Chronic Life: Online Support Groups

If you’re living with an invisible illness or disability, particularly one that limits your ability to get out of the house, then the chances are that you’ve found one or more online support groups to join. I myself am a member of a few and have set up my own small, closed group for people that live with Chronic Migraine, although all spoonies are welcome.

Finding and connecting with people who have first hand experience of your condition online can be very beneficial (check out my Online Friendships post). It helps to lessen the terrible isolation that can be the result of chronic illness shrinking your physical world. But today I’d like to share my experiences & thoughts of online support groups, the kind that are set up by spoonies for spoonies and are often medical condition specific. In no particular order, here are some things I’ve noticed:

Culture matters – when I was a teacher, I spent a period of time between permanent roles doing supply teaching. I found it to be an excellent way of getting to know local schools before committing to one, as I did after a few months (I walked into one school for 3 days supply and stayed 6 years😊). My first concern when sizing up a school was the culture at work there; how do the staff speak to pupils around the building? How do the children respond to a new face at school? What was the atmosphere like in the playground and dining room? The answers to these questions told me how I would fit in to this school and I’ve found the same to be true of support groups. How do people ‘speak’ to each other? If new people post, does anyone respond? Which leads me on to…

Competitive spoonies – if you’ve been a member of a number of support groups, chances are you’ve come across at least one person like this. They are the ones who jump in at any and every opportunity to point out the ways in which they have it tougher than you. Sometimes they actively ignore the point of a post or request for advice to carve out such an opportunity. It can be VERY irritating. Even when we all have the same diagnosis, an illness can impact on people differently and to varying extents. Just because I am no longer able to work and am largely housebound, I don’t feel the need to belittle the hardships faced by someone who is still able to work. Competing with each other to earn the dubious titles of Most Disabled or Most Miserable is a total waste of our already limited energy and when I see it in support groups, it completely switches off my interest in being a member.

How are treatment options discussed? It can be really useful to hear first hand accounts of specific treatments, especially if we’re worried because they are invasive or in some way out of our comfort zone. We want to know about side effects and the practicalities and logistics involved as well as the impact the treatment had. But you know what we never need to hear? “That surgeon you’re seeing is a total butcher, don’t see him!” or “I had that treatment and it was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life!! Didn’t help at all and everything is a million times worse now!” (These are real examples I’ve seen in support groups in response to a member asking if anyone else had had a specific surgery at a certain hospital). 
I’ve had treatments/investigative procedures done that didn’t work or that went wrong, but there’s a way to communicate useful information without freaking out other spoonies, who are more likely than the general population to be struggling with depression and/or anxiety as it is. For example, there was one stage of my ICP/Pressure Bolt Monitoring when things went badly, causing me to scream with pain. Rather than terrifying someone who is looking for info and advice on the procedure (which is the most reliable way of getting important info on how the pressure inside head is behaving), I prefer to advise them to ask for sedatives and pain meds to be on hand before this stage of the process is attempted. Surely that’s more useful than “Oh my God, getting the monitor out of my skull was a nightmare!! I screamed the place down! Don’t let them do the monitoring on you!” 

We’re all different – it’s not unusual for spoonies to have more than one diagnosis and we have all arrived at our current situation via our own unique journey. I think a good support group should be a space where we can share our experiences without judging each other. We (and indeed our individual specialists) may have different views on treatments, diagnostic criteria and pain management.  Judging each other and bossing each other about isn’t really helpful to anyone. 

Overall I think online support groups are a good thing and can be great sources of information and comfort. The key though is finding one that suits you and makes you feel better for having taken part, not worse. Remember that a lot of support groups tend to be frequented by those spoonies who are struggling the most; spoonies who are doing well as a result of treatments tend not to post so often, so don’t be overwhelmed and lose hope. Check out groups of different sizes and consider starting your own support group if you want to. I set up my own small closed group (Chronic Pain Cockney – Living with Daily Migraine) some time ago and while I’m not able to post as often as I’d like, it’s a supportive space for sharing articles and ideas on Chronic Life.

