A week has passed since the ETO Show in Birmingham shut up shop for another year. This annual trade event brings together some of the best companies, retailers, distributors and erotic journalists together under one roof – and it’s so much fun.
Last year, I really had no idea what to expect, having never been to an event like this. But for the first time, the ETO Show was hosting a stand just for bloggers and erotic writers – the BlogSpot. The stand was popular and made a return this year where it was bigger and better. I will say this now – if you are in any doubt about attending the ETO show in 2017 – go. There is something for everyone there, and you will a great time.
Our journey to ETO started the day before the show, on the Saturday. I dropped off our darling little pug Elphie with a friend and we set off. A few hours later, we were checking into our suite (yes, suite!) at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. It’s unlikely we are going to get another chance to go away anywhere this year, so I figured we might as well splash out and treat it like a mini weekend break. The room was nice, if a little over-priced for what you are getting. We’re in 2016 and the room had an very old, out of date TV with extremely poor reception and 1Mb Wi-Fi.
However the Bathroom… beautiful. The bath tub looked big enough for two… and it was! Both me and the Mr. hopped in the tub side by side and giggled when we realised we could share a bath later. It’s the small things like that… Although the gorgeous tub was not enough to detract from the HILARIOUS rip-off room service charges. As we were pretty tired, we ordered some dinner to the room. £73 for 2 burgers and fries, 2 colas, 2 ciders… and it was…O.K. For that price, I expect the best god-damned burger in the whole world. So next year, we will not be staying there… anyway…
Bathtub bit enough for two 😉 pic.twitter.com/PgBYkntHML
— The Big Gay Review (@thebiggayreview) June 11, 2016
Day one started early the next day. After enjoying a complimentary breakfast, we dressed and headed down to the NEC Pavilion, which is just a short 5 minute walk from the hotel. We arrived early and as soon as the doors opened, we headed straight for the BlogSpot. It’s a perfect place to start the show as you can plan what you are going to do whilst sitting in a nice, friendly space. This year, Mel from Voluptasse and Cheryl from HornyGeekGirl were manning the stand where we had a good chat as we got our selves ready for the day.
— The Big Gay Review (@thebiggayreview) June 12, 2016
Last year, the BlogSpot gave away goodie bags for bloggers and writers in attendance – and they returned again this year! They are limited to the first 50 visitors, but inside you get a lovely little array of lubes, condoms, free toys, books etc. So again, a huge thank you to everyone who offered up something for the blogger goodie bags! I hope we see them again next year 😉
Shortly after arriving, Adam and Monika from GODEMICHE arrived. If you happen to follow them on SnapChat, you will be pleased to know that Adam is every bit the larger-than-life character you see. And it’s so refreshing. Dressed in their chefs outfits, artfully splattered with colourful silicone, it’s so wonderful to meet someone who is so passionate and dedicated with what they do. We had a good talk and there were hand-shakes and hugs all round. Both are extremely friendly and it was definitely a highlight to meet them. Adam had teased that we needed to go visit the DOXY stand. So naturally, I obliged.
DOXY was one of the highlights of last years show, and again in 2016 – the visit to their stand was exciting. William, who runs DOXY, is a fantastic man. Extremely friendly and always feels genuinely excited and happy to be talking to you. Last year, we were excited about the unveiling of the new SKITTLE (currently being re-named The Don) and when DOXY had teased on twitter about something new being shown off at the show this year, nothing could prepare me for what I witnessed…
First of all, they were showing off some new Die Cast wands in some GORGEOUSLY SPARKLY shades. The red die cast was simply STUNNING and seemed to be drawing a lot of attention. Although I now need to have a DOXY Wand in one of every colour. I’m going to be bankrupt. But what a way to go, right? GODEMICHE have also been working tirelessly at creating a dedicated DOXY attachment as well (currently nicknamed the ROXY). It needs a little bit of work, but it’s a very promising start.
But then… I saw it. The product that I think could put DOXY on top as one of THE BEST sex toy manufacturers. Step aside We-Vibe… there’s a new bullet in town.
