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Fashion,beauty and jewellery for the non-invisible woman over 45


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Supermarket Chic

Image showing a 50 plus woman in a colour block jumper and skirt posing by barges
My recent post about vintage and thrifted chic was very popular so it got me thinking: how about looking at clothes you can buy in a supermarket?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Beauty Haul

For my birthday recently I was very lucky to get several new beauty products, as well as reacquainting myself with some old favourites.

Liquid Eye shadows from Stila and Urban Decay

The usual advice to older ladies is not to use sparkly eye shadows in any shape or form, but I think that's rubbish. Flat, matte eye shadows can actually make our eyes look older. The trick is to keep the glitter and glimmer on the lids, close to the lashes, and not to use over the crow's feet unless you're keen to highlight them (!).

Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter and Glow in Gold is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. It's a mixture of pearl and glitter and  has a high percentage of gold in a fluid base. I applied a pale green eye shadow on my lids first (over primer) and then applied the Stila glitter product along the upper lash line. The glitter particles capture the light very well and it creates a more youthful eye.

Urban Decay's Liquid Moondust eye shadow in Magnetic is a cream that goes on like a powder, creating a dense, high-sheen effect with tiny particles of glitter. It gives a lovely iridescence to the eye lids. With hindsight this is not the best shade for my lids - I tend to use this dark aubergine / purple colour to highlight the socket line. But they have 23 fabulous shades so really we are spoilt for choice.

Aveda Color Conserve shampoo and conditioner for colour treated hair 

I  was interested to try a different brand for my colour treated hair. For some reason the Pureology products which I have used for the last two years had started making my scalp itch. I don't have blonde highlights at present and the organic Davines colours which were used instead have left my hair in better condition, albeit a little harder to handle now  (it's finer in texture without the bleach!). The Aveda products have a distinctive smell unlike any others - a pleasant, clean smell - and leave my hair shiny.

Product Renewals

In addition to the new products above, I also had some old favourites including Apothaka's lovely Rejuvenating Face Oil for normal-dry skin and their remarkable SOS Nail Recovery Oil. Read my review of the face and nail oils here. I was also given Apothaka's Rebalancing Cleansing Oil, which is new, but I've been determined to use up my existing cleansing balm before I try it - so stay tooned for the review later.

Finally, I last bought Nars' The Multiple about 10 years ago. It lasts a long time. So I treated myself to a new one in the usual shade Portofino. Cream blushers are far more flattering to the older complexion and this one has high colour density and lasts all day. Its creamy formula and sheer colour blends effortlessly to create shimmering accents; contours or dynamic highlights on all skin tones. I only use it as a blusher, although its name confirms that it's supposed to have other uses.

Sharing this post with Weekend Blog Hop at Claire Justine and Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb.


Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin or Feedspot (where Is This Mutton? is in the top 30 fashion blogs for the over-40s). You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter.  


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Red Bombshell dress and a night at Heston's

Image showing a 50 plus woman in the garden wearing a red Bombshell dress
I have always wanted a Bombshell dress. They never fail to make the wearer look curvaceous and confident, whether it's Nigella Lawson, who bought 12,  or blogger Nikki Garnett (scroll down to see her in a full-length gold Bombshell dress). So when I heard, three months ago, that I'd succeeded in getting a fab new job at my advanced age, I decided to treat myself to a red Bombshell dress.
Image showing a 50 plus woman in red figure flattering dress and quirky red and black shoes decorated with cherries
It got its first outing at the weekend when Mr Mutton and I went for dinner at the glamorous Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  It was my post birthday treat. 

I find it hard to find the right shoes to go with occasion wear. If I was able to wear high heels, finding a fabulous pair wouldn't be a problem. But I literally can't walk in them so I have to find kitten heels or low block heels. They don't always look very fashionable. The model on the Bombshell website was wearing nude high heels with her red dress but that's a bit too "Middleton" for me. I found a suitably quirky and cute pair of shoes at one of my favourite brands, Poetic Licence. I teamed them with nude fishnets.
Image showing a woman in her 50s in a red dress standing by the bar of a luxurious London hotel
First stop, a glass of Champagne at the bar. 
Dinner by Heston is not to be confused with his eponymous restaurant The Fat Duck at Bray in Berkshire. I went there a few years ago and it's a fabulous experience, working your way through the experimental and stunning tasting menu.

