Saturday, 24 September 2016

Sara's Spicy Spag-Bol recipe

Hi there lovely people! So today I want to share something a little bit different than usual with you all... my very first recipe post! I've always loved reading food blogs, and have a collection of foodie blogs on bloglovin', so I thought I might as well give it a go. 

Spaghetti bolognase has always been one of my favourite dishes to make, so when I cooked it up the other day for my brother and I, I decided to take a few photos of it to share in a weekly favourites or something. And when I was looking through my photos, I decided to dive right in and share my secret recipe for the best spag-bol you'll ever taste. 

I'm not going to give you proportions for anything apart from the seasoning for the sauce, just because I think you'll all be able to judge how much you need depending on how many mouths you have to feed. I hope you enjoy this post, let me know what you think!

What you'll need...

The Basics
Chopped Tomatoes - I used two cartons from Sainsburys which was already in the kitchen, but you can use pretty much anything.
Spaghetti Pasta - I can't actually remember what brand of pasta I used, but I think I got it from Tesco if I remember correctly?
Chicken Meatballs - I got my meatballs from the only place you can get meatballs, let's all be honest with ourselves here. You know it. IKEA.

The Sauce
Salt - Literally just a pinch. I have no clue where the salt is... Mum buys those kinda things haha
Cayenne Pepper - Again, I didn't use a lot of this, just a pinch between my finger and thumb. I got this one from Tesco, and it just gives a bit of warmth to the sauce
Hot & Spicy Seasoning - I used a bit more of this seasoning by Deluxe. I sprinkled about a two pence size on my palm before adding it to the sauce, and later sprinkled a tot more in. I also sprinkled a pinch on the meatballs before putting them in the oven to give it a bit more of a kick.
Coriander Leaf - This one was from Schwartz. I didn't actually intend on adding coriander leaf when I was making the sauce -I don't usually put it in- but I think it added a bit more depth to the flavour which was quite nice, but subtle.
Basil - Also by Schwartz. I don't actually know the measurements for this one since I did exactly what you shouldn't do when cooking; I put it straight in from the tube... whoops. I did use a lot of it though, not gonna lie!

The Method

This really isn't a mind-blowing, difficult recipe to follow, so I'm just going to talk you through it really roughly. It's simplicity is one of the reasons I love this recipe so much, and I know exactly how to get the seasoning just perfect for this one, which definitely helps. 

I actually started off with the sauce, as the pasta and meatballs literally only take about 10-15 minutes to cook. I really don't have a lot to say to embellish the process to be honest... Literally all I did was put the chopped tomatoes in, added a bit of water in, and stirred in the seasoning, hoping for the best.

I then put the spaghetti in boiling water, and placed the meatballs on a metal oven tray, sprinkling them with the hot & spicy seasoning before putting them in the oven at 250 degrees- all while the sauce was simmering at a low heat. During the entire process, I didn't make any use of pot lids apart from when I was getting the water to boil for the pasta, so you could probably go without them.

I kept checking the meatballs regularly, and stirred the sauce while waiting, giving it a little taste every so often to see whether the seasoning needed adjusted. After about 13-15 minutes both the pasta and meatballs were well cooked, and the sauce was perfected.

I drained the pasta first, leaving the meatballs in the oven (with the oven switched off) and the sauce still simmering on a low heat. The pasta went on the plates first, followed by the sauce, and finally I took the meatballs out and carefully placed them on top of everything else.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thank You

I probably shouldn't tell you this, but the clock's about to turn to midnight as I begin to write this post. I can't sleep tonight, so I thought I might as well do something slightly productive rather than twist and turn in bed.

Today I was looking through some of the posts I've written over the summer, to find something promote on my instagram. (It's @imsosara if you want to follow me) I put so much work into every post, and it's actually really fun looking back at all the things I've written. I love unearthing old posts to share on my social media links, or referring back to them in posts.

While I was scrolling through my published posts, looking at my stats for each post I started to realise how far I have come since this time last year. My blog has become such a central part of my life now, even to the extent that I'm sitting here at midnight, writing. Looking at stats like how many views I get daily... like, this time last year I would average about 10 views a day, and recently I've been getting closer to 50+. 

I'm actually really proud of myself. I often wonder why anyone even reads Her Electric Ocean -as I imagine most bloggers do with their blogs- and I still don't quite know why. I know that compared to many other blogs, I'm nowhere near amazing. But when I started this blog as a place to build my writing portfolio, I never really thought it would actually get anywhere- and it has. I obviously always wanted it to be successful and great, but I didn't expect this. I didn't expect so many people to actually read my blog, and comment on my posts, and share it with their friends. It really means so much to me.