YES! DOXY have made a MAINS-POWERED BULLET! And it’s powerful. Like, VERY powerful. It has a metallic body and contains a motor, which I am 99% certain is more powerful than the Tango. Right now, I realise this is a BOLD claim, and of course, between now and release, things could change – but as it stands – there is finally a bullet out there that could topple the Tango from the top. But not only are they working on a mains-powered bullet, they have 2 rechargeable models as well, which also felt extremely powerful. They look gorgeous too. And soon, Adam’s teases soon made sense. Prior to the show, DOXY had sent Adam an advance shell of the bullet, so he could create an ADAM Dildo attachment that would be compatible with the bullet. When demoed, my jaw almost hit the floor. Not even the Tango could provide the strong vibrations through the silicone of the ADAM like the DOXY bullet could. I swear this thing is going to be HUGE. So watch this space.
After coming over all giddy over at the DOXY stand, I headed back to BlogSpot to just gather myself before we tackled the rest of the show. There were lots of people to see and talk to, but thankfully we had the whole weekend this year, so there was no rush. Now one thing I thought was missing from last years show, was a big bath-tub full of slippery goo. It seems as though someone else had agreed with me because funnily enough – there was indeed a big bath-tub full of slippery goo! SLUBE is a new product that’s coming to market in the next few months – it’s basically a scented lube that you make up yourself in the bath (or paddling pool, if you so wish).
It’s designed for all manner of erotic bath time play – you can wrestle in it, slide all over each other in it – apparently it’s very popular with gay couples who enjoy fisting and large toy insertions. It also just feels great to bathe in! After sloshing my hand around the tub and drying it off, my skin felt so soft! And it smelt really good – there is even a leather scented one as well! I have to say, as one of the more unique products at the show, it’s something I am looking forward to getting my hands on and testing. You know… for science.
There were plenty of newcomers to ETO this year, and it was an absolute delight to sit down with the people behind KinkCraft. KinkCraft specialise in bondage equipment with a difference. It’s all hand made using Paracord. Did I mention that you get to make it as well? That’s right – you can buy kits to make floggers and handcuffs! Each kit comes with everything you need to get started, along with a video tutorial that you get to keep. KinkCraft aim to bring bondage to those people who may have been a little unsure, and put off by the BIG LEATHER RESTRAINTS that you so often see. The bright colourful designs would appeal to most, and as they offer them in so many different colours, you can really personalise them as well.
We then sat down, and Pixie (the lovely lady behind KinkCraft) showed me how to make my own mini flogger! I have to say, it was oddly therapeutic, sat there making this implement of pleasurable torture. And it was so easy as well and the finished result will now match my cuffs! They are also just beginning to look into Latex fetish wear and also stock low temperature soy wax candles for wax play (which they are kindly sending to me for review, so watch out for that in the future).
After heading back to BlogSpot, I managed to meet up with and chat with fellow bloggers Just_Indecerous, Screw Taboo, Joanne’s Reviews and Kinky Kitten Kim. It’s always nice speaking with fellow writers – and I hope we get to see even more at next years show.
It was also a pleasure to have a chat with the chaps behind Sheets of San Francisco. Their fluid proof sheets have been causing a bit of a stir on twitter – so I just had to see what all the fuss was about – and now I can see why. The sheets themselves are REALLY nice – they have a great texture and feel so much nicer than similar products (which can sometimes feel like your lying on a sticky bin-bag). They demonstrated for us on the cutest little bed, how the sheets work, by squirting some silicone lube on the sheet. It felt really pleasant – unlike when you accidentally spill lube on your duvet and it goes cold and just… bleurgh! But not here. It’s also safe for wax play as well (so I guess I need to get one for when my candles from KinkCraft arrive, eh?).
As day one came to a close, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready. For this year, I would be attending the ETO Awards, courtesy of AmazingO UK.
I’ve never been to an award show. I was nervous. I don’t like dressing up in suits and I felt awkward initially. But I knew I couldn’t miss out on this experience, so before I get into it – once again, a HUGE thank you to Miles from AmazingO for inviting me and allowing me to experience one of the most fun nights i’ve had in a while! This year it was hosted at the newly opened VOX Conference centre, which is part of the new Resorts World complex – lots of restaurants, shops, bars and even a casino!
I was very nervous when I realised who I would be sharing the table with. Aside from the lovely and gorgeous Mel (and partner) and Cheryl, I would also be sitting with none other than GIRL ON THE NET. I thoroughly enjoy reading their blog, and I was also extremely nervous but she is an absolute PEACH. It was an absolute honour to meet and speak to her. I was also sat with Lola Sparkles, who is one half of The Angry Kitties (coming soon) – and she is also an absolute darling. Justin was also seated with us, along side Rebecca (The Great British Sexpert – who I sadly didn’t really get to speak to) and wonderfully cheeky Mistress Dom Strap-On (NSFW). Of course we can’t forget our gracious host – Miles – who made it all possible. It was certainly shaping up to be an interesting evening.
