Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Swatches

I’ve been really struggling to post lately; even my weekly Sunday beauty post has fallen by the wayside. I’m going through one of those phases in my Chronic Life when I have zero energy left; the constant battle with the pain is wearing me down. The pain itself is also particularly severe and persistent, even by my standards. I’m scheduled to have brain surgery in January, but that’s another post.

So, while I haven’t had the opportunity to properly test drive this batch of Makeup Geek eyeshadows (my first!), I do have some swatches I would like to share with you.

They are swatched on the back of my own hand so bear in mind that I’m super pale; I use NW10 in Mac foundations. I didn’t use any primer underneath. I used a fingertip to swatch and didn’t go over them several times; I wanted to show as accurately as possible how pigmented the shades are. 

I was impressed with the pigmentation of these shadows and I’m pleased with the shades themselves- soooooo pretty 😍. I’m particularly excited about Mermaid, the bright metallic bluish green right in the middle. Now if I could just get a few  low pain hours to test drive these beautiful shades…

What do you think of Makeup Geek eyeshadows?

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.

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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.

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

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Summer Nails: Lilac

Just a quick post today to share my current nail look. It’s always a good day when I’m finally well enough to make it out of the house to get to my favourite nail place 😊 It requires planning, meds, lying down afterwards and sometimes my long suffering husband escorting me home if the pain has spiked, but at least one part of me looks neat and not sick afterwards!

  
Since it can be many, many weeks between nail salon visits, I’ve had the length kept short on my acrylic in-fills. Acrylic is somewhat out of fashion these days but my nails stay tidy and the same length as as each other for weeks at a time, so it’s worth it to me.

   
 
There are certain shades I’m drawn to every summer – baby blues, pinks and lilacs always make an appearance during warmer months. This Rimmel polish from the Rita Ora range is 558 Wild-Er-Ness. It was on sale at ASOS so I popped it into my basket on a whim last time I placed an order.

The shade itself is very pretty but I noticed that it required more coats to get a decent coverage than, for example, my polishes from Essence (which are even cheaper!). I find the brush to be a touch wide but nothing major. It’s a decent polish for the price but I suspect a good top coat will make all the difference to the wear time.

What nail shades do you reach for in the summer months?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet/follow me – @chroniccockney

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This blog is also available via Bloglovin.

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

Chronic Life: Making Medical Appointments Work for You

Like many other spoonies around the world, I have attended a vast number of medical appointments in my life so far. But it was only before my first meeting with a particular Neurosurgeon recently (to make a plan re. my Chiari Malformation) that I consciously paused to consider what I needed to do to make sure that this appointment was beneficial to me.

  

Obviously these are just my own thoughts and recommendations, based on my personal experience; other spoonies may have different views. These tips are as much reminders for myself as for others!

So, here are a few tips based on what has worked for me:

