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

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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Wishing you all a Happy New Year

Image showing a middle aged woman posing against a white garage door wearing silver skirt and shoes and an iris blue velvet top
So here it is, my last post for 2017. I've got a lot to tell you so it may be a long post! First, Christmas. On December 23 we took John's grown-up children and their partners to a Christmas Carol singalong at the Royal Albert Hall, followed by lunch. If you live in or near London, I'd highly recommend the Raymond Gubbay Christmas series. The carol concerts are really magical.
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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ultra Violet: the 2018 Colour of the Year

Image showing the colour ultra violet, the colour of the year for 2018 recommended by the Pantone Institute
The Pantone Institute has chosen this colour, ultra violet, as its colour of the year.  Expect to see this variation of purple in home decor and fashion.
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Monday, 18 December 2017

5 Over 50 Challenge: Christmas Jumpers


Image showing a middle aged woman indoors wearing a cream Christmas jumper embellished with reindeer antlers and a red tartan skirt
Christmas jumpers tend to be associated with the brazen, colourful Father Christmas embellished affairs with flashing lights, but they come in four different varieties. Laurie's challenge for the 5 0ver 50 for December is styling a Christmas jumper and it's interesting to see that three of the boxes are ticked. Fortunately no-one chose to wear the overtly ugly version of a Christmas jumper!
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Christmas traditions from around the world

How different is a Christmas in Alaska from a Christmas in Stockholm? Or Canada? Or Spain or Germany?
As Is This Mutton? discovered, there are lots of similarities - but also some unique cultural traditions.
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Sunday, 3 December 2017

I do love a patterned skirt!

Image showing an over 50s woman in blue cowl neck jumper patterned skirt coloured tights and pink and blue shoes
I've been very consistent over the years in loving a patterned skirt with colourful tights and jumper/sweater. I have several from Boden including my beloved green skirt and I used to have a permanent search on eBay for Boden skirts.
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Friday, 1 December 2017

How a tailor discovered Tanzanite, one of the world's favourite gem stones

Image showing a tanzanite ring with diamond in 18K gold from Gemporia
There's a clue to where the gemstone Tanzanite comes from, and it's in the name. Tanzania is the only place on earth where this gorgeous deep blue / violet stone is mined.

In our continuing series on the birthstones, Is This Mutton? explores tanzanite -the birthstone for December, discovered just recently in the 1960s.
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Sunday, 26 November 2017

A cosy combo for cold days

Image showing an over 50s woman in black and white check coat and red accessories for winter 2017 on a chilly day in the garden.
Now where did I put those gloves?
Winter for the Met Office starts on 1 December. Ahead: chapped lips, travel plans occasionally ruined by the wrong type of snow; the festival of over-consumption that now starts on the US import Black Friday and runs to the New Year; howling winds, darkness when setting off for work (allowing extra time to scrape ice off the car) and darkness when returning.
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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Pinterest for Bloggers

Image showing blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in an article on how bloggers can grow traffic with Pinterest
What I like about Pinterest is that unlike the other social media channels, it isn't all about big numbers. It doesn't matter how many people follow your boards. What matters is that people like your pins, and that your pins are correctly labelled so that Google and Pinterest can index them properly and they appear in searches. Here are my tips for bloggers on how to grow your traffic with Pinterest.
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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?
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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.

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 "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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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

ARE YOU MUTTONED UP?

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.  
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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


ARE YOU MUTTONED UP?


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.

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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."
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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.
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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.

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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?
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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?

ARE YOU MUTTONED UP?

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.
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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.

ARE YOU MUTTONED UP?

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.

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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!
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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