Welcome to The Pale Peony!

Pull up a chair, make sure you're comfortable and enjoy. Whether you're a fashion freak, beauty babe, bookworm, animal enthusiast, foodie, adventure seeker or even a couch potato you will find something of interest here!
Everyone is welcome, feel free to check out my Twitter profile too :)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Our meal at Frankie and Benny's

So we went for a meal Wednesday afternoon at Frankie and Benny's after we went and saw a movie. Frankie and Benny's is a largely 50's themed restaurant serving Italian-American food. There are booths with  red and white striped leather and 50's classics such as 'Shakin' all over' by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and 'Blue moon' by the Marcels. It's probably an idea to pick a quiet time to go as if you get a noisy group near you the music is barely audible, which is a problem we had for about the first 15 minutes or so until the noisy group of girls finally left!
We arrived a tad early which wasn't a problem, we were seated and served straightaway, with our food taking less than 10 minutes to reach us. The menu is so vast, there's just so much to choose from and it all sounds delicious! We went for the specials menu where you can get two courses for £10.95, which is a huge saving compared to some of things from the main menu. The downside is that the specials menu doesn't have an overly large selection but we both managed to find something we wanted.
I opted for the Chicken Caesar burger with fries and relish, then the hot chocolate waffle for after. My other half picked the philly chicken and bacon wrap and had the same desert.
I would probably go again as the food was quite good, the service was excellent and the price reasonable. I would as I said go at a quieter time though as the atmosphere was ruined slightly at the beginning by noisy girls but what can you do? Next time I'll order from the main menu too, though I'd better start deciding what I want now! To visit the Frankie and Benny's website please click here.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Date outfit, 25/7/12

Yes married people do still go on dates, but they are few and far between now so I thought I'd wear my newest outfit.
It consisted of a pale pink deer print one piece (my fave piece at the moment) from ASOS, a black skater style skirt also from ASOS I believe, ordinary footless tights that you can get pretty much anywhere, nude ballet pumps from New look and two rings from Accesorize and one was passed to me from my Nan. My handbag is from River Island and I can't honestly remember where my sunnies are from, sorry! My hair colour is Lush's Caca rouge henna.
These pics were taken using my little Samsung mp3 so they're not the best quality but I've included a close up of my top so that you can see the cute deer pattern.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Well hello again Mr Sunshine!

After what seems like weeks of endless rain the sun has deemed Britain worthy of its presence and we're now in the middle of a heatwave! It's literally too hot for me to do anything outside but hang washing out! I certainly won't be sunbathing, this blog isn't called 'The Pale Peony' for nothing! However, I did venture out to snap a few quick photographs on my mp3 player of the gorgeous blue skies overhead. I've had the windows open all day and the fan on too but nothing moves this heat, it's almost suffocating in a way. But there I go, doing the usual British thing of moaning about whatever weather we have, instead of making the best of it! Well I AM glad to see the sun, and it can stay as long as it likes, I'm just going to be enjoying it in the shade with liberal amounts of factor 50....

Buddleia and blue

'Curry plant'

First apples

My Topshop summer style

I've gotta say I absolutely love this combo, it's just so effortlessly cool and relaxed. The statement jewellery really brings the whole outfit together I think, and doesn't detract attention from everything else. This is something that you can wear again and again, I know I would!

To find these beauties follow the links below, happy shopping!

Paisley Tiered mini skirt
Moto bleach sleeveless jacket
Pleated scallop crop shell top
MACARENA peeptoe leather shoes
Stone plaque bracelet
Seed bead cuff
Circle dome stud earrings
Marbled oval ring

A few favourite home-made meals

A big hit! Sweet chilli chicken from 'Ching's Chinese food in minutes'
This sweet Chilli chicken dish has to be an all time favourite in our house. Not only is it quick to cook (taking less than 10 minutes) but it is also versatile. You can serve it with rice as in the picture or it's excellent with chips too (depending how naughty you're feeling!)

Tagliatelle alla bolognese (pasta ribbons in meat sauce) from 'Two greedy Italians'
The Tagliatelle dish above is how real Italians eat their Bolognese sauce, not with spaghetti but with a thick pasta like Tagliatelle.

Roast cod wrapped in prosciutto with roasted tomatoes and baby potatoes
Moroccan lamb with couscous, stuffed peppers, pitta and houmous from 'Jamie's 30 minute meals' 
Chicken, coconut and sweet potato curry
This curry has got be something that changes every time I cook it as I don't use a recipe, it's more a case of add a bit of this, add a bit of that!