Dinner was a 3 course ‘fancy’ affair and was delicious. The wine was flowing, shots were continuously making the rounds (thanks Miles and Ms. Strapon!!) and before the awards had even started, I was already feeling a little tipsy. The dinner took the longest – the actual award giving was over pretty quickly. I had attempted to live tweet the whole thing but alcohol had gotten the better of me and I gave up in the end. There were some truly worthy winners – DOXY, ElectraStim, Fleshlight and Girl On The Net won an award too! Not going to lie, it felt pretty cool being sat next to an award winner! Our good friends at Lovehoney and Uberkinky also picked up awards for Best Online Retailer and Best Specialist Retailer respectively. Congratulations to everyone who won that night. The full list of winners can be seen here.
After all the awards were handed out, it was time to dance the night away – more alcohol was consumed and eventually, after much badgering, I eventually got up and had ONE dance. And it was a hot mess. But you know what, it was fun. Soon, the MR had joined us and after the night was over, myself and GOTN, Lola, William (from Doxy) and Justin all headed down to the casino for one final drink and more chatter. We also placed a group bet on the roulette table. And lost. Oh well…
— Cheryl Kaye (@HornyGeekGirl) June 12, 2016
I eventually collapsed into bed around 3:30am… Day two was going to be interesting…
Our second day at ETO was another chance to catch up with folk at the BlogSpot and do those final rounds, just making sure that i’d had a chance to speak with all the people I wanted to. It was great to have a proper catch-up with ElectraStim – who won an award for their JackSocket masturbator. They’ve been extremely supportive – and quotes from our review have been popping up all over the place, which is extremely exciting! We also had a catch up with the Carnal Queen (and the King!) as well – who I immediately badgered and sent off to the Doxy stand. I couldn’t help it, I was excited!
I had a quick catch-up with Rocks-Off who have teased some exciting things to come over the next few months – especially if you were a fan of the RISE masturbator. We visited the XR Brands stand (who were sponsoring the show) and the lovely sales rep (I forgot her name, I am so sorry!) talked us through some of the Tom of Finland range (we loved their dual-ended stroker), as well as showing us their ‘Milking’ device (it SOUNDS scary but looks like it could be a lot of fun). I took great pleasure in terrifying the MR with their Electro Shank – a device that looks like a knife, but when touched against the skin… ZZZZAP!
— The Big Gay Review (@thebiggayreview) June 13, 2016
There was lots more walking around, having more conversations with KinkCraft, DOXY and Sheets of San Francisco. I was really looking forward to catching up with the peeps behind the LoveArc, but sadly, for whatever reason they weren’t in attendance – so I hope everything is OK there. The show did feel smaller this year, but I definitely think there were more visitors this year, and it was great to see so many other bloggers and writers! And I had a very interesting conversation with one of the people behind the up-coming progressive sex shop Pleasure By Post (opening soon) – so keep an eye out there.
A massive congratulations to Screw Taboo – who took home just over £2000’s worth of sex toys and sex gear, courtesy of the BlogSpot Prize Draw! So many awesome companies donated prizes (far too many for me to list, check out the full list here). Hopefully we will see another awesome huge prize at next years event – and all you need to do is put your business card in a jar! It’s worth coming to ETO for just that – so a huge thanks to all the sponsors who made that possible. I am not in the least bit jealous. OK, well maybe a bit…
As the show came to an end, me and the MR headed for a spot of dinner with Cheryl, where we consumed cocktails and churros in Las Iguanas. It was a lovely end to an exciting weekend.
— Cheryl Kaye (@HornyGeekGirl) June 13, 2016
If I haven’t mentioned you, it’s because my brain is limited and my memory is failing me (there was A LOT of alcohol on the Sunday night…) but if I met with you/spoke to you/exchanged cards – i’m sure we will speak again soon.
Well I will definitely be there again next year, and again, I will be taking the WHOLE weekend. It was nice to be able to not have to rush all my conversations. If you are a blogger/writer who is unsure of going, honestly – don’t hesitate – just go. It’s such a buzzing, friendly and positive environment and it can be a valuable resource for contacts. It’s networking but with a difference. I hope the BlogSpot makes a triumphant return for the 3rd year in a row – I can certainly see it going from strength to strength.
So there you have it… ETO 2016 is over. Bring on 2017!