Chocolate Lava Cake

Saturday, 28 February 2015 ·

With Mothers Day just around the corner it's the perfect time to learn to make a new decadent dessert to treat her. As with all pretty much all the recipes I post on here this one is really easy which is always good for a dessert which tastes so good and looks pretty fancy too! Despite this I have a feeling once you've practiced it once you're going to want to practice it again and again to 'get it just right' or just so you can keep eating them! Be warned though, they are very rich. 

A lot of the recipes that I have come across can be a little time consuming and complicated which has always put me off. This one however, couldn't be easier! I have Ingrid (Ingrid Nilsen) & Claire (The Kitchy Kitchen) to thank for this incredible recipe and I've already made it on more than one occasion...! 

What You'll Need To Buy... 

- 6oz plain chocolate
- 2 large (free range) eggs
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/6 cup plain flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- pinch salt 
- 1/2 cup chocolate sauce

What You'll Need To Do... 

1. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and place to one side. 

2. Melt the chocolate, sugar and butter over a low heat, making sure to keep stirring. 

3. Once it's all melted take it off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slowly adding the vanilla extract and eggs whilst whisking. 

4. Add the plain flour and pinch of salt and mix until thoroughly combined. 

5. Grease the inside of two small ramekins and pour in some of the mixture until each ramekin is between 1/3 and 1/2 full. 

6. Scoop in 1-2 tbsp of chocolate sauce into the middle of the ramekins and top with more of the mixture until the ramekins are full. 

7. Pop into the oven (preheated to 200 degrees celsius) and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

8. Once your timer has gone off, remove the ramekins from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Now you can either run a knife around the edge of each ramekin and tip the cakes out onto a plate to serve or simply eat them straight out of the ramekins. I tried to turn mine out and it was an epic fail but practice makes perfect! 

This is such a fantastic dessert to make if you have people coming round for dinner as I can guarantee it will instantly impress! 

What's your go to dessert to make when you want to impress?

My First Foray Into Etsy

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 ·

We always hear the phrase 'Every cloud has a silver lining' but often it can be tricky to root out the silver lining and so it's often overlooked. However, that is not the case here. Let's start with the cloud...a couple of weeks ago I was made 24... you don't hear that everyday! I'd already started vaguely looking into new jobs so it wasn't the worst news in the world but the prospect of shortly being without a steady salary was pretty daunting. 

Fear not, here comes the silver lining! I'm a pretty positive person so I took it all in my stride and went with the attitude that now I have all the time in the world to find the perfect new job! Still, living in London with no salary is a no no and my savings will only last so long so whilst I'm on the hunt I decided to pick up an old love of mine...making things! 

Back at school I had a business of sorts selling bits and pieces I made and gift cards mounted with my photography and it was fairly lucrative at the time so it seemed the perfect time to brush up on my crafting skills but this time I've gone one step further and opened an Etsy shop.

Etsy seems to be the latest online craze alongside Pinterest but I genuinely love it and have done for  a long time. It's my go to site when I need a gift for someone or just fancy a little peruse at all the fantastic things people are pouring their love and creativity into. 

Currently my shop, Fabietta Designs, is a little limited in stock as it's bits and pieces I've had stored away from markets that I've done in the past but they are some of my best sellers so I'm hoping everyone loves them online as much as they did in person. Not only this but I have a sewing machine on the way as I type this so it won't be long before I'm putting together some new and exciting stock to add on. 

Essentially this is just a shameless plug for my first ever venture into selling on Etsy as like with so many other things it's difficult to get noticed so I need all the help I can get! I would absolutely love it if you went over to my shop and checked out my products (I get very expected by the slowing mounting view count, and when someone favourites something - I just cant explain!). At the moment I have a range of cushions, aprons & jewellery hangers but as I said hopefully I'll be expanding that soon. I'm more than happy to do custom orders for any of these if you have a particular colour palette your working to or just fancy something a little bit different so please just get in touch! 

Feel free to spread the word with your friends, family, colleagues (I told you I was being shameless)!

Enter the code 'THEOPALDIARY' for 10% off on your first order for a limited time only. 

Do you already use Etsy? If so, what are your favourite shops? 

5 Pins I'm Loving {4}


Apologies this is a couple of days late but none the less I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest - nothing new there then! Here are the pins that I love the most and so quite frankly it would be rude not to share them with you. 

1. Having flowers & plants around the place makes a real difference and I've been stocking up recently so all I need now are some vases, jars etc for putting them all in! Spray painting an old bottle like this is such a quick and easy way to add a bit of colour although I think I'd go for copper. 