The Dinner restaurant, overlooking Hyde Park, offers modern dishes, inspired by historic British gastronomy. The menu shows the year when each dish was originally to be found. We love this restaurant because it's got such a great vibe. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic without being pompous or overbearing. I realised I was done with Michelin starred fine dining when, at another famous London restaurant, a waiter said snootily "I'll ask the water waiter" when asked for another bottle of water.
Image showing a man in his early 60s at a restaurant in London
Mr Mutton gets his close-up 
The last time we were here it was in June for our wedding anniversary. We had a table looking out at the park and the light was fantastic. Last night, it was dark outside and more atmospheric inside, but it didn't make for great photography so I won't share all the photos we took of our food (sorry Nancy!).  I was seated with a great view straight into the kitchen. One guy spent the evening grappling with the flames of an oven that was searing pork chops. Another was painstakingly cleaning and trimming mushrooms individually.
Image showing Meat Fruit starter where chicken liver pate is made to look like a mandarin with leaves. At Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mr Mutton had the famous "Meat Fruit" (c.1300) which looks just like a mandarin but is in fact chicken liver pate. I had a starter called Salamagundy (c.1720): chicken oysters, salsify, marrowbone, horseradish cream & pickled walnuts. The combination of different textures, and the powerful flavours, were divine. We didn't choose Savoury Porridge (c. 1660) - snails, girolles, garlic, parsley & fennel - because neither of us like snails.
Image showing a dessert called sambocade at Dinner by Heston Blumental featuring a goats milk cheesecake lderflower & apple, perry poached pear & smoked candied walnuts
For the main course I had Powdered Duck Breast (c.1850), braised & grilled red cabbage, spiced umbles (whatever an umble is....!) and pickled cherries. Mr M had Cod in Cider (c.1940), with chard and flamed mussels. All tip top! I was too stuffed for pudding or cheese but Mr M managed to push down Sambocade (c.1390) which came with a goat alert: goats milk cheese cake, elderflower and apple, perry poached pear and smoked candied walnuts.

The final flourish was a sweetmeat presented to me on a plate with "Happy birthday Gail" in ganache.
Image showing a 50 plus woman in a white conservatory wearing a red Bombshell dress, nude fishnet tights and red and black Poetic Licence shoes

Image showing a close up of a woman wearing a Pandora rose gold bracelet with charms
I kept the jewellery simple with a rose gold circle necklace and rose gold charm bracelet 

Outfit Details

Red Bombshell dress from BombshellHQ;  Shake It shoes by Poetic Licence, Amazon

Sharing this post with Catherine at Not Dressed As Lamb Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous, Creative Mondays at Claire Justine, Spread the Kindness at Shelbee on the Edge, Emma at Stylesplash, Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Ashley and Laurie Link UpFabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots,Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style


Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin or Feedspot (where Is This Mutton? is in the top 30 fashion blogs for the over-40s). You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter.  

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The perfect heirloom gift

Image showing a vintage style silver locket on a chain
An engraved silver locket makes a wonderful gift for virtually any occasion: christenings, first communion, bridesmaid's present, birthday. And of course Christmas, which is fast approaching.

It's a great heirloom to hand down through the generations because not only can it be engraved with a name, date or message, but it can also house a special photo.

Martha Jackson Jewellery is a British company specialising in premium sterling silver jewellery at affordable prices. I was invited to choose a locket on a chain, which I thought would make a lovely keepsake for my niece Isabel, 14.

I chose the silver vintage heart locket necklace which has a choice of different lengths and types of chain. Options include engraving for £5, with a choice of six fonts, and the opportunity to add a gold or silver charm.

Martha Jackson's engraving is done by Marco - nice personal touch -  and I opted to have Isabel's name engraved on the back in By Hand font. Other suggestions for engraving are initials, a special date, or a short message.
Image showing the engraving on the back of a silver vintage heart locket on a chain from Martha Jackson Jewellery
The necklace arrived very fast, packaged in a gift box. Martha Jackson will add a gift message too.

There are plenty of other items to choose from including cuff links, bangles, different lockets and a diamond set secret message ring.

Is This Mutton? has an extensive Pinterest board featuring more jewellery than shown in the blog. 

Sharing this post with Weekend Blog Hop at Claire Justine and Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb.

*I was gifted the silver vintage heart locket necklace but as always my thoughts and opinions are my own


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspotand receive a weekly email on new posts. You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus hairstyles and fashion picks.


Monday, 6 November 2017

5 Over 50 Challenge: Boots!

Image showing over 40s blogger Gail Hanlon in all black with a wide leather waist belt and over the knee sock boots
Anna from Anna's Island Style has set this month's challenge for the intrepid 5 Over 50 fashion bloggers, and it's "These boots are made for walking."