I may not be the best cook in the world or the best at presentation but if it tastes good that's all that matters!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ways to wear: Moustache trend.

So ladies, we may not be able to pull off an actual moustache, but we can still work the look! Moustache prints and designs are everywhere at the moment, so I've put together two outfits to rock the look! The first look is monochrome, and is designed for going out having been made slightly formal with the blazer and heels. However you could also make this a day look by ditching the blazer and swapping the heels for biker boots. 

Click to go to 'Moustache top' by New Look
Click to go to 'Moustache Face watch' by ASOS
Click to go to 'Tailored blazer' by Mango
Click to go to 'Witch craft wedge' by Office
Click to go to 'Supersoft PU leggings' by Topshop

My daytime look is ultra girly and summery, a complete polar opposite of the monochrome style above! I've stuck to a pale blossom and cream colour scheme but added a coral bag for a pop of colour. If you wanted an all over neutral look then the Mulberry oversized Alexa in 'Pinky Mink' would be a gorgeous investment. Click here to see the Mulberry bag

Click to go to 'Amelia rose corsage' by Accessorize
Click to go to 'Moustache dress' on etsy
Click to go to 'White wedge sandals' by River Island
Click to go to 'Braided messenger bag' by Mango
Click to go to 'Multi charm bracelet' by Mulberry

So there you have it, one bad girl look for evening or daytime by swapping just a couple of pieces and a cute girly number that is perfect for these summer days! Excuse me, I'm now off to get my moustache fix, oui oui!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

My gorgeous pets.

My animals are really important to me, so I'm going to tell you a little bit about them. We have three ferrets, two boys and a girl. Despite what people think, ferrets aren't vicious, overly smelly or rodents! They are actually carnivorous and would rather eat a rodent than play with it...They are highly intelligent, playful, lovable creatures that crave companionship from other ferrets and their humans, and they can live for up to 10 years. They are unique little rascals with their own individual personalities. They each have a favourite food/treat, toy and habit! They have a vast array of noises and gestures to communicate with their handlers and other ferrets, such as 'dooking' an adorable squeaky noise they make when happy, hissing when annoyed and they can also wag their tail much like a dog! Ours tend to tail wag only when playing with each other in their tunnels, it's a much rarer but very endearing behaviour! Seeing a ferret dooking and 'dancing' around when delirious with joy is just so special to watch, it's like nothing you've ever seen before!
We have two Albino males, named Alfie and Shiro, who may seem creepy to some due to their red eyes but they're just as adorable and friendly as any other ferret. Albino is simply another type of ferret, like polecat coloured and silvers. They're just over 1 year old now, we've had them for about 9 months and I couldn't imagine life without them! Our new little girl is called Lola and is a slightly more unusual colour. She's a 3 month old sable blaze mitt, who is into absolutely everything at the moment and is learning very quickly! I can't wait to take her to ferret shows with the boys and start showing her off! If anyone wants to learn more about ferrets and keeping ferrets then you could check out my other blog (FerretDook) completely devoted to the subject here. For now, here they are!



Lola on her first day with us.

Alfie asleep on his 'daddy' :)

Shiro isn't short of cuddles either!

We also have a Syrian hamster called Faye. She's 11 months old at the moment and we've had her for 10 months. Syrian hamsters are also known as golden hamsters, and are one of the most popular pets, especially for young children. They are fairly low maintenance pets, not ever really needing to visit the vets in most cases. Unfortunately, although they are commonplace here now as we breed them for sale at pet shops and the like, they are now seen as vulnerable in the wild, as we are destroying their natural habitat. They usually live for 1 1/2 to 2 years although they have been known to live for four years! She has a fairly large Rotastak system, which I've collected over the years, comprising of several compartments and tubing for her to explore. She gets a hamster mix feed and fresh fruit/veg daily if possible. Hamsters tend to only eat what they want and stash the rest in a food store, which is why I can't understand how some people manage to make their hamsters overweight! All three of mine have been skinny little things, even with additional treats like cheese every so often! Faye is quite a reclusive hamster, so we don't get to take too many photos, but here she is.


Faye with a couple of her toys for outside play.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Thetford forest, one of my favourite places.