If you are not enjoying a particular group, leave it and don’t give it another thought. I have found that support groups set up by reputable charities are a good place to start if you’re  looking for your first support group to join. 

What do you think about online support groups? Do you find them helpful?

Wishing you good luck and happy days ,

Kindra x

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Jouer Liquid Lipstick and Lip Topper

On the topic of liquid lipsticks, I seem to have gone from one extreme to the other; from not being remotely interested in them to owning several and rarely reaching for anything else. The brand I’m posting about today is one that has been popping up all over Instagram and after seeing so many lovely swatches, I finally took the plunge and bought a liquid lipstick and a lip topper from Jouer.

At £15 each, these products are in the Mac kinda price range, which for me means that I’ll buy one now and then but I expect them to perform well. I went for the shade Tawny Rose in the liquid lipstick and the lip topper in Skinny Dip. I purchased mine from the Cult Beauty website which is the only place that I’m aware of that sells them in the UK.

The packaging is sturdy but not too heavy. I like that it’s transparent so that you can see when you’re running low before you’ve actually run out of product. These products have a delicious fragrance that is sweet and for some reason reminds me of childhood…marzipan? I can’t put my finger on it but it smells lovely and doesn’t hurt my fragrance-sensitive brain, so yay! 

Tawny Rose is such a gorgeous shade! It’s a perfect colour for easy daytime wear. The applicator is small and doesn’t bend, which is the kind I like best for creating clean lines. It dries down relatively quickly. It can feel a little dry on the lips after a few hours wear but nothing unusual for a liquid lipstick. It survives eating and drinking impressively well.

Skinny Dip is an ideal way to lift your makeup slightly if you’re going out straight after work (I miss those days!). Applied on top of dried down liquid lipstick, it creates a gorgeous shimmer and also stops the lips feeling dry. Of course there’s no reason that it couldn’t be used during the day to sparkle up your lips and combat the dryness that tends to come with liquid lipstick.


{Me test driving Tawny Rose before one of my rare ventures away from home for a couple of hours}

I’m really pleased with these products. Obviously I’ve only been able to test them for a few hours at a time (Chronic Life restrictions 🙄) but I’m impressed with how transfer resistant Tawny Rose is. I think Skinny Dip should now live in my handbag to help me out on those occasions when the dryness of liquid lipstick alone is irritating me. I must check out Jouer’s more metallic liquid lipsticks…

Have you tried any Jouer products?

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.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes

When I find myself repurchasing something for the 3rd or 4th time, it feels only right to devote a post to the product in question. The Clinique Quickliner for Eyes found its way into my birthday beauty haul (Part 1 & Part 2) and I’ve owned it several times before.

This isn’t a super exciting product but it is one that I find myself reaching for a lot when I’m well enough to apply makeup. I use it only on my bottom lash line and am happy with the job it does. There is no unpleasant tugging on application and you don’t need to press hard to get the desired amount of pigment. The nib is soft but not crumbly and obviously doesn’t require sharpening since the pencil is of the twist-up variety; always a good thing as I’m in the habit of misplacing my sharpener!

This time around I opted for the Brown/Black shade for ‘everyday wear’ but I’d be interested to try out other colours such as the Intense Plum shade that is available.

The thing I really like about this  product is the smudging sponge thing on the end. I’ve tried other pencils that turn out to have a smudging end that is rock hard and therefore not easy or comfortable to use. This sponge is firm enough to use precisely but still soft enough that it is comfortable for use in the delicate eye area. 

Having said all of that, this product isn’t perfect. Considering that it is a relatively expensive item, the packaging can be unreliable. The twist up mechanism isn’t strong and can become loose and difficult to use even when the product is still quite new; this is poor when you factor in what it costs to purchase.

