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Fashion,beauty and lifestyle for sassy over 40 women


Thursday, 25 May 2017


Black and white gingham skirt styled with a black Bardot top and black embellished heel sandals
There's a Flamenco influence in the gingham skirt from Mango that I've teamed with a black flute sleeve Bardot body from Boohoo.
Tiered gingham skirt from Mango worn with black Bardot body from Boohoo
It makes me want to dance like a Spaniard.
I can't say I've ever owned any gingham before - it's always reminded me in texture of those seersucker tablecloths my gran used to have! But gingham is all the rage this summer. I've seen a lot of gingham shirts and tops and thought I would try a skirt instead.
Embellished heels from Dune go well with a flamenco inspired gingham skirt

Great tiering on this Mango gingham skirt worn with black sandals and Bardot top
The Bardot body is in quite thick material so probably one for autumn/winter. Wearing a "body" took me back to the 80s. They can be uncomfortable but this one seemed fine, and gives the smooth line you get with a body that doesn't ride up or wrinkle like shirts or other tops can do. They say that as you get older, your shoulders and legs deteriorate the least. So we're urged to show off our shoulders. However.....

This presents an issue of "what type of bra?" You need a strapless one, obviously, and for those with smaller "girls" this is no problem.  If you're a D cup and above, strapless bras are huge moulded boulder-holder things.  I have one - I believe it's from Gossard - and it looks OK in this top because it has a minimising effect under this thick fabric. I remember wearing a cotton gipsy type top (with an elasticated neckline) last year and my bust looked so huge I never wore it out.
Earrings from Accessorize, large leaf drop earrings
Here's a close-up of my earrings from Accessorize. I'm enjoying wearing dangly earrings now that my hair is shorter.

Skirt: Mango, £29.99;  Boohoo Bardot flute sleeve body from Next, £18; sandals, Dune, last year: similar here.

Sharing this post with Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Fancy Friday at Nancy’s Fashion Style and Fun Fashion Friday at  Fashion Should Be Fun.


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Monday, 22 May 2017

Favourite Florals

Sometimes all a girl needs for spring is a delicious floral skirt and matching wedges!
We all know that florals are hugely original for spring (Miranda Priestly, "The Devil Wears Prada") and even more so if the same florals have been appearing for simply years.

Monday, 15 May 2017

A passion for hosiery

One of my many passions is hosiery or as our US friends call it, "hose." I find black opaque tights a trifle dull and like my tights in bright colours, with spots, fishnets and, in the worst crime of all, I like pop socks!!!

So I was thrilled when hosiery giants Charnos offered me a few pairs of their new summer range.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Style in comfort with Vionic footwear

Box fresh: a pair of Vionic Laurie sandals with wedge heels
At the pre-lunch before restorative yoga recently, the ladies, aged 40 upwards, were talking about shoes. About how, suddenly, our feet become problematic as we get older. Mysteriously they suddenly get bigger, or wider. Suddenly there are bunions, which rub against our shoes, and weird things like plantar fasciitis. You can read about why some of these things happen, and what we can do, in my article on feet.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Carole Middleton wows in pale pink: Mother of the Bride Special

Arrriving at the church in pale pink Catherine Walker, mother of the bride Carole Middleton
The wedding season is in full swing. Pippa Middleton has finally married. and mother of the bride Carole Middleton was immaculate as always in pale pink Catherine Walker (above). A coat dress, or dress with coat option as she wore at the wedding of daughter Kate, are elegant and timeless options for the mother of the bride.
Carole Middleton and the Duchess of Cornwall at the wedding of Kate and William
Carole Middleton  and the Duchess of Cornwall at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton 

Advice for Mothers of the Bride and Groom 

There's a tendency for Mothers of the Bride or Groom to go "off piste" and either wear something incredibly frumpy, or something too far Out There in an effort to look cooler and trendier than their counterpart.

Most MOTB/G are likely to be in their 50s and this is a good opportunity to shine in great tailoring and a colour that really suits you. A coat and dress combo, like those sported by Carole and the Duchess of Cornwall, is perfect.

One of the snags with most of the Mother of Bride/Groom outfits is that they tend to come in sugary colours which don't do much for a lot of us. I notice a lot of pale pink and light grey this year. My advice is to find a good dressmaker by recommendation, or meet one or two if you don't know any,. You can then have the luxury of choosing the exact colour you know suits you. For me, one of my best shades is lilac - and  I was lucky enough to find something off the peg.

Two years ago, I was dithering about what to wear for my step son's wedding. At first I wanted something that wasn't too old fashioned, that I could wear again.

