Chronic Pain Cockney – The Little Things

Living with Chronic Daily Migraine and more recently diagnosed Chiari Malformation is tough; sometimes, I just want to review and share pretty things and forget about meds & pain for a while! So expect lots of beauty blogger type posts along with my 'Chronic Life' content.

theBalm Liquid Lipstick

The liquid lipstick trend has largely passed me by. I think this is because I remember the earlier versions that were on the market 10-15 years ago. As much as I liked the finish, the formulas left a lot to be desired; touching them up during the day was neigh on impossible to do without ending up with a crumbling, flaking mess.

I finally decided to see how far liquid lipsticks have come by ordering myself one from the Meet Matt(e) Hughes range by theBalm. While it is technically a drugstore product (available at Superdrug in the UK as well as ASOS and a wider selection at Feel Unique online and Debenhams), it is at the pricier end of the drugstore price range at £13.50, just a couple of pounds short of the price of a standard Mac lipstick. I opted for the shade Charming.

I was surprised to find that I absolutely love this lipstick! The formula is excellent. It applies smoothly and it’s easy to achieve an opaque finish. It dries down within a couple of minutes. Once it has dried down, beyond a barely perceptible tacky feeling if you deliberately press your lips together, there is no sticky feeling to put me off. You can certainly talk and eat freely without feeling like your lips are getting stuck to each other.

The fragrance of this lipstick deserves a special mention – it smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream 😋 It smells delicious to me but if you’re not a big fan of the scent it shouldn’t be too big a deal as it fades away once the lipstick has dried. There is a subtle cooling sensation on application but it’s barely noticeable.

The thing I love the most about this formula is that it is both genuinely long wearing AND if you want to do a minor touch up, it applies over itself perfectly – no crumbling yuckiness! Once dry it is also the most transfer-proof lip product that I’ve ever used. My 5 year old has named it my ‘magic lipstick’ because I can kiss her without leaving a lipstick print on her cheek 😊. 

I’m loving the shade itself. The brown has enough mauve in it to create a rich, gorgeous colour and it feels just 90s enough on me without looking dated. Against my fair skin it obviously is less of an actual nude shade but I think it’s one of those lipsticks that would look good on anyone. I’ve found myself reaching for it every time I’ve been well enough to wear makeup of late and it makes my makeup look far more ‘finished’ than it actually is behind the shades I have to wear anytime I’m out and about. 

Whether you’re a committed lover of liquid lipstick or haven’t really been on board with this trend, I highly recommend this product. Finally, a lipstick that actually does last through a meal without needed touching up (unless like me you do it anyway out of sheer force of habit!).

What your favourite liquid lipstick?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x 

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Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money.

Migraine and Coping with Hospital Stays

A stay in hospital can be a uniquely stressful and unsettling experience. As is the case with most experiences, how we feel about it and how we cope with it varies widely from person to person; indeed, some people may not find it stressful or unsettling at all! For those of us who are living with Chronic Migraine, there are certain aspects of the hospital environment that cause anxiety, physical pain and worsening of our ludicrously wide range of symptoms. 

I recently had to spend some time in hospital for ICP pressure monitoring (also known as a pressure bolt monitor). This involved having a little hole drilled in skull and a monitoring thing (device? chip?) inserted. It was then connected via a wire to a laptop that recorded pressure readings over a period of time. Yes, it was exactly as much fun as it sounds and probably deserves a post of it’s own.

There were a few things I was able to do to make the whole experience more manageable in terms of my Migraine and the general ickiness of being in hospital, so I thought I’d share them in case they’re helpful to others in the future:

Hospitals are loud, bright and they smell weird, all of which can be problematic for a person living with Chronic Migraine. Don’t neglect the obvious – make sure that you pack earplugs and an eye mask (or some dark light material to fold and cover your eyes with) to help you block out light and sound when needed. I also bring a 4head stick as it cools the forehead in a comforting way, much like a wet cloth but without the need for water. I haven’t really found an effective way to deal with weird hospital smells but a favourite hand/body lotion or essential oil can be distracting.

Fasting before surgery can trigger a Migraine attack – I once fasted before a minor surgery and was in the midst of such a severe Migraine attack by the time I was wheeled into theatre that the medical staff refused put me under general anaesthetic (presumably because they were concerned about vomiting). So this time around I voiced my concern in advance and had a IV drip attached to avoid dehydration while I fasted. I also made sure that the medical staff were OK with me taking my rescue meds whilst fasting if I needed to…of course, I did need to.