Thursday, 2 November 2017

My favourite topaz - the Imperial

Image showing a diamond and Imperial topaz ring set in gold
Birthstone of the month for November is the Topaz, and I'm going to introduce you to my favourite variety of this gemstone, the imperial Topaz.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Fab experience with The-Bias-Cut

Image showing a 40 plus woman in green velvet jacket and navy side stripe trousers with a cream convertible bag
Imagine spending the day with two blogger friends, a professional make-up artist and photographer, and a new and vibrant fashion brand with a rail of divine clothes. Yes, it was heaven, and that's what I did recently courtesy of the Bias Cut.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Beauty Advent calendars

Image showing the John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar 2017 as featured by Is This Mutton blog for the over 40s

I love to have a beauty Advent Calendar. Such fun to open a window every day and find a little treat to enjoy, even if there is no picture of Ruud Gullitt on a chimney pot  (A Father Ted joke for those in the know). Beauty Advent calendars are big business. Most brands are in on the act. So which one to choose?

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Side striped trousers and Teatum Jones shirt

Image showing over 40s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in gold side striped trousers and Teatum Jones white shirt with leopard print kitten heels.There's something very timeless about a crisp white shirt and black trousers. I was tempted to try these Hush side stripe trousers after seeing them on Nikki from Midlife Chic. I liked the idea of a gold stripe - it makes them more glamorous and less like Adidas jogging pants. The shirt, which has wonderful texture and glamorous sleeves, is by up-and-coming London brand Teatum Jones, sold by Next in their new initiative "Mix" which features independent designers. 
Image showing woman over 40 in black trousers with a gold side stripe and a frilled sleeve white tailored shirtThe shirt is wonderful quality with buttons covered by the placket (always a sign of quality) and darts. I added a waist belt and chunky pearls.
Image showing woman in her 50s wearing gold side stripe trousers , leather waist belt and frilled sleeve white shirt
The shoes are a fun touch. I never used to go anywhere near leopard or cheetah print until last summer, thinking it too Bet Lynch. But I was converted by a leopard print clutch bag which went with so many outfits. I don't think you'll ever see me in an animal print faux fur coat but I love touches of leopard print in accessories.

The kitten heel shoes are by Vionic, so not only are they very  stylish, they're also comfortable. Vionic's unique FMT Technology provides superior orthotic support, relief and stability to help realign the feet back to their natural position.  I wrote about Vionic here.
The socks are what we used to call "pop sox" by Charnos - they now call them "fashion knee highs." I like the different designs they come in.
Image showing a close up of the frilled sleeve shirt by Teatum Jones from Mix at Next

Image showing Josie kitten heel shoes in tan leopard by Vionic

Outfit Details

Teatum Jones frill cuff shirt, Mix at Next; Josie shoes in tan leopard, Vionic; Alexis trousers, Hush. Belt, Once Upon a Belt; fashion knee high socks, Charnos.

Sharing this post with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Catherine at Not Dressed As Lamb Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous, Creative Mondays at Claire Justine, Emma at Stylesplash, Jess at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Ashley and Laurie Link UpFabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots,Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style

What do you think about side stripe trousers? Smart enough for the office or dining out, or best saved for the gym?

And how much leopard or cheetah print do you have?


Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin or Feedspotand receive a weekly email on my updates. You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

MAC Pastel Times Nine eyeshadow palette

Image showing the MAC Pastel Times Nine eye shadow palette, copyright Is-This-Mutton blog for the over-40s
As we get older, avenues of pleasure gradually become closed to us. For me, the avenues include: oysters, following an incident in a local restaurant that meant I was unable to go to the Chelsea Flower Show, and high heels. For my mother, the list irrationally includes cucumbers.

For me it also includes eye shadow palettes.

I drool over beautiful eye shadow palettes and used to collect them, even if I knew I'd only wear one colour. Such things of beauty!

But over time, I became disillusioned because nearly all the palettes on the market are aimed squarely at the young audience and aren't suited for the crepey, hooded or deep set eyes of the older fashionista.

Some of the eye shadows which are aimed at us are just so matte and boring, I don't want to give them house room.

A lot of cosmetic houses make the mistake of thinking that older women can wear browns and purples and, er reds, the same as everyone else. For me, with deep seat eyes and dark circles, those colours make me look like Frankinstein.  Light pastels work best to bring my eyes forward, and I like to use a little judicious frosting or shimmer, even though it's supposed to be against the rules.

Trying the MAC Pastel Times Nine Palette

I was thrilled to see a palette, which, although it isn't jaw droppingly gorgeous like the Huda or Naked palettes, does have nine colours that mostly all work for me.

The MAC Pastel Times Nine palette, £25, has a combination of satin and frosted shadows in light pastels, as the name would suggest - although there are some darker colours on the right hand side which are perfect for contouring the eye socket  (check out my tips on eyeshadow for deep set eyes).