It makes me so happy that you lovely people read my posts, and I absolutely love reading the lovely little comments some of you leave below. It genuinely brightens my day when my friend tells me that they really liked my latest post- the fact that they have read my latest post in itself is really encouraging to me. 

I want to give a special shout out to Grace and Vanessa, as they are always the first to comment on my posts, and because of this I've always felt so supported by the blogging community. I've met so many amazing people through this blog, and have been a part of so many amazing communities like The Girl Gang. And because of this I've experienced things that I would never have had the chance to had I not started this blog.

I know this turned out to be a really mushy, rambley post... and I didn't really plan for it to turn out like this, but I just really want you to know how much I appreciate everyone who reads and supports Her Electric Ocean. You're all mini unicorns, the lot of you! 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

10 things to keep in mind

1. Your waist might never be as slim as the waist that the girl who used to be in your biology class has. That's okay, you have other assets that she doesn't. Just because your body isn't perfect in your eyes, doesn't mean it isn't perfect in someone else's.

2. Stay true to yourself. It's always better to be hated for who you are than loved for a lie.

3. You are a wonderful, strong, independent woman who doesn't need a man, a family, or one single friend. But these people are nice, and they are good to have, so appreciate them and don't take them for granted.

4. Yeah, it might be hella tough right now, and you might feel like curling into a ball in your bed and never leaving the comfort of your room. But things will get better, you just need to stay tough and get through the hard stuff first.

5. Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it

6. Never miss an opportunity to compliment someone. A meaningful compliment can make someone's day, so use that power to the max.

7. Don't hold on to regret. Every decision you have made -even that awful one- has had implications which have shaped the people and the world around you. The mistakes you have made are opportunities for growth and renewal.

8. Just because someone has a different solution to you, doesn't mean you're wrong, or that they are trying to say that you are wrong. The best solution isn't found through arguing, but through discussing.

9. If you had 50 words left to speak, would you use them to complain, or to tell people you appreciate them? Think about how you use the gift of communication wisely.

10. Life isn't infinite. We are all mortals, and all our lives will end at some point. Make sure you make your one unique life meaningful.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

5 Travel Essentials (That you can squeeze in the extra space in your suitcase)

As you might know, I recently travelled to Poland. For the journey, I only used hand luggage meaning that my space was limited... and so were my liquids. This caused me to be cautious with my packing, and through the experience I found five travel mini's (or small products) that were absolutely essential to my trip.
 Yes, this is a brow pen. Yes, it's an essential. 

This brow pen by Gosh was my actual lifesaver so many times over my holiday. I had gotten my brows threaded the day before I travelled, so my brows were looking pretty thinner than usual and I needed to be able to fill them in so that they looked as "on fleek" as possible at all times. 

Because it comes in such compact packaging, it was great for packing as I could literally just pop it in my handbag without it even having any effect on the space or weight. Plus it really is long lasting... it even lasted in the Polish heat.
 It's soo important to keep your lips hydrated when you travel, especially on long haul flights. While the flight to Poland was only 2 and a half hours, it was still really crucial that my lips were looked after... and that's exactly what this cute little lip balm did. Baby Lips by Maybelline are probably one of the best lip balms that I've ever used, so I would 10/10 recommend. 

When travelling, you always want to have a bit of colour and contour. I mean, you want to have colour and contour 24/7 regardless of whether you're travelling or not, but you get what I mean. Bronzer isn't a question; it's a must. And this Natual Bronze by Rimmell is just perfect. You can layer it up to get a darker shade, or just brush it over for a softer glow.

 Travel mini's like this Palmolive Nourishing Delight Shower Gel are an absolute must when travelling; whether you're only using hand luggage, or have checked in luggage. They take up much less space in your bag, and I've found they last me well on holiday. I really love the scent of this shower gel, but pretty much any shower gel/shampoo/conditioner mini combo is a must when going on a trip.
Speaking of travel mini's, I've found that perfume samples work an absolute treat when you're going abroad. While most perfume bottles are actually under the 100ml airport rule, they can be heavy and bulky, so perfume samples come to the rescue. 

The last thing you want on holiday to a hot country is to feel stinky and sweaty, and these perfume samples are a perfect size for your hand luggage, and hand bag. You can get 5 free samples a month from Feel Unique, which is where I got this Hugo Boss for women sample. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Why we need to start loving our bodies

Yesterday I read a post over on Hannah Gale's blog about how we need to change the way we think about our bodies, which really struck a chord for me. She wrote about a lot of issues that I could really relate to, and when I finished reading the post I was left with a small trickle of tears that had welled up in my eyes. If you haven't read her post I would definitely recommend you to get your bum over to her blog and read away.