Don’t expect hospital staff to fully grasp the severity of Migraine pain – sadly, some won’t grasp how much pain you’re feeling or the extent of other debilitating symptoms unless you spell it out for them. Even in a Neurology hospital, I found that certain members of staff saw me crying and assumed that I was scared of surgery (I wonder if the ’emotional woman’ stereotype flitted through their minds..?) when in fact the tears are just what happens when pain reaches a certain high level for me. I don’t mind saying that if I’m crying, that means the pain is causing me to panic and is VERY high indeed. Next time I go into hospital, I’ll make a point of telling my day/night named nurse how my Migraine tends to operate and what my painscale is like, so when the next full blown Migraine attack hits, we’ll already have a plan in place.

Even the most efficient wards might not have a ready supply of your meds so I recommend taking with you a supply of every medication you use, enough to cover your entire hospital stay if you already know how long it will be. Of course wards can generally get hold of what you need but it can take time and if it’s an abortive or rescue medication, you might need it urgently with little warning. 

Migraine friendly snacks – if you need to eat something to help keep your meds down during an attack, it’s really useful to have your own little supply in your bedside locker. For me that tends to be cereal bars and cheesy cracker type snacks as they don’t require a fridge and help with the evil nausea that can be caused both by medication and the Migraine attack itself. 

Migraine can make processing a chunk of information in one go difficult. The ‘brain fog’ that goes with Migraine and other conditions such as Fibromyalgia means that we’re not always able to absorb information as quickly or well as we’d like. I recommend having a pen and little note book handy to jot down the names of medical staff and what they say. It’s also completely ok to ask for information to be repeated, either just for you or in front of your next of kin.

A couple of points that apply to all patients whether they live with Migraine or not…

Being in hospital can be stressful so consider in advance what might be soothing for you. Your favourite books or games on your tablet, colouring books or some meditation podcasts to listen to on headphones might help. Have a chat with your friends and family about who should visit and when, to help you stay upbeat and provide you with emotional support or in the case of my husband and best friend, a healthy dose of mockery.

You are a patient, not a prisoner. The feeling of being stranded and out of control while in hospital can cause real anxiety and upset. Sometimes when you arrive on the ward, the person greeting you may launch into a big list of rules including serious emphasis on visiting hours…don’t let this freak you out. The last ward I stayed on had limited visiting hours (2pm-7pm). I was going to be having surgery in the morning and while I appreciated that the rules were there to keep things quiet for patients who were all having some kind of Neuro or spinal surgery, I wanted to see my husband before going to have my skull drilled! This was arranged by my telling the nursing staff that I wanted this and by my husband turning up and asking politely. I also made it clear that I’d happily leave the ward and go to the hospital coffee shop with my husband if he wasn’t allowed in to see me before surgery. I had no problem sticking to visiting hours at all other times during my stay and I genuinely wouldn’t have objected to the rules being stretched for another patient if they were feeling anxious or upset pre or post surgery.

Keeping in touch with the outside world can be really comforting for anybody in hospital. Personally I found texts and Facebook messages/updates to be a real lifeline – hospitals seem to have their own time stream and a day can feel like a long time. So make sure your phone and charger are fully functioning and within arm’s reach!

Do you have any tips for surviving a hospital stay when you live with Migraine or any other chronic illness?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

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Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette: 1st Impressions 

If you’ve read my recent posts, you’ll know that I’ve decided that at the age of 34, it’s time to finally learn how to apply eyeshadow properly. I recently purchased my first palette from Tarte (the collaboration with Grav3yardgirl of YouTube fame, see post here) and am browsing posts on Too Faced and Urban Decay palettes to help me decide which one I need in my life. I’ve also purchased my first 3 shadows from Makeup Geek and am looking forward to gradually filling my Z Palette with shades that hopefully work wth my very fair skin.

When I spotted the Maybelline Blushed Nudes palette on sale at ASOS, I thought I might as well grab it and see what this drugstore offering is like.

The shades themselves are neutral and pretty. If you’re an established eyeshadow lover, you doubtless already own similar shades, probably in higher-end palettes. But if you’re a beginner, either because you’re just late to the party like me or because you’re young, these kind of shades strike me as a good place to start.

I noticed on swatching these shadows that they are noticeably more powdery than the Tarte palette or handful of Mac shadows I own, which I guess is to be expected when you consider the huge difference in price! There was also quite a bit of fall out when using a brush to get product from pan to the eyelid.

