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Fashion,beauty and lifestyle for sassy over 40 women

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

May Beauty Round-Up

Three of the beauty products for May 2017 reviewed by Is This Mutton?
 This month I'm looking at a bronzer designed for mature skin, a vitamin C serum, a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, and a hand wash which is helping to improve my nails.
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Flowers and Fashionistas

The famous Chelsea Flower Show in London was a riot of colour, and it wasn't just the flowers. I was paying my first visit to the show for 19 years. Sister-in-law Kate and I were disappointed to see the number of show gardens reduced from 17 last year to eight with few of the big name gardeners exhibiting. Have costs become too prohibitive? There was only one garden where you queued and went up  a ramp and looked down. I remember 19 years ago doing that for the all-white Christian Lacroix garden.

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Beautiful Emeralds

Is there a more beautiful stone than an emerald? I don't think so. Emerald is the birthstone for May, and in Is This Mutton's? continuing look at birthstones, we're going to examine this beryl in a bit more detail.
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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.
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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Easter Delights and Traditions

Easter is a lovely time of year, to me far better than Christmas, which is overly commercialized, filled with unrealistic expectations, and set in a gloomy month.

Retailers are determined to try to commercialize Easter of course, with Easter crackers this year and increasingly vulgar chocolate eggs. Children will apparently be given an average of £56 worth of chocolate over Easter.
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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

5 top tips for buying a new mattress


I couldn't resist showing one of my favourite clips from Monty Python's Flying Circus - buying a bed. It probably won't play if you're not in  the UK. Sorry about that.....


Why do I need a new mattress? 


Not surprisingly, as they want us to buy more often, the mattress industry and the Sleep Council both recommend we replace a mattress every eight years. By this time it will have lost much of its original comfort and support.
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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Diamonds are Forever

"She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow."

Lucky you, born in April - for your birthstone is the diamond!
Just yesterday, the "Pink Star" diamond sold for a record £75m in Hong Kong.
But only recently, we were told that millennials in particular are buying fewer diamonds and instead opting for coloured gemstones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds. They no longer attach the same importance to diamonds that previous generations did, and the idea of "blood diamonds" appalls many young women.
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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.
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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The scents of our lives: it's National Fragrance Day

Today (Tuesday 21 March) is National Fragrance Day and to celebrate, five lovely ladies are sharing with us the scents of their lives.
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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

5 simple ways to get a good night's sleep

It seems everyone is having trouble sleeping these days. Even school children, we're told.

There are sleep clinics, various herbal remedies (none of them work, by the way) and no end of lore on the internet on how to sleep.

I'm lucky in that I sleep well, generally from 10 until 6am, which is a good eight hours. I don't change my routine at the weekend - I rarely "lie in" any later than seven. You can't "bank" sleep and continually getting more than nine hours is said to be a marker for dementia in later life.

I'm a firm believer in good sleeping habits or "sleep hygiene" as it's often called. Here are my five rules for sleeping well:


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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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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Aquamarine - birth stone for March

It's March! And those of you with a birthday this month probably already know that your birthstone is the beautiful aquamarine.

This is a blue to green-blue variety of precious beryl, the group of minerals that includes emeralds.

But while aquamarine and emerald have essentially the same specific gravity and refractive index, emerald tends to be hazy and full of inclusions, whilst aquamarine has excellent transparency and clarity.
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Friday, 24 February 2017

Bright colourful leggings!

Image showing bright colourful leggings for sport from Yoga Leggs worn by over 40s blogger Gail Hanlon
Yoga Leggs Love leggings with Puma trainers and Under Armour top 
I used to wear plain black leggings and tops for my yoga and sport. I thought I was too old for brightly coloured patterned garb. But then everyone at yoga and Repose Studio, all ages and all sizes, started wearing gorgeous patterned leggings from a local firm,Yoga Leggs. When I saw how good they looked on all women, I was hooked.

I'm sporting two brand new designs, limited editions: Love, above and Hibiscus below, with the blue top; plus a pair which are also still available (Mystical Mermaid),  And I recently cracked open two new boxes of trainers.
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Is it possible to look stylish when hiking?

