Part 1 of my mental recovery: body image

Girl in a pink tshirt and jean shorts laying on the ground, covering her face with her hands.

Hello, dear readers! I have published a lot of casual blog posts on Dolls Have Hearts lately, however, today I wanted to talk about something more personal and reach out to those who are dealing with the same issue. I am not sharing this story for pity or just to whine, I am doing it as a promise to myself and you that I will get better.

I barely remember the last time when I felt comfortable enough in my own skin and didn’t worry about my jiggling thighs. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when I was only 5 years old. At that time I was careless kid whose mind was not ruined by opinions of others. Fast forward 10 years later. Fifteen year old is full of doubts, constantly checking her stomach and thighs online, working out every day for an hour even if I am sore from yesterday’s workout. She felt guilty about every slice of cake, every ice cream and can of soda she had because in her mind there was this perfect version of herself with a perfect body and she had to be that version… Every time she had to wear shorts, this girl felt really self-conscious and though everyone was staring at her, judging all of her flaws and wondering – why the hell doesn’t she look like Ariana Grande or some other celebrity on the cover of Glamour?

Fast forwarding to this very moment, to almost twenty year old version of myself. I have made a promise to myself that I will get my confidence back and fall in love with the body I have, instead of focusing of some sort of perfect version of my body that exists only in my mind. See, the problem is not my body, it is my perception of it. I came to this conclusion when I not only reached my goal weight but even went few kilograms under it, yet still felt unhappy. Just few months ago I thought that I will have to live with distorted body image forever. All these celebrities with perfect bodies, Instagram famous fitness trainers and guys that bullied me every day for 9 nine years straight have fucked up my mind too badly… right? Wrong. I have talked about victim mentality and depression on my blog before and I refuse to keep that mentality for the rest of my life. That is exactly why I started breaking out of this mental cage now and started doing few things to recover.

My first step to recovery was starting to attend dance lessons. I know what you are thinking: “Yeah, that’s lovely but what does it have to do with your self perception? You are still working with your body not mind.” In a way you are correct, however, two types of dancing I decided to pick up are burlesque and pole fit. If you have tried any of these yourself or even watched them, you know how much bravery and strength it takes. Confidence and persistence is the key, and you have to be ready to get new bruises in the most random places every time you go to a lesson. Your body might be sore the next day and even few days after when you are just the beginner but those types of dancing definitely give me the confidence boost that I needed so much. One more thing that I noticed while attending dance classes – they are not only for skinny and fit girls who are already good at everything. They are for everyone, who wants to improve themselves, no matter if your stomach is perfectly flat or not, no matter if you have stretch marks or not.

My second step was writing down everything I ate in a day. I am not counting calories, however, I wanted to make sure that I get rid of the silly “overeating followed by starving myself” habit. I have added food log to my weekly spread, writing down what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks. In food log I also track water intake in a day, just to make sure that I don’t forget to stay hydrated.

My third step was picking art journalling (again). I have used my art journal previously to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, however, I quit using my art journal for a while just because I left it back at home. During this break without free creative expression I started to feel uneasy, so I bought new plain notebook and started putting my thoughts and feelings on pages in form of drawings and written text. It does not matter what type of mental health problem are you dealing with, art journal has given me huge relief pretty much every time.

These three steps are the only ones I have taken so far in my self-acceptance journey but I am proud of myself that I was brave enough to begin. If you are dealing with the same problem as I am, just know that you are not alone and you can get better. You are not stuck with one type of mindset for the rest of your life and you have the capacity to start making small changes today. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

P.S. I do apologize that I am publishing this post so late on Thursday night but it still made an effort to publish a post today and I truly put all of my heart into this. I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

“Lovesick” – one of the best TV series to binge watch on Netflix.

two men and one woman, sitting on a red couch

Hello, dear readers! It has been a very busy week and busy semester in general, however, somehow I managed to fit in some Netflix binge watching sessions in between my coursework and that is how I discovered “Lovesick”. I am pretty sure I haven’t watched any British TV series since I discovered “Skins” but, I guess, it is inevitable to live UK and stumble upon their own creations on Netflix.

