The Burnt

I’m burnt out.

Simple as that. There’s no point in me weighing my words or giving this post a funny little introduction. Because there ain’t nothing funny about this. Those three words can’t, to me, be spun into something they’re not.

It’s important for me to write it down as plainly as this. It’s important in times like this, when health both mental and physical are collaborating to create a giant and painful fog around me, that I write it down like this. It’s like sending myself a semaphore message though the fog – a Norman-from-Bake-Off-esque missive in written form, which I can come back to and read so I can remind myself that this is what’s going on.

It helps. Just like I use Spoon Theory to express how this feels to others, this is how I express myself to… well, ehm… myself. I am burnt out. And it’s okay to sit down and re-evaluate for a second. Take breaths. Relax shoulders. Rest and sit with self in some weird form of peace.

I’m writing this down now because in the last few days especially, I have been angry with myself for not “being more productive”. Full on, red-hot, how-dare-you-you-silly-shit rage. Which in itself is completely anti-productive as it sends you into this weird cycle of apologising to yourself for no reason as you go into overdrive trying to keep up with doing everything this anger is telling you you’re “meant” to be doing but aren’t doing. “Meant” to be doing is the key here – because your brain will start making shit up that really isn’t essential or time sensitive or something and then it’ll start shouting at you because this thing that isn’t of the essence/deadline-sensitive is something you should have already done. Twice.

I’m burnt out. Day job, tiring brain, tiring body, Weird Cycle of Shit I’m Supposedly Meant To Be Doing.

So, yeah.

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Angus, Thongs and Thank You, Louise

I discovered Louise Rennison in secondary school. And I firmly believe that her writing, at least for a part, shaped me as not a writer but as a human.

There are some books and authors that helped me on my way to becoming the short-arse smuttist I am right now. But when I found Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (translated edition, of course) and buried myself between its pages, it was like I’d found a bit of me that was being held down. A bit that, due to my very unusual school situation, hadn’t actually come to fruition. It was literary teenage golddust, in the form of a girl called Georgia Nicholson.

If you’re not familiar with the book (Young adult, humour, epistolary, part one in a 10-book series), I present the blurb.

Angus: My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat. The size of a small Labrador, only mad.

Thongs: Stupid underwear. What’s the point of them, anyway? They just go up your bum, as far as I can tell

.Full-Frontal Snogging: Kissing with all the trimmings, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues … everything.

Her dad’s got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her best friend thinks she looks like an alien — just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stalking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia’s year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever!

Georgia has a mother, a father, a three-year-old sister named Libby and a really fucking strange cat named Angus. She’s got a friend named Jas, along with the other members of the Ace Gang. And she’s got the mother of all teenage crushes on the aforementioned Sex God, the older Robbie. Georgia’s got a good heart, despite being a bit self-obsessed and difficult. She challenges and talks back to authority figures. She swears. She’s inappropriate. She tries to impress Robbie by bleaching a strip of her hair blonde, only for it to come off in her hand because fuck bleaching hair is what that is.

Georgia is a genuine teenager, blossoming into her sexuality in her own awkward, funny, sometimes painfully wrenching way. And I totally, utterly fell in love with her.

I steamrollered my way through the books (although I’m sad to say I didn’t finish the series), lapping up every word. I laughed. I cried. I rooted for Georgia and Robbie and got sad when Robbie fucked off to New Zealand. And then I was happy again because the Luuuurve God (an Italian guy called Massimo) entered the scene. And of course, the ever present Dave the Laugh because every teenage girl needs that friend where it could always be something more than just friends.

Basically, Georgia was (and remains) my hero. In between these pages, she showed me things I wasn’t experiencing. She showed me things I was experiencing, proving that I wasn’t alone. And she made me laugh like a drain while doing it. Georgia made me feel okay about those awkward moments and weird bits that come with being a teenager.

So when the news broke the other day that Louise Rennison had passed away, I felt… like shit, really. This was the woman who’d given my teenage self something to hold on to. Words to cherish when life got crap. The knowledge that it’s okay to come into your sexuality and your adulthood with massive bumps and awkward silences. And now she was gone.

I spent a few days mulling over this post, wondering whether it would fit on this blog at all. But I came to the conclusion that it really fucking does. Yeah, this is a blog about sex and relationships. It’s also a blog about past aches, about being 17 and yearning for love, about wanting to kiss and wanting a Robbie of my own.