Our picnic spot on the Queen's Diamond Jubliee weekend.
Greens and reds...From our November 2011 visit.
Winter sun...From our November 2011 visit.
Grey squirrel...From our November 2011 visit.
Thetford forest consists of pine, heathland and broadleaves, and is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain. It was created after the first world war for timber, as we had lost quite a few slow growing oaks and such due to the war demands. There is a huge variety of animals here, from rabbits, hares, Muntjac, Roe and Red deer to birds such as the Woodlark, Goshawk and Siskin.
The High Lodge visitors centre is the main destination if you're after something extra. They have a restaurant and gift shop, you can hire bicycles and have fun on the Go Ape high wire course. It's also the venue for many events such as concerts, theatre performances and the weird and wonderful, like the 'Electric forest' event that we went to in December 2011. It was basically a performance using lights, sounds, interactive objects and of course the forest, with a stargazer for those wanting to have a go and marshmallows to toast on bonfires. Here are a few piccies!

Lantern arch...At the electric forest event in December 2011

Magical...At the electric forest event in December 2011

Colour changing trees...At the electric forest event in December 2011

Whatever the season I just love Thetford forest, particularly the more peaceful and less trodden areas away from High lodge. The chances of actually seeing some wildlife is far greater without little children screaming and people bringing their dogs! There is just a really calm, soothing feel about the forest, I can feel really at home and at peace here. I'm often inspired to write when I'm at the forest, so maybe next time I'll take a venture down there with a pad and pen and see what happens....

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Friday, 20 July 2012

Lush 'Caca rouge' henna hair colour review.

My hair before the henna...Ignore the lack of makeup haha!

Yes, yes, I do know what Caca means, and to be honest it does look like it when the henna is mixed with water, but trust me its not! Caca rouge is Lush's reddest henna, for a vibrant result.
I decided to try henna as I really want to get a natural redhead (okay, ginger) finish. I did some research on-line and was generally impressed with the results that people were getting. One advantage for me was that it was far cheaper than getting my hair coloured at the salon and also that the henna would be better for my hair overall.
Henna has been used for various reasons since the bronze age, and we typically think of henna now as in henna tattoos, many people don't realise that you can use it to colour your hair. Lush's henna is sourced from Persia, which is seen as the best quality and gives redder tones, even though it can be harder to get hold of.
Lush sell their henna in blocks rather than powder form, as they have added cocoa butter to try and leave the hair feeling soft and healthy. They are £7.95 for a 325g block, depending on the thickness and length of your hair you may get two uses out of one block. I just about got two uses out of mine, I made the first batch too thick!
Basically before you even start you need to make sure you have the following, or something similar!

  • Bain marie/saucepan and heatproof bowl for melting your henna and keeping it hot (I just use a plastic takeaway box and boiling water in the sink!)
  • A sharp knife to cute the henna block (Or if you're fairly strong you can break it up like I do)
  • A non metal spoon (Apparently metal interferes with the henna)
  • Old towels, newspaper etc
  • Old clothes that you don't mind getting stained
  • Rubber gloves
  • Hair clips
  • Vaseline or Lush's Ultrabalm
  • Cling film
  • Hair dryer
  • A warm towel
  • A willing friend to help with the application!
You need to allow yourself at least half a hour, probably nearer an hour depending on how much hair you have for the application of the henna, at least 4 hours for the henna to do its stuff and then a good 20 minutes or so to wash the stuff out! I'm not going to sugar coat it-It's messy, time consuming, fairly smelly (it brings on a migraine for me) and yes it does look like you've smeared poo in your hair! 
What I would do first (I didn't do this and regretted it) is to cover the floor with newspaper or old towels, as this stuff gets everywhere, even when you don't mix it as runny as they say to!
You need to pop the gloves on and break your henna up into fairly small pieces, please don't feel that you need to grate it, unless you have nothing better to do with your time then it is totally pointless! If broken into pieces about the same size (or even a little larger) as chocolate squares then you will have a completely liquid gloop within 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure it will take you far longer than that to grate it!
If you are lucky enough to own a bain marie then use that, or a saucepan and heatproof bowl. I did my application in the bathroom so neither of these was really appropriate. Instead I poured a little boiling water into my plastic tub of henna pieces and the rest into my bathroom sink before sitting the tub in the sink. You want to keep the henna as hot as possible for this whole process, which to be fair doesn't happen when you do it my way, so be warned! 
Take your spoon and start turning the henna pieces in the water and chopping at them with your spoon. They will soften and start to break up fairly quickly. The instructions tell you to mix it to the consistency of double cream, but anyone who has come across double cream will know it really isn't that thick and I didn't fancy having it dripping everywhere, so I made it up a little thicker.
Some people add paprika, cinnamon and even red wine to the henna to try and boost the colour. That's entirely up to you but I'm not sure how much truth is behind it!
Apply some Vaseline or Ultrabalm around the hairline and I would cover a wide area if I was you as this stuff really does get everywhere, staining clothes and skin. The skin staining doesn't last too long, only a few hours as long as you try and wash it the best you can.
Start at the back with your hair clipped up out of the way and henna small sections of hair at a time. You need to really work the gloop into the hair, paying particular attention to the roots. You will kind of get a dreadlock effect if you're doing it properly.
Once your hair is covered you should wrap it in clingfilm if you want the reddest results. I gave mine a quick blast from the hairdryer after wrapping it to try and get some heat in there, as heat is what will bring out a redder finish. I then wrapped it in a warm towel for the same reason, but you probably wont look as strange answering the door with a towel on your head as you would just with clingfilm and a poo colour on your hair! Don't worry if the clingfilm goes green, this is normal and your hair isn't doing the same thing!
After at least four hours you can remove the clingfilm and start to wash your hair! I really soak my hair first, the water runs orange for what feels like forever. I shampoo twice, which removes most of the gritty bits. I really concentrate on the roots as the cocoa butter can feel and look greasy if left in. I then condition my hair twice, which helps the last bits and pieces slide out quite easily, before rinsing thoroughly until the water runs clear. Even while towel drying you should be able to see a difference. Blondes and greys will go a very vibrant ginger, and darker hair colours will likely have a reddish hue to them, or a dark copper finish. 
My hair didn't go as light or as ginger as I was hoping for. It's still copper and quite vibrant but it's just not the 'wow' change that I was expecting. Please excuse the scruffy hair (I'd just dried it quickly before bed) and the henna stained top but this is the best picture I could get of the colour, as it doesn't show up well in photographs indoors (another disappointment).
After henna