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The main character of “Lovesick” is Dylan Witter (starring Johnny Flynn) who at the beginning of TV series diagnosed with chlamydia. Yes, you guessed it, the ironic title has everything to do with that. After this diagnosis he attempts to contact all of his previous sexual partners and for about two seasons of “Lovesick” each episode brings us more or less in the past, telling us how Dylan met each of these girls. However, there are two more characters who are very essential for this story – Dylan’s best friends Luke (Daniel Ings) and Evie (Antonia Thomas). Although first two seasons mainly focus on Dylan’s problems, it also shows changes that his friends are going through. One of the things that definitely kept audience on their toes for about two seasons was incomplete romance between Dylan and Evie. Even though we go shown that they clearly have (or have had) feelings for each other at some point, it is never the right time or place and they constantly end up in relationships with other people. Starting from third season, everything seems to start falling into place. What happens next? I can’t tell you yet, even if I wanted to because I have seen only few episodes of the third season.

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In contrast to Netflix TV series”Insatiable” that I previously reviewed on my blog, I didn’t find any of the characters extremely unappealing which, in a way, is a very good thing. Nothing ruins a good story line as much as annoying antagonist does. However, if I had to pick one character that didn’t make extremely positive impression on me, that is Angus (Joshua McGuire) . He seemed too childish and over-the-top for me. Also (spoiler alert!) the plot twist when it turned out that he knocked up a stripper and decided to raise the kid with after not seeing her for few months seemed kind of ridiculous for me. I understand that some people might see this as an interesting plot twist but, in my opinion, it does not fit into the plot very well. It just doesn’t seem realistic.

I do apologize that this week’s post is a bit shorter than usual but I will definitely be back next week with a longer one. University life is getting busier and I still am not familiar with few things but in general I am very happy here. The highlight of my week is always Prose seminar which leaves me inspired and excited every time. Oh, and Yugen’s Coffee House whenever I need some extra caffeine dose to get through another week. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

 

Love, Porcelain Doll.


Images taken from: 

7 major red flags you should not ignore in your relationship.

Brunette in white blouse and black skirt standing near stair railings

Hello, dear readers! If you have been following my blog for at least a month, you know that I recently ended a relationship. It took me quite some time to realize that being with this person recently started to make me very unhappy and nothing could be improved at that point. Even though our relationship ended with a huge and unpleasant blast, I wanted to make something good out of it – share the red flags I tried to ignore, so you do not make the same mistakes in a relationship if you ever notice them. The harsh truth about relationships is the fact that even though you have to fight for someone if you really love them, it takes two people to make it work. If one person is ready to make a sacrifice while other one is not – that will not work. Without any further intro, let’s take a look at seven major red flags you should not ignore in your relationship.

  1. Your partner guilt trips you whenever they get a chance. Maybe you told an unsuccessful joke and they completely misinterpreted it. Maybe you got a little too drunk and kissed someone else when you were still in some an early stage of your relationship. Even though you were the first to recognize the mistake and apologized for it from all of your heart, they still keep mentioning it weeks, even months later at the most random moments. I am not telling you it is okay to say something offensive to your partner or cheat on them but everyone makes mistakes. It’s all about learning from them and forgiving, so your relationship can keep on evolving.
  2. Your partner is not capable of admitting that they hurt your feelings and apologizing about it. If you have to be the only one in this relationship, who apologizes and forgives in this relationship, it will not work. The longer it continues, the more helpless you will start to feel and the lower your self-esteem will fall.
  3. Your partner does not provide emotional support when it is needed, especially, if you suffer from mental illness (for example, depression). They get repulsed by your mood swings, think you are being over-dramatic etc, this is not going to work.
  4. Your partner does not show interest in what is important to you. All they do is complain about you two not having more matching interests while never asking more about what you are passionate about and why. Of course, you should show an interest in their hobbies, work etc, too.
  5. Your partner seems very different after “the honeymoon phase” in your relationship is over. Where did this sweet, caring person, who loved to make you scrambled eggs in the morning and cuddle with you for hours go? You will never know. Suddenly you ended up with a human version of grumpy cat, who finds all of your jokes expensive and 30 minutes after your arrival, hides in his room to play video games with his friends.
  6. Your partner is too concerned about long-term goals like having kids when you have only been dating for 2 months. Come on, this should not be a concern while you are still in your 20’s. It is not like your biological clock is ticking fast already.
  7. Your partner keeps making offensive jokes about you. It is alright to cross the line once in a while, we all make mistakes but if it is happening almost daily, that is one of the biggest red flags and self-esteem wreckers ever. Leave now.