Thank you, Louise. Thank you for Georgia, thank you for your words, thank you for writing with the kind of honesty that inspires me at 25 as much as it did at 17. I shall be wearing my best boy-entrancers in your honour.

Incidentally, I started this post a few days ago and, due to work, only got to finish it today. Which is great because I can tell you about how I was on my way back from an event at work last night. I stumbled through the tube carriage, grateful to find a seat – a seat opposite a woman who couldn’t have been that much older than I was, buried deep into a book and breaking out into giggles on more than one occasion.

That book? Dancing in my Nuddy Pants: More Confessions of Georgia Nicholson.

As it’s World Book Day today – if you’re looking for a cracking read, whether you’re 17 or in your 30s, get the Georgia Nicholson books from The Book Depository. Free shipping and all. I promise you won’t regret it.

Also – Patreon pimpage time! If you like my writing, please do consider becoming my Patron on there.

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Fifteen

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So, that was 2015. Plenty of other things happened in my life, of course. We moved out of ILB’s folks’ house. I got a job which makes my heart sing (and my knees ache like a fucking bastard). My mum made a recovery and is doing as well as she can be doing. I am currently combatting one of the worst depressive episodes in my life to date. I met new people. I learned from the man I love that taking ownership of my blog and its content is the right direction for 2016.

And we attended three weddings in a short space of time, which was a bit perplexing – not to mention the arrival of four babies in our immediate circle not long after.

Anyway. I’m not the sort to give out awards for things usually, but…

 

Top 5 blogs which kept me going of the year

1. Oh Joy! Sex Toy!

2. Sex Blog (of Sorts)

3. Girl on the Net

4. The Guyliner

5. Trout Nation

 

Top 5 just goddamn awesome people

1. Shine Louise Houston (for Snapshot and being a general awe-inspirer)

2. Stoya (because the sheer guts it took her to do what she did bowls me over)

3. Emily Nagoski (for Come as You Are and being the inspiration for #LubeYouLots)

4. Hayley Campbell (for some of the most fascinating long-form writing of the year)

5. YOU (for reading this blog and all that)

 

Sexiest bits of fiction I have read this year

1. Mid-Life Career Changes by Jessica Taylor (from Spy Games: Thrilling Spy Erotica)

2. My Life as a Vibrator by Livia Ellis (from Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica)

3. Simon, Caroline, paella and a ridiculously intense encounter in the kitchen which made me go cross-eyed when I read it on the bus (from Wallbanger by Alice Clayton)

4. ANYTHING involving Juliette and Kingsley (from The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz)

5. The wedding night (from Outlander: Cross-Stitch by Diana Gabaldon… incidentally, also read on a bus, although this one was a coach and it was barely occupied)

 

See y’all in 2016, folkses.

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Sotto Voce – Or How I Once, Accidentally, Told an Entire Leisure Centre About My Crush

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LadyLBaviI always think an awkward moment feels less awkward in hindsight when you talk about it. It’s essentially one of the pillars of this very blog, because I’ve had quite a few in my life and sharing them with you all makes me feel… you know, less like my teenage self was a bit of a pillock. Which she was, but don’t tell her that.

This story is actually about my pre-teen, eleven-year-old self, which happened during that summer and a particularly heady ten-day-long crush. All crushes are heady when you’re eleven. It’s that kind of age where you can lose hours scribbling combinations of your name and their name on any available piece of paper (Jillian Bloom, Jillian Boyd-Bloom, Jillian Bloom-Boyd… try saying all of those while stuck with a nasty cold). That summer, my crush was a bit more tangible than Canterbury’s resident Sindar Elf. He was one of the play workers at the residential care camp I was on – well, not really a residential camp but for the purposes of this post I’ll refer to it as that (the actual explanation would take a while…)

The play workers had a turn-around time of about every ten days. A fresh batch of sixteen-to-twenty year old childcare students would be shipped in regularly, and we would welcome them and do activities with them and generally have a jolly good time. When he arrived, I was on a day out with my dad, so when I first saw him it was that evening. I don’t quite remember what he looked like now but to me-back-then, he looked absolutely dreamy. It was the start of ten days filled with more teenage love angst than your average season of Dawson’s Creek.