To check out Lush's range of henna hair colours please follow this Link :)
If anyone else out there has used henna or a similar colour dye to this then please share your experiences! I have to say that I probably won't bother with this again just yet and I will try another chemical dye to try and get that ginger colour that I'm after! Sorry Lush....

Update! It has been one month since my last henna application, and I've discovered it is very vibrant in the sunlight! Even after all this time it's still bright copper! I have some root growth though so I'm going to re-apply soon or try Loreal's Mango intense copper...But anyhow, here is a pic of my hair outdoors about two weeks after the second application.

Let me introduce myself...

So, as you know, this blog is really just going to be a random collection of stories, pictures and my favourite things basically! I'll give you a little bit of information about myself to get things started, but as I post you'll learn all about my hobbies, interests and daily life.
I'm britsish, 23 years old and married. I live in the county of Norfolk, a mainly agricultural area with one small city being Norwich. Norwich was once the second largest city in England but the Great Plague put an end to that in 1665. Attleborough, the town I live in was part of the main route from Norwich to London (and still is though now there is a major road running alongside Attleborough) and was well known for its cider making and Norfolk turkeys, whose feet were apparently tarred to protect them on the long journeys they would have to make.
I have four pets at the moment, three ferrets and a hamster. Two of my ferrets are males named Alfie and Shiro and one is female named Lola. My hamster is a little girl called Faye. You will come to realise that I am animal mad, my hope is to work with animals full time one day, although finding a job in this economic climate is tough at the moment. So for now I'm stuck doing a job I hate but I also volunteer at my local zoo which is really enjoyable!
Appearance wise, I probably have one of those faces that's better for radio haha! But anyway, I'm about 5'2, I have naturally light brown hair, but I've got into dying it recently so it's a copper shade at the moment. I have really pale translucent skin, that freckles easily (I should have been born a redhead!) that I used to hate, but I've really learnt to love it and I try to keep it pale by wearing lots of sunscreen!
I love cooking, I have far too many cookbooks! Traditional English grub is a favourite but I also like cooking Italian and Chinese, to be honest I will pretty much eat almost anything except brussels sprouts, olives and ox tongue. I haven't tried snails yet so I can't comment on that one!
I love arts and crafts too, particularly drawing anime/manga characters, sewing bags and purses and making jewellery.

Well, that should be enough background info for now, If you want to know more then please follow my blog for stories, random facts, product reviews and hot new products, recipes, travel info and anything else that takes my fancy!

Yup, told you I have a face for radio!