I fell in love with a fuchsia pink Ted Baker dress but it was in the most unflattering material known to man. Finally, I decided to go with a traditional MOTB retailer, Gina Bacconi, and buy an outfit I would wear just once. I also had the opportunity, for the evening event, to wear something else, and for that I had a Joseph Ribkoff dress.

The Gina Bacconi dress in lilac had a guipure lace shrug. I decided to go with accessories in the same colour, and it was quite challenging to track down the right shade - at that time, lilac was not in vogue, although this year there's a lot more of it around.
Some good places to try are Ted Baker, where there are some stunning occasion coats; Gina Bacconi (try John Lewis), Jacques Vert and, for pretty summer dresses, Phase Eight and Hobbs. If you have a big budget and want to avoid anyone wearing the same outfit, go bespoke or vintage.
The Macea baby pink coat with bell sleeves is from Ted Baker, £259.

Gina Bacconi crepe dress and chiffon cape in silver mist, £270.

Jacques Vert rose print shift dress, £159. There is a crepe edge-to-edge jacket which would go beautifully with this at £149, ideal if you want to hide arms.

Tips for the Mother of the Bride or Groom

If your son or daughter is having a more informal wedding and there's no need for tights, fascinators or shrugs, you could consider a lovely trouser suit or jumpsuit like the pale pink one below from Massimo Dutti.

Make sure you find out what your counterpart is wearing, even if it's by email. You'll be in the same pictures so you don't want to be wearing clashing, or the same, colours.

Those dinky little cross-the-body bags or envelope clutch bags are all very well but for Mother of the Bride/Groom you will need something bigger. You'll need to carry Rescue Remedy, tissues, a small bottle of micellar to clean up makeup runs and wet wipes, plus your own lipstick, phone, mini umbrella and possibly a sandwich if any of the men in your entourage get irritable if their blood sugar levels plummet. There's a lot of hanging around at weddings and you don't usually get fed for hours.

On the shoe front, you'd be wise to avoid high heels, or, if you must, carry a pair of foldable flats in your bag for later. Break your shoes in by wearing them in the house and garden for a few weeks beforehand.

Sharing this post with Fashion Should Be Fun and A Pocketful of Polka Dots. 


For more Mutton follow my blog on Bloglovin and receive a weekly email on my updates. Don't miss "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards. I'm also on Instagram. 


Monday, 8 May 2017

The Next bodycon summer dress

Is This Mutton? looks at the regular summer fixture of the Next floral bodycon dress
I noticed online that Next have another "floral bodycon dress" very similar to the one I had last year so I guess this must be a regular fixture in the way that a Boden Fun Skirt is.

Here I am wearing this year's model, being photo bombed by Molly, and below, on Skiathos, last year's version.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Take the years off with a new hairstyle

Gail Hanlon, blogger, with new choppier hair cut and colour
It's easy to get into a rut with your hair. I know all too well. From the age of 15 through most of my adult life, I sported a medium length wavy style which I called "the revised mullet" because it required no fancy styling or products. It was very wash and go. I didn't use a dryer.

Before the age of 15, there was the dreaded feather cut, but let's draw a veil over that.

There were a few flirtations over the years with short, bobbed or permed styles, and I even had some some hair extensions in 1990, way before they were popular. But I always came back to the revised mullet.

I then met Jodie, who had a tiny salon tucked away in a local shopping arcade. I saw an ad in a local paper about her new salon, saying she was Toni and Guy trained, and as I like to use local businesses, I went along for a cut n blow dry.

Jodie gave me the bob style which I've had since 2013. It became increasingly blonder over time, although like any good hairdresser, Jodie wouldn't let me go too far lest it become crispy and frazzled.

I liked my bob: it was easy to manage, as long as I blow dried it  (leaving it to dry naturally, as I did with the "revised mullet" meant it stuck out at weird angles).

Jodie fulfilled her dream of opening her own salon, Mustard & Co. She has a talented team and they often take part in competitions, and are constantly taking courses to keep skills up-to-date. Jodie's salon was one of the first to start selling the luxurious brand Davines from Italy, and now all their hair colourants are from Davines: no parabens, sulphates and other nasties.

Jodie got in touch with me recently and suggested an edgier style might look good, particularly with all my fashion blogging (or as my husband calls it, parading around in the garden in silly poses).