On one of those days, our group took a trip to a nearby leisure centre with the intention of going for a swim. I was the oldest of the older group, along with one other girl who I shared a dressing room with at the swimming pool. We got along really well and we were in the middle of a leisurely chat when the subject of my crush on Play Dude (which will be his name for the remainder of this post) came up.

The environs were quite noisy, which I didn’t have a problem with because if you know me, you know that my voice projects. So I regaled all the details of my very deep and very real feelings about Play Dude to my friend. All such excitement, until I opened the door to see Play Dude and Tee (another play worker, who was Play Dude’s mate) standing there. Right there, having been in the dressing room right next to ours and having both heard EVERY LAST THING I SAID.

To be fair, I wasn’t very subtle about my crush on Play Dude (when are you ever subtle at that age?) but the fact that they were both right there, having heard all the embarrassingly gushy things I said about Play Dude…

It just went on from there, really. Days upon days of this sort of stuff until it was time for the next turn-over. It reached the nadir on that very day. When they were preparing to leave, I got a bit… desperate? I don’t know. In those days I was desperate for any boy to notice me – and I really, really wanted my first kiss. I had a massive case of FOMO on that front before it even had a name.

And so, just as they were about to leave, I sort of lurched towards him and tried to peck him on the cheek. Which he brushed off of course, because it was the sensible thing of him to do. But at the age of eleven, I felt ridiculously forlorn for quite some time after that. I will always remember that day at the pool though. Mainly because the actual sequence of events occurred in a way that I can only describe as “very E4 comedy”. Zooey Deschanel, eat your heart out.

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Avian Distraction

Moira Shearer In The Red Shoes

The other day, I was on my way home from a press do I attended on behalf of my day job. It was entirely too hot. I felt sticky and dehydrated and pissed for no specific reason – and not to mention achingly horny. Not the kind of bodily horn where your heart beats that little bit faster and your genitals are throbbing, begging for sweet and ecstatic relief. But mind horny. The kind of horny where you conjure up increasingly elaborate scenarios in your head until you’re so beyond any reason you end up swinging from a chandelier.

Or something to that tune…? I don’t know. You get what I mean, right? It’s a bit too hot to get all wordy and shit.

Anyway. Hot, on the tube, horny in my mind to the point where nothing around me really seemed real.

So when I spotted the parrot, I thought I’d actually fainted from the vapours.

I know, I know, this isn’t Victorian Lady Laid Bare, but Christ alive, it was the weirdest thing I’d seen on the tube in quite some time. And I’m talking about the London Underground, where last year Jay-Z and Chris Martin were spotted leisurely on their way to Jay’s gig at the O2 on the Jubilee line. But you should know that, because I work from home, I don’t often commute into the Big Smoke. So when I do, I am on the lookout for this kind of shit.

I did not see the parrot coming, though.

It was in a pet transport box, lounging next to a woman who got off at St. Pancras with her friend, and her exotic-looking bird. I blinked in disbelief about eleventy-seven times, almost willing the few people around me to engage me in conversation about THE FUCKING PARROT, DID YOU SEE IT?

Nobody did though. But I didn’t mind. It was a good temporary distraction from the nagging need to grab my boyfriend, push him down on the bed and ride him until we both shuddered with pleasure. Not to say that I’m not still thinking about that, but hey.

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A Midsummer’s Night’s Reawakening

Moira Shearer In The Red Shoes

I’d never experienced true magic before, not until this midsummer’s night.

ILB had been invited to a summer solstice gathering at Pandora Blake’s place – and he’d gently persuaded me to come with. Which I reckoned would be a Good Thing to do considering we’d both had weeks that I’d rather forget had ever happened. So, as we were greeted by Pandora in her backyard, I felt happy to be away from everything, if only for a couple of hours.

I genuinely didn’t expect to still be there at sunrise.

It was nice to find someone from our community living so nearby. The last couple of months, especially since Eroticon ended, were a bit of a disconnect for me, and to sit there chatting with Pandora and ILB about anything and everything felt a bit like putting a plug back in. As the evening went on, I made the acquaintance of some of the most wonderful, amazing and admirable people I’d ever met. By midnight, we were stood in the garden being mesmerized by fire poi.