Overall I like this product and use it regularly. The problem with the packaging and twist up mechanism hasn’t happened with every individual pencil I’ve owned but it has happened twice, which is enough to suggest that it wasn’t a one-off faulty item but a design flaw. It is for this reason that while I like this product, if I were to come across one with a similar sponge that is more reliable, I’d have no qualms about switching.

What is your favourite eye pencil?

Wishing you good luck & happy days,

Kindra x

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

Makeup Geek Blush Review

It feels like an age ago that I got these two blushes from Makeup Geek as part of my Birthday Beauty Haul (Part 1 & Part 2) back in August. My Chronic Life currently restricts my ‘well enough to apply makeup’ hours drastically so it’s taken a while for me to have used these blushes enough to be ready to review them…but finally I’m there 😊. 

These are the first Makeup Geek blushes I’ve bought and I ordered them online from Beauty Bay. MUG has released a new batch of blushes in compact form since but I rarely carry blush about with me so am happy to buy pan versions to live inside my Tarteist Pro Custom Palette.

The shades I went for were Valentine (left) which is described as a pastel pink beige and Soulmate (right) which is described as muted mauve with rosy nude undertones and a shimmer finish. I find myself reaching for Soulmate most often. Both shades are suitable for my very fair skin but I think my taste has changed somewhat since I bought Mac’s Blush Baby almost a year ago; I’ve started to lean away from lighter pinks towards those that have some mauve or hints of brown in them. It’s worth noting that whatever shimmer is supposed to be present in Soulmate isn’t very noticeable to my eye; this is a bonus in my opinion as I prefer my blushes to provide colour rather than shimmer.

The swatches may not look particularly pigmented but for me that’s not necessarily a bad thing – I don’t want to look like Coco the Clown after one light swipe. These blushes produce enough colour on the cheek that I still need to concentrate so as not to overdo it! 

The thing I like about these blushes is that they blend beautifully. A fluffy face brush blends and smooths the edges very nicely without removing the colour. Both of these shades work nicely with the silver or pink toned highlighters that I gravitate towards.

So far I’ve only been able to test drive them for a few hours at a time, since that’s as long as any excursion of mine lasts (if I’m lucky). But I’m impressed with them and think they’re worth the £8.50 each that they cost in the UK. Soulmate has fast become a blush that I use regularly. If you haven’t tried Makeup Geek blushes then I recommend you check them out.

What is your favourite blush?

Wishing you good luck & happy days,

Kindra x 

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This blog is also available via Bloglovin.

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

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

This Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick has been waiting patiently for a while, looking forward to the day that I’d be well enough to take it for a test drive. That day finally came recently when I was able to go out to eat with my family. This post is intended to share my first impressions rather than an in-depth definitive verdict  – if I waited until I was well enough to wear this product for several full days, this post wouldn’t have been written for a looooong time. That’s Chronic Life for ya.


Let’s talk about the shade first. I found it difficult to tell online exactly what colour I was going to end up with, a not uncommon problem if you are forced to buy exclusively online as I am. Even with the help of Pinterest or YouTube swatches, there’s a bit of guess work involved. I opted for the shade Amore and was aware that it might appear darker on my very fair skin than on most online swatches.


Amore is a lovely deep berry kind of shade which in my opinion is a great choice for Autumn/Winter. I would say that it’s a lipstick that will look markedly different depending on skin tone, but I think it would still look pretty on anyone.


The formula dried down quickly and felt comfortable on the lips, thankfully not as dry feeling as Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Liquid Lipstick. It lasted well through eating and drinking, with the only signs of transfer and wear happening on the inner lip. Touching up that area was easy and no unpleasant crumbling happened when the product was applied over itself.

I found the applicator a bit annoying as it was a little flexible. I much prefer an applicator that doesn’t bend, as I find it easier to achieve clean lines that way. 


The shade ended up looking darker than it should have on me, as I found that getting the colour to look even took a couple of dips into the lipstick tube. As you can see, my lines aren’t quite as neat as I’d like, but I do like the colour.

