we can, and making the effort! This could be as simple as paying someone a compliment. One that is sincere and unconditional. You can tell someone how much they mean to you. It’s easy to think, “well they already know that!” That’s not to say you cannot make the effort to remind them.

Like any living being, a relationship needs nourishment and light to grow. If it is neglected and left to be overgrown with weeds, it will wither and die. Feed your relationship to keep it healthy, and hopefully you’ll live a long,  fulfilling life together. It won’t necessarily always be easy. But those things most important to us usually require effort. In return, they bring the most reward.

 

The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: ‘could have, might have, and should have.’ ~ Louis E. Boone

Quotation reproduced from http://www.mattmorris.com/top-23-quotes-about-living-life-to-the-fullest/

Are sex toy reviewers and their blogs becoming redundant?

Kinkly recently published their 100 top sex blogging superheroes of 2017. In that mammoth task, they also ranked over 300 blogs in order of the criteria below, (as well as their own in-house guidelines). But the question is, if there are 300-plus bloggers out there reviewing toys, does this make them redundant?

Kinkly ranking criteria

  • Twitter Followers.
  • Facebook Likes
  • Alexa rank. “Alexa is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com. They provide commercial web traffic data gathered via various toolbars and web browser extensions. Their ‘Alexa Rank’ is a metric that ranks websites in order of popularity. In their terms, they class it as ‘how [well] a website is doing’ over the last 3 months.” (Quoted from https://winningwp.com/alexa-traffic-rank/This is a fairly inaccurate ratings system though!
  • Domain links.
  • Moz rank. This “quantifies link popularity and is Moz’s version of Google’s classic PageRank algorithm. Pages earn MozRank based on the other pages on the web that link to them and the MozRank of those linking pages. The higher the MozRank of the linking pages, the higher the MozRank of the page receiving those links.” (Quoted from https://moz.com/learn/seo/mozrank/).
Does Abundance mean Redundance?

As the above metrics imply, to rank highly in the scale of bloggers, a blog needs to interact and link with its peers. It cannot stand alone as an island. This in itself could lend to the argument that actually, sex toy reviewers and their blogs are not redundant. Each reviewer will have their own particular likes and needs from their sex toys. A lot of people with vaginas for example, cannot orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone. They require external stimulation too. Some reviewers like anal play. Others are ‘meh.’ People with penises may like male masturbators and strokers. They may like cock rings / cock and testicle rings. By reading other reviewers’ blogs, sex toy reviewers can pinpoint the toys that are more likely to work for them.

Then there are the reviews themselves. Yes, it may seem quite repetitive reading six reviews about the same toy. But if you look closely, you may see that Reviewer A talks more about the toy’s functions. Reviewer B, on the other hand, may describe how the toy actually feels. Some reviewers go into great amounts of detail. Others merely glide over the ‘semantics,’ and focus on the ‘yes this toy gives amazing orgasms every time!’ or  ‘this toy is alright, but it doesn’t tick all of my boxes.’ In essence, whilst more information on the same thing can be ‘overwhelming,’ and make the reviews seem redundant to some, the above points highlight the importance of multiple reviews on the same products.

Writers’ circle

Reviewers will invariably attract their own ‘circle’ of followers. These readers like the blog’s theme and style of writing. Moreover, they perhaps identify with the reviewer’s thinking in other areas including sexuality and  life experiences/ expectations. Followers of a blog will likely read a new review, even if it is not something they would necessarily use themselves, as they like to see the experiences and opinions of the reviewer. If they have the time, they may look at other reviewers’ blog-postings on the same products.

So next time you come across a new blogger, it may be tempting to think, ‘oh, it’s another one of those sites that waffles on about how great a toy is, but in reality is it that fabulous?’ The cynics among you may wonder if it’s all just a ploy to get affiliate referrals. But try and embrace the new blog – give it a read. Decide for yourself if it’s worth returning to. If you feel a blog has too many reviews or not enough other content (feel free to share any other gripes you may have), then please leave a comment on one of the posts. Us bloggers write because we wish to share our thoughts and experiences with you. But we need interaction from our readers / followers too! Rather than seeing a blog as a monologue, try to see it as a conversation.

Thanks for reading!

 

Are your sex toys toxic?

What was I thinking when I got *those* toys?

