The Ruby Glow

Every now and again, a toy comes on to the market that excites, impresses me and warrants a blog post to dedicate to it. It’s the toys that have something completely different about them that appeal to me and make me proud to be in this business.

Ruby Glow is one of these toys. It came out earlier this year and I was wowed by it straight away and I’m gutted that I haven’t made the time to write about it yet. Not long after coming out, it was nominated for “Most Innovative New Product 2016” at the ETO awards – the industry awards. It also won “Most Innovative New Toy 2016” at the Sign Magazine’s awards.

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Ruby Glow was invented by Tabitha Rayne, an erotica writer and blogger (and now inventor!). Even when somebody is used to writing erotica, it can still, as you can imagine, still get one a bit hot and bothered every now and again! This was the original premise of the Ruby Glow – to provide some physical pleasure whilst typing erotica, but it has now become so much more than this.

The basics of the Ruby Glow is that it is a vibrator that you can sit on – with or without clothes. It is saddle shaped with a soft bump on either side, one ribbed, one smooth – each side has a motor in it. You can put both motors on, or one or the other, all depending on what you fancy. It has 10 different vibration settings in both motors. The buttons are at the front of the toy, so when you are sat on it, you can change the vibration modes if you want. You could have one motor giving you one sensation whilst the other motor gives you a different one. Party! It is made from silicone, the healthiest material for sex toys and it only requires 2 AAA batteries. It isn’t fully waterproof so don’t submerge, but it is splash proof so can be washed easily.

As this is a toy that you can sit on, imagine how good it is for people who can’t use their hands or wrists properly, or have limited mobility. The Ruby Glow has made it possible for people who can’t use a lot of vibrators… to use!

So if you don’t have functioning arms, if you are a wheelchair user, if you have aches and pains, this toy is the answer to your ‘prayers’.

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If you are a fully able person who can use any toy they want, here is the perk for you – you can watch porn when you’re sat on this. You can read erotica sat on it. You can even pop it on the couch when you get home from work and sit down for a bit whilst you are catching up with social media or your recording of Home and Away. It doesn’t have to be your main focus when you are using it. It can just be a little pleasurable feeling to help you relax and smile for a bit! (I could be sat on one right now!) Imagine how fabulous this would be for sexy Skype times with your long distance lover.

You could use the Ruby Glow with your partner too. Imagine you are a woman sat on a chair wearing  strap-on, your female or male partner is straddling you so you’re not only getting the pleasure from her/him riding you, but also you’re getting some vibrations on your clit, perineum and/or vaginal entrance – you’re adding layers to your pleasure.

You could use this for a power play scenario too, get your partner to sit on it and control what she feels.
If you’re a woman giving oral sex, you could position yourself so that you are getting some ‘Ruby Glow pleasure’. The possibilities are endless!

The Good Housekeeping guide rated it number 2 in their vibrator reviews earlier this year.

It also appeared on Good Morning by Tracey Cox!

I really do take my hat off to Tabitha Rayne for inventing this toy and to Rocks Off for working with her on making this toy a reality. The Best of Britain! This is a bloody brilliant toy and I recommend you get this for any friends that may have arthritis or limited mobility. For what it is, it’s a great price and also comes with a 6-month warranty.

Now don’t delay, give it a go!

For American/Californian Readers, and it’s not about Trump!

This post is for anybody who lives in or knows somebody who lives in California. I would love it if you could share this post to make everybody aware of how misleading Proposition 60 is and to vote against it.

I listen to quite a few sex podcasts and most of them are America-based. Something that they have all been discussing for the last few weeks is Proposition 60. This is a California-focussed proposition and the whole sex worker community is against it and is urging everybody to vote against it. It sounds good to begin with – to make sure that condoms are worn in all pornography, but as soon as you dig beneath the surface, it becomes ridiculous. Something that makes me very uncomfortable is the fact that if this is voted through, no pornstar’s life will be private, and anybody could get their address if they wanted. How invasive is that? There is more to it than that, but for me, this is what worries me the most.

The guests that all of the podcasts have been talking to about this are all intelligent and informed sex workers who have been in the industry for years and who can see how much this will change the face of porn, in a bad way!