Overall I like this product but it hasn’t succeeded in toppling theBalm’s Meet Matte Hughes from the ‘My Fave Liquid Lipstick’ throne. I’ll definitely get some use out of this Stila offering over the Autumn/Winter; it’s a good choice for when you’re going out for a meal and want your lips to require minimal  touching up. I’d be interested to try another shade from Stila, something a bit lighter, to see if performance varies between shades at all. If you’re looking for a berry shade liquid lipstick (and don’t mind slightly flexible applicators)  you should definitely check this one out. 

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.

ABH Moon Child Glow Kit

Anastasia Bevelery Hills’ Glow Kits have been EVERYWHERE on Instagram and YouTube beauty channels for quite some time. As ever, the majority of these highlighting products are not a suitable shade for my milk-white skin tone. Golds and bronzes just don’t work on me! But when the Moon Child kit launched a few months ago, I wondered if this might finally be a Glow Kit I could work with. When the time rolled around to do my birthday beauty haul (Part 1 and Part 2), this palette was my number one priority.

The palette contains 6 shimmery highlight shades, some of which are pretty unusual compared to the range of highlight shades currently on the market. The palette itself doesn’t have a mirror which is a bit of a shame in my opinion. The packaging is pretty but doesn’t feel particularly sturdy as it’s cardboard rather than plastic or faux metal. To be honest I’d have preferred a more solid feeling palette with a mirror from a product in this price range. 

I have fallen in love with the highlights themselves. The shades appear quite muted in the pan but when you start swatching them, their true colours shines out! You might think that these colours would be hard to use in an every day sense but it is actually possible to use them without going to Instagram-worthy extremes (as gorgeous as the photos are of stripes of highlight that can be seen glinting miles away, they can be a bit much for day time in IRL!). These powders are easy to blend and mix together to get the look you’re after.

At this stage it’s too early in my love affair with the Moon Child kit to choose a favourite shade, but for quick and easy every day look Pink Heart is the easiest to use. Star can also be used with a light hand for day time looks; to be honest they all can with a little blending. When I’m well enough to being going out in the evening again, I’ll definitely be incorporating Blue Ice and Purple Horseshoe into a shimmery highlight and eye look. Lucky Clover is also a really interesting colour with more green & yellow going on than you’d expect from looking at it in the pan.

Overall I’m really happy with this palette; it’s a joy to behold. While the packaging and design of the palette could have been a bit better, I really like the products themselves. It’s a really unusual collection of shades and I’m looking forward to playing with them more as my Chronic Life allows.

What do you think of the ABH Glow Kits?

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.

Tarteist Pro Custom Magnetic Palette

Despite the fact that I started wearing makeup when I was 13 (very subtly so as to avoid detection by my mum or teachers), a couple of decades later I remain a newbie to the world of eyeshadow. Until now the only eyeshadow I use regularly is a slightly-lighter-than-my-skin shade just beneath the arches when I do my brows.

I’m now working on getting a little collection of eyeshadows together and developing my application skills. So when I was indulging in my beauty birthday haul (Part 1 and Part 2),  I snapped up this palette from Tarte to store my pan eyeshadows in.

I’m really glad that I went for this palette. Firstly – it’s so gorgeous to look at! The animal print design will never go out of style as far as I’m concerned! The the little metallic plate with the brand name is a nice touch too.

The palette has a pleasing sturdy feel to it. It feels like it will last a long time and while it is s little heavy, I’d still put it in a suitcase to travel without a second thought. In my opinion the extra weight is worth it for the durability pay off.

On the inside, the palette sports a lovely big mirror, the size of the entire lid. I really like this, in fact it’s one of the things that drew me to the palette. I know that professional makeup artists like to be able to see the shadows through the lid, which makes sense since they’re applying makeup to other people rather than to themselves, so a mirror isn’t top priority. Also people who always sit at a beauty table to apply makeup might not need another mirror. I personally don’t always sit in the same spot when applying makeup so I love this mirror as it’s big enough to use while doing my entire face. The mirror could easily be the only one a person takes with them when travelling. I haven’t as yet tested the magnetic hold by traveling with this  palette but all the pans stay put when it is turned upside down. 