Having swatched and had an initial play with the shadows in this palette, I think the amount of use I’ll get out of them varies a lot from shade to shade. The lighter colours apply nicely over primer; I used the Urban Decay Primer Potion. Some of the darker ones swatched well but ended up looking lacklustre and a little muddy when applied, even when factoring in that my eyeshadow application game needs work. 

I’m not disgarding this palette by any means but to be honest it doesn’t make me want to order more Maybelline eyeshadows. I’m sure there are some great quality shadows in the drugstore price range but this particular palette hasn’t especially impressed me so far. That said, if with further use I warm to it, I’ll return to this post and add an update. In the meantime I think I’ll buy a couple of Makeup Geek shades at a time & add them to my Z Palette rather than buying more drugstore palettes randomly because they’re on sale.

What is your favourite drugstore brand for eyeshadows? 

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet/follow me – @chroniccockney

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Also on Bloglovin.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money.

Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops – Lightening

If you’ve ever glanced at my profile picture on my blog, Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that I’m pretty much the colour of milk. It is something I no longer fight; I just can’t be bothered with the whole fake tan process and would rarely have the energy for it due to chronic illness even if I was so inclined. 

I haven’t been able to find a drugstore foundation in recent years that matches my skin, despite always buying the lightest shade available. Buying a Mac foundation ended up actually saving me money since I wasn’t trying and disgarding so many drugstore products! But it seems that I’ve become EVEN PALER in recent months as the Mac Pro Longwear (see post here) in NW15 is now too dark. All is not lost however, as I have finally got myself some Shade Adjusting Drops from Body Shop.

They do exactly what you’d expect them to – they allow you to lighten any foundation by adding a drop of this product at a time. I do this on the back of my hand before applying and blending with a brush. I’ve found that it doesn’t  alter the performance of the foundation even when I use a few drops. The dropper inside the lid gives you complete control over how many drops you’re adding. 

This is a wonder product for me as it will allow me to try out drugstore foundations rather than just abandoning them after one use. Obviously I’d rather makeup brands expand their shade range at both end of the spectrum but failing that, these drops are the next best thing. Body Shop also offer darkening drops for people who struggle to find shades dark enough for their skin tone; yay! 

Do you struggle to find foundations that match your skin tone?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x 

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Also on Bloglovin.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I don’t often write posts on makeup tools, like sponges or brushes,  for a couple of reasons – firstly, when I find one I like I stick with it for ages so don’t often have a new one to write about. I also find that I have less to say about them than I do for products such as lipstick; the sponge or brush either applies foundation the way I like or it doesn’t. 

I’m making an exception for the Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques because I’m really enjoying using it. The only other type of brush I’ve used to apply liquid foundation is the flat kind, which felt a little too much like using a paint brush for my liking. I often use a damp sponge too. But since I bought this brush recently, it has become something that I reach for every time I apply makeup.

I use it by buffing foundation into the skin in circular motions. The finish is smooth and relatively full coverage without being cakey. The pores around my nose can be really irritating and appear huge once foundation is applied but this brush helps the product to sit evenly in that area without emphasising the pores (I’m currently using it with Mac Pro Longwear Foundation).

I don’t use as much product with this brush as I do with certain sponges, some of which tend to gobble up some product whilst blending it. I know that some people feel they use a bit more product with brushes like this one but that hasn’t been my experience. I like the black handle on this brush – it makes it easier to grip and allows you to stand the brush up on a flat surface if you want to. At £9.99 this brush is affordable too and becomes more so if you look out for special offers/multi buy deals at Boots or Superdrug. If you don’t already own it, I’d recommend giving it a try. If you have dry skin/flaky patches, the buffing motion may not be ideal though.

What is your favourite brush / sponge for applying foundation?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Find me on Instagram.

Tweet me @chroniccockney.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed in this post were purchased with my own money.

Make Up Forever Mattifying Primer

I’m always on the look out for a truly effective primer. My skin is of the combination variety that includes a really oily t-zone; around my nose is the worst! I’ve had my eye on this primer from Makeup Forever for some time so when I had a gift card for Debenhams to spend (happy days) I included in a mattifying products mini haul.

The first thing I noticed about this primer is that it’s the thickest consistency I’ve ever experienced in such a product. This being the case, it requires that you take your time spreading it onto your face a little more than you’d need to with a runnier formula. It takes a couple of applications to get used to this thick formula.

That being said, it really does provide you with a smooth and even base for foundation application. I found that this product works beautifully under liquid foundation. It does a decent job under powders alone such as Mac Studio Fix Plus Foundation but the pores around my nose were too visible for my taste, which isn’t the case when using a liquid foundation or concealer on the area (I often conceal in that area due to the red broken capillaries that are the unfortunately permanent result of using aggressive pore strips 🙈). 