I’d never experienced something like that before. I’ve never really had friends who accepted me just for being me, and here I was amongst people I’d only just met but felt like I’d known for so much longer. And I didn’t feel like an awkward twat at all. Well, except during our game of Apples to Apples – but that’s just because I kept getting really terrible cards.

Greeting the next six months of our lives in the garden, at sunrise, after staying awake the entire night, was one of the most beautiful, moving and magical moments I’ve ever experienced. We stumbled home, high on life and love and with a whole bunch of extraordinary new friends.

And, in my case, probably a couple of fun bruises.

PS – There’s a lot of writer-y stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks, including the release blitz of the anthology I edited, Flappers, Jazz and Valentino. Dead excite, totes emosh and all that. So if you’re a fan of writer me as well, stay tuned.

Also, I’m writing a *whisper it* novella… Ooh…

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Mr. Blue Eyes

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As soon as I remembered him, I knew I had to blog about him.

I was about twelve years old when this happened, so you’ll have to forgive me if it’s all a bit hazy. It was an afternoon not unlike this one, and I was at the hairdressers in town, with mum. I was sat next to the door, reading a magazine, when it opened to let in the busy sounds of the road outside, along with a gust of wind. I was engrossed in my reading so felt a bit miffed when the door opened.

And then I turned to face one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever seen in my life. Well, back then.

My tiny teenage mind was blown. He was absolutely stunning, from his slick black hair to his hellish (and I mean, my god) blue eyes. Add to that the fact that he was English and I was sold. I wasn’t the only one staring though. I swear, every woman in that salon was in awe of him, trying to sneak glances at any given opportunity.

If he could have understood what they were saying, he would have been… well, I don’t know. Flattered? Out of there faster than Road Runner? All I knew what that he was hot as hell. I distinctly remember sitting at the wash table, sipping Coke through a straw and keeping an eye on him.

Looking back, I think it was the first time I was full-on sexually attracted to someone, although I didn’t quite understand it at the time. It only lasted the duration of his stint at the salon – as you may have guessed, I never saw those blue eyes again. But it was enough to have a rather big impact on me.

I find it incredibly hard to look people in the eye when I’m talking to them. Which is shit, because the eyes also happen to be the first thing I notice about a person. It doesn’t seem like it, but eyes can tell you a lot about a person and, to an extent, about how you see people. Of the brief moments I glimpsed into this man’s eyes, these beautiful and striking blue eyes, I discovered two things –

The first was that if we’d been the same age, and I’d actually been flirting with him, he would have definitely broken my heart.

The second was that I really wanted to be with someone who I could look in the eye and see love reflected back at me. (Which I am, so yay)

I didn’t know who he was, what his name was or if his decision to wear sandals that day was ironic. But just now, as I rode the bus home and saw the sun reflected in the windows, he provided me with a very happy memory.

Which is always nice, I guess.

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Peace Out

It’s not very rock and roll to admit that you’re basically spending the last day of the year curled up on the sofa, petering about on the interwebs and watching a Great British Bake Off marathon.

But that, my friend, is exactly what I’m doing. And it is exactly what I want to be doing.

Christmas was brilliantly awesome, brilliantly batshit and absolutely tiring as buggery. So, as you would expect, sex wasn’t really a thing that happened. Except for that time it did.

I’ve had time to reflect though. So, here are some moments that I rather liked in the past year.

In the spirit of being all cheesy and looking-forward-y, Christmas also gave me just about the best gift ever, in the form of love and support from his family. And life continues to keep giving me the gift of a man who I utterly adore, and a mother who manages to always be extra supportive, even though she’s miles away.

So, with the raindrops dripping, counting down the seconds and hours until a fresh year comes in and says hello, I think I can conclude as such:

2013 might not have been the best year of my life, but it had brilliant moments, from which I learned, which I treasure and which I shall take with me into this new year.

So, watch out, 2014. The game is on again.

Happy New Year, and lots of love. May you get everything you want, do things that surprise even you and continue to be awesome in 2014. Let’s make some waves, bro!

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Year, End

2014 is peeking on the horizon and 2013 prepares to sneeze and regenerate into the next year (or at least, I think that’s how Matt Smith regenerated into Peter Capaldi…). I reckon now is as good a time as any to take stock and set goals for the next 12 months, especially as I plan to spend the dying days of this year doing absolutely fuck all. 

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