Wednesday 22 January 2014

Real lingerie models, unreal underwear lines and righteous abs

 American Eagle’s new campaign for lingerie line Aerie features models who have not be air-brushed. The campaign has generated a lot of positive interest on twitter, and a spokesperson for the campaign said, “We left beauty marks, we left tattoos, what you see is really what you get with our campaign.” It’s a very laudable aim, and we hope they’ll keep going with it, rather than having just a single campaign that champions the cause of natural beauty. We like to think everybody (and every body!) is gorgeous in his or her own way, and making the most of what we have should be enjoyable and exciting, not painful and punishing, so we’re totally behind the images, in every sense of the word!

Murray Mound given a whole new meaning!

Sadly not. It did make our hearts beat a little faster and our breath flutter a little more when we heard that everybody’s favourite tennis player, Andy Murray, recently registered his name as a trademark to cover knickers, suspender belts, boxers, socks and dresses! We’d love to see Andy in his skivvies, no doubt about that. But his PR company claim that Andy Murray isn’t going to launch is own underwear line, rather, this copyrighting process is to prevent anybody else from doing so. Shame. But to cheer us up after that disappointment, we thought we’d share one of our favourite pictures of Murray in action … boxer band and all!

And if that’s whetted your appetite for more man-candy, we’d like to bring the side action, fast release, sheer Pistola by Sensualle to your attention – just right for your man for Valentine’s Day!

So … abs in undies?

Time’s moved on from the days that women were considered to be perfect when they were cuddly. Today, women are as likely to have flat, or even six-pack abs, as their menfolk. Just like Aerie Real, we believe the sexiest body is the one you live in and love, so whether you prefer curvy, pillowy, ironing board flat or fully six-packed, here are our tips on having a happy, healthy tummy!

Do your Kegels. While Kegel exercises are fantastic for your sex life, and will help you be comfortably continent in later life, they also help to engage the transverse abdominal muscles which surround the core and give you a tighter, and therefore stronger, torso.

Be ab-happy. Core muscles shouldn’t be worked until they are warmed up. Because the core takes some of the strain placed on the spine when properly activated, it’s really important to ensure that you warm up well before starting any ab-crunching activity. Fun ways to warm up the abs include floor-work (both prone and supine bringing knees to chest or heels to buttocks), some upbeat dancing and big hip and belly circles, bellydancer style.

Half of ab-work happens on the plate. No amount of sit ups and crunches will deal with a poor diet, so focus on getting lots of lean protein, fruits and vegetables but be careful about too much fibre – whilst natural fibre (that found in raw or lightly cooked fruit and vegetables and whole grains) is generally great, many ‘high fibre’ processed snacks are stuffed with forms of fibre that may be more difficult to digest – some that contain high levels of inulin, can actually make you more bloated as inulin is difficult for some people to digest. So read those labels carefully as you might be undoing all your good work with that ‘healthy high fibre’ snack!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Surging sales for adult items, menswear makeover, and princess play

Something's on the rise …

Sales figures, to be precise. We're buying more lingerie, sex toys and adult themed gadgets than ever, according to end of year financial reports from some of the biggest players around: Agent Provocateur doubled its profits in the last financial year, and Lovehoney increased turnover by 51%. What does this mean for the future of sexy undies and grown-up toys?

Well, it's all positive. The consumer has become more discerning while the role of gadgets and lovely clothing in developing deeper, happier and more fulfilled sexual relationships has moved out of the shadows and into the heart of modern life.

Online lingerie retailers have been a big force in allowing women, in particular, to find what they want and explore their own fantasies, sexuality and appearance. Finally, the growth of boudoir photography, online dating and avatar-related sex play have freed many people to discover new ways of expressing, and sharing, dreams and desires.

So what's next? We predict a boom in online experiences with people using online lingerie and sex toy retailers more as a venue than a shop ... trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms, getting opinions from others in closed forums about which toy to buy for a special evening at home etc.

What men wish for ...?

According to Homme Mystere many men want bra and panty sets they can wear to work. The company creates lingerie that is based on the traditional lacy, floral designs marketed to women, but the China Doll range, amongst others, is plus sized and redesigned so that it fits the male form. It's also discreet enough to wear under traditional male clothing - although we'd caution chaps to be careful about bras worn under white or pastel shirts; who hasn't had the inadvertent 'see through shirt' experience at some time?

The lingerie is being marketed in Japan, where it started an intense debate on the social networking site Mixi, and let's remember that Japan is the country where schoolgirls sell their used knickers in vending machines (okay, the parliament passed a law outlawing this practice in 1993 but it still goes on, illegally!) So what do our readers think? We have to admit, we've watched this video quite a few times … purely for research purposes, of course!

Princess Play

Yes, somewhat of a new concept to us too. Not the princess bit, we're all in favour of letting our inner Fiona, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella run the show, and of blurring the boundaries between fantasy and fairy story. We're also pretty keen on letting our own Puss in Boots, wicked stepmother and Beast out to play, being equal opportunity explorers of the realm of 'let's pretend', particularly in the bedroom! But that's not what we're talking about here, and once again it's those whacky Japanese who are presenting us with a new view of kink. It's Disney princesses - specifically Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Rapunzel and each of them now has a matching bra and brief set, in their cartoon colours, but in adult women's sizes.