2. Cake pops without the faff of having to fiddle about with the sticks is a winner in my books! These might just be next on my baking list. 

3. Cacti are without a doubt the easiest houseplants to keep alive, if you don't count artificial plants anyway! The contrasting colours here are beautiful and would look perfect dotted about the minimalist Scandinavian inspired home that I'm dreaming of. 

4. This has to be the most Instagram-able meal I have every seen which is reason enough for me to want to try it out. 

5. Not quite minimalist Scandinavian but just look at the beautiful colour combinations of white, grey, gold and green - how could you not want that in your living room? Simply stunning!

Do you love Pinterest too? Leave the link to your Pinterest page in the comments section below as I'd love some new boards to follow! 

Jamie's Italian Threadneedle Street

Monday, 23 February 2015 ·

It's been a little while since I've done a post like this where I take you along with me on a day out or for dinner so when I found out I was going to Jamie's Italian I knew I had to bring my camera along with me! 

Italian is one of my favourite cuisines and although I tend to make it at home a lot I still love to go out for one every now and then as a treat. I've been to a couple of Jamie's Italian's in the past but never the Threadneedle Street branch which is beautiful and has a fantastic atmosphere.

In all honesty though the main reason we settled on Jamie's was that I recently joined the Gold Members Club. I know it sounds fancy right? But, anyone can join and if you have a Jamie's near you I highly recommend it - you get a monthly treat whenever you go (this month was a glass of prosecco) and a sample, we got blood orange sorbet, as long with a bunch of other treats! 

To start we settled on a meat & vegetable plank to share. I'm not really in a position to compare this to anything else on the menu seeing as I've had this every time I've been but it really is delicious! There's a selection of meats, cheeses and pickles as well as grilled and marinated vegetables - my favourite part! You may want to order some bread to go with this although I personally don't think it's necessary. 

Onto what was in my opinion the real highlight of the meal, the mains! Matthew went for Sausage Bucatini; slow-cooked saddleback sausages, san Marzano tomatoes, chianti and gaeta olives. I didn't try this but he virtually licked his plate clean so it's safe to say it was pretty darn tasty. 

Although I may be a little biased I think my main, pumpkin risotto, was the star of the show! Creamy acquerello rice, roasted pumpkin, crispy beets and parmesan cheese with fried sage leaves. There's nothing better than a hearty risotto in my opinion so I make it a lot at home but it never tastes this good! 

Last but not least our free sample, a scoop of blood orange sorbet - the perfect palate cleanser to end a fairly heavy meal. 

All in all, this was a really delicious dinner although considering it is a chain restaurant (albeit owned by a world famous chef) it was possibly a little over priced despite the free prosecco and sorbet. However, this definitely wouldn't stop me going back! Head to Jamie's if you're looking for a good quality meal with some delicious options including some a little more unusual choices. 

What's your favourite cuisine to have when you head out for dinner? Is there always one thing that you go for or do you try and mix it up? 

Sunday Saying {4}

Sunday, 22 February 2015 ·

Being a 'yes person' can sometimes seem a little daunting as you know it's potentially going to involve saying yes to things that are a million miles outside your comfort zone but these can lead to the best experiences! So although it may not be in your original plan that doesn't mean you have to say no, you never know what might happen so just say YES! 

Be open to whatever comes next. 

Previous Sunday Sayings: 1 | 2 | 3

Homemade Lemonade With A Twist

Saturday, 21 February 2015 ·

Fizzy drinks are a real weakness for me and I've never managed to cut them out of my diet entirely despite knowing how bad they are for me. Plus on a hot summer afternoon nothing can beat a refreshing glass of iced lemonade! So in preparation for those summer months (that feel a million miles away at the moment!) I've been looking into homemade recipes for some fizzy drinks. 

This recipe for homemade peach lemonade is by far the best one I've found so far! It's incredibly easy and tastes fantastic! As peaches are currently out of season here I used tinned peaches (in juice not syrup) and despite it still being super tasty I can only imagine how good it will taste in the summer with 'proper' peaches. 


- 5/6 lemons
- 2 ripe peaches (or 1 tin, drained) 
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 cups water (fizzy or sparkling, whatever you prefer)


1. Pop the sugar and 1 cup of tap water in a pan over a medium heat and stir frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and place to one side to cool. 