I had to agree: I was wondering if my hair was a bit too helmet or Theresa May-like, and when I wore "boho florals" someone suggested my hair was totally unsuitable for the genre. The "before" shot is below.
The "before" shot of the hair transformation of Gail Hanlon, blogger from Is This Mutton?
I'm thrilled with the outcome and never had so many positive comments on Instagram and FB! Someone suggested it takes 10 years off. Happy with that! As it's shorter around the ears, I can even wear earrings now that might be seen. But a shorter cut does need a bit more effort in terms of makeup. Here's the back view:
Image showing the back view of the new hairstyle of Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?
I washed it myself a little nervously, as you always wonder if it will look as good as when the salon does it, and I didn't even have to use a hairdryer. It dried very quickly and I was able to "flick up" the side bits, a bit like Lulu, and it looked fine. I forgot to buy the pomade that Jodie used (less drying and less defining than gel or powder - which is good as I don't like too much "definition" in case it looks scruffy) but will go back and get some.

There are quite a few bloggers whose hair I admire: Jennie from A Pocketful of Polka Dots, and Debbie from Fashion Fairy Dust, as I love the colour of their hair.  I love the chic styles of Jane from My Midlife Fashion, Judith from Style Crone (unbelievably in her 70s) and Mandy from Fashion Unfolded By Mandy.
If you're thinking about having a new style, I've put together a Hairstyles board on Pinterest. There are short, medium and long styles, and styles for fine and thick hair.

Finally, consider hair pieces or wigs. The lovely Nisha at SugarPuffAndFluff has a number of videos on wigs, reviews and how to put them on. For hair extensions, back in 1990 I went to a lady called Lucinda Ellery who has now become very well-known for the hair loss systems she creates and designs. She now has salons in salons in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Solihull and  Los Angeles and New York.

I've compiled a montage of some of my hair looks over the years - some v bad! Check it out at my Facebook page.

What was the worst hair style you ever had?  Do share!


For more Mutton follow my blog on Bloglovin and receive a weekly email on my updates. Don't miss "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards. 


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Is This Mutton? featured in an article!

Image showing Houses of Parliament and London bus from website Fabulously Chic Over 50
I'm very honoured that the website Fabulously Chic Over 50 has written a feature about me in their series She's Got Style.

It feels a bit uncomfortably like tooting my horn but if you'd like to take a butcher's  (or a read, for my non-UK readers!) here's the article by the lovely Jonet, below.


Thursday, 4 May 2017

The all-occasions dress & Fabulous Friday Link-Up

Painterly dress in pink, blue and white which can be dressed up or down
When it comes to buying dresses, I know what I'm looking for. Something on, or just below, the knee; draped or gently fitted at the waist, and avoiding big volumes of fabric. This dress from Phase Eight, with its painterly strokes, ticks all the boxes.

It could be described as an all-occasion dress. I would happily wear it to a wedding, on holiday, or for a drink with friends.

I've teamed it with my pink sandals from Topshop which have silver block heels, (sold out: try these)  and a bead encrusted bag I've had for ever (check out my collection of evening bags here). The necklace is an old one from Marks and Spencer. With hindsight, I would wear it with a different necklace. This one has the same colors as the dress and doesn't stand out.
Painterly strokes decorate this all-occasions dress from Phase Eight

In the garden wearing a painterly frock from Phase Eight
Sharing this post with Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Fun Fashion Friday at Fashion Should Be Fun and CelebratingStyle at Vanity And Me
Dress suitable for a middle-aged woman to wear to a wedding, wine bar or on holiday
I'm thrilled to be joining Jennie at A Pocketful of Polka Dots as co-host for the Fabulous Friday link-up.
Fabulous Friday1 A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Fabulous Friday Linky Party
Meet your host for Fabulous Friday, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots. ∼ Hey y'all, I'm Jennie and I am a 47 year old frugal fashionista! I am mom to two wonderful (and handsome!) sons and one very spoiled Pomeranian. After spending most of my life in black and boring clothes, I now enjoy trying new trends, am a confessed shoeaholic, believe life is too short for boring hair, and never met a polka dot I didn't like. I am also an avid photographer, reader of Jane Austen, Paleo/Primal enthusiast, and lover of DIY. You can follow me here ∼
Fierce50 member Debbie from Fashion Fairy Dust blog
My favorite last week was Debbie from Fashion Fairy Dust with her tulle dress layered over a sundress and worn with trainers. I love Debbie's attitude as she writes about why women in their 40s and above should "dress ourselves in whatever the hell we like." She looks fabulous.


Monday, 1 May 2017

Five Over 50 Challenge

Something old, something new is the challenge for Five Over 50
Introducing a new monthly feature, the Five Over 50 challenge!
Four other bloggers, all over the age of 50, are joining me as we set each other a new challenge every month.
The first one is "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue."