To read more about it and find out how absurd it is, go to this website and also download the most recent episodes of The Whorecast to listen to discussions between sex workers about the impact this couldhave on their lives

There are 3 days until the vote so share this ASAP!

 

Do You Want To Read Some More Detailed Articles From Me?

Hello!

As per my post from last week, I listed all of the articles I had written for Diva. These were all stand-alone articles. I also write articles for Planet Nation, which is a community website for LBQ women in the UK. The articles I write for them follow on from each other, in small readable chunks. I will admit that I haven’t written one for them for a couple of months, but we posted the newest one yesterday!

If you would like to read them from the start, here are the links. The whole reason I write these particular articles is to almost walk you through the stages of masturbation through helping you understand your body a bit more and see the odd statistic here and there, and then give you some hints and tips on getting the most out of your solo sexploits.

An Introduction

Do You Know Your Vagina?

The Clitoris (And it won’t run away)

Lube, Glorious Lube

Mindful Masturbation

It’s Still Too Early To Orgasm!

Putting The O Into Your Orgasm

Stay tuned for more articles xxx

Links to my articles on the Diva Website

For a good part of this year, I was the resident ‘sexpert’ for Diva Magazine – the national lesbian magazine in the UK. A couple of months ago, Diva was bought by another company and unfortunately I didn’t make ‘the cut’. I therefore thought that this was a good opportunity for me to put links to all of the articles in one blog post, so if you want to read more of my writing outside of this blog, you can do. I also wrote articles for their print magazines but you’ll have to buy back copies to read those!

I shall put them here in chronological order, with January being the first one:

Top Ten DIY Techniques

The whole strap-on ‘thing’

Diva Tests OMGYes

Bring a subtle bit of kink into your relationship

Sex Pranks – Possible?

Masturbation Month!

Top Five Hi-Tech Sex Toys for Women

Five Ways to Achieve Intimacy Without Sex

Five Things You Might Not Know About Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Threesomes – A Beginner’s Guide

Enjoy!!

Polycystic Ovaries and how to deal with them

I attended a conference yesterday (Saturday the 15th) and it was a conference for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I was diagnosed with having this condition when I was 15. I got it checked again when I was 23 (the diagnosis when I was 15 was based on that fact that the ultrasound scan couldn’t find my ovaries, which was a sign that my ovaries were small and poorly!)

Having had a sharp increase in anxiety and weight gain over the last year, I thought it was time to think a bit more about the impact that PCOS was having on me, and what I could do to ‘make it better’

The conference was jam-packed full of speakers who had the perfect specialities for women like us. I learned one big myth, which was that there are no cysts involved! As a result of this, they are working on a name change. It also hit home when they spoke about our risks of getting type 2 diabetes and that being overweight accelerated this process. Oh, the other thing that helped me was that I need to make peace with the fact that I can’t expect loads of weight loss, but should still strive to be as fit and healthy as I can, even if it means having to shop in Evans for the rest of my life! (I kid. I’m not my mum and I am quite butch nowadays!)

I am going to stop myself from sharing with you all of the information I learned, because this post will go on forever! What I am going to say is that the speakers were of such a high calibre, and my goodness, we got a lot for the price we paid for the conference – £45 for 7 different talks, and we were fed really well too! My wife came with me and we were welcomed so warmly, and I must say, I felt like I was with ‘my people’ (if it was a conference for queer women with PCOS it would have been the ultimate ‘my people’!) By chatting with different women there, I was quick to see the various frustrations that come with having PCOS – whether it is hair loss, hirutism, difficulty in losing weight, anxiety and depression, acne, irregular periods and the added worry of the fact that us women are insulin resistant, which can increase the likelihood of us getting type 2 diabetes (3-fold) and cardiovascular diseases. With these discussions came a bit of relief in knowing that there is a reason my body is like this and also that I wasn’t alone. The bigger picture was that this was affecting everybody’s self-esteem.

The charity that holds this conference annually is called Verity. This is the only charity that focuses on PCOS, and I am grateful for this. I got to see the AGM in action, which was actually really informative and helpful! When it came to money, they shared with us the annual income of various charities and showed us what their income was in comparison. My goodness, I tell you, these women do so much for the world of PCOS in their spare time with so little money – all on a voluntary basis!