As a naive consumer a mere 3-4 years ago I bought a plethora of toys varying in their quality; in some cases, they were just plain dubious. I should not have bought them. I’ve also received items for testing. I agreed to test those items. Now I go through my collection of plain brown cardboard boxes (yes, I still have some of those!). And I find freaky looking things like:

  • A floppy penis extender, made from TPR.
Gross. I think I’d rather just stick with a standard real-life penis thanks.
  • A crystal jellies ribbed anal starter dildo, made from PVC. The bright pink colour is now faded, ugh. Even more worrying, the packaging says that the toy contains Sil-A-Gel formula, and I’m thinking Sil-A-WTF?! I will say more about this dubious component later, but safe to say, it doesn’t sit well with me. Pardon the pun, here!
Contains Sil-a-Gel, aka, whatthefuckisthisshit?
  • A tacky skinny purple G-spot vibe that takes 2 AAA batteries. It is made from TPR and ABS plastic. The insertable part is TPR.
I wish I hadn’t bothered testing this to be honest. Not the ‘First Time’ I have felt this way about a toy…
  • a ‘realistic’ 7-inch extra-girthy dildo, that resembles the cock of a non-green Hulk. Made from some rubbery feeling god-awful stuff. I didn’t keep the packaging so I’m not quite sure.
Those veins are just gross. And the cracks appearing where the glans bulges out make me think ugh!
  • Various ‘silicone’ vibrators that are manufactured in China so I am not sure they are actually pure silicone. A flame-test would ascertain whether they are bona-fide or not. I just haven’t gotten round to holding a match to any of these toys yet…

 

What is body-safe versus toxic anyway?

‘Body-safe’ materials include inert non-reactive components such as:

  • platinum-cured, medical-grade silicone.
  • Borosilicate glass.
  • Ceramic.
  • Metals such as aluminium and titanium.

Toys that contain TPR, PVC,  weird antibacterial additives (for example, Sil-A-Gel), generic ‘silicone’ and those pesky phthalates are NOT strictly body-safe. Despite the claims of the manufacturers! Because they also claim, that the items are sold as novelties only, and so any medical claims are unfounded.

Sex toys are not regulated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) or other governing organisation. So this means that unstable or reactive components may be used in the manufacturing process. Take for example Phthalates. These are, according to the FDA:

a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions…

 

Say what?! Why would Phthalates be put into sex toys anyway?

Now if that didn’t already set off alarm bells in your head, (hello, putting a component of engine oil somewhere sensitive and that is a permeable entrance to the rest of your body), then maybe the following will! Dibutylphthalate (DBP) is a plasticiser that was used in nail polishes to reduce cracking. Dimethylphthalate (DMP) was used in hair sprays to help them form a flexible film on hair. The FDA say that these two phthalates are now rarely used. But that does not mean to say they are no longer used at all. Nor does it mean that other potentially harmful phthalates / other chemicals are not used in manufacturing.

Phthalates  have been used in toys because it helps them remain flexible and resistant to cracking. The bad news is that phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they’re added to, so they can ‘leach’ out. Which is why you are advised to take your microwave meal out of the plastic tray it was packaged in, before heating in the microwave. They are odourless, and the risk they pose to human health includes (but is not necessarily limited to) liver, kidney, lung and reproductive system damage.

The Guardian reported in 2015 that:

While phthalates are a huge class of chemicals and nowhere near every chemical in the class has been studied, several have been shown to have negative health impacts…Enough distinct phthalates have been studied to indicate that companies should proceed with caution when using any chemical in the phthalate class, particularly in products for pregnant women or young children, whom the research has indicated are the most vulnerable to the effects of phthalates.

Education for dildo-diddlers

This is scary reading. But I don’t wish to tell my readers what materials they should or should not use. I still *occasionally* (like once every six months) use products that contain things like parabens. These are the chemicals reported to increase cancer risk. They are “preservatives that have been identified as ‘estrogenic’ and disruptive of normal hormone function.” Parabens are found in a range of cosmetic items.

I mainly tell you this information so that you can consider what you are putting into your body when you indulge in a bit of self-love. That way, you can decide for yourself if you wish to forego the risks and jump into bed with your TPR / ‘Phthalate-free’ PVC dong.

What about Sil-A-Gel?

Before I forget, let me get back to that weird additive, Sil-a-Gel, which I have no idea of in terms of its chemical composition. Some Googling lead me to discover that this additive, that is supposedly anti-bacterial is a proprietary constituent made by Doc Johnson: 

Sil-A-Gel is “added into our material in the raw mixing phase so that the anti-bacterial agents are actually engrained into the product and will not wash away with use. Sil-A-Gel helps stop the spread of unwanted and potentially bad bacteria forming on your favorite products.”