The shades are:
New Nude: Whitish pink highlighter (Satin)
Fresh Innoncence: Ivory frosty warm white (Frost)
Spice Bar: Grayish taupe (Satin)
Flounce: Pale pastel pink (Matte)
Restless Rose: Pinkish Mauve (Satin)
Free Roaming: Dirty lavender (VXP)
Spring Moon: Baby blue (Frost)
Greystroke: Pale greenish silver (Satin)
Sweet Green: Soft muted green (Satin)

The shades can be used wet or dry. I used the two green shades on my lids and socket, extending upwards at the outer corners, and highlighted the brow area with the ivory frosty warm white. I would like to say my skin really does look this good, but Samsung phone cameras detect a "selfie" being taken and all sorts of filters get applied without one's knowledge!
Image shwing a woman over 40 with a full face of makeup including pink lipstick and light green eyshadow
Sharing this post with Claire Justine's Wednesday Blog Hop and Saturday Share at Not Dressed As Lamb.


Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin or Feedspotand receive a weekly email on my updates. You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Vintage and Thrifted Special

Imageshowing Gail Hanlon from over-40s-blog-Is-This-Mutton in thrifted corduroy coat and vintage wardrobe items including a fur stole
Many of you are engaged in "No Spend October" on Instagram, where you're shopping your closet and not going near the shops or those pesky online retailers. I'm afraid I'm still spending, but to enter into the spirit of the thing, I've put together a really ancient and partially thrifted outfit!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Where are the bodysuits? And no more Hygge or Ikigai!

Amusing image montage of over-40s blogger Gail Hanlon who fronts Is This Mutton

Mutton's Choice Cuts, October 2017

Shirts, blouses and a lot of other tops are very annoying when tucked into a skirt or trousers. There's either too much fabric, creating wrinkly bottoms and bunching, or not enough fabric, which means they constantly wriggle free.

So I can fully understand why bodysuits became a thing in the 80s: the all-in-one which gave a smooth line but had issues of its own around poppers on the undercarriage and sometimes a cheese wire (thong).

Sunday, 8 October 2017

One jumper, three ways

Image showing a striking Rew scarf, the neckwear fastened with one button, in green
I was attracted to this Hobbs Sofia jumper by its green and navy colours, and the fact it can be worn quite casually or dressed up a bit.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Spectacular Opals, birthstone for October

Example of the spectacular colours of opals in this orange stone from Mexico

Opal, the birthstone for October, is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash every colour of the spectrum with an intensity and quality of color that can surpass the fire of diamond.

Monday, 2 October 2017

5 Over 50 Challenge: Hats

Gail Hanlon in burgundy fedora hat and mixing red with burgundy
When I set the "A Woman Wears Many Hats" challenge, I had no idea it would be so unpopular. The ladies have not been keen, so I can't wait to see what they've pulled out of the bag, hat-wise.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

It's National Fitness Day - and we're dancing, riding and rowing!

Today (Wednesday) is #NationalFitnessDay in the UK and Is This Mutton? has been talking to some vibrant over-40 women who have passions for many different sports and pastimes which give them joy, as well as improving their cardiovascular fitness.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A statement striped shirt with hounds tooth and leopard print

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton pairs a statement striped shirt with houndstooth shoes for a contemporary fashion look for the over 40s
I was recently pondering over my lack of stripes but this Finery London statement striped shirt has made me see the error of my ways. It's a great look for the office and with some funky accessories it's elevated above a striped shirt with plain black trousers.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

In the Pink

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton fashion blog for the over 40s
So the latest instalment in the saga of my new office wardrobe is this pink jumper worn with a grey skirt and pewter shoes.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A miraculous nail and cuticle oil

These products are hand made by Apothaka founder Natasha Dauncey and 100 per cent natural but highly effective
I am quite a cynical buyer of beauty products in that I often buy them but don't expect miracles. I take most of the claims made for products with a pinch of salt. So it's not often that I use the "M" - or Miracle - word for anything. But, dear reader, I'm using it for Apothaka's SOS Recovery Nail and Cuticle Oil.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Asymmetric Skirt and Polka Dot Blouse

Look smart and fashionable at work in an asymmetric midi skirt, polka dot blouse and square toed Mary Jane shoes
Followers on Instagram will know that tomorrow is a big day for Is This Mutton? Yes, I start work in a new job, a full-time marketing role after a few months off, and this will probably be the inaugural outfit.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Hourglass Ambient Lighting blush

A beautiful blusher which gives a reflective light effect to make it look as if your skin is lit up.
I've just bought my second Ambient Lighting blusher from Hourglass and as it's such a wonderful product, I thought I would tell you about it.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Amazing Lace: 5 Over 50 Challenge