  • Create a medical file – Depending on how much paperwork your condition(s) generate & how long you’ve been living with these conditions, you may need to decide if you want each file to cover a year or some other suitable period of time. Your file can be separated in which ever way makes most sense to you. Sections I created in mine include: Contacts Details (for every specialist, GP, nurse practitioner I see), Appointment Log, Letters (each specialist has their own section), Test Results, Pain Diary. I also keep a small notebook in the back of my file. I keep my current file a manageable size so that I can take it to appointments with me when I wish, especially if I’m seeing someone new.
  • Take an extra pair of ears – Some people prefer to attend appointments alone; indeed, I preferred to do so for many years. But these days I like to have my husband attend with me. Daily pain can cause what many spoonies refer to as ‘brain fog’ so I like to be able to talk the appointment through later with my husband. This leads onto my next point…
  • Write down the major points and decisions made during appointment as soon as you leave. Some people may not feel the need to do this but I find it reassuring as a way to make sure I haven’t missed any important details.
  • Before attending appointment, consider what key questions you want answered – I find going into appointments with the things I want explained or clarified written in front of me is helpful as appointments can fly by & it’s all to easy to find yourself outside remembering that you had questions that you never got around to asking.
  • Before you leave the room, ensure that you know exactly what the plan is – this one can be as simple as saying “So before I go, can I just confirm that our plan moving forward is…” If tests/procedures have been recommended, check who will arrange these and which office you should contact if letters/appointment details aren’t forthcoming.
  • Don’t be shy about asking for a time frame – my Neuro always provides a time frame and tells me to contact his office if x,y or z hasn’t been done by a certain date. Not all specialists do this though so feel free to ask – it’s a reasonable question.
  • Get used to politely advocating for yourself – for example, I was initially given an appointment 5 months away to discuss my Chiari. One phone call to my Neurosurgeon’s secretary was all it took for that waiting time to be cut to a couple of weeks. It doesn’t always happen as smoothly as that but if you’re unhappy with some element of your care or the related admin, calling or having somebody call on your behalf is completely reasonable. 
  • Remember that you are not stuck with anyone – if you’re finding that an individual makes you anxious or unhappy in their dealings with you, remind yourself that you’re not stuck with them! I’ve known a wonderful Neurologist who I saw for many years; I’ve also met with one very well-known Neuro who was arrogant, abrasive and an all around arsehole. On doing a little research afterwards I found that many patients agreed with my assessment of him, so it wasn’t just me! In my opinion, a specialist’s knowledge and experience is of no use to me if they can’t communicate it without being so offensive that I want to hit them with a chair. I’m in a lot of pain and have been for many years – I won’t tolerate anyone adding to my stress with their poor people skills. If you are unhappy seeing someone then don’t feel you need to stick with them; arrange a referral to someone else. 
  • Remember who is in charge – you! Of course we’re mostly guided by the advice of our specialists but we are the ones in charge of our bodies and all decisions related to them. Sometimes appointments can be nerve-wracking but remember that you decide what treatments you’re happy to undertake. If you’re being offered something like an op, it’s totally ok to not decide right there in the room. If you’d like some time to discuss things with family before letting specialist know of your decision then that’s totally ok. Of course some situations require urgent action but if you’re attending an outpatient appointment then unless you’re being strongly adviced to become an inpatient right now, most decisions can at least wait 24 hours if you need a little time to process what you’ve been told. 

Do you have any particular strategies for ensuring that you get the most out of your appointments?

Wishing you good luck & happy days,

Kindra x

Tweet/follow me –@chroniccockney

Chronic Pain Cockney – The Little Things is also on Bloglovin.

Tablets, Sprays and Injections – Oh My!

This post outlines my thoughts and experience re. medication delivery methods as a life long Chronic Migraine warrior; I’m not a medical expert! Obviously, all concerns and ideas re. medication should be discussed with your GP/Specialist.

A few members of my Migraine/Chronic Pain Warriors FB group are relatively new to the Chronic Life, so with people like them in mind, I’ve decided to share a small but important lesson I’ve learnt over the (too) many years I’ve lived with debilitating Migraine.  

 

It’s a simple piece of advice: when a medication is being recommended to you, find out if it comes in different formulas and delivery methods. Does it come exclusively in tablet form or is it also available as a nasal spray, injection or wafer that dissolves on the tongue?

I think this is important information to obtain because the way the medication enters the blood stream can have an impact on how successful the treatment is for you. An example from my own life – Sumatriptan (an acute treatment to be taken as early as possible to abort a Migraine attack in progress). I found that the tablet form of this treatment was not effective for me at all; however, the version that is injected into the thigh IS effective. I’m not a doctor but my own GP confirmed my suspicion that by-passing the stomach is a key element in why the injections are so much better for me. My stomach gets actively involved in Migraine attacks and while it’s going crazy with the nausea & vomiting, it is neglecting it’s duty re. absorbing meds. While it is advised that a patient use their Triptan as early as possible during an attack, there is a limit to how many you can take; my Migraine is so extreme that it’s actually daily and sadly I can’t take a Triptan everyday! So I sometimes postpone taking it until later in an attack when I really feel that I HAVE to. The disadvantage of this is that the longer a Migraine attack goes on, the worse the nausea/vomiting is likely to be for me. So a delivery method that avoids the stomach becomes very important if I want to increase the chances of the treatment being effective. 

I have also found Rizatriptan to be pretty effective in the dissolvable wafer form. This medication melts on the tongue; my misbehaving stomach is not being asked to do much (if any) work on the absorption front. 