In terms of increasing wear time, this product really does help on that front. Where my glasses sit on my nose is still a problem area but less so and I can put off blotting my face for MUCH longer than I could when using other primers. This product definitely helps my foundation hang in there despite oil and the delightful hot flushes that accompany the pain of my medical condition.

If you have combination/oily skin, I’d recommend giving this product a try. As is the case with all primers and foundations, you’ll soon identify the best combination of formulas and application techniques. For me, this primer works fabulously with Mac Pro Longwear Foundation applied in circular motions with a brush (I have a new favourite brush by the way; post coming soon!). The great thing about this brand is that while it isn’t exactly cheap, you have the option to buy the smaller size as I did so you can give it a decent trial before deciding to commit to the full size – I wish all brands offered this option!

This product is one of several in the range of Step 1 primers Make Up Forever has to offer, so if you have dry skin or need some help with colour correction, check out the full range. Some makeup perfectionists might even like to use this primer for their oily bits and another kind for the rest of their face.

What’s your favourite primer right now?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet me – @chroniccockney.

Follow me on Instagram.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money. 

Everybody’s An Expert on Migraine

As ever with the Chronic Life series, this post is made up of my opinions based on my experiences of living with Chronic Migraine and now, it turns out, Chiari. Some days I feel positive, so days I rant & some days I fall silent altogether. This post may be a little on the ranty side but I’d love to hear your views in the comments (where I approve comments individually to ensure that trolls get no joy from me or anyone commenting). 💜 K x

Migraine is a strange thing. Unlike rarer disorders, it is a disease that a lot of people have heard of. It has been my experience though that while lots of people THINK they know exactly what Migraine is, many actually do not. 

The public in general may not be aware that Migraine impacts sufferers in a variety of ways and the frequency of attacks ranges from the Episodic Migraine sufferer who experiences one or two attacks a year to patients like me at the far end of the Chronic spectrum, for whom Migraine is a daily struggle. Other points on the Migraine spectrum include Episodic patients who experience anywhere up to 14 days of head pain per month with 7 of them being migrainous in nature (anywhere above this is termed to be Chronic) and the Chronic Migraine sufferer who has 15 or more days of head pain per month with at least 8 being migrainous, who may have pain free days in between. These are just a few examples of how the frequency of attacks can vary from patient to patient.

I have noticed that despite Migraine impacting on people’s lives to a variety of extents, many people view Migraine as a minor inconvenience and expect every sufferer to only have attacks now and again and to bounce right back  immediately after an attack. I have even (rarely, I’m glad to say) heard people who themselves live with Episodic Migraine express disbelief that Migraine could be so frequent and debilitating that it constitutes a disability. The attitude that ‘their Migraine can’t possibly be that bad, I manage mine fine’ is galling for a Chronic sufferer to hear. It adds to the stigma surrounding Migraine and the stigma is a huge problem.

The belief that Chronic Migraine ‘can’t be that bad’ makes life even harder for sufferers. Trying to convince others of how just how devastating an impact Migraine is having on our lives is exhausting and stressful. It is for this reason that I can not forgive the occasional Episodic sufferer who contributes to the misconception that Migraine is no big deal and is easily dealt with – they should know better. The fact that someone is an Episodic sufferer rather than a Chronic one doesn’t make them better/more determined/harder working people; it just makes them luckier. I’m glad to say that I have only personally experienced this a handful of times IRL in the 25 years since my first migraine. The majority of people who have ever had a migraine attack or watched a loved one go through one are horrified and empathetic to the plight of people for whom attacks have become chronic or even daily.

With regards to the attacks themselves, the widely believed ‘it’s just a headache’ misconception is infuriating for all Migraine sufferers and is just plain wrong. A headache doesn’t make you cry, vomit, experience visual disturbances, vertigo, aphasia….I could go on! The idea that you can just ‘push through’ suggests that a Migraine can be ignored and defeated by sheer force of will – it can’t, believe me, I’ve tried. The World Health Organisation recognised years ago that severe Migraine attacks are no joke; WHO classified them as comparable to quadriplegia  or active psychosis in terms of how debilitating they are. 

Part of the problem is that people seem to struggle to recognise the severity and scale of impact of any condition that they can’t physically see just with the use of their eyeballs. Migraine sufferers naturally withdraw from the world when symptoms are at their worst. Add to this the fact that many sufferers, including myself, struggle to summon the energy to try to persuade others of the reality of our situation when we know from experience that all too often, we are met with incomprehension or downright disbelief. 