If you look at the source of this extract, you will find it comes from Dangerous Lilly’s 2014 blog post on Sex Toy Material Guides. Her advice is to basically avoid any toy containing Sil-A-Gel. If you search further on her blog you will find out why. It caused irritation to sensitive parts on a sex-toy user.

Now I don’t know about you, but if I’m using a sex toy, I do not expect to feel unpleasant irritation. You may ask why I’ve held onto these toys for so long. I ask myself the same question. But then I remember, it’s so I can take them out periodically and remind myself why these toys are just plain yucky!

These toys will remain banished to a brown box, until sometime when I see fit to just toss them out. For now they are my sex toy ‘museum of horrors.’

 

Parenting the parent

On an overnight stay with my parents, the people who bought me up, I happened to start explaining the difference between right and left to my toddler daughter. 

My dad helpfully (as he saw it) voiced his opinion that he thought my daughter was ‘a bit young to be learning about left and right.’ I held my tongue as I didn’t see the point in getting into a lengthy debate about child developmental milestones. He has raised his own two children (I’m one of them) and we are now adults in our thirties. 

My feeling though, is who decides at what age we can learn things? My daughter is already demonstrating quite well that she is capable of learning. She can say lots of words and string little sentences together. She feeds herself with her spoon and fork. In my mind, I see it wholly possible that she could learn the difference between right and left if it is explained to her. 

The difference between me and my dad (aside from the obvious gender/ age/ life -experience ones) is that I want my daughter to be enlightened. So I continually talk to her as we’re going about our day. I tell her what things are. I describe them. She is a sponge absorbing this information and she is learning and remembering information on a daily basis.

So whilst grandparents may have ‘been there and done that’ decades ago with their own children, parenting responsibility lies with the person raising the child/ren. I’ve decided my daughter can learn and so I will explain as much as I can to her. It’s about making it accessible for her. I will learn the best way of communicating with her as I go along. 
But if you are ever a grandparent about to pass on some words of wisdom to your ‘child’ about how to bring up their own children, be mindful that we all have our own ways. And with hindsight did your approach work? Maybe it did for you at the time. What is more helpful though,is encouragement. A simple, ‘that’s great to teach about X or Y’ is more welcome than your opinion on the matter. 

Thank you for reading my thought for this day. Please comment if you have had similar experiences or wish to make a point (I won’t take offence at those differing from my own, it’s good to have various perspectives). 

Toy play or not toy play?…

I asked my Twitter followers to give me some feedback on how using toys has affected their sex life, for either solo play or for use with partners. Do people like toy play or not toy play? A male commented that he likes to integrate them into his sex life, and that he likes the feeling of being in control when he uses toys on a female partner. The use of anal plugs reportedly gives him the best orgasm ever, making his whole body shake.

Toys have been helpful to some people following either a period of trauma, or just not being in touch with their own anatomy and erogenous zones. One female revealed that she was sexually abused as a child by her brother’s friend, and her partner had known about this past trauma and always been supportive. In later years however, this woman suffered what she referred to as a ‘sexual breakdown’ and could not bear to be intimate with her partner, though he never judged her or got frustrated with her.

It seems, by the time this woman got to the point where she was ready to face being in a sexual relationship with her partner, he no longer felt the same. She turned to Lovehoney to find toys that would fulfil her needs and help her discover herself. She enjoys using her toys, though she feels frustrated at not knowing how to make herself achieve orgasm without using toys, but was thrilled to discover that she could achieve ‘blended’ orgasms whilst using the Happy Rabbit 2 USB Rechargeable Rabbit Vibrator.

Its not the Happy Rabbit; its Lovehoney’s Desire Luxury Rechargeable Rabbit, but it makes me very happy!

Another woman went through a 20 year marriage, without ever experiencing an orgasm with her husband during sex. She says that for her, sex  was a chore.  Instead of helping her find ways to experiment, her husband placed the blame on her! He thought that she must ‘be frigid’ not to be able to orgasm from sexual intercourse. On top of this insult, the woman had also been sexually abused when young, so already had a negative relationship with sex. Since she has separated, she has experienced an ‘amazing night’ with a younger lover. Now she uses toys on a daily basis, as they help her feel hornier and sexier. From starting with a bullet vibrator for clitoral stimulation, she has since tried g-spot vibrators, and has experienced vaginal orgasms; something she never would have dreamt of in the past.