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton adding a gothic vibe to lace in a black skirt, fascinator and belted jacket
This month five intrepid bloggers over the age of 50 are all rocking "Amazing Lace", the challenge set by Jacqui at Mummabstylish. I knew immediately I wanted to do something different with lace. A little Gothic maybe, or a little Madonna circa Desperately Seeking Susan.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Dazzling Sapphire, birthstone for September

Generic image of a Sapphire ring
Sapphires have been highly prized for centuries and are steeped in traditions and folklore. Is This Mutton? finds out more about this heavenly gemstone, the birthstone for September.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Lipstick Trends and Tips

Ombre, marbling, layering: what are the lipstick trends for Autumn 2017 that you will be adopting?
The easiest way I've found to avoid the curse of middle age invisibility is to wear bright red or pink lipstick.

I've only recently started wearing lipstick in standout colours. For the last few years I stuck to nude shades with pink gloss, thinking it looked like Nigella. Also, my husband isn't keen on the lipstick look. But I look washed out in my fashion "shoots" if I don't wear it. What are the latest formulations and trends? Read on.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Prince of Wales check

With the shorter days but the last rays of summer sunshine, a Prince of Wales check skirt is a nod to Autumn and worn with sandals and a crisp silk blouse, smart and transitional for work
Prince of Wales check, along with hounds tooth, is a huge trend for Autumn / Fall. I find it very exciting - I don't remember these styles being in fashion for a very long time.  I recall having a hounds tooth jacket in my teens!

I'm wearing a new arrival at Boden, British tweed pencil skirt in Prince of Wales check, in fallen fruit (there are three other colourways). The UK weather is unusually great for a public holiday at present, so I didn't wear it with a jumper (sweater) as planned but with a silk shirt in millennial pink.  My pink sandals with silver block heels and slouchy velvet hobo bag finished off the look, along with a couple of cocktail rings.

I have some more hounds tooth and PoW check on the way: the latest Next collection has many desirable items and I have ordered a coat and jacket.

On the subject of Prince of Wales, I'm going to be talking about Prince Charles and the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in Mutton's Choice Cuts later this week. Gird your loins for controversy!
Wearing a Boden new arrival, the Prince of Wales tweed pencil skirt

Yes you can start wearing exciting new Autumn arrivals and still stay cool while the weather is hot

Pink, berry and Prince of Wales check for an on-trend transitional summer to autumn look

Gail Hanlon from over 40s women's blog Is This Mutton


Skirt, Boden; silk shirt, Autograph by Marks and Spencer;  hobo bag, Russell and Bromley, past season; new version here; pink sandals, Top Shop, sold out.

Sharing this Post

Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Creative Mondays at Claire Justine; I Will Wear What I Want at Not Dressed as Lamb; Style with a Smile at Stylesplash,  Turning Heads at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Tip of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots and with Dawn Lucy at Fashion Should be Fun.

This Week on Is This Mutton?

Wednesday (30 Aug) Luscious Lipsticks
Friday (1 Sept):  Mutton's Choice Cuts 
Monday (4 September): 50ver50 Challenge: Amazing Lace 
Wednesday (6 September) The dazzling Sapphire: birthstone of the month for September

For More Mutton

Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin or Feedspot (where Is This Mutton? is in the top 30 fashion blogs for the over-40s). You'll love "handbag of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter. 


Friday, 25 August 2017

Skincare Magic from Charlotte Tilbury

Helen Mirren memorably said recently that using moisturiser "probably does f--- all”, something I've always suspected myself, in terms of whether or not moisturisers can improve your skin long-term.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Plenty of Pearls

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton showcases a glamorous outfit for the over 40 woman: black velvet trousers and a top embellished with pearls
There were lots of pearls in clothes on the Autumn/Fall/Winter catwalks and I love them,  so I snapped up this Zara pearl embellished jumper (sweater) as soon as I saw it. Zara has a lot of new arrivals with pearls on them, including a very nice frock coat (below) which I have my beady eye on!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What I'm buying for AW 17

Creating a mood board and identifying where you have gaps in your wardrobe are great for giving you a head start in buying clothes for a new season.
The good news is, I have got a new job and will be back to work very soon. While being a lady of leisure has been fun for the last few months, I'm looking forward to being back in the hubbub of office life. Plus I can splurge again on clothes!

Monday, 14 August 2017

More green in 2017

How to colour match a problem skirt
I started this year with a post about "Green in 2017," and it's been one of the best read so far. It was about my love of the colour green, and how green had been chosen by Pantone as its colour of the year, in the "greenery" manifestation.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Mutton's Choice Cuts

Monthly Miscellany from the Mind of Mutton

This month I'm ruminating on Middle Child Day and my blog anniversary (2006!).

