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Fashion and beauty for sassy over 40 women

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Thursday, 30 March 2017

White jeans and a stellar charity shop find

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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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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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!
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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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Monday, 6 March 2017

Ted's burgundy top


Ted Baker burgundy top with bow worn with grey skirt and berry boots
I may have mentioned that I have a bit of a thing for burgundy (maroon, aubergine, whatever) at the moment. It was last seen in the form of my burgundy velvet jacket. I was keen to get my hands on this top with a bow from Ted Baker.
Mr Mutton's immediate question was "does the bow come off?" (yes), but it would be a very plain top without it!
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Saturday, 4 March 2017

February Beauty Hits and Misses

Here's my round-up of beauty products from Feb that I loved, and some that I didn't like. First the winners, above.

February's best products


  • Decléor Aroma Cleanse 3 in 1 hydra-radiance, smoothing and cleansing mousse. I wasn't expecting to find something to rival Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm, which I love, but I liked a sample of the Decléor product and was persuaded to buy the full size product. You simply add a little water to a pearl of the white cream and it immediately turns into a thick foam, and is very easy to rinse or wipe off. It leaves the skin nicely moisturized and healthy looking.
  • I'd never been tempted to try the Rosie for Autograph beauty range at M&S until I read a positive review  in the Sunday Times which encouraged me to try the Cream Blusher and Lip Shine.  How would the cream blusher fare against Hourglass Ambient blusher, which has been my go-to blusher for months? Quite well, although the Hourglass blusher stays true longer. I chose the cream blusher in romantic flush. I thought it would probably be very sheer but it's highly pigmented so I had to remove some. A nice flush but it doesn't last as long as the Hourglass.
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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Boho Florals

Boho floral dress from Marks and Spencer worn with leggings and ankle boots
"Boho florals" - brightly colored florals, often in the form of embroidery, and on a black background, are everywhere. I got this dress from Marks and Spencer a few weeks ago with a view to wearing it on Mother's Day when we always go put for lunch.  It's available here and M&S also have a slightly different version in separates: half-sleeve top and A line skirt.

I first tried it on with sheer black tights, thinking this would look lighter for spring, but I think the dress needs solids otherwise it looks fuddy duddy, so I added leggings, ankle boots and a cropped cashmere cardi plus a chunky necklace from Topshop. The picture at the bottom shows me wearing it "straight" with a belt, the sheer tights and Mary Janes, and I think it looks just awful. I have been mugged by flowers!
Boho floral dress from Marks and Spencer worn with leggings and ankle boots
I don't feel that the boho florals look is great on me so reader, I actually sent the dress back. Now you're all going to tell me it's fantastic :-)

Embroidered boho floral dress worn the wrong way
Sharing this post with Laurie at Vanity and Me; Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style,  Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and Fabulous Friday at A Handful of Polka Dots.


For More Mutton

For more Mutton follow my blog on Bloglovin and receive a weekly email telling you about my updates, and like my Facebook page for extra Mutton each day. Don't forget Pinterest!

Next week on Is This Mutton?

A few different ways with Belts (Mon 6 March)
Beauty hits and misses (Saturday 4th March)
Mother's Day gifts for the older Mum (Weds8 March)

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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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Monday, 27 February 2017

Velvet jacket 3 ways

Image showing burgundy velvet jacket styled for casual wear
 I was thrilled to take part in one of the challenges on the excellent blog by Jodie, J Touch of Style. Jodie, a former dentist, showcases outfits for three age groups and features as models herself (50s), her step mother Nancy (60s) and her mother Charlotte (70s). The great thing about her blog is that the trio are constantly shopping their closet: finding new ways to wear clothes and adding unique little touches in the form of brooches and other jewellery, belts and so on.
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Saturday, 25 February 2017

We need to talk about....feet


For a long time I didn't get why older women were forever groaning about their feet and saying they could no longer wear high heels.

Surely, I rationalized, feet are our one true friend in that they stay the same size all our lives?

Well, I've been boning up on feet (sorry!) and it seems my ideas were all wrong.
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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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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Scented storage and perfume memories

Part 1 of a new series on Perfume

The Perfume Society is keen to learn how we store our precious scents. On an art deco dressing table, perhaps? Or on a trolley, or in a glass cupboard? My solution is less prosaic: in a large shoe box under the bed.

Unusually for me, I have not been a great keeper of perfumes. It's a fairly recent development that I kept both the scent (even if I had stopped liking it) and the box.
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Meet the Hollywood Browzer

The "Must Have" tool to sort out those pesky facial hair issues 

Hands up if you've ever wished there was an easy way of dealing with "peach fuzz", that undesirable aura of fine down that grows over our cheeks and along the jawbone.  Most of the time it's just there and not causing a problem, but sometimes in bright sunshine it's very obvious.

Then there's hair above the lip.....and hairs in the sideburns area that look untidy when you want to put your hair up.
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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Embroidered denim, double denim


Embroidered jeans worn with pink statement sleeve jumper
Embroidered denim is having a moment, as is double denim. Fearing that I might look like a country and western singer, or at worse, a bit mutton, I thought I'd give it a go. The pretty embroidered jeans are from Marks and Spencer and already sold out, although there's a similar pair here. I wore the jeans first with a statement sleeve jumper from Lost Ink.
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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Colour analysis: updated

If you had your colors* "done" a few years ago, you probably spent an hour being draped in scarves before being pronounced a Spring, or other season, and given a swatch of colors that realistically you were unlikely to find in the shops.