In terms of couples using toys, there are a few viewpoints; one male feels like toys can put too much pressure on him to ‘perform.’ He feels guilty for being unable to satisfy his partner. Another couple, meanwhile, love using their toys either alone or together, and also for teasing each other. Toys can also be used to reignite a relationship that has lost its spark.

This will only work though if both partners are willing to experiment with the toys. In my experience, sadly this has not been the case. I have tried introducing some toys to ‘luke-warm’ at best, ‘stone-cold’ at worse, responses. I have felt frustrated by this, as I feel that our love life has got somewhat formulaic over the years. But I know that my other-half being how he is, somewhat set in his ways, will not change his outlook. My toys will remain mine for solo pleasure, and I do not feel one bit guilty for that. I choose toy play rather than not toy play!

Update October 2017

This article was written to gather the thoughts I had obtained from some of my Twitter followers. It is not intended purely for hetero couples. It just so happens that the people I had interacted with followed this lifestyle. Toys can be enjoyed by same-sex couples as well, in addition to transgender and non-cis identifiable individuals. The post was not intended to exclude anyone based on their sexual identity or orientation.

As for my own experiences, Mr Bunny seems to be participating in our play-time experimentation with toys, though he primarily uses toys on me rather than vice versa. It is definitely an improvement!

 

Threeplay and Roleplay

A common fantasy for many couples is to invite a third person to play with them. But for a lot of couples the idea remains just that. There are several reasons why the fantasy may go unfulfilled. There may be trouble with identifying a suitable third party, whether they are male or female. It might be the case that the couple are concerned about damage to their relationship. Jealousy, feelings of inadequacy or guilt are possible outcomes of involving a third person in the bedroom. Then there are the details to think about; where should the play be instigated? In the couples’ home, in a hotel or in a ‘club’ environment? What will the third person be able to do with each partner of the couple, and how can play revolve around each person ‘equally’ so that no one feels overlooked?

Toys Toys Toys

One way of circumventing all these issues, is to use a toy instead of including a third person. A suction-cup dildo or strap-on harness secured to a piece of furniture can become the extra ‘male’ for a MMF scenario; this way the female in the couple gets to experience two orifices being filled at once. She can either have the dildo in her vagina, and thrust on it whilst performing oral sex on her partner, or she could experience double penetration, taking her partner’s penis in either her vagina or anus, whilst the toy is used in the other opening.

When it is time to ‘return the favour,’ and play out the FFM scenario, the male in the couple could either use a masturbator to stimulate his penis, whilst giving oral sex to his partner, or he could take a dildo in his anus during penetrative sex with his lover. Another variation is to have his partner ‘peg’ him (perform anal sex on him with a strap-on dildo or a strapless one such as a Realdoe or Feeldoe), whilst using a an oral sex simulator at the same time. Thus it seems a threesome could be easily turned into a reality, by using toys in the bedroom.

Role play fantasies

For other adventurous play, costumes can be worn and props can be included to create a ‘scene.’ For example, some common role-plays are:

  • teacher / student
  • nurse / patient
  • boss / employee
  • housewife / workman
  • two strangers in a bar.

Costumes can either be purchased ready-to-wear, or improvised with your own clothes. In most of the scenarios mentioned above, there is ‘Dominant and submissive’ interplay. One role-play I tried with Mr Bunny previously was that of the ‘sexy cop’ and defendant. I purchased the Music Legs cop costume (now discontinued), which consists of dress and belt, hat, truncheon, cuffs and cop’s badge.

Sexy Cop.jpg

The dress is good, though it definitely requires the belt to cinch in the waist. The hat was pleasing too, and made a handy makeshift ‘blindfold.’ The accessories were very cheap though; the baton felt like it would crush very easily, and the handcuffs were plastic and very flimsy. I did not bother with them, instead using the Lovehoney Tease Me set I already owned.

I got dressed up, complete with fishnet stockings and suspender belt, and wore my suede boots too. Mr Bunny grinned when he saw me. Though I soon wiped the cheekiness from his face as I made my ‘arrest,’ then interrogated him thoroughly. We then went on to enjoy some of the hottest sex we’d had in ages. He certainly was stimulated by his ‘arrest,’ while I enjoyed playing the bad cop!

Fun without costumes

It is not necessary to wear a costume, to partake in some Dominant / submissive interplay. Moreover, if you don’t feel comfortable playing a character, props such as ties and blindfolds can be an effective way for a Dominant to take control, while the submissive yields to their Master or Mistress. A nice beginners Tie and Tease set is available for a reasonable price.