You probably weren't aware dear reader but tomorrow (Saturday) has been deemed Middle Child Day. Hooray for the middle child, the stalwart of the family who learns very early to wheel and deal.

According to Frank Sulloway, PhD, author of Born to Rebel, "They are agreeable, diplomatic, and compromising, and they handle disappointment well. They have realistic expectations, are the least likely to be spoiled, and they tend to be the most independent."
Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon with brothers Andrew and Robert as children

A good description, I fancy.

I was the middle child of three, with brothers on either side. In the photo above, I'm about six years old. There was a 10 year age gap between the eldest, Andrew, and the youngest, Robert. Andrew, who sadly died two years ago, was not a stereotypical eldest child. He was very self contained and independent. He could be quite bossy with me and Robert, who, when he was young, was very "naughty." Andrew would quite often slipper Robert up the stairs when he wouldn't go to bed.  Our dad was stationed in Singapore when Robert was a toddler, and Andrew took it upon himself to be the father in his absence.

He could also be a lot of fun. We spent hours playing "catch the gonk" which would be thrown up and down the landing, and used to fall about laughing at Carry On films. At Andrew's funeral service, we chose one of the trademark Carry On tunes to mark his exit.

My childhood was fairly idyllic. In those days kids were allowed to go out and play all day, and I did with gusto. I would be gone after breakfast and back in time for tea. My fun included going to the den or cave, fighting the children down "the enemy end,"creating plays, attempting to make films with a still camera and picking blackberrries or primroses in the fields near our home.

On Sundays we would pile into the car, usually wearing bizarrely named "car coats," and be driven somewhere for an airing. Tavistock perhaps, where Robert could play on Stumbles the steamroller, and fall into the pond in winter, so that he had to suffer the indignity of riding home naked behind a copy of the News of the World.

In addition to the freedom we had of being kids, we didn't suffer from over anxious parenting. We weren't forced to do any extra-curricular activities. I went to the Guides once but didn't like it (and my mum was relieved, because they couldn't have afforded the uniform). I did enjoy going to "Guild", a spin-off of Sunday school where we made baskets and got chips as a rare treat on the way home.

I don't remember my parents ever putting pressure on us to do well at school.  In my case, I had an inner determination to succeed and I spent hours revising and managed to get three A levels.

So if you're a middle child, let's raise a glass tomorrow and be thankful that our position in the pecking order made us resilient and determined.

That first blog post in 2006

A post written in 2016 about the death of David Bowie by life long fan Gail Hanlon
Back in 2006 I launched a blog called "A Curious Girl's Guide to Life." It still exists, out in the tumbleweed of deserted sites. I felt sure my pithy views and nostalgic glimpses of life in the 70s would make me a big celeb. So it was humbling to find that in those days, the likes of the Huffington Post were VERY rare, and I was lucky to get 200 page views a week from visitors searching for topics like "Does John Torode wear a wig?" (One of my more memorable posts).

Think back to 2006. We had Facebook (launched 2004)  and Twitter, just (launched March 2006). We also had Myspace, which was the largest social networking site in the world between 2005 and 2008. Blogging was nowhere near as popular as it is today. It was the preserve of a few people, mostly older, who wanted an outlet to write. I remember getting blank looks from my stepchildren when I asked them if they had ever read any blogs or knew where to look for them .

If you had a blog, you didn't have many options for promoting it. Social media was quite new and not everyone was using it. RSS feeds were niche.  I promoted my blog on Facebook and my call to action was always to bookmark my blog, but I could barely persuade my own family and friends to do it, let alone anyone else.  If I had a post I wanted to be seen, I would email my friends with the link.

The key thing was getting yourself into the directories that existed, and having a presence on sites like Technorati, and getting people to leave comments on your blog.  It was a tight knit community where bloggers whose subject matter was entirely unrelated to yours would visit and leave a comment, and vice versa.

I look back at the early posts and smile at some of the people who were my online friends then. "The Duchess," who posted beautiful pictures of tea cups and cakes. "The Frump Factor," a precursor of today's over-40s fashion blogger.

My old blog still exists, and the first post was not surprisingly about David Bowie. I wrote another in 2016 upon hearing of his death, shown in the screenshot.

I regard it very fondly now, as a record of my life between 2006 and 2016. I had a very long commute to work and would amuse myself by spotting the lorries operated by Bailey's Equine Feeds ("horse nutrition in the bag") and Norbert Dentressangle. This is all documented, along with my garden and my obsession about certain TV programmes - Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice. Plus accounts of our holidays, and explanations of why we celebrate bank holidays. Plus a few wood pigeons.