The reason I am writing this blog is to raise awareness of Verity and the work they do for PCOS that nobody else does. I am signing up to be a member in the next few days, which is only £15 for the year, and this includes getting money off your ticket to the conference (this year it was £10) and access to various information booklets, as well as a digital magazine. They also have a members area, which I think would be great for me, now that I am exploring this aspect of my life a bit more.

So. For those who have PCOS (oh, I also learned that some of us just have PCO without it being a syndrome) or those who know women with PCOS, please consider a donation or joining. They really don’t ask for much money, considering the benefits, and the hard work that they do for their members. If you could see how much money the big well-known charities make, you may see that it would be worth sending a fiver over to Verity instead every now and again!

There was a general consensus that PCOS isn’t taken too seriously by the medical professions, yet it affects 1 in 5 women in the UK. I remember the second time I was diagnosed – the Dr was so vague and nonchalant about it. I didn’t feel like I was being taken seriously.

Even if you donated a pound, it would help (that whole thing of ‘if everybody did a little’!) Please share this blog to raise awareness. I know that there are so many different charities out there and it is difficult to give money to them all. I get that. This is my agenda and if you think that it is anybody else’s agenda, let them know about it!

With love,

Rhiannon xx

Being a Human Book and why penetration is so invasive

This Saturday (October 8th) I was invited to be a ‘human book’ at the launch of the Cardiff branch of the Human Library.

The concept is beautifully simple – instead of reading a book to improve your knowledge base of a subject, have half an hour with a human book – somebody who has a speciality and can discuss it with you.

I’ve got to say – I bloody loved being a human book! It pretty much summarises the reason I chose to open up a business like this – to bring the subject of sex into a ‘mainstream’ environment and challenge perceptions and ideas. I am happy to say that I got to do plenty of that!

Because the subject of my ‘book’ was so out there, I wasn’t surprised that there weren’t people queueing up to see me. Unfortunately, this is the oxymoron of my life – people are fascinated by sex but don’t want to talk about it, even when somebody is offering too!

I did speak with a few individuals and I am aching to talk about my discussion with a couple of them, but I am a good and professional girl and am keeping that information confidential. I chatted a lot with groups of people in the end. I gave a lot of advice, but what I want to write about right now was a discussion I had with a group of people (some of the ‘books’ and some of the volunteer librarians), which was about penetration.

I am writing this as it comes out of my head, no filter, but want to put it out there this evening. I may come back to edit it tomorrow!  I hope not to offend too many people!

I may be going back to basics for some of you, but just information about the basic operation of man-woman penis-vagina sex could help open your mind up, and I am afraid to say this is particularly important for men to read. The conversation we had when on for quite a while and went into a lot of detail, but I am summarising it in only a few, but very important sentences!

I was discussing the fact that only 30% of women can orgasm from penetration alone (which most women don’t believe is that much!), so at least 70% of us need clitoral stimulation to orgasm.

Why is it, then, that most heterosexual relationships still mostly do penis-vagina sex?

Although I don’t like gender-stereotyping, there are some basic biological facts that set men and women apart. Put simply, men have penises and women have vaginas. (I understand that it isn’t that simple for a lot of trans people or intersex people, but I am focussing on the biology in this post, but will write a post soon on other genders x) Men love to stick their willies in things. Women don’t always like having things put inside them though – the plug and socket analogy isn’t equal on both parts.

When women are penetrated, they are being invaded every time. They have to allow something to go inside of them, which makes them vulnerable and often submissive. Remember – vagina is latin for ‘sheath’. Although the male and female bodies were originally designed to work like this, evolution is making this a grey area. We no longer need to populate the world, women no longer need to submit to men in a lot of countries, which is a very new thing as far as our history goes. With more people being born the wrong gender or with both or no gender, and different sexual desires, penis and vagina sex is starting to become a bit old fashioned.

Men need to understand that a lot of a time, a woman ends up compromising her pleasure so that the man can receive his pleasure. For those in more forward-thinking couples, the man recognises that for the woman to receive pleasure, clitoral stimulation needs to come into play so that she can feel pleasure whilst being penetrated.

Being a queer woman who sleeps with women, I know that sex can be a lot more explorative because there is giving and taking of pleasure. A lot of the gays – men and women – will agree that sex can be sex without penetration. A good cunnilingus session, mutual masturbation, handjobs. They are as satisfying as sex, and often even more satisfying that the traditional penis-vagina sex.