By fulfilling our fantasies and enjoying a varied sex life, we enrich our relationships and improve intimacy. Besides, if something doesn’t work out quite how we envisaged, there are opportunities for laughing about it together, which also strengthens the bond between couples.

 

 

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Knotty play is an artform and psychological test of D/s interaction.

Entwined

One form of kink I’ve been researching lately is Shibari. The ancient Japanese art of using lengths of rope to bind a person with intricate knot-work and /or for restraining purposes. Shibari literally means ‘to tie.’ It originated from the Japanese police and Samurai in the period 1400-1700. Initially a form of restraint for prisoners, it was derived from the martial art Hojo-jutsu. In the 1800s, Kinbaku, an erotic form of the practice became prevalent*. Shibari is now commonly used to describe the practice of BD/SM rope play.

What interests and excites me about the practice is that it:

A. Looks fricking awesome. The patterns that can be achieved are stunning. They are works of art in themselves on a human ‘canvas’ using rope as the ‘media’. Shibari is highly ornamental, as well as functional.

B. It involves a strong element of trust. Both from the person tying the knots, and the individual being tied. The person tying the rope  (known as the ‘rigger’) is putting their faith in their bound partner to tell them how they are feeling during the process. The person who is ‘laced up’ is trusting the Shibari practitioner. The latter needs to find out if any of the ties are uncomfortable, the rope chafes or if the position is putting too much strain on muscles.

C. The pleasure derived both from seeing the handiwork and the feeling of the rope lying on the flesh. Not only this, the psychological element of submission. The person who is bound submits themselves physically and psychologically to the Rope Master or Mistress.

Practicali-ties

The ropes are strategically placed and knotted to stimulate pressure points. A Shiatsu massage effect can be attained with some bindings. Moreover, the use of additional play equipment (floggers, paddles, vibrators among others) can increase the sensation felt by the person being bound.


Ropes that are used are commonly 5-10 metres in length, red /black/ or natural in colour. Composition of the rope is important as the fibres need to be supple and flexible enough to allow manipulation and formation of neat knots. The rope also needs to be strong; its purpose is, in addition to looking attractive, to restrain. It needs durability and to not wear excessively under strain.

Another consideration is the comfort of the individuals tying the knots and being bound. Rope-burns are not at all pleasant. Neither are they attractive. No one wants to go to the office on a Monday morning with tell-tale red marks on their limbs. That would make for awkward water cooler conversation. Elastic should not be contained in the fibres as it can make knots too tight, and trickier to undo.

Materials that tend to be used are cotton, hemp and silk. Cotton is relatively inexpensive, whilst silk is more luxurious. Both are exceedingly strong.Having the appropriate material ensures the rope-work will appear neat and well-placed (this will also depend on the skill of the Shibari practitioner).

Creating the ‘illusion’ means practice

It takes hours of patience and skill to learn to manipulate the ropes. An important feature of bindings is that they’re readily released. Meaning, as the quick-release mechanism on a bicycle saddle makes it easy to adjust the saddle’s height, so the binding of the rope ensures it is readily unbinding. If a restraint position is causing too much discomfort, or the psychological effect on the binder/ recipient is too extreme, the ropes need to be unwound quickly. This means there are not actual ‘knots’ in the rope, but the illusion of knots in some cases.

The person being bound needs to have patience too, as it can be a time- consuming art-form. The aesthetic makes it entirely worth the wait. They say a pictures speaks a thousand words. Shibari makes you feel those words…

How does Shibari make you feel? Please comment, and see if we can reach 1000 words!

* this information was accessed from Kinkly.com on 18th June 2017

 

Should I buy pre-loved sex toys?

One careful lady owner

In this materialistic, consumerist world, it seems like most things we buy these days are disposable. Or at some point, destined for a charity bag.

Why should sex toys be any different? I mean, why spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on brand new ones that may not even work for you? For some toys that are non-porous, body-safe, and in perfect working order, it seems crazy to just send them to the Rabbit Amnesty. Unless they’re so dire not even a buzzy pink vibe-lover would like it…

So, I’m thinking, I’d like to share the joy these toys can bring. My expanding collection needs a makeover. I don’t have endless storage to keep the items I once enjoyed, but now something better is occupying my bedside drawer.