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Red and white

Red and white poppy skirt, white top with Peter Pan collar and ivory jacketA few weeks ago I featured outfits which give me confidence. This was one of my most popular posts, which shows the one thing we're all looking for is confidence!

When we're having a "fat day" a long jacket is good for the confidence, while a shot of red says that we're feeling on top of the world. We still need a jacket at this time of year but instead of a black jacket I'm wearing an ivory one. I'm still using the same felt flowers for a pop of color.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Fuchsia pink and white

Gail Hanlon, blogger, wearing a fuchsia pink top and sandals from Topshop
I've always loved fuchsia pink, even before the lovely Pamela at Style Yourself Confident told me I have cool coloring, so it's one of the colors that suits me.

I buy quite a lot from eBay and that's where I got this Kaliko top. I have several searches set up on eBay for things I love - Boden skirts, Joseph Ribkoff dresses, Fantasie swimwear (brand new).

Friday, 14 April 2017

A walk in the bluebell wood

Dressed for a bluebell wood walk: Boden jeans, Peter Hahn white shirt and Marks and Spencer gold mules
We're lucky to live near Epping Forest and to know where there is a "secret" bluebell wood. It really is off the beaten track so we were the only people there.

The bluebells were at their peak following last weekend's sunshine.  Beautiful. You could smell the sweet fragrance before you approached.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Spring delight: duck egg blue and white

Duck egg blue Japanese tea blouse worn with Boden Alexa pencil skirt
A beautiful spring day called for the delicate and fresh colour of duck egg blue with white accents. The silky Japanese tea blouse could even be described as cold shoulder, depending on how you position the floaty sleeves! The longer length is ideal for camouflaging a muffin top / stomach. It was apt to take a picture next to my cherry tree with its blossom.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Back to the 70s

Bloggers and former flatmates Maddie Grigg and Gail Hanlon raise a glass before the Holy Holy Ziggy Stardust gig in London
David Bowie has been a huge part of my life since I was 11. I wrote about my fandom in my old blog here, and his death here.

I haven't been able to listen to his music or watch any of the TV programmes about him since his death.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

White and blue

White jeans are a summer essential for me, even though they don't deliver much value in the holiday suitcase as you can only wear them once!

Normally it takes me ages to find a decent pair. They need to have a heavyweight fabric, not too thin, and of course look flattering. I was thrilled to find that the first pair I tried, from Boden, were keepers. White jeans look nautical and summery with blue and stripes - and fab for evenings with a sheer tunic top and statement sandals.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Mother's Day weekend in Devon

Mother's Day lunch in Torquay for June Tyler, 84, and daughter Gail
The weather finally came good for Mothering Sunday and I went down to Devon on Thursday to stay with my mum, June.

Mr Mutton didn't come as he is Marathon training in earnest for London in April, and had a big race to photograph for his club.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Polka Dots, Pearls and Navy

Image showing outfit featuring polka dots: jeans, cardi, wedge heels, pearls.
I'm very keen on polka dots and I have been known to mix them with stripes (shock horror!). Here my casual outfit has a bit of a 50s vibe with the cropped jeans and wedges. Pearls work with any outfit I think, and these outsize numbers are a good companion to the polka dot circles.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Outfits that give us confidence

Clothes for confidence: black MaxMara jacket, cropped trousers and red accessories
We all have a couple of outfits that are our "go to" outfits when we need to feel confident. When I'm going to an event such as a conference or interview where I need to impress, I can always depend on my black jacket (above) worn with trousers which are "of the moment" - as in cropped trousers today - and either metallic boots in winter or sandals or edgy flats in summer.

The jacket is a MaxMara but was an amazing bargain. I was rummaging in the House of Fraser department store in Swindon a few years ago when, on the sale rail, I found this divine jacket. And it was reduced to £10!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mother's Day gifts for the older mum

With Mother's Day in the UK on March 26, there will be a flood of articles very soon on gift ideas, mostly aimed at mums my age or younger.

Which is great, except that they're ignoring the older mums, the mothers of Baby Boomers.

So my gift guide is aimed at mums aged 75 and over, and is unashamedly based on what my Mum, 84, would like. I've featured her in the blog previously. 

She's very keen on buying clothes and make-up and dealing with challenges like ultra-sensitive skin and wrinkles (she says she would try Botox if she could afford it). She occasionally buys costume jewellery but doesn't care much for scent and would be quite offended if confronted with a coffret of old-fashioned, or "old lady", bath products.
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