To start off, I have a confession to make.

While I always try my best not to judge anyone by their looks, I find it really hard. Like, really hard. And there was a time when I wouldn't even try; just like Hannah, I too used to shake my head at girls who wore crop tops and such. 

I was the girl who nudged my friends shoulder to snicker at the girl with electric blue hair and really short shorts… and the brutal truth is that sometimes, I still am. 

It's not something I'm proud of, but if I see someone in the street who doesn't fit in with my idea of 'beautiful' or 'perfect', my mind starts racing with a load of horrible, horrible thoughts about how that person looks. On the other hand, if I see someone who does fit in with my idea of 'beautiful' or 'perfect', my mind starts racing with a load of horrible, horrible thoughts about how I look. And so this vicious cycle begins, of either someone else looking ugly, or me looking ugly. 

It's not helpful, and it's not healthy.

I would much rather be the girl who compliments people on how beautiful their smiles are, than the girl who laughs at how ridiculous that crop top looks on that girl. I would rather be the girl who seeks beauty in everything, rather than seeing flaws.

But it's so hard. 

The Love Yourself Challenge is a tumblr blog run by siblings Scotty and Rae Smith, which has helped me realise that my body is precious- even though it's not perfect. They often post uplifting and (mostly) Christian songs as well as pictures and messages inspired by experiences that they have lived through, all with the aim of creating a safe haven in the internet to give hope to those who are battling with their bodies. 

Just over a year ago, when I was really struggling with body confidence, I found this quote on this tumblr blog which inspired me to keep going, and to give my body a little bit of TLC rather than wanting to rip it to shreds every time I looked down at my muffin top.

Beauty standards are so high and obscure, so it's okay if you don't fit in to the narrow gap of 'perfect' because nobody does. In fact, it's more than okay- it's beautiful. Let's start turning the cycle around. It's time to find the beauty in other peoples bodies, and in ours.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Coffee and Chats

I've been sitting on my bed for over an hour watching Aladdin and the King of Thieves, trying to figure out how to start this post. I've actually really missed sitting down to write posts like this lately. I feel like I've been so busy with work, and preparing for uni (I'll get on to that one) that I haven't had the chance to really do just that. And when I've had some spare time, it's just been enough for me to be able to take a few shots on my camera and whip up a list post... and as much as I love and enjoy writing list posts, I have missed these chatty posts where I just get to ramble on. 

 To be completely honest with you, my mind is whirring with just about everything apart from writing this post. That's never a good start, but I suppose I'll just have to try and make my crazy chaotic thoughts somehow legible. Wish me luck.

One of the main reasons why my mind is such a whirlwind is because tonight I'm going out to my first freshers night out. And I'm not going to lie, I am a tot nervous about it. The thought of University has always both scared and excited me both at equal levels, but it's just been a distant thought up until now. But here I am now, sitting on my bed wondering what to wear on a night out with people I've never met before, who I'm going to be spending the next four years of my life with.

Last Tuesday I met up with a small group of people who were going to be on my course, and we all seemed to get along pretty well. It definitely makes me feel a lot better that I'll know someone when I rock up to the student union tonight. Being part of a Facebook group full of people in the same position as me has really made me feel more at ease about this whole university thing. 

One of my closest friends is turning 18, which is something that I'm really looking forward to. Since we got home from our holiday to Poland I feel like we haven't really had the chance to meet up because we've both been so busy, so it'll definitely be great to be able to see her! It's been really odd not seeing my school friends every day since we left school, definitely something I'm not used to just yet. I just can't believe that six years has passed, and that I'm actually going to be studying at university this year. I'm so not ready for it.

Anyway, whats new with you? How do you plan to spend this wonderful weekend?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

My Autumn Aesthetic


Autumn is possibly my favourite season of the year. It used to be summer, but now there's something so comforting about cinnamon rolls, cosy sweaters, and pumpkin lattes by the fireplace. Summer can be exciting, but sometimes it can get exhausting... Autumn may be cool outside, but the warmth it brings to your heart makes up for it all.

This year, I decided to build up a collection of my favourite Autumnal photos on we heart it, and so I created my Autumn Aesthetic. All of the photos in this post come from we heart it and are not mine, but you can find them over on my account here

Whats your favourite Autumnal scent?