2. Now you need 1 cup of lemon juice. I recommend using the lemons when they are room temperature and rolling them on your work surface to loosen the flesh. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze as much juice as you can out of each lemon until you have 1 cup of juice. 

3. Place the peaches and lemon juice into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth consistency. 

4. Strain the peach & lemon mixture through a sieve to remove the pulp and place in a large jug along with the cooled sugar syrup. 

5. Add in still / sparkling water until the jug is full and there you have it - homemade peach lemonade! Serve over ice and enjoy! 

If you don't want to drink this straight away, simply put the peach & lemon mixture and sugar syrup into a sealed jar or bottle and refrigerate until you need it. 

If you decide to try this recipe yourself I'd love to see so please tag me in a picture on Instagram (@theopaldiary). 

5 Recipe Books Everyone Should Own

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 ·

Whether you cook from scratch everyday or once in a blue moon there are a selection cookbooks which, in my humble opinion, should be a compulsory element of everyones bookshelf. Hey, if you don't cook you should still have these just for the pretty pictures! 

No matter how competent you are in the kitchen this is a must have. It contains everything from the basics of how to poach an egg through to dishes which will wow the guests at your next dinner party. 

If you haven't already heard of the Hummingbird Bakery then quite honestly you must have been hiding out in a cave for the last 10 years! Not only are the pictures stunning but the flavour combinations are unique and all of the recipes are super easy to follow - you'll be applying for The Great British Bake Off before you know it. 

This is probably my most reached for recipe book primarily because after a long day at work I just want something quick, easy and preferably healthy for supper. There's a huge range of recipes here and I love how every recipe includes a main and side dish! 

Yes yes I know, another Jamie Oliver book, I just love him! Like the Delia book this aims to teach you everything including the basics and genuinely improve your cooking skills not just teach you one new recipe at  a time. 

Noodles are one of the ultimate comfort foods in my opinion but stir fry's can get a little monotonous so that's where this book comes in. Although you may not find the recipe for your favourite Wagamamas dish there are so many amazing options you really can't complain! 

Do you love to cook? If so, what is your go to recipe book or do you make it up as you go along?

Never Ending Flowers

Monday, 16 February 2015 ·

There's something about having fresh flowers and plants around that completely changes the atmosphere of a space. Whether it's a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a few pots of fresh herbs it really does make all the difference. Having pots of herbs on your kitchen counter is completely feasible but to have fresh flowers regularly costs a fortune and often isn't worth it considering they only last around a week! There is an alternative though....artificial flowers! 

Like me, you may be a little sceptical of artificial flowers, thinking that they look very fake and therefore ruin the whole idea! Although this may have been the case in the past, in recent years the quality has increased dramatically and often you can hardly tell they aren't real without touching them. 

I absolutely love artificial flowers and plants and have far too many dotted about my small flat and yet for some reason I can't resist buying more...! They last forever, there's a never ending number of options and are far better value for money. It's actually got to the stage that I try and encourage my other half to buy me artificial instead of real believe it or not! 

There are a number of general options - individual stems and put together your own bouquet (which allows for a lot more freedom), pick pre-prepared bouquets or even go for arrangements complete with pot/vase and even fake water. 

There really is an option for everyone and you won't feel quite so guilty next time you pick up a bunch! Just don't forget to get the duster out on them every now and then or you'll give the game away! 

Are you a fan of artificial flowers or do you still prefer the real thing?  

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Sunday Saying {3}

Sunday, 15 February 2015 ·

I hope you have all had yet another lovely week and that you enjoyed Valentines Day yesterday. When I was younger I used to hate Valentines Day especially if I wasn't in a relationship but now I have a new found fondness for the day. It's the perfect opportunity to show your love for all of your family and friends around you.

It all comes down to the last person you think of at night. That's where your heart is. 

Previous Sunday Sayings: 1 | 2

Egg Free Cookie Dough

Saturday, 14 February 2015 ·

After last week's healthy snack idea it seems the right time for me to be the little devil on your shoulder and throw an unhealthy snack idea into the mix. Whenever I bake I always seem to eat the majority of the mix before it's even been cooked which, considering most recipes contain egg, isn't the most sensible idea! But the good news is this recipe doesn't have any egg in so you can eat all you want, however I wouldn't suggest baking with it! What's even better? It only takes 3 steps and 5 minutes to whip it up!


- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl until smooth. 
  2. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract. 
  3. Add the plain flour and chocolate chips until well combined. 