I realise that injections in particular are not everyone’s cup of tea but in my view,  it can’t hurt to know what your options are. Sumatriptan for example is available in the form of a nasal spray; this is a good option to try if you want to change from the tablets but can’t quite face injecting yourself. The injection causes side effects that are immediate and very strange until you’re used to it but personally that’s a price I don’t mind paying for an effective treatment option.

 It’s worth bearing in mind that certain forms of medications may not be flagged up to you if they are expensive to prescribe (sometimes an issue within the NHS and indeed with insurance providers in the U.S.) so it’s important to arm yourself with information. 

Anti-Nausea meds are helpful to many people when trying to ensure that acute treatments in tablet form are properly absorbed but for me, methods that avoid the stomach entirely are definitely worth trying. 

Have you found non-tablet forms of medication helpful?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra. 

Tweet/follow me @chroniccockney

Check out my YouTube channel.

£2.30 Sheer Lip Pick-Me-Up

You might not think that there’s much of a connection between living with chronic pain/illness and the makeup & beauty tastes of the person in question. But in my case, ChronicLife has definitely influenced the kind of products I choose & how I use them. I adore perfectly applied & layered lipliners & matte lipsticks but sometimes I need products that can be applied quickly and make me look a little more human with minimal effort. On these occasions, a sheer lipstick can come in very handy. Let’s talk about Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick in 03 BFF, a little gem I picked up in my recent £20 Beauty Haul.

  
  

Having been very impressed with the brand’s nail polishes & Long Lasting Lipsticks , I was pretty confident that their Shine & Sheer range would be nice and I wasn’t disappointed. The formula is indeed very sheer but can be built up quite a bit if that’s your preference. This swatch on my arm was 3 gentle swipes straight from the lipstick:

  
{Note-I found it particularly difficult to capture the IRL colour of the actual lipstick in these photos; grey Autumn light! But the above swatch is exactly how the shade looks on my skin.}

A single swipe produces coverage that’s similar to a subtle tinted lipbalm. It could of course be worn over a favourite lipliner to combat that dry look that liners can cause when they cover the whole lip. Personally what I like about this lipstick is that I could apply a single coat without a mirror and give my lips a pretty sheen in next to no time. This is very useful if you’re running late for work or, if you’re me, trying to take the edge off the ghostly ill look when visitors knock at the door. 

  

03 BFF is in my opinion one of those rare shades that would work on any skintone. If it were a matte finish, this might not be the case, but as it’s so sheer & sheeny (that may not be an actual word) it really would look pretty on anyone. 

I think this lipstick is also a good option for a makeup look that involves dramatic eyes; lips will look ‘done’ without distracting from the smokey eye/winged eyeliner main event!

 

This is another £2.30 triumph from Essence. In terms of wear time, I suspect these lipsticks won’t last through meals but that’s generally the case with sheer lipsticks unless you do some heavy lipliner work underneath. The fact that I could actual apply this with one hand, no mirror and with my head still on my pillow if necessary makes it a winner for me (when you’re chronically ill, sometimes doctors/family come to look at you while you’re in bed or indeed in a hospital bed; big fun 😑). 

Do you like sheer lipsticks or are you totally devoted to matte formulas? Do you have a favourite lip product for days when you’re running late or feeling rough?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

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

A MAC Lipstick Staple – Syrup

I loooove Autumn. The weather is kinder to my broken brain, knee high boots make a triumphant return & the gorgeous Victoria Park in our part of East London turns all kinds of gorgeous orange & gold shades.

There is a downside though; the prescription sunglasses that play such a vital role in my ongoing mission to look half normal,when I’m able to venture out in public, start to look at little odd. Most people put them away for Autumn in the UK. But for me, white/cloudy skies daylight hurts my head as much as the blue sunny kind. It’s very possible that people look at me & assume that wearing sunglasses in such weather can only mean that I’m a vain, preening arsehole.

I do have a secret weapon for Autumn though. When I feel too self conscious to incorporate my shades into my I’m-not-really-feeling-like-death look, a gorgeous plum lip goes a long way towards making me look put together. Here is where MAC’s lustre lipstick in Syrup comes in.

  

Being a Lustre finish lipstick, there is a sheerness to Syrup that hasn’t exactly been on trend in recent times, as we’ve all become obsessed with matte lipsticks. But trends come & go; some products are staples and Syrup is one for me.  
 