I want to encourage heterosexual couples to explore a little bit more and turn what you think is foreplay to just play. If a woman compromises sometimes and lets you put your penis inside her, why can’t you compromise and not put your penis in her vagina, and rather enjoy going down on each other or massaging each other’s genitals?

There is a huge imbalance in compromises when it comes to penis-vagina sex and I want to urge more men to ‘forego’ penetration every now and again so that your female partner can ‘forego’ being vaginally invaded. You know when your female partner says ‘I’m not in the mood’? I am quite certain that if you say ‘what if I go down on you whilst I masturbate’, she may suddenly be in the mood!

You may think that me using the word ‘invaded’ is a bit over the top, but imagine if you, as a bloke, had to take it up the bum every time you had sex – then you might understand what I mean.

There we go, that was my verbal diarrhoea getting typed out!

I’m off to sleep soon, big love,

Rhi xx

L Fest 2016 – Where you there? Part 4

Now we’re on Sunday!

Because our darling puppy Ollie charmed almost everybody at the festival, we were encouraged to enter the dog show at 10.30am, so we did! It turns out that a 3 month old puppy can’t do much to win the affections of a dog show judge. He couldn’t do any tricks (although by now he can) and he didn’t even win the ‘dog the judge would like to take home’ (although most of the people around us would have chosen Ollie!) so now we know what happens in the competition, we’re ready for next year! (‘Stage Moms’)

We missed a ‘Positive Mindset’ session, for that, which was a pity – good way to start the day off, great programming! My friend Caitlin who was also in charge of L Fest Social Media went to it and love it,

We decided to try a bit of Line Dancing after this, which was in the Dance Room in the Grandstand. Lara A King was hosting it – she was everywhere this weekend, performing, compering and speaking, I swear that she had one of those time changing necklace things that Hermione off Harry Potter had. Lara did make it clear that she was not a Line Dancing Instructor, so we had to bear that in mind. It was all over the place, though, and we left early!

We missed the beginning of another thing – ‘Effective Communication (How to communicate with Deaf People)’ but realised that we are quite good at that because of the line of work my wife works in, as well as my part time job a little bit, so we weren’t too gutted about that. I believe that it helped out the mutual friends a couple of yurts down from us who go to a knitting group in their local town and have a friend there who is hard of hearing.

We finally managed to catch some sketch comedy – Toots and Leigh. I know Kerry Leigh as a comedian and the host of Laughing Cows  (Back in my ‘stand up comedy days’ I performed alongside her a few times) This was fun but it was evident that it was new material. The Green Tent was a great place to test it out though and everybody had a fun time watching it :-)

We actually got around to having a proper look at all the stalls this afternoon too. Oh, the weather was lush, maybe a bit too lush actually, I got a little bit red!
There were some great stalls about though. There was the fabulous Kinky Monkey who make all kinda things outta leather – I sell their strap on harnesses.
There were some great clothing stalls too. I am currently at my fattest I’ve ever been, so didn’t have confidence that I would fit into anything. I loved Gender Free World – a website I had actually been on a week previous. They design clothes, especially shirts for all shapes and sizes, which is great for women who want to wear shirts. It was great that I got to try some shirts on to find out my size. It turns out that I need to lose some weight to fit into their bigger size though. The owner wasn’t there but the person who served me was so lovely and despite the shirt not fitting, she made me feel lovely and told me I was beautiful the way I was! She also said that she would feedback to the owner about making bigger sizes. It motivated me that bit more to get back to healthy eating! There was another one that sold their own designs on general t-shirts and caps. Unfortunately I have forgotten what they were called but it was sailor based. Not my kind of thing but I saw some people looking great in their clothing.

The Slamsisters were there – they are THE place to get lesbian-focussed greeting cards from, and coasters and mugs and tops and bags and pants! They may still have some calendars left too which are selling for £3 rather than £7.95.