I’ve been diagnosed in recent months as having a Chiari Malformation. The vast majority of people in my life had never heard of it. So I show them diagrams and give them a brief explanation or a more detailed one if it’s someone who is particularly interested. No one so far has tried to tell me that ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘my aunt had that and when she lost weight it cleared right up’ or ‘you just need to get out more’. Living with a condition that is relatively rare or unheard of by the public (and sometimes even by members of the medical profession) has it’s own set of difficulties. But I’ve been asking myself recently – would life actually be a little easier for people with Migraine if the world and her mother didn’t already think they know what Migraine is? 

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x 

Tweet me – @chroniccockney

Follow me on Instagram.

Check out my YouTube channel.

Spectrum Eyeshadow Brush Set: 1st Impressions

As you may have picked up from my previous posts, I’m currently on a mission to up my eyeshadow game. I’m in the process of collecting some staple shades and formulas and binge watching YouTube videos in an effort to learn how the grown ups apply eyeshadow that doesn’t end up looking like a muddy mess.

I decided that I needed some decent eyeshadow brushes but since I’m starting my collection pretty much from scratch, I couldn’t justify spending £24 on one MAC brush…not until I’ve made some serious progress on the application front anyway! I’ve had my eye on Spectrum brushes for a while; gorgeous pics and positive reviews are forever popping up in my Twitter feed. So I finally went ahead and ordered their 8 piece eyeshadow brush set.

So, first of all I have to say….how pretty! Pink, blue and purple is my ideal combination of shades for pretty much anything. If you’re a fan of mermaid type colours then you’ll love these. I like the fact that these are super pretty but not so sugary that they look like they’re aimed at young teenagers (in my opinion at least).

Clearly I’m not an expert on this particular aspect of makeup, but these seem like decent quality brushes at a reasonable price. The brush fibres are super soft with none of that slightly scratchy feeling that some brushes have. I’ve had a little play with them and they really helped shadows blend in a much more pleasing fashion than I’ve managed thus far!

I’m impressed with the range of sizes, shapes and densities in this set. The shorter, firmer brushes remain soft to the touch.

There was one concern I had about these brushes – when I unpacked them, there was an unpleasant chemical/glue type smell. It turned out that is wasn’t actually the brushes, just the plastic wallet thing they were packed in; phew!

If you’re a newbie to eyeshadow then I’d recommend this set as a great place to start and a good way to avoid spending a fortune on individual brushes that you don’t yet know how to use. Even if you’re a life long eyeshadow lover, these brushes would make a pretty and very useful addition to your beauty collection.

Do you have a favourite brand for makeup brushes?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet/follow me on Twitter.

Find me on Instagram.

Also on Bloglovin.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money.

Rimmel Lipstick – Pink Blush 

 It’s always risky buying makeup online – shades rarely translate exactly from screen to IRL. Checking Pinterest or YouTube for swatches can be very helpful but it’s obviously not as reliable as swatching on your own skin in-store. My Chronic Life is  such that I rarely get the opportunity to visit stores in person so do the vast majority of my beauty shopping online.


 The lipstick I’m discussing today is from the Rimmel Lasting Finish range and is in the shade Pink Blush. This lipstick wasn’t a winner for me but it might be for you, so still worth a post in my opinion. I picked it up at a discounted price the last time I placed an order with ASOS. 



This lipstick has quite a strong scent, bit of a plastic/chemical/play-doh kind of fragrance. It doesn’t smell as strong on the lips as it does in the tube, which is good.

It applies quite nicely but transfers a lot which is not surprising from a non-matte drugstore lipstick. In order to increase wear time, I’d recommend wearing a full lip of lipliner underneath; the Rimmel Exaggerate liner in EastEnd Snob works nicely with it. 


The problem with this lipstick for me is it just doesn’t flatter my skintone. It swatches nicely but on my lips it just doesn’t work. It is too light a pink against my very fair skin – there’s a reason I’m usually drawn to shades with a more mauve vibe. It’s a shame because I really like the shade itself but it somehow clashed with the pink in my skintone.

If you’re checking out drugstore lipsticks and want a satin type finish as opposed to matte, having a look at this range would be a good idea. Although I’m not crazy about the smell, they’re inexpensive and Rimmel do some decent lipliners to help keep your lip look neat and long lasting. 

Do you like Rimmel products? Do you have a favourite?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet/follow me – @chroniccockney

Instagram – Chronic Cockney

Also on Bloglovin!

This is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were purchased with my own money.

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