I own a large Z palette which cost more than this Tarte offering; the Tarte one is in another league in my opinion. I recommend keeping an eye out for any more custom palettes Tarte release – if they’re anything like this one, they are well worth the money. {At time of posting the palette discussed in this review is actually still available on Tarte’s website}. 

Do you have a favourite custom palette?

Kindra x

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

Body Shop Shea Body Scrub

I love a good body scrub. They help me to feel squeaky clean after hours/days stranded in bed by my broken brain. So when Body Shop had one of their 40% off everything sales (including items that were already discounted, yay!) I took the opportunity to stock up on a few essentials, including the Shea Body Scrub.

I like everything about this scrub. The sugar formula is rough enough to feel effective but not so scratchy that it puts me off using it; I’m able to use it on freshly shaved legs without any uncomfortable stinging.

The Shea fragrance is always a winner for me – it’s pleasant without being overwhelming and most importantly doesn’t upset my fragrance sensitive brain.

The sugar scrub itself sits in an oil type liquid base. When you’re in the shower/bath it feels greasy but I found that as soon as I dried off, it had all been absorbed into my skin. I actually found that I didn’t need to reach for my in-shower moisturiser – this scrub left my skin feeling soft and moisturised without that extra step.

I could waffle on for several more paragraphs but there’s really no need; this is a great body scrub and not too expensive (grab it during one of Body Shop’s sales/offers and it’s even better value for money!). It doesn’t sting like similar salt versions I’ve tried and leaves my skin feeling and smelling lovely. It’s worth grabbing a tub every time there’s a sale – sign up for Body Shop emails so you never miss one!

What’s your favourite body scrub?

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 money.

Review: ABH Liquid Lipstick 

If you’ve read my recent post on theBalm’s Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipstick, you’ll already know that I resisted the liquid lipstick trend for a loooong time. I was perfectly happy with Mac lipliners and matte or satin finish lipstick and more recently fell in love with Urban Decay’s Vice Lipstick in the comfort matte finish and 24/7 Glide On Lipliner. But I now own a few liquid lipsticks from the theBalm and I must confess, I’m largely neglecting the rest of my lipstick collection in favour of them.

So I decided to include a liquid lipstick from Anastasia Beverly Hills in my recent birthday beauty haul, to see if it would become a instant hit with me as well.

ABH has become wildly popular of late – between their brow products, their liquid lipstick and their Glow Kits (my birthday haul included Moon Child), their products are all over Instagram. So when I ordered this lipstick in the shade Dusty Rose, I was fairly confident that it would turn out to be a decent product at the very least. 

The first thing to say is that I LOVE the shade. ABH describes it on their website as a nude mauve. As ever, such mauve shades are a favourite of mine but on my very fair skin (Mac NW10) they are by no means a true nude shade. Dusty Rose is so easy to wear and would work on a range of different skin tones and with many different makeup looks.

The formula is long wearing and can be touched up when you’re out and about without it turning into a crumbling mess – a vital characteristic in a good liquid lipstick!

I have one issue with this product – the somewhat parched feel of it once it has dried down. It feels far more dry on my lips after an hour or so of wear than the Meet Matte Hughes liquid lipsticks from the theBalm. In my opinion it also looks more dry and therefore excentuates the natural lines on the lip itself. This is a shame as I do really love the shade but am more likely to reach for theBalm’s Charming instead as it looks and feels more comfortable.

I’ll still use this lipstick, maybe with a little lip balm underneath, but sadly it fell just short of the high standards theBalm have set for me re. liquid lipsticks.

What’s your favourite liquid lipstick?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x 

Follow me on Instagram.

Tweet me – @chroniccockney

This blog is also available via Bloglovin.

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

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