Sunday, 22 December 2013

How to Survive Christmas in Style

There is no reason for us migraineurs to fear Christmas. Here's why:

As we all know, a drop in blood sugar can lead to migraine, or a general feeling of un-wellness. So, at around 10.30am, while the rest of your family and friends are at church/sleeping/drunk you must pull a leg off the Turkey (it will probably have been in the oven since 6am so the leg should be cooked). You can then make yourself a delicious pre-lunch snack, consisting of a Turkey Sandwich. If you forage around the kitchen you will find cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy - all the essentials of the perfect Sandwich. You should probably just keep eating for the rest of the day. If you are offered any of your food triggers throughout the day, whatever they may be, just hold up the turkey leg and use it as a defensive weapon to ward off unhelpful relatives/bad food.

If there are any humans under the age of Ten at your abode there is no chance of you having a lie-in, and thus breaking your 'normal sleep hygiene' patterns. If there aren't any little people, you must still get up early to un-wrap your presents under the christmas tree. You must then re-wrap them, obviously, so you can join in with festivities later. But, this is a good chance to swap any gifts you don't want! While the other adults are sleeping you will then be able to have a turkey sandwich for breakfast and pre-lunch snack - see above. 


You have permission to wear sparkly Ugg Boots all day long. If you insist on wearing actual shoes, platform wedges are cool at the moment, so you can still look fashionable and not break your back. Do not break your back/neck/shoulder with pointy stilettos. Ugg Boots are your friend on this day. Simply say they were a Christmas present from the host and no-one will dare question your questionable fashion taste. 


To get yourself out of any 'danger' situations - i.e sitting next to your Aunt who wears that hideous perfume that seems to block up your nostrils after one whiff - hold up your mistletoe. Hold it up high above her head, beam lovingly at your Aunt and say 'Pucker up Auntie, I have the mistletoe'! She will then proceed to make a polite excuse to move away. Obviously, there is a very slight possibility of this trick going awry - but give it a try. 

Hopefully, you will have already purchased yourself an early Christmas present of a designer Stella McCartney  bum bag (Americans, this is a fanny pack - they really don't sound good in either language do they?). You must then fill your designer bum bag with everything you need to survive the day: a mini bottle of water, brandy, pain killers, triptans, eye masks, ear plugs, rescue remedies, hot water bottle - any and everything that will help you. Have no shame in lying down on the sofa at 1pm and donning your lavender eye mask and putting in your ear plugs to drown out the screams of over excited children. Simply place the mistletoe and the bottle of brandy on top of the all in one snuggie that you will be wearing, and your family will simply conclude you have drunkenly passed out and you will be left in peace. Simples. 

The combination of wearing sparkly uggs, a snuggie with a bum bag over the top will probably start some new fashion craze - so not only will you have survived Christmas but you will be in all the magazines. Could you ask for more? 

I do hope these essential survival tips help you get through the festive season with joy and peace. I've had my share of Christmas disasters in the past but this year I am determined to make it through in style and comfort. See you all in 2014!

Link to other helpful ideas:

Friday, 13 December 2013

Musical Depiction of Migraine: Richard Wagner

Watch this video…

The above video (which I hoped you've now watched) was put together by Doctors at a German Headache Centre. They've discovered (as you'll know because you watched the video - p.s did you slightly laugh at the end as it's so clearly 'choreographed!) that Wagner did, indeed, suffer from severe migraine and aura. Interestingly, they believe that he depicted, if you will, his feelings of migraine in his works - specifically the opera Siegfried. Wagner enthusiasts will no doubt be intrigued to learn that he constantly wore a hat because, during his life time, that was one of the main treatments for headache. If only poor Wagner had been aware of the MigraCap.

Read the fascinating full article in the BMJ which also looks at Wagners' letters and autobiography. Once again, I find it hugely encouraging that despite living with this "compulsive plague!" Wagner was able to achieve great success and produce astonishing works of art.

Wagner geeks - what do you think? Can you 'hear' and 'feel' migraine in some of his works?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Book Club Update: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I am pleased as punch to officially announce that the next Migraine Monologues Book Club book will be, as careful readers will have no doubt guessed, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.

Taken from

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to sit down with the Author herself and hear how her migraines inspired central elements of the book. It was so refreshing and exhilarating to meet such a talented figure who has proudly embraced living with migraine and used the condition in such a creative, exciting and successful way. We should all take a leaf out of Samantha's book (and, um, also read the incredible one she's actually written)! I'll be posting the interview shortly.

Breaking News!

Copyright Mark Pringle

Samantha has, very kindly, agreed to take part in the next book club chat!!!  This will either be in person in a venue in Central London or, 'out of body', via Google hangout. I'm just ironing out dates/details but will let you know as soon as I can. So, in the meantime get reading or listening (the book is available via Audible).

Below is more information/links about this New York Times hit list, dazzling book that whisks you away to Scion London 2059.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates and the interview with Samantha. 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Questions for The Bone Season's Author, Samantha Shannon

Happy Festive Season one and all.

This coming Tuesday I shall be meeting with the delightful and uber uber talented Samantha Shannon.

Taken from

Samantha, aged 21, has written the most brilliant dystopian novel The Bone Season and if you pay attention, you'll notice that migraine aura, and headaches, are beautifully and ingeniously interwoven into the story. Samantha herself is a migraine sufferer and has very generously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.

We'll be reading The Bone Season for the next Migraine Monologues Book Club in January, so if you haven't read (or listened via audible) to it yet - get going, you're in for a treat! You do not want to miss out.

'Call it this summer’s The Hunger Games’ Glamour
‘Gripped me to the marrow’ The Telegraph
‘There is no doubt that Samantha Shannon is the real thing’ The Observer

But for now - I'd love to know what questions you'd like me to ask Samantha - about the book, her migraines, how they impacted her creative process, what's she's hoping Father Christmas will bring her….

I, for one, am incredibly excited about meeting this emerging talent and find it hugely inspiring that despite living with migraines, Samantha has managed to achieve crazy huge levels of success. She doesn't know it yet, but she is definitely going to be Miss December, Migraineur of The Month…perhaps she should be Miss 2013?

So - questions please! 

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