The lustre finish is what makes this lipstick so versatile. Worn alone it’s got a mauvey rose thing going on that will look slightly different depending on the colour of the wearer’s lips. I am clearly at the extreme end of pale & it works for me. I’ve seen it work beautifully on tanned and darker skin tones. Love a lipstick that works for many different people 😊.

In Autumn/Winter, I have a particular way of wearing Syrup. I layer it over No 7 Precision Lip Pencil in Plum. 

  
(Apologies for photo, had to use one of my Pinterest ones as I’m not well enough to be upright & taking new pics today.)

The rosey-plum result is polished without being too ‘statement lip’ ish. It can be mattified with the layer of tissue & loose powder method, but I actually like the finish as it is. It’s great for the day time & draws the eye away from the pain/exhaustion signals that may well be emanating from my eye area. Syrup can of course be layered over a range of mauve/rose/dark pink liners. It can also be worn straight onto bare lips.

It is this versatility that endears Syrup to me. Most of us can’t afford to buy numerous higher end products every season, so choosing one that can be worn in a number of ways makes sense. Syrup has definitely become a staple in my makeup bag. The No 7 Lipliner is also a really handy addition to any Autumn/Winter makeup bag. The plum shade is eternally gorgeous and the brush on the end allows for softening of lip lines.

Have you tried Syrup? What MAC shades have become staples for you?

Wishing you good luck & happy days,

Kindra x

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Mint Green Nail Delight

Summer is fast drawing to a close & I have a confession to make; I’m not sad about it. I know, most normal people love the warm weather & blue skies (not that we get that much of either in the UK but we definitely get some from May-August). Personally I’ve never been a fan of hot weather; my condition makes me crave cool dark spaces as light, heat & noise make me hurt or more accurately, hurt more. 

One thing I love about Summer though is the range of popping nail colours that turn up every year. The shade I’m reviewing today is from my recent Essence haul:

  
Essence The Gel Nail Polish in ‘Play with my Mint’ available in UK from Wilko.

I expected this shade to be a muted pastel kinda colour but as you can see it turned out to be much more vibrant. It was a really pleasant surprise! Muted pastels are lovely but this colour is GORGEOUS. It somehow makes me think of being abroad sipping ludicrously colourful cocktails. (Aside – warm weather in places like Cyprus, Spain Malta in August somehow doesn’t bother my brain so much, probably because in those places I’ve had air con to retreat to; in London I just melt into a breathless migraine puddle).

  
I applied two coats of colour & one of Essence Gel Top Coat. The two coats of colour were plenty enough to create totally  opaque coverage; in fact it could probably be done with one coat but I prefer two thinner layers to one thick one that will take an age to dry & is susceptible to denting even after it’s touch dry.

The polish itself can be a little gloopy but nothing major. Essence polishes definitely need a top coat otherwise they start to fade gradually at nail tips; since most of us finish with a top coat anyway, this is no big deal. 

  
The top coat was lovely & shiny and did what is was supposed to. There was a little colour transfer from nail to top coat brush but that did the nails no harm at all; I may get one of these top coats for different colour groups though, as I suspect that if the top coat were used over dark colours, then later over light ones, there could be some minor but annoying transfer (I’ve found this to be the case with top coats that cost 3 or 4 times what this one did). Since these top coats cost £2.50 each, with even cheaper ones also available from Essence, buying a couple won’t break the bank.

So, all in all I’m very impressed with this nail polish and the top coat. The mint green colour pops; I think it will suit not only fair skinned people like me but also tanned or darker skin. It’s just lovely. I recommend having  nail polish remover on a cotton bud handy for tidying up small errors. When you were at school, did bored kids use their Tippex pen to colour in their entire nail?  Well, if you leave errors with a shade like this and don’t correct them, you risk ending up with that kind of look😆 That’s not really specific to this brand, more to these types of shades. At £1.60 each, the Gel Polishes are a lovely way to try new shades without spending too much money.

What  is your favourite shade to invoke a summery feeling?

Wishing you good luck and happy days,

Kindra x

Check out my YouTube channel here.

Follow/Tweet me- @chroniccockney

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