I am not trying to be a blogger version of Taylor Swift but there are some things that I would like to add about my relationship before I end this post. Nothing felt right at the very end. Even when we went out for a dinner which was supposed to be a romantic gesture, I felt like I was sitting across the table from a stranger with who I somehow ended up in a relationship with. When I wanted to talk things out, he warned me that as soon I would start crying, this conversation would be over. I will not dive into details of this breakup, however, the moment when I realized it is really over was when I walked out of the door of his apartment in early morning hours. Before that happened, I was crying almost non stop for 4 hours while he was sleeping in the other room. I could not carelessly fall next to someone whom I broke up with and who felt more emotionally distant than ever. I waited until I had a chance to get into the first city bus and leave. In a movie, just when you are walking out of the door, your partner wakes up, runs out of the door and asks you to stay. Maybe even asks for forgiveness. If not, at least offers to help you carry your heavy bags to the bus station. However, life is not a movie. Even though he woke up, opened the door and asked where was I going, after my reply, he just nodded and said bye. This is how our story ended and, hopefully, it ended for good.

Until the next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

First two weeks in Bangor university – exciting life update.

view to bangor university from car parking lot

Hello, dear readers! Since I started talking my blog seriously at the beginning of 2018, I decreased the amount of personal blogs posts about my life quite a lot. Main reason for that was my excessive need to whine and talk about myself way too much in my just a little over a year ago. However, today I felt the need to share a little more about the university I have chosen for my studies because this is the decision I feel really happy about and it also might be appealing to most of my audience. Who knows – maybe I will even see you here next year just because you read this post?

First thing that I noticed when I arrived to Bangor uni – there is a sense of community. There is always someone, who wants and is able to help you. It does not matter, if you can not find the right building, feel overwhelmed by your lectures or have mental health problems – you can reach out for help and actually receive it. In my previous school almost no one really cared about helping those students, who were struggling. Oh, you can not pass the test in Math class and can not make it to the office hours of Math teacher? No one cares, it is your problem. Sense of community and great support system is one of the things everyone should look for in their university and Bangor university definitely offers that.

bangor university main arts building

Lots of social activities for different types of students. It does not matter, if you enjoy partying several times a week, chill movie nights, pole fit, football or singing. Bangor university offers a wide range of societies, sports clubs and different events for every taste. Unlike in my previous school, I have noticed that I do not have to feel left out just because I am introverted, have different hobbies or do not feel like drinking several times a week. Since I came to Bangor university, I picked up few interesting activities that I would like to continue in the future, too. So far it is Dog walking society and Pole fit that have captured my heart completely but I am looking forward to see what else I might be interested in.

Stunning location is another huge pro you will not experience while studying in big cities like London, New York, Tokyo etc. Bangor is a small city (although some even prefer to call it a town) that had a population of over 18 000 people in 2011 and most of them (more than 10 000 ) were Bangor university students. Only few days after arrival most of us were introduced to Bitch hill which lead up from Pontio to Main arts building and Cardiac arrest hill which leads up to St Mary’s village. I, personally, do not find those hills terrifying as long as it’s still autumn not winter and I do not have to carry heavy grocery bags up the hill.