Sharing this post with the weekend blog hop at Claire Justine and Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Products that top beauty bloggers can't live without

Beauty bloggers get sent a lot of new products to try, but which ones are their "keepers," the products they buy repeatedly? I asked some of my favourite ladies for their top five. Only one product appeared twice - can you spot which one?
Gail Henderson, UK beauty blogger, tells Is This Mutton? her five top products

UK over-40s blogger Gail Henderson 

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
I totally love this cleanser.  It removes all makeup, including stubborn waterproof mascara.  I use it every day, with the exception of when I am trialing another product. I haven’t found any other cleanser to beat EH.

Simple Dual Effect Eye Make-up Remover 
The Emma Hardie does take of all make up, but to save my facecloths becoming too discoloured, I like to use this Simple eye make-up remover first.  I have re-purchased this over and over again.  A great, affordable product.

Dior Addict Lipstick in "Bright" 
I absolutely love Dior lipsticks, and this shade is my favourite.  I always carry it in my handbag because it goes with everything, is super luxurious on the lips and if I had to have just one lipstick, then this would be it.
Blogger Gail Henderson's favourite lipstick, Dior Addict in Bright. Image: Dior
Gail Henderson's favourite lipstick, Dior Addict in Bright

Clarins hand and nail treatment cream 
I have used this Clarins hand cream for years.  It is the best one I have found.  I love how it really makes a difference to my skin, and the smell is divine.

Rapid Lash 
This is quite a new product to me, and it will definitely have a permanent place in my list of products. This has made such a huge difference to my lashes, which are now super long and healthy.  I would recommend this to anyone who is thinking of having eyelash extensions - it's cheaper, looks better and saves time.

Find Gail here: blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Rougepout spills the beans on her top 5 beauty products to Is This Mutton?

Rebecca Lodge, UK vlogger behind Rougepout

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
This has been my staple cleanser for years, even though I try new ones as they launch and rotate my products to include other brands. It hydrates, removes all eye makeup and keeps my skin super clean.
Seche Vite, Fast Drying Top Coat
The only top coat I use, it dries super fast and seals the nail colour giving longevity and colour protection.
Aussie Haircare, Colour Mate Shampoo
This keeps my locks glossy and my scalp cleansed. Again, I may buy and try other products but I always have a bottle of this in my cupboard and return to it.
Clarins Facial Oils, Lotus and Blue Orchid
The first facial oils I ever used in my late teens and I still buy them. Lotus really keeps my Combination/Oily skin in beautiful condition. The Blue Orchid is perfect for dehydrated skin and improves my skin textur. Both are wonderful to relax and do a home facial with, the scent alone totally relaxes me.
Mac Ruby Woo lipstick
THE red lipstick, a blue red and the one that I always have in my makeup collection, it suits my skin tone, has impact and if you’re going to wear red, well, there isn’t any better than Ruby Woo.
Rougepouts Rebecca Lodge has a trademark red lipstick: Ruby Woo by MAC
Rebecca's signature red pout

Find Rebecca here: blog, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, 

AntiAgingAmber reveals her top 5 beauty products to IsThisMutton?

US based AntiAging Amber

 Amber shares her over-35 beauty tips and discoveries on Instagram. Her top 5:

I have bought this time and time again. This is a beautiful, natural cleanser. It’s very gentle, and thoroughly cleanses my skin without stripping it. I used this exclusively when I was receiving IPL treatments earlier in the year for hyper pigmentation and broken capillaries. This is such a simple cleanser, with only six ingredients, and provides a nice foam, from sodium olivate. I look forward to the natural, fresh rose scent as well.
Buy in the UK at cultbeauty.co.uk
The favourite cleanser of US beauty blogger AntiAgingAmber, Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser
Amber's favourite cleanser 

I am a huge fan of Living Proof, especially their styling products. I find that their products help me achieve the styles I’m looking for and provide the longevity. I’m a critical care nurse who works a grueling schedule. For the health of my hair and because of my schedule, I try to wash and style my hair twice a week. Of all the products I use from this brand, I find that this styling cream helps me to protect my hair and prolong my style and keep it looking cleaner longer. I shamefully admit that I currently have three back-ups of this product.
Buy in the UK from SpaceNK.com, cultbeauty.co.uk