Gail and John Hanlon below a rainbow hiking in the Borrowdale Valley
The rainbow was a bonus on a day when the weather was mostly grim 
What? I hear you cry. Stylish when hiking? Surely an oxymoron!
Well, dear reader, before we started our trips to the Lake District back in 2012, I had no idea I would soon be avidly scouring The North Face website for their latest drops, or scurrying into George Fisher as soon as we arrive in Keswick each time to buy more stuff.
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Monday, 16 January 2017

In praise of pearls

The Is This Mutton? Definitive Guide to Pearls

Image from Pixabay showing woman in hat and pearls
It was Coco Chanel who decreed "a woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls." Lady Sarah Churchill, meanwhile, revealed: "I feel undressed if I don't have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.”

Pearls are highly flattering against the skin, with the more expensive pearls casting a gorgeous light against the face.
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Saturday, 7 January 2017

15 Health and diet tips from over-40s women like you

Banana and oranges representing healthy eating
It's the time of year when we're bombarded with diet articles, books and slimming DVDs from celebrities. Most of the diet methods contradict each other and there seems to be no agreement between health organisations and experts on what scientifically works best. Some experts are still saying that low fat is good. Others say sugar is the devil.
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Friday, 30 December 2016

The Trends for 2017: Year of the Rooster

Picture of hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Fraise
Hydrangea Paniculata Vanilla Fraise: copyright Bakker.com

2016 was a tumultuous year and one that many of us will be glad to see the back of.  I'm always intrigued to hear what the predictions  are for the new year in terms of fashion, food and general prosperity. Here's my summary of trends for 2017 including flowers, fashion, colours and food.

Year of the Rooster


From Jan 28 we are in the Chinese Year of the Rooster. The Rooster is the sign of dawn and awakening. Triumph and success can only be achieved at the price of hard work and patience in 2017.

Green the Colour to be Seen In 

The influential Pantone Colour Institute were bang on with their predictions for 2016 of rose quartz and serenity: the rose pink and tranquil blue tones were everywhere, even if the supposed "soothing sense of order and peace" represented by the colours was absent.



For 2017, Pantone predict we will be in the green:  their shade Greenery will be all around us. This is good news for those who love green (myself included). It represents the colour of life, renewal, nature and energy, along with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and Wall Street.


The Fashion Trends

2016 was the year of the bomber jacket and the 2017 jacket will be a white blazer, apparently. They're in some of the hot new collections and style mavens like Alexa Chung and Emmanuelle Alt, editor of French Vogue, have been seen in them.  Below: Marella FENNEC longline collarless blazer from House of Fraser. 


The top handle bag will replace the cross-body bag. These are small bags which the trendy use without a strap. Below: Givenchy's's medium Antigona tote from Selfridges. 


Other trends on the horizon include the shirtdress, a looser tunic style designed to be worn with tights and ankle boots while the weather is cold, and then trainers or sandals in summer. 

Thankfully the puffer coat will be old hat  (do they flatter anyone) and the trench coat will be reinvented. Preen have a gingham version and Burberry's classic gaberdine had leopard-print sleeves. 


In The Garden

Madonna will hate this one but apparently hydrangeas will be big news this year.  I have always loved the paniculata varieties of later flowering hydrangeas rather than the mop head types. One of my favourites is vanilla fraise, pictured, top. I would love to see a Chelsea Flower Show that brings back cottage garden flowers like hollyhocks, delphiniums, love-in-the-mist. Personally, I am so over "prairie planting",  grasses, and all those clashing hot garden pinks and oranges.


Snack Atttack


Golden milk lattes will seduce us with their turmeric, celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties. I find it works very well, although not in tablet or pill form  (which was validated by a recent study).  I add turmeric to home-made soups and drink turmeric and coconut tea.  It really helps with aching joints, particularly if you can't take ibuprofen.

Vegetable yoghurt is supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Varieties such as carrot, beetroot and sweet potato have proved an unexpected hit in the US and will soon be making a mark in Britain, according to Waitrose in its annual food and drink trends report.

Meanwhile pok√©,  Hawaii’s answer to sushi, is predicted by Waitrose to be the must-eat snack of 2017. 

Hawaiian poke on rice

The interiors trend for marble is creeping into food, too. Expect to see marbled icing, meringues and macaroons all over Instagram, made by bakers such as the Meringue Girls, aka Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman. 

Marbled meringues from The Meringue Girls
Marbled meringues: copyright Meringue Girls

Retro Drinks


Gin and different botanical variations was hot in 2016 and I'm glad to see that sherry will be becoming trendy in 2017  (I've been predicting this for a while). Trendy cocktail bars are adding dry types of sherry to their concoctions. Alternatives to prosecco, such as Pignoletto from Italy and Cava from Spain, will be joyfully guzzled.

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