Bangor

Although I have been in Bangor only for two weeks now, I have found my favorite spot in this small city already. If you ever come to visit or plan to study here and want to get your daily cup of coffee, Yugen coffee-house is the best place to go. Unlike Starbucks or Costa that offer watery, tasteless coffee, Yugen coffee house has speciality coffee that every true coffee lover will appreciate. To those, who are not true coffee lovers yet, let me tell you a secret. If you want to make sure a certain coffee shop has great coffee, order black americano instead of cappuccino or latte. If coffee tastes rich, without the hint of burned coffee beans, you have found the right place.

With that said, I will end this post here. I know that I already am publishing this post one day too late and Thursdays are my busiest days, so starting from next week, I will publish a blog post every Friday. Studying Creative & professional writing while running a blog is basically like giving yourself one extra assignment. It feels good to practice as much as possible but at he same time – writing is exhausting. Believe me – it’s not about being walking around in your PJs all day, dumping all the mess you have on your mind on paper and then carelessly submitting it. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Expectations vs reality – what it is really like to run your own blog.

laptop, flowers, magazines and phone on on white wooden table

Hello, dear readers! I am publishing this blog post one day later because Fresher’s week turned out to be incredibly exhausting. If you have experienced it, you would understand. It is a week of countless meetups, city tours, parties and on top of that, if you are an international student, you have to open bank account, get National Insurance Number and find a job as soon as possible. So now you know the struggle. Even without that, running a blog is not an easy task, especially if you are a student or have non blogging related job, so you have to find a balance between these things. Looking from the bright side – these struggles inspired me to write this blog post that a lot of other bloggers can relate to.

  1. Expectations: I am always inspired to write new blog posts and my head is buzzing from new ideas. Reality: I feel like I have nothing meaningful to share with the world today and I am scared that what I post today might be just a bunch of useless crap.
  2. Expectations: I will write every blog post few days before publishing it. Ideally – I will have several posts scheduled and ready to publish, so I do not have to worry about my blog every second of my life. Reality: I wanted to have proper social life just like all of my friends, so I forgot to put some time away for blogging. Today is the day I have to publish new post but I have nothing.
  3. Expectations: Social media marketing is fun and effortless. I love using Twitter and Instagram anyway! Reality: Why am I loosing followers? How often should I post? This picture only got 26 likes… What am I doing wrong?
  4. Expectations: Blogging is easier than regular job. All I have to do is write content. Reality: Blogging includes researching, planning posts & writing them, social media marketing, networking, commenting on other blogs, finding opportunities to make money, reading about how to improve your blogging & social marketing game and more.
  5. Expectations: I will write one great blog post and get 100 followers, 78 comments and 138 likes overnight. Reality: Few of your very first posts might get only few comments or none at all and growing following is hard work. Staying consistent, using social media the right way and constantly improving is the key.
  6. Expectations: If I will have 10 000 followers, I will be able to make decent money. Reality: Numbers do not matter, if only small part of your followers are engaging with your posts and buying your products. 
  7. Expectations: My posts will and have to be perfect from the very start, otherwise people will not like my blog. Reality: Everyone has to start somewhere. Your content quality will improve as you write and you can always go back and edit it.
  8. Expectations: I do not need to promote my old content anymore, people will just stumble upon it because I’m already being consistent and posting new stuff. Reality: You need to promote all of your content. Do not share only new posts, promote old ones here and there, too. 
  9. Expectations: I will succeed in blogging without defining my audience and blog topics. Reality: No one wants to read a blog that is “for everyone” and writes about “everything”. Get your shit together. For example, your audience is 20 to 30 years old females. They are interested in career related posts, self-improvement and relationship tips. Go!
  10. Expectations: I will take a few days long break from posting on social media and get well deserved rest. That will not impact my views at all. Reality: After three days of not posting on social media, daily blog views dropped from 50 to 5 . Damn it!