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Honeypot gifts were there too selling handmade jewellery and their gorgeous rainbow corsages and buttonholes too. I swear I took a couple of pics of them but I can’t find any on my phone. Here is Ollie modelling one of their gifts though!20160716_123955

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One more stall I want to tell you about is FOCX – they make unisex boxers. I haven’t worn boxers for ages because of my womanly hips but now I’ve come out of my femme phase and am getting butcher again, I had a look around here. The owner was there, Emma Airey. She designs them, so it was great to be able to chat with her! I was concerned about whether they would fit me and she was confident that they would, and they did! I am a size 24 at the mo but the size 22s fit! They’re made of good stretchy material and have a proper gusset too. The biggest size was a 24 so I am very happy with this! They were quite expensive for a pair of pants (£19.99) but I can see why – very good quality, handmade (by Beryl!) and definitely worth it. They had a nice deal going on too.

Being a lesbian business owner, I really enjoyed exploring the different stalls and chatting with other lesbian business owners. It’s a good little club to be a part of! It is important to support your lesbian-owned businesses when you can.

Our next activity was ‘Signed, Sealed Delivered’ which was learning how to sign along to a song with Stacey Stockwell, who was signing all of the performances that weekend. This was a fab experience and my god, Stacey is so cool and funny and made both me and my wife a bit weak at the knees! (actually I said something to her to that affect and embarrassed myself a bit) We learned to sign along to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. For some reason, the sound system was unable to broadcast the lyrics, just the melody. It didn’t take away from the session at all, though, and I found it a bit poginant that we couldnt ‘hear’ the words. I am happy to say that I still remember how sign to the song, and Stacey has left an impression on me. She and her business owner own Beans Training which is disability awareness training. She gave us a great discount for the online BSL training too, which we are going to take them up on.

After that we popped Ollie back into the yurt for a bit and listened to Heather Peace from afar. We made it back to the big top before she’d finished so got to see her live for a bit.

My favourite part of the festival was the Laughing Cows comedy night – what a way to end the weekend! I can see why they programme it for when they do. Kerry Leigh was compering and was on top form! The comics on the stage that evening were Debra Jane Appleby, Allyson June Smith with Jen Brister headlining. They all had me in STITCHES! Bloody amazing, each and every one of them! If any of these fabulous comics are performing in your locality, you need to see them. My god I love women and I love comedy! Debra and Allyson weren’t queer identified but this didn’t matter in the slightest. No thing was made of it and we enjoyed them for the funny women they were. Jen did a bit of a poll of the age of the audience and asked who was born in the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, 60’s and 50’s and there were some decent ‘yays’ for most of them! If I remember correctly, there was even a solo yay from somebody born in the 40’s! This just goes to show the different kind of women this festival attracts – all ages and all backgrounds!

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Kerry Leigh Compering

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Debra Jane Appleby was first on

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Allyson Smith was second on

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Jen Brister talking about being a new mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was such a weekend and I implore anybody who has been uhming and ahhing about going to L Fest, you really need to go! You won’t regret it! If you don’t like camping, book a hotel room nearby. There really is something for everybody. One of my favourite things was the fact that when we sat down somewhere, we could strike up a conversation with absolutely anybody, and that is special.

Well done Cindy Edwards and her L Fest Crew for a fabulous weekend, and for booking me in to talk about sex!

L Fest 2016 – were you there? Part 3

The start of Saturday was fab. Apart from the queues at the shower delaying the beginning of the day, we got off to a good start.

We started in the Big Top/Main Stage at 10.30am to do an African Drumming workshop. We both love drumming and don’t do it enough! That was loads of fun!

The rest of the morning was a bit annoying. I introduced myself to the Stage Manager of the Arts Stage ahead of my 2.30pm talk. Because I was using a powerpoint presentation, they needed me back at 12.30pm to make sure that it was all working. Because of this, the morning ended up finishing a bit bitty. We popped over to the new Waitrose in Uttoxeter (not because we’re made of money, it’s because we couldn’t find Asda!) to pick up a few things we had forgotten to bring. Amateurs! We then went back to do the tech check, made some lunch, then I needed to get ready (put some decent clothes and make up on!)