We're not sure how to take this development - isn't the whole point of Disney characters that they're wholesome and too good to be true? Also, do we really want little girls thinking that they need scanty panties and an underwired bra to be their favourite cartoon character?  On the whole, although we support everybody's right to discover what works for them in the bedroom, we think adult princesses can probably organise their own underwear, thanks very much. And if you'd like a recommendation, we'd always plump for the Beauty Night Glamour Set - stunningly sexy undies with definite princess power!

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Selfies in your undies

No lesser authority than the Financial Times says underwear is the new outerwear – so it must be official! The article is long … really long, so we’re going to be brief … very brief (or even very briefs!)

We love the idea of underwear as outerwear but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to pull off. Of course that’s no reason not to try it, but we’d advocate starting simply and working your way to the full ‘abs out’ bra and shorts with stilettos look! How about beginning with a gorgeously decorated bra under an intentionally sheer blouse worn with a long boho skirt? Once you’ve mastered the peekaboo look, you can begin a more flamboyant journey into lingerie as streetwear. There’s the Rihanna approach of wearing a bright teddy with tall boots, under a long coat – it’s not as natural a look in chilly Britain as it is in the balmy Bahamas but if you fancy it, why not try layering some lace by investing in a lovely teddy, pulling on a lacy shrug over the top and slipping into mini-skirt. Top the lot with a fun-fur coat and you’ve got an original and sultry look that isn’t too blatant. We’d suggest Giselle by Diki, as it comes with its own overjacket for those not totally confident about underwear as outwear.


We can’t all be Leilani Dowding, who’s been posing in her own lingerie line for selfies posted on twitter, but we can all take a good selfie for our loved one. If you’re checking out Leilani’s pics, note the number of camera and lighting tripods, photographers and assistants lurking in the corners of a couple of the shots … sure it looks like a candid picture, but every one of those selfies was a quick snap taken in the middle of a carefully crafted photo-shoot!
  • Look for some apps - Instagram apps like Camera+ or Instagram filters like Inkwell, can massively improve the results from the phone selfie … check what’s available to you and experiment with using it before trying for a good selfie.
  • Remove your phone cover - it’s entirely possible the cover that protects your phone from damage also limits the light available and can even contribute to poor focus. Also, consider sticking your phone to a convenient shelf or wall with bluetack or building a platform with books, or using pegs and a coat-hanger – anything that serves as a support for your phone. Then use the self timer to get a better shot. Shooting from above slims you and gives you elegance.
  • Groom well – it’s amazing how a camera picks up everything thing with brutal clarity: razor rash is horrible in a selfie, as are unkempt hairy areas of any kind (hairy areas that you and your lover like to keep hairy are great, but they need to be groomed, not matted and dull)
  • Aim for natural light - early morning or mid-afternoon are great times to get a good sexy selfie – increase the light by posing near a mirror … that’s sexy in itself!
  • Stick to neutral – your background should be plain and simple, you’re the star of the show so make it so!
Of course, if you’re Chris Pratt and you’ve been in training for your starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, forget the rules and just selfie your abs in the gym! We promise to forgive you.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

2014 sexy projects, promises and resolutions

New Year, New Bra technology?

Windows bra anyone? Yes, researchers at Microsoft have been working on a smart bra, but it’s not about picking up your emails or browsing online but a way of monitoring a woman’s mood. They’ve already tested a prototype that records heart and skin activity to identify mood levels in an attempt to discover if their technology could help women who tend to over-eat when they are stressed. The bra links to an app which tells women when they might be at risk of ‘emotional eating’. A bra was chosen as it’s close to the heart – we can confirm that; a bra is close to a woman’s heart and close to the heart of many men who think fondly of this item of underwear!

Meanwhile, Australia’s Silent Assembly lingerie line claims to have made the underwire obsolete. Their new bra supports are made of a polymer that is as strong as metal, more comfortable and have a memory, like memory foam in mattresses, which restores itself to the ‘taught’ shape, even if pushed out of shape by movement.

We think the nicest bra for the New Year is the Roza Bra which is decorated with little clusters of pink hearts on a sheer black ground – very pretty, very comfortable and a very good investment for the next big day coming up, which is …?

Already thinking of Valentine’s Day?

Marks & Spencer have had a hit and miss year, but they’re pinning a lot of their hopes on their Valentine’s Day underwear campaign, which will be fronted by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who also starred in their Christmas advert. She’s already had a great hit with her 2012 collection which was highly ruffled and romantic

New Year’s Resolutions for lovers 

  1. Take a staycation - or even a sexycation. We can all boost our sex lives without having to spend a fortune. A weekend away somewhere with a log fire and no need to do the washing up is an amazing libido booster, but if you can’t even run to that, why not try making a shrine to your sexual self in every part of the house? Buy a great cushion and a soft and comfortable throw and ‘camp out’ sexually with your lover in each of your rooms. You’ll be amazed at how you view your home, and your sex life, in a new light!
  2. Get to know your best sexual partner – you! Take some time this year to discover your own likes and dislikes, the parts of your body that respond in ways you never expected, the role of sex toys in your personal sexual fulfilment, and the way that your flesh and mind react to different stimuli. You don’t need any other partner for this voyage of discovery and the results will be amazing: increased confidence, better understanding of your own physical nature and a real mastery of your body’s needs, desires and capacities.
  3. Be playful – in a grown-up way. We forget to play and then wonder what’s wrong with our sexual lives. Playing doesn’t necessarily mean cuffs and blindfolds. You can play by sitting on the floor and having an adult picnic followed by a pillow fight. You can play strip poker, twister or a dedicated adult game like Hot & Horny Wild Dice. Your partner will love being taken back to the carefree days of childhood but with a very grown-up experience at the end of the evening!