Yes, that's it - 3 simple steps and you have a delicious naughty snack for anytime of day. It's all about moderation right? At least that's what I tell myself so I don't feel quite so guilty! 

Add it to your favourite milkshake, ice cream or even just dig in with a spoon!

What's the naughty treat you just can't resist?

Affordable Home Accessories

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 ·

You can't beat affordable home accessories if your house is in need of a little pick me up. For me there's always a certain few websites that I head to if I want to brighten up my flat without breaking the bank. Here are my current favourites... 

Vintage Look Floral Door Knob, £3.50
New furniture doesn't come cheap especially when it comes to wardrobes, chests of drawers etc so if your budget won't stretch to new storage solutions then how about revamp what you've got? Change your current door knobs for these beautiful red ones and add a pop of colour - you'll be amazed the difference that this can make. 

Pinterest is full of copper at the moment - it's cropping up everywhere. This wire basket would look great in your bathroom filled with Lush goodies or on a shelf overflowing with scarves. I guarantee you'll find a use for it so what are you waiting for? 

Fresh flowers make a world of difference to a room and I personally love to have them around my flat. The only problem? The recently I've started hunting out great quality artificial flowers and arrangements (post coming soon with some of my favourites). Although these might seem a little pricey initially just remember they won't die within a week! 

Not only do lamps make a lovely feature in a room but they also add a warmth that overhead lighting just doesn't seem to manage. This bronze hammered version is a great way to add a bit of glamour to your space. 

A couple of new cushions is probably the easiest way to change the feel of a room and these moss knit beauties from H&M tick all the boxes. They come in an array of colours so there's something for everyone. 

Black and gold is probably one of the best and most chic colour combinations around. It fit's with pretty much any colour palette you have going. Consider this purchased - I absolutely love it! 

Will you be picking anything up off my list? 

Valentine's Wish List

Monday, 9 February 2015 ·

With Valentine's Day just around the corner it seemed an appropriate time for a last minute wish list, or perhaps just a subtle hint to my other half if he hasn't got anything yet... So keep reading if you have some last minute shopping to do for the weekend or you simply want to add to your own wish list.

I don't know about you but candles are always a winner for me, I permanently have at least one burning in my flat so I go through them faster than you would think possible! Jo Malone candles are renowned for being such great quality and the idea of this one, Wild Fig & Cassis, is one I can't get out of my head. 

You can't go wrong with a cushion in my humble opinion. A couple of new cushions can completely change the look and feel of a room and this abstract print from Anthropologie is simply stunning! 

You can't go into any homeware store at the moment without being inundated with copper pieces so of course I had to pick out my favourite! This Oliver Bonas copper wire letter would be a great addition to a mantle piece or book shelf. 

This Aspinal travel wallet is the ultimate luxury accessory for anyone travel obsessed like me. With the perfect slot for everything from your passport to currency this is guaranteed to make sure you don't misplace anything on the way to the airport! 

So jewellery is kind of a predictable Valentine's present but I couldn't not include this beauty - rose gold and sparkly - it ticks an awful lot of boxes! I'm going to be lusting after this for quite some time I think! 

Whenever I go out with just a clutch I tend to just throw my cards into the side pocket and hope for the best - not an ideal purse solution.... This Betty Brice ruby leather card holder may just be the answer to all my problems. The perfect card holder or coin purse! 

The Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Honey Bath is bubble bath at it's best! As it contains shea butter not only does it smell incredible but it also leaves your skin super smooth! Also how cute is the little honey stick it comes with?? 

Last but not least, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre. This is my favourite spring/summer fragrance as it's so light and fruity. This twist and spray version is perfect for throwing in your weekend bag on that upcoming romantic getaway...or perhaps just to pop in your handbag! 

What's on your Valentine's wish list? 

Sunday Saying {2}

Sunday, 8 February 2015 ·

I hope you guys have all had an amazing week and are having an even better weekend! What are you up to? I'm back at home with my parents this weekend and I think it's going to be the last time I'm in this house (that I've lived in since I was 18 months old) as they're moving house in March - sad times!

If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello. 

Although I am very sad that my parents are moving away from my childhood home there is a silver lining or two. Firstly, I'm super excited for my parents to be moving somewhere new and have a new challenge ahead getting the house exactly how they want it. Secondly, Matthew and I are currently in the process of buying a flat which is just beyond exciting! So although I'm saying goodbye to one house, I'm going to be gaining two new ones! 