The talk was fun. It is a mixture of education and fun facts and is something I now hope to develop further and possibly turn into a one woman show. I had a decent audience. I love to be on stage and talk publicly, so this wasn’t a problem. I was nervous, though, because I haven’t talked at such length all in one go about lady bits. I have written a lot about it and have done short talks on it, but this was longer. The projector screen wasn’t ideal. It was quite small and was hidden a bit by a lectern thingy which couldn’t be moved. As it was daylight, the images themselves were a bit faint, so I learned from that and next time there will be handouts! Having a background in stand up comedy, I realised later that my comedian muscle memory had come back, and I thought that it hadn’t gone too well because I didn’t ‘get many laughs’….I wasn’t after laughs! I was there to educate! Considering it was an educational laugh, I did get quite a few laughs actually,  in the right places!

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It was such a pleasure for some women to approach me afterwards and ask a few more questions and also give me food for thought. There were some trans women at the talk who also told me that they learned a lot, so this was very special to be able to do that.

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After the talk, we had an early tea and chatted with a few people/friends then we got ready for the sex toy soiree. At my sex toy soirees, I have toys available to buy whilst I am there, so we had half an hour in-between the last act and us to set everything up, including a couple of tables to show some products off on. Thank god for the wife, otherwise I never would have been able to do it on my own!

The soiree was a lot of fun. It is something I do regularly, but usually in the front room of my customers’, so this was the biggest crowd I have ‘performed’ a soiree to! There’s something special about doing a soiree for a queer female audience. ‘my people’! I had a couple of people volunteer themselves to model some strap-ons for me too! I usually pass the toys around for people to look at but there were too many people for this. Unfortunately I lost one little toy that day, which is a pity, but a hazard of the job I spose.

The soiree went on for longer than the hour it was scheduled for, but luckily I was the last one there for the night in the Green Tent, so I went on a bit longer. Mind you, it was a whistlestop tour of the toys! We were near the main tent and we heard Saffron from Republica singing so that was fun! There were lots of questions afterwards (I love questions!) and some people had some fun to have in their tent that evening!

After that, we packed back up and got ready for the evening. We had some of those gin and tonic cans and I drank three of those quite quickly (Wifey finished her first one by that point. and seemed hellbent on getting drunk that night) I had a warm beer from the car, yum, and we could hear the main tent from where we were, so we heard Amy Winehouse perform. Well, an impersonator who did a bloody great job! It’s a pity we didn’t get there to see her but it was good that we heard her at least.

Eva Iglesias was on the stage when we got there. Wifey loved it! I thought she was good but the crowd were going wild for her! Eva has been on allll the shows and has got far on them – X Factor, Britain’s got Talent and The Voice! Her time on stage was fun and you could tell that she was absolutely loving it, in a good way! She seemed quite humbled by it all :-)

The Amy Winehouse impersonator was Vicky Jackson, and she came back on after Eva again as P!nk – OH YEAH!! She was brilliant and it really felt like P!nk was there. It was awesome! Something else quite funny was that at one point, as P!nk she said ‘Did you all enjoy Amy Winehouse? You wanna know something weird – that was me! Weird huh!’ ‘lol’

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I’ve just popped on her website and she also does Katy Perry, Jessie J and Lady Gaga. What a talent!…. and I’ve just spent 20 minutes watching her stuff on YouTube! She has done some vocals for Duplex – A Drum & Bass DJ/DJ’s? I’m in heaven! <stop obsessing, stop obsessing>

Ironically, we were knackered after that and bumped into a couple of friends and after that we went to sleep. Boring. But knackered. We didn’t drink anymore because the drinks cost a lot of money. I think I had a half hour of tipsiness then it went away!

I’ll tell you how Sunday went in my next post.

L Fest 2016 – were you there? Part 2

So yes! We got to Uttoxeter early Friday evening – much later than we thought, but that’s what comes of living with my wife and me not communicating my thoughts properly!

The first event (the welcome talk from Cindy!) didn’t start until 8.30pm anyway, so we didn’t miss out on anything. I get terrible FOMO.