I had my colors analysed in the 1980s as a journalist writing about this new phenomenon and I was proclaimed a Spring who could also wear some winter colors.
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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Style Imitating Art: Georgia O'Keefe "Pond in the Woods"

The SIA Challenge is a fun opportunity to match an outfit to a famous painting, open to anyone. This time it's based on US artist Georgia O'Keefe's "Pond in the Woods" and curated by Erin from Loop Looks.

Here's the painting, from 1922:
My outfit has the green and brown tones, plus the lighter "centre" colours in my fun pom poms - which are also circular of course.
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Eye cream and night cream: worth the cost?

I used to have creams and lotions for literally every area of my face and body, but about a year ago I began to doubt whether all these dedicated products are worth it. I started multi-tasking with a few key products. I used my facial moisturizer in the eye area and on the neck, replacing two other products, and stopped using night cream altogether, just occasionally using a facial oil,
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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

It's lace - but not as we know it

I don't really do lace. But one of the things I'm trying to do this year is break out of comfort zones and try new things.  

I was attracted by the rigid lace edging of this navy Ted Baker top. It also comes in a pretty blush colour. I paired it with New Look white trousers and I'm happily choosing the shorter length lately, above the ankle, without my old qualms.
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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Lose 10 years with 5 simple make-up tricks

You can do wonderful things with make-up. Here are five simple tricks I use to turn back time.
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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Chanelling lace designer Isabella Catanea Parasole

Gail Hanlon in black flouncy maxi skirt, hat and polka dot top
This month's SIA Challenge - Style Imitating Art - over at Jen's blog, Librarian for Life and Style, threw down the gauntlet to step out of my comfort zone and wear something a bit different.

We're asked to channel the Italian lace designer and wood carver, Isabella Catanea Parasole (1565-1625). She was the first lace designer to create a lace instruction manual for women,  Her designs include some circular lace, so I was looking for an outfit that included lace / circles / monochrome. I'm not really a "lacy person" in that I don't have any lace. But I found this excellent maxi skirt which I think could be loosely described as lacy. Goodness, I haven't worn a maxi skirt since I was 13 and they suddenly became all the rage!

Doing some pattern mixing, I'm wearing polka dots too in the tie waist top (a great buy for women who need to define their waist). I added more polka dots with my Buff scarf. Remember - a Buff is not just for hiking. See my post here. The chain belt and hat added the finishing touches. I felt quite flamboyant in this outfit, as if I was off to a Mardi Gras.
Click here to see how other bloggers interpreted the challenge. 



Skirt: White Cove at Asos; polka dot tie waist shell top, New Look at Asos; hat: old; belt: Madeleine (old); scarf: Buff, past season.

For more Mutton follow me at Bloglovin to get an update on when new posts are published, and like my Facebook page where I also include curated articles you may be interested in.

Sharing this post with Hat Attack #43 at Style Crone; Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Style Splash; Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet; Fashion Should be Fun, hosted by Dawn Lucy;  Fancy Friday Link Up hosted by Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style; Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots.
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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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Friday, 27 January 2017

Wearing neon brights to add some colour to winter

 This is a seriously bright jumper - an acid or neon green (my husband would call it yellow). I added a touch more green with the velvet shoes and necklace. And ignored the rule about "red and green should never be seen" by adding red lippy.

Jumper: Sainsburys; jeans: Boden; shoes: Next (out of stock); necklace: Justine at Etsy.

Too cold for photos outdoors today! Keep warm and enjoy your weekend. Sharing with A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Nancy's Fashion Style and Not Dressed Like Lamb, #SaturdayShareLinkUp.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

When your hands are 20 years older than your face

I'm in good company with this one: both Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker suffer from the same affliction.
There are four reasons why our hands can age faster than the rest of our face - and it's not just failure to apply hand cream:
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Monday, 23 January 2017

Fashion in my 20s: what was I thinking?

I thought I would give you a laugh by sharing some of the outfits from my 20s. This was in the 1980s, a decade not noted for sartorial style. But even so......
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Friday, 20 January 2017

5 ways to radiant skin

If I was to envy young women for one thing, it would definitely be their skin: firm and peachy with no hint of wrinkles, shadows or pigmentation marks. As you get older, it becomes harder to replicate that gorgeous radiance. I have five key products I use when I'm looking less than radiant.
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Finally embracing cropped trousers

Finally embracing cropped trousers. Blogger Gail Hanlon pictured
Cropped, or shorter length trousers, have been around for a while but I have been stubbornly resisting them. Two reasons. I didn't like the idea of an expanse of ankle being exposed to the elements in winter, and as far back as 2013, I was lamenting the fact that worn with mid calf boots, they give the "beam me up Scottie" look. And they usually seemed to be worn with high heel court shoes, which I don't wear. 
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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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Thursday, 12 January 2017

A new look for an old favourite: Lypsyl lip balm

New packaging 2017 of Lpysyl lip balm in seven new flavouursI have been a devotee of Lypsyl since I was at school. This much loved lip balm has been moisturizing the nation's lips since 1891. But it hasn't always been easy to buy. It's had a chequered history, several different owners and a varying presence in the high street. Sometimes it was impossible to find, although nowadays it's much easier to source online.

I'm pleased to see it has now been relaunched with a new range of seven delicately scented SPF balms.

For my US readers I'm not sure what relation UK Lypsyl has to US Lypsyl:  I see that the US product has entirely different packaging and varieties, claiming to date from 1905 and describing itself as "pure Swedish beeswax."

I recently reviewed several lip balms and Lypsyl (in the old original formula) performed just as well or even better as more expensive brands from Rodial and REN - here.
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