Silicone and glass are perfectly safe (in my opinion) to pass on, as long as they are thoroughly cleaned. Like, boiled or bleached. Porous materials like jelly rubber I’d say hell no, but then why would you want to buy that crap anyway? Jelly is just for eating in my view!

I have some items I’m clearing out. They work fine, but they’re just not for me anymore. They’ve been well looked after, and I’d love for them to find a new home with owners who’ll have as much pleasure with them as they can bring. Toys make life so much more fun!

Use it or lose it…Grey Matter

Muscle versus brawn

Becoming a parent and responsible-ish adult has been a game-changer for my life in general and it has also affected my mind a lot too. I still get anxious at times, and now for more valid reasons.

Will my daughter develop and learn well? Is she safe when she goes to pre-school and I’m not there? Is her home life giving her a stable up-bringing?

These are all concerns that whizz about my mind as well as all the other daily and short-to-mid term events that are going on in the back-ground. The problem is, our brains can only handle so much information at a time. Too much to think about inevitably makes us forget. Hopefully it’s only trivialities like putting the washing machine on before we leave the house in the morning, or missing the bread from the quick shopping trip.

The forgetful treadmill

I do feel though, that with the distractions from electronic devices and some degree of a lack of self-control, I get caught up in a cycle of not using my brain enough. The saying  ‘use is or lose it,’ and the Cockney Rhyming slang ‘Use your loaf,’ serve as important reminders to exercise our mental muscles. Whether that be memory or increasing our intelligence, both are important. A healthy mind, moreover, means a healthier body. I do not wish to age prematurely. The greys in my hair spring up and nag me that I’m not getting any younger. Aches and pains bleat out that my body needs strengthening and better suppleness.

We work out at the gym, or do exercise classes. For those who prefer team sports, there’s football, hockey. netball. Solo work-outs include running, cycling and swimming. I must admit, I’m not a fitness fanatic. I do enjoy my aerobics classes and Pilates. Walking is enjoyable too, in the right weather. But pounding a treadmill, or pavements is not me. I do not own a bicycle. But as long as I do some exercise at least several days a week I feel better. My mood lifts. I’m not as cranky, and I sleep well enough, providing I’m not too awake to sleep.

Brain Training

In terms of general memory, I’ve usually got a pretty good recall, particularly for numerical things like phone numbers. On occasion I have temporarily forgotten PIN numbers though; not helpful when standing at the point of sale at the services! This temporary lapse though seems to go hand-in-hand with anxiety, and in some ways its a useful marker telling me to take a step back and breathe.

 

Now, I’m half-way through this year (my first year blogging). My good intentions to stay ‘on top of the game’ have somewhat been absent-mindedly misplaced. I need to shake myself up, and give my brain a boost. One way of doing this is to take up cross-words. Not ‘damn!’ and ‘blast!’, but you know, those boxes that have clues to fill in with greyed out bits. I used to like doing ones in certain broadsheet papers. Not the cryptic… but the quick one. That is enough for my brain at present. Having left my ‘professional’ career as a scientist behind me 5 years ago, the brain of a part-time (was) housekeeper / sales advisor / full-time mum is currently feeling more colander-like than merely sieve-like.

Brain draining in progress…

Other productive past-times to boost the grey cells include learning languages. I did do a French course after leaving my science role, and I took some creative drawing classes. Both were enjoyable at the time. Drawing to some degree now is possible, though I don’t have the attention span and neither does my daughter, for me to be able to sit and produce anything artistically merit-worthy. It’d be more like doodling. I can teach my daughter basic French. It’s not very challenging for me, mentally though.

An alternative is re-teaching myself to play guitar. A recent Twitter chat reminded me how I used to like rocking out some riffs. Despite my plucking being a bit shoddy, I liked learning the chord shapes and trying out scales and arpeggios. Since I don’t read music I can get tabulature off the internet. Plenty of sites offer ‘tabs’ for free. Some are better than others, depending on the ability of the person who writes them (and their musical talent). It doesn’t have to necessarily be note perfect for playing along at home.

So between cross-words and re-learning guitar, I have a couple of options to build up my grey matter. My daughter’s brain is like a sponge, so I hope I can re-train mine to be less sieve-like and more sponge-like. If only I had remembered to buy the blasted paper to get the cross-words!

Fleeting youth

On a stroll with my little Bunny I saw these pretty hedge roses (not sure if that’s the correct name for them, but who cares…)

They reminded me that our youth is gone in a flash, our once vibrant petals withered and falling away, to leave a seed husk that will hopefully promise more young budding life.