L Fest had released an app this year with the timetable of everything that was going on over the weekend, a map, their twitter timeline, a list of performers/talks/workshops in alphabetical order, and you had the chance to tick the bits you wanted to go to, then the ‘My L Fest’ bit would show you your timetable based on what you had ticked. You could also create some L Fest ‘postcards’ with pics that you had taken and any pics you took on your camera that weekend would be automatically put in your timeline on the ‘My L Fest’ bit! It was a very nifty piece of tech. I believe it was the first time they have presented an app and it was very cool. My main bugbear was that they did the timetable by day and then by venue. It would have been nice to have just seen a list of events in order of time. If it was 3pm and you wanted to see what was going on, you would need to click into each venue to see what was on, and I found this a bit confusing and time consuming. I am sure that they are aware of this feedback though, and I hope that maybe they can work towards changing that for next year. To be fair, they did also provide printed out timetables from the Saturday. All in all, though, it was a great app and allowed all of the artists, including me, to promote themselves with a biog and links to their twitter account and website. Very helpful.

Here is an example of a postcard:

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When you create one, you can share it, but it only shares it as a link. I think it would be nice to be able to download the pic :-) I have shared a screenshot. You can keep generating a new one until you have one that you like.

Actually, the first event was at 7pm and it was the solos meet up – a fabulous service to provide. L Fest is really good at making single attendees feel included, and provide them with an opportunity to meet other solos as soon as possible on the Friday, which then helps them settle in for the rest of the weekend and make new friends (or more!)

So, here is a list of the venues:

Main Stage
Green Stage Tent/Truck
Arts Stage
L Fest Dance
Creative Arena
Kids Area
Cinema
The Retreat
Fire Pit

Funnily enough, the main stage is where all the big acts took place, like Saffron from Republica, Heather Peace, a lot of music acts throughout the day and the comedy night at the end of the weekend.

The Green Stage/Truck was a bit more cabaret stylee (to be used in the lightest sense of the word) with more music and some comedy. The truck and stage were different venues but basically, it was more about the weather. If it was sunny, the act could perform outside on the Truck Stage. If it was raining, they could perform inside the tent. It was mostly down to the artist to choose between the two. They also had a silent disco every night!

The Arts Stage is where a lot of talks/workshops were held and some spoken word events. The more ‘educational’ and calm part of the festival!

L Fest Dance…guess what…a lot of dance happened there! This was a big room based in the Grandstand of the racecourse. During the day it was various dance classes and at night it was DJ stylee.

The Creative Arena is cool. Its a whole circle of different tents, some of them offer little art workshops. My wife made a dreamcatcher last year but didn’t get the chance to do anything this year. There are also a few stalls about but it’s a big area, this bit.

Kids Area – L Fest  are family inclusive too and make sure that there are some activities for children too. This tended to take place within the Creative Arena.

The cinema showed some fab queer and female-based films all weekend, and was in another part of the grandstand. I really wanted to watch a couple of things but the timings didn’t work this time for me, unfortunately.

The Retreat was in a building next to the grandstand and this is where you could get some beauty treatments or some massage. We intended to go in there and treat ourselves but we didn’t get around to it!

The Fire Pit was based in the campsite and was a place to hang out and wind down. We went there on our first night and it was lovely and chilled and a lovely person gave us each a massive marshmallow and a skewer each to toast it – thank you! It was quite quiet when we went there, but that was nice. The fire itself was modest. Maybe the word ‘pit’ made it sound more epic, but it was still lovely!

On our first night we just did a lot of wandering around and sitting down! We attended the welcome talk, we checked out the eating area. There were some great eaty places. The crepe van was ‘very lesbian’, she did some great crepe fillings which I’m sure a lot of the festival goers would have really appreciated! We had one with Biscoff spread, banana and cinammon – YUM! (My wife invented the combo!) There was also a fish finger sandwich van, a veggie food only van, some freshly cooked thai food, and there was more. It definitely wasn’t like the usual food vans at a festival. They were all small companies and seemed to be mostly lesbian/queer owned too. Nice one!

After popping our heads in to various bits and bobs and finishing our marshmallow at the fire pit, we went to sleep. We didn’t drink or party. I suppose for me, I had an important day ahead of me and my wife was being lovely and supportive!

 

L Fest 2016 – were you there? Part 1

Who here remembers my blog post that I wrote about L Fest last year? I visited it for a day and loved it! I wrote a post advising all LBQ women and their friends to go, and if you didn’t, I am going to write up how it went this year. I went there for the whole weekend with my wife and it was a mixture of business and pleasure this time.