I’m always trying new mascaras to give me both length and volume. I’ve found that one particular primer allows me to have both and layers well with just about any mascara I’ve paired it with. That product is the Laura Geller Fortifying Lashes Eyelash Primer. I think I’m on my 3rd tube of this and I’m obsessed. After curling my lashes, I apply this from root to tip. I find it conditions and separates my lashes, and makes it much easier to apply mascara. At times I’ve even skipped mascara and only used this as the formula is black, not white, like many other eyelash primers. I also have hooded eyes which can be a challenge with wearing mascara. I have found that by using this primer, it helps the mascara to adhere better to my lashes and I don’t have smudging throughout the day. I also can’t help but feel that they appear longer since I started using this product.
Buy in the UK from FeelUnique.com, LookFantastic.com

This is my holy grail SPF! I think I’m on my fifth or sixth tube of this and will never be without. I have sensitive prone skin, so I prefer mineral-based SPF’s with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. The challenge with those is that they tend to leave a white cast on the skin. The Paula’s Choice is tinted, which counteracts any cast. It’s super blendable and layers beautifully under makeup. While the product packaging states it’s formulated for normal-oily, combo skin, this is also fantastic on dry skin too! It leaves a satin finish that many say can also double as a makeup primer. Some of the best advice I’ve heard regarding SPF is from Caroline Hirons. She said to find an SPF that you love, because it’s the one you’ll use. This is the one I will continue to use over and over!
Buy in the UK from lookfantastic.com and amazon.co.uk

I love these super affordable glosses! If you didn’t know any different, you would think these were a higher end gloss. They’re super moisturizing and there’s a wide range of flattering shades. I keep these in my purse and in my scrub top. My favorite shade is a light blue-toned pink, Éclair. I find it gives the appearance of whiter teeth. These layer beautifully over lipsticks and stains as well.
Buy in the UK from Boots.

Follow Amber on Instagram, Twitter

Beauty blogger Lucy Dorling tries a lot of products but which 5 are her all-time faves?

Over 30s UK beauty blogger Lucy Dorling

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
There is no makeup too stubborn to be removed, Cleanse and Polish is so gentle (you can even use it on children's face paints) and makes my skin feel so soft and clean afterwards.
Decleor Aromessence Neroli 
One of my favourite facial oils. It's wonderfully hydrating and helps balance my skin. The smell is heavenly too.
Kind Natured Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner
Sulphate free Shampoo and Conditioner I repeatedly buy again and again. Makes my coarse wavy hair feel soft and manageable and doesn't strip my sensitive scalp.
Apothaka Skincare SOS Recovery Nail and Cuticle Oil
Simply the best I have ever tried (the facial oil from this range is also divine!). An independent home made range I love to support.
Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30
The best wrinkle reducing moisturiser I've tried. I love it's light texture and beautiful scent that makes it a joy to use. And it works!
Blogger Lucy Dorling's favourite moisturiser, Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. Image: courtesy Elemis
Lucy's favourite moisturiser 

Find Lucy here: blog, Insta, Twitter  
Which 5 products does The Lavender Barn blogger Lynda buy repeatedly?

Over 50s beauty/lifestyle blogger Lynda from The Lavender Barn 

Nivea Daily Essentials double effect eye make-up remover
It's as good as Lancôme for a fraction of the price.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
I have not found anything better for a first cleanse to remove make up.
Alpha-H Liquid Gold
I couldn't possibly live without it!
Laura Mercier body creme
Can't beat the texture and fragrances.
Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub
Best exfoliator on the planet.
The Lavender Barn's best exfoliator 

Find Lynda here: blog, Insta, Twitter, Facebook

Is This Mutton's Top 5 Beauty Products

This is the bomb - as loved by Kate Moss and many others. The rich blend includes hyaluronic acid and it revives the skin and provides a perfect canvas for makeup.
Charlotte's Magic Cream from Charlotte Tilbury lives up to its name. Image: Is This Mutton?
Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Cream

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil
I love all the products in the Amande (almond) range and particularly the shower oil, which has a fresh delicate smell and leaves the skin supple and nourished.
Guerlain KissKiss Liplift
My mother and I have been using this for ever. It's a primer for lipstick, and helps stop lipstick "bleeding" over the edges of your lips. It makes your lipstick last longer. It comes in a beautiful case too, all part of the lipstick ritual for me.
Guerlain Kiss Kiss Creamy Shaping Lip Colour in Rose Indien 
This bright fuchsia pink lipstick is one of my favourites and people often ask what the colour is when I'm wearing it.
The favourite lipstick of Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon, Rose Indien by Guerlain
Mutton's choice of lipstick

Jouer Lip Enhancer
I can't get enough of this lip enhancer from French company Jouer. It's described as an intensive night treatment, but the effect it gives, of plumped, smooth glossy lips, is too good to waste, so I wear it during the day. Buy from Cult Beauty.


Don't miss a post -  follow my blog on Bloglovin and receive a weekly email on my updates. You'll love "shoe of the day" on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter. 

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