Those are ten main struggles that I have faced in my blogging journey. Could you relate to any of those? If so, drop a comment below. Also, if you would like to see more “expectations vs reality” type of posts on my blog, please let me know in the comments. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

The ultimate packing list for university freshers.

Brunette in white shirt, black shorts and black knee socks sitting on the counter and drinking tea from a white mug.

Hello, dear readers! Finally I have some time to sit down with a cup of tea and my laptop in my new dorm room and share useful bits of information with you. I usually publish one blog post every Wednesday but this Wednesday was the day I had to move into halls and figure out some of the most basic stuff. And until that I had bags to pack, boyfriend to break up with, parents to say goodbye to and last meetings with my friends in Latvia. Leaving Riga at first felt a little bittersweet because I really got used to the city with its variety of events and my workplace with its colleagues. However, soon after arriving at Bangor, I started to feel like I am in the right place. Even though I do not know where every store is located and I am not familiar with all university buildings, I do not feel homesick at all. Fresh start is just what I needed. New place, new school, new friends and new, improved version of myself. So because of the whole university theme, I decided to share my packing list for uni. If you are just packing right now or have already arrived but think that something might be missing, check it out.

Documents and paperwork:

  • passport or/and ID card
  • acceptance letter from uni
  • arrival pass for halls
  • flight ticket

Bathroom appliances:

  • shampoo
  • shower gel
  • liquid soap
  • deodorant
  • hair brush
  • 2 hand towels
  • 2 face towels
  • 2 bath towels
  • tissues
  • hair removal cream
  • epilator
  • wash bag

Kitchen:

  • potato masher
  • 2 big plates
  • 2 small plates
  • 2 cups
  • 2 glasses
  • 2 bowls
  • cutting board
  • pan
  • 2 kettles
  • universal knife
  • kitchen utensil kit
  • 2 sets of cutlery
  • tin opener
  • corkscrew / bottle opener
  • 2 kitchen towels
  • dish washing liquid
  • paper towels
  • few dish washing sponges
  • lidded food containers
  • oven gloves
  • reusable plastic water bottle
  • thermos

Healthcare:

  • painkillers
  • multivitamins
  • flu remedies
  • basic first aid kit

Bedroom:

  • mattress cover
  • set of bedding (pillow, blanket, pillow cover, sheets, blanket cover)
  • throw blanket
  • potted plants
  • laundry bag
  • clothes hangers
  • photos of friends & family
  • fairy lights

Study related things:

  • basic stationery
  • bullet journal (or planner)
  • pad of lined paper
  • few notebooks
  • dictionary (if needed)
  • post-it notes
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • paper clips
  • A4 folders
  • sleeves / folders
  • backpack

Electricals:

  • mobile phone & a charger
  • adaptor plug (if you’re going from UK to US or EU or other way around)
  • laptop & charger
  • USB memory drive
  • multi plug extension lead
  • headphones

Miscellaneous:

  • large suitcase
  • umbrella
  • earplugs
  • small sewing kit

I did not include clothing packing list because it is different for everyone, depending on what country are you going to. However, pretty much everything else is mentioned above. If I forgot to add something important, please mention it in the comment section. Also, before moving in, do some research on your university webpage to see what things are already provided in your dorms and what are not. Other than that, I am wishing you lovely start of the new school year and successful continuation of it. Moving to a new city and especially new country can be very stressful and overwhelming but remember to take it one step at a time and use your bullet journal or planner to make tasks more manageable. Now when I am in university, too, I plan to post more school related posts on my blog, so look forward to that.

P.S. I do apologize for delayed post this week but from next week my posting schedule will go back to usual. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

“Insatiable” – the review of controversial dark comedy series from Netflix.

Debby Ryan with a crown on her head and lighter in her hand

Hello, dear readers! Time is flying so fast for me that I can already feel the homesickness from a mile away. In a week I will wake up not only in a different city but also a different country that I have never even been to – UK. And no, it is not just a quick trip, I will actually spend next three years studying there in my dream university. However, while I am packing, making things work and settling down, I will not give you any spoilers yet. Be patient. Meanwhile – I thought it would be exciting to talk about something that everyone has been talking about for almost a month – Netflix new series “Insatiable”.