The main reason we went last year was to see whether I wanted to trade there. The problem was that there were so many fun things going on that I didn’t want to be tied to a stall all weekend but it was the perfect place for me to bring my business to! As I am trying to move my business model away from retail and more into public speaking and education, Cindy – the organiser – agreed that I could have a couple of speaking gigs instead. Perfect!

I was to do ‘Sex Geek Natter with Rhiannon Kemp-Davies’ at 2.30pm on the Saturday in the Arts Stage and have a good ol’ queer sex toy soiree later on at 6pm in the Green Tent.

In our 5 years together, my wife and I have never been camping together. We have both done it a lot in the past, but we agreed that as we didn’t have any camping equipment, we were going to try out ‘glamping’ and we hired a Green Yurt. This was something that we splashed out on. As I am a small owner  of a new-ish business, I haven’t yet made enough money for me to take out of the business yet, so my budget has been terribly tight for 2 years. I couldn’t quite afford a European weekend getaway so we agreed to camp in luxury with a yurt instead. This was our summer holiday! Our review of the yurt was that it wasn’t as good as what we hoped for. Yes, we had our own power supply, yes we had a lockable door and yes, we could stand up in the tent! We also paid for Green Yurts to provide bedding and air mattresses. It ended up being quite a difficult tent to sleep in. We opted for 2 single air mattresses instead of a double because of our size! There was barely any room for us to move around, and trying to navigate a tent whilst rolling around on 2 air beds wasn’t fun! We got ourselves a puppy maybe a month prior to coming and brought him with us (important to socialise the pup at an early age!) and there was just about enough room for his small crate. There was also a big flappy thing at the top of the tent, which was part of the structure and kept the tent from blowing it away, but it made a lot of noise when it was windy, so as it is Uttoxeter Racecourse, we had the flapping pretty much constantly. We made do, though, and didn’t complain about it. We got on with our weekend, but we left at 11.30pm on the final night so that we could get home and sleep in our normal beds. The Green Yurt guys were lovely, but the price they charged (£490) wasn’t appropriate in our opinions. They used solar power energy, though, which we liked! There were different sizes – we were in the smallest one. We could have upgraded and got a slightly bigger one with proper camping beds. There were also bell tents, but goodness knows how much thy were. We are already chatting with some friends who are more serious about coming next year and whether sharing a big bell tent would be cost effective. There is no doubt that we are going to want to come every year but need to figure out if we should invest in some camping equipment (although the car was jam packed because of the stock I brought) or pay for a dog friendly B&B in Uttoxeter…or share a big bell tent with friends! Can you hire a winnebago?!

What was good about being on the campsite, though, was the sense of community and camaraderie. All those who had forked out for a yurt or a bell tent were in one part of the racecourse and because of another part being waterlogged, everyone else who was camping had to move up a field, so our little yurt community must have looked like right jammy bastards! There are 2 sets of showers placed in the racecourse, I think there were 5 showers in each set. On the first morning, one of the sets had broken, so the queues were a bit sickening, BUT at least there was at least one set of showers to go to still! Obviously most of us wanted to shower at around the same time so there will always be queues, but it is a chance to chat with people, which adds to that sense of community. We got on with all of our yurt neighbours a lot, and funnily enough, 2 doors down, was another couple from Cardiff who we had met a couple of times before because we have a couple of mutual friends!

Oh, something I want to add is that when you buy your ticket for the weekend, camping is included. We obviously paid extra for the yurt. A LOT extra!

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Ooh, I tell you what is also nice. Almost every person there loves dogs! We noticed how many dogs there were last year so were looking forward to being one of those with a dog! Our yurt neighbours all loved him and kept him entertained and covered in love, and it took us ages to walk to anywhere because so many people wanted to stop and say hello to him! It was very flattering and it was lovely to see him get so much attention…but my gosh it was difficult to get anywhere on time! There was one girl who screamed in his face because she found him that adorable! They also have Doggy Day Care, which is a fab service to have as part of the ticket price. Sometimes we would leave Ollie in the tent in his crate for a bit to chill, sometimes he would be with us and sometimes he was in doggy day care. Many people we met said that we should take him to the dog show on Sunday morning too – he is very cute! Here is a pic of him at my talk!

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Ok, so this post is a bit more of a preamble, but a good way to communicate the feel of the festival and also give you an idea of the yurts! The second post will be about the rest of our first day and what L Fest has to offer.