Previous Sunday Sayings: 1 

Sweet & Salty Baked Chick Peas

Saturday, 7 February 2015 ·

Snacking can be one of the hardest habits to kick, especially if you work from home so you don't have someone raising their eyebrows every time you venture to the kitchen. There's nothing better to make you think twice than someone making you feel guilty. But what's even better than that? How about some healthy and super tasty snacks that will most definitely curb those cravings! 

These sweet and salty baked chick peas are easy to make and I can almost guarantee that you'll already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard. You can also adapt the basic recipe and switch out the cinnamon for whatever other spice you fancy. Paprika might be a nice option! 


- 400g tin of chick peas
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1.5 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt

How to...

1. Drain the chick peas and rinse with cold water then spread evenly on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 220 degrees celsius. 

2. Transfer the baked chick peas into a small bowl, add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly - I would recommend just adding a small pinch of cinnamon (or your spice of choice) and tasting as you go along so you don't overdo it. 

3. Last but not least you get to tuck in and enjoy. I love these while they're still hot but they're also tasty at room temperature. Although they taste the best the day they're baked you can also store them in an air tight container for 2-3 days. 

It blows my mind how easy these are to make. As someone who absolutely adores crisps I'm constantly looking for a healthier alternative and these may just do the trick. I'm looking forward to trying some different flavours soon - I'm thinking of keeping it savoury next time and trying salt and vinegar. 

I'd love some more ideas for guilt free snacks so let me know what you love in the comments section below. 

Gallery Wall Inspiration

Wednesday, 4 February 2015 ·

Gallery walls seem to be all the rage at the moment and I know I'm not alone in being more than a little obsessed with the idea. Living in a rented flat means that I can't have one at the moment - or not unless I want to repaint all the walls when I leave - so instead I just keep daydreaming of the gallery wall(s) I'll have when I move!

How about putting up a couple of narrow shelves or picture rails painted to match your wall to place your pictures and artwork on. That way you don't end up with dozens of holes in your walls and you can pop the odd ornament in amongst the frames to mix it up a bit. 

Having a colour theme to a gallery walls brings it all together and stops it all looking too thrown together (unless of course that's the look you're going for). The stags head in the middle is a great way to add some dimension to it all. 

I love the idea of having a gallery wall above my future desk full of pretty artwork, cute sayings and the odd random postcard. I think maybe I'd do mine on a giant cork board though so I can change it up regularly and keep it interesting, what do you think?

A completely uniform gallery wall is a little more unusual and yet so visually appealing to the neat freak in me. This would be perfect for your favourite Instagram snaps!

Do you have gallery wall? Is it all a big thrown together or uniform and orderly? 

(Sources are all on my Pinterest)

Explore: Broadway Market

Monday, 2 February 2015 ·

If you've seen this post you'll know that I absolutely love exploring London's many markets - it's probably my favourite way to spend a weekend especially when the weathers nice. Broadway Market up in the East End is a relatively new discovery for me but it's already up there as one of my favourites. 

Although I love pretty much any kind of market, the food ones have got to be my favourite. There's just something about wandering along stalls packed with delicious homemade produce that I absolutely love, and the tasters always help too!

You can pick up pretty much anything you want when it comes to food at Broadway Market, from middle eastern salads to flavoured meringues and smoked salmon to saucisson. As well as the more unique or specialised products you can also pick up bread and fresh fruit and vegetables. This is why you often get locals who come to the market week on week to pick up the basics. 

In addition to food there is also a wide selection of handmade gifts and antiques. Lining both sides of the street on which the majority of the market sits are a number of cute little shops which are worth a mooch around and also cafes perfect for that mid-morning coffee. 

You know you're in East London when there's a cafe dedicated purely to hot jellied eels... not something I personally would ever try but whatever floats your boat! 

Although Broadway Market might be a bit of a trek if you're based in Central London or south of the river like me it's definitely worth the trip so get it on your to do list!

Have you ever been out to Broadway Market? 

Sunday Saying {1}

Sunday, 1 February 2015 ·

I wanted to start a new series for 2015, I know I'm a little late but it's better late than never right? This series is just going to be a super quick post that goes up every Sunday morning.

Sometimes on a Sunday it can be tough to enjoy the day as you're dreading the start of the next week and going back to work so I'm planning on posting an inspirational quote or cute saying to brighten the day and give you something to think about for the upcoming week...

Don't look back. You're not going that way. 

It's all too easy to dwell on things that have happened in the past and let them negatively influence your day-to-day life. For the week ahead try and make a resolution to stop doing this and you'll be amazed at what a difference it will make.