When I first saw the trailer of this show, I already pictured it as some cliché teenage form of entertainment and first two or three episodes did not impress me that much. However, as I kept watching “Insatiable”, it slowly but surely caught my attention and kept it until the end of the season. The main character of the show is Patty (aka Fatty Patty) – an overweight teenager, who only has one friend and is heavily bullied in school. Then, after somehow ending up in a fight with a homeless man and getting her jaw broken, she is forced to be on a liquid diet for 3 months of summer. When school year starts, Patty is back as new and hotter version of herself, hoping that people will suddenly like her more. When this plan does not work out fully, she decided to get revenge on people, who hurt her. This pretty much sums up all the series without giving too much spoilers for those of you, who have not seen “Insatiable” yet.

Now it is time to do something I have not done in my movie / TV series reviews before – list pros and cons. Let’s start with the bad stuff and spill some tea. First thing I cringed at – how quick Fatty Patty turned into stunning Patty. I know that Debby Ryan wore a fat suit for these TV series instead of gaining weight but let’s pretend that we do not know that and look at the plot twist realistically. No one in real life looses that much weight in 3 months and looks flawless without any extra skin etc afterwards. Second thing – there were only two characters I could not stand in “Insatiable” and those were Regina Sinclair and Dixie Sinclair (played by Arden Myrin and Irene Choi). I hate to be introduced to new actors and actresses as villains because that makes me want to never see them again in any other movies. Besides – characters of Regina and Dixie were so unnatural, cliché and bitchy that I wish they would not be included in those TV series at all. Third thing that I noticed – okay, Patty’s crush on her mentor Bob was weird to begin with but then when it did not develop into anything else and Patty found another subject of interest, it seemed completely meaningless to mention it in the series at all. Forth thing – now, when I look back at it, I can not stand, how badly Brick Armstrong (aka son of well-known Bob) treated Patty when she was fat but then suddenly became nicer when she got skinny. And during all that time Patty still had a crush on him. It thought that crushes solely based on looks happen only at the age of twelve and later people become smarter. Turns out, it is not the case in these series. Fifth thing – there are way  too many vulgar jokes. Let’s take an example from very first episode where an even, called “Anal cancer awareness gala” happens. First of all – why exactly that type of cancer? Not breast, throat, brain or any other type of cancer, they had to choose anal cancer just so my hated character Regina could make fart noises later on in the episode while making fun of Bob’s speech. Then later on in these series you hear some cringy jokes about child molestation, LGBT issues and more.

Now, enough of the bad stuff, let’s try to figure out, why I actually watched the whole season of “Insatiable”. Debby Ryan seemed like a perfect fit for Patty’s role and I actually liked a lot of Patty’s rebellious moment, her character traits were actually pretty interesting. Second thing that I actually enjoyed were sweet moments between Patty and Bob later on in the series when he kind of appeared more like a father figure to her than just a way older man she had a crush on. Also, in one of the first episodes where Patty had to bond with Bob’s wife Coralee for them to participate in a daughter – mother contest, I enjoyed those sweet mother – daughter moments a lot, even though they did not appear in later episodes anymore.

To sum it up, I can say that watching “Insatiable” was definitely a wild ride with its ups and downs. The plot was not flowing as smoothly as I would like it to but, I guess it is understandable because writers and directors (according to wikipedia) were switched quite a lot from episode to episode. However, I was not bored for a second; even when events in “Insatiable” did not make a lot of sense, I felt quite entertained.

Overall rating: 5,5

Was it worth the watch? Well, that is something you have to figure out yourself. It is not on my favorite TV series list but it definitely does not deserve as many bad reviews as it got and, honestly, I am curious what will happen in next season, if there will be one. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.