Is This Mutton?

Fashion and fun for the over-50s.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Silver Linings, Coffee Skirt Three Ways, and Link Up

Staying positive: over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon in green and navy Scotch and Soda blouse with coffee coloured A line midi skirt from Marks and Spencer
While "The Awfulness" is with us, it's sometimes hard to find any silver linings.  But positives can be found, and it's worth having your own list so you can remind yourself when life gets tough. My silver linings:
  • Here in the UK we have just moved into spring, and it's a beautiful time of year with blossom, daffodils, tulips, blue skies, trees greening up
  • In the garden we have robins nesting in a new nesting box and blackbirds nesting in the hedge. It's a constant hive (!) of activity.
  • With all this hand washing, many people will (hopefully) carry on and there will be less flu and colds going round every winter
  • We're forced to take life at a slower pace, living in the present. I wonder why do we waste so much time taking photos and videos. For what?
  • Old-fashioned pursuits are returning: families being inventive with play, board games and quizzes over HouseParty, making your own wine, cooking from scratch, embroidery
  • Once it's over, we may appreciate life in a different way. Less commercialised, less selfish
  • People are discovering the pleasure of a daily walk  (I think some think it's been mandated by the government!)
  • Those of us lucky enough to have a balcony, patio or garden will enjoy it all the more this summer 
  • I used to feel guilty as a blogger of not finding great locations for my shoots. But as I do them on my own, with a tripod, I find it too daunting to go to central London or other places. Now, of course, a lot of urban bloggers would kill for a garden they can take pictures in! 
  • Technology has finally come of age. Home working for millions is now a reality, and possible. Videoconferencing brings families and friends together and it works. As someone who has worked in tech for more than 25 years, this is rewarding. I remember the first few video calls and it was always hit and miss that they would work.
When it ends, our First World problems will immediately rear their ugly heads: people desperate to get hairdresser appointments;  people battling to book the holidays still available for September (or whenever). But I've already decided I won't be joining them.  The Awfulness has already taught me the beauty of going with the flow and stepping aside from the herd. The herd tramples others underfoot to get what they want, whether it's toilet roll or fresh food to stockpile, only to throw it out untouched when it goes out of life  (shocking but true). 

Now to the outfit, and  I'm featuring a classic neutral skirt that is extremely versatile. It's the same style as the pink skirt I bought last year, an A line shape that flatters most, with a removable belt. It's from Marks and Spencer and the colour is described as coffee.  I like the contrasting tortoiseshell buttons. It's also available in white.
Middle-aged woman with fair hair in neutral beige skirt with navy, green and yellow
I've got three different looks to show you.  Above, add a twist with yellow boots that echo the yellow in the fabulous Scotch and Soda blouse. It's still a bit cold so I haven't thrown my tights aside yet. The bag, from Coach, goes with everything.

Next up: a white pullover with knee-length navy boots and a statement blue necklace.
Coffee coloured midi skirt paired with navy and white

You can just about see Molly on the left: it's gradually becoming warm enough for her to venture outside, albeit briefly. The daffodils on the left are Thalia, Monty Don's favourite. Certainly very elegant.

Final look is a flourish of sequins. I was planning to use a red top but the green sequin top was singing out to me from the wardrobe! It's an old one, worn with an equally old cropped cardigan from Boden. They have these every year and I snap them up in different colours because they go with so many outfits. The green snakeskin boots are from Asos: still available, sale price.
Add a fun twist to a neutral beige midi skirt with snakeskin boots, a cross-tre-body bag and green snakeskin boots
There will be lots of summer looks too but I haven't yet got the summer wardrobe down from the loft. 
Portrait of mid life woman blonde hair in green sequin top
Nothing was gifted for this post.

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #iwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile at StylesplashAnna at the GlamAdventure, Style Six at Coast to Coast
Now for the #WowOnWednesday link up. Last week's favourite (most clicked) was Anna from Muttonstyle with her post Lunch with Mary, Working from Home. Here's Anna, right, with the lovely Mary from The Pouting Pensioner.
My favourite post was by Shauna from Lipgloss and Lace: So Very Carrie Bradshaw. Now what would Carrie, from Sex and The City, be wearing as she toils away in front of the Teams screen? Shauna visualises the most perfect confection of a skirt, turquoise tulle, with high heels, fluffy purse and giant pale pink corsage. It really made me smile, and is so Carrie Bradshaw like.
Please support the bloggers in the link-up who are carrying on bringing you posts - visit their blogs and leave comments. It makes it all worthwhile.

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Monday, 30 March 2020

Style Not Age: Denim Directions

Is This Mutton over-50s blog interprets the challenge Denim Directions with a knee length denim dress and tartan tights
Here we are again, the Style Not Age collective, and this month it's my challenge, Denim Directions. The reason I chose denim as the subject is that there's so much of it around in many guises. There  are dresses, jumpsuits, boiler suits, jackets of many hues.  And jeans come in every cut imaginable - straight, boyfriend, boot leg, flared, cropped and there are no firm rules about which style is "in." So we can all look great in the style of jeans that suits us best.
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Friday, 27 March 2020

Friday Favourites: Books, Viewing, Podcasts

Online workouts for kids are great for the over-50s too
G'day all. Nearly at the end of week 1, "gentle" lock down. The highlight was undoubtedly last night's "Clap for Carers." Putting on my anorak and opening the front door at 8pm, I was expecting to be the only one. But in fact nearly all my neighbours came out, clapping and cheering, with the distant sound of fireworks. Very moving.

I've started doing the live Joe Wicks "The Body Coach" workouts. It's 30 minutes and quite strenuous. Gets the heart rate up.

I planted some cerise parrot tulips and wallflowers in two containers outside the front door, and the first tulip is out. They're very early as they weren't supposed to be out until April-May. They're attracting bees, which is lovely.
The dramatic tulip Cerise Parrot alongside wallflowers yet to bloom, London, March 2020
Now for my Friday Favourites, recommendations for books, viewing and podcasts. I've chosen five of my all-time favourite books. Some of them are out-of-print but still available on Amazon as secondhand paperbacks or hard backs.

Memorable Reads - You Won't Forget these Heroines

Burial Rites, Hannah Kent

This is the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a servant in northern Iceland who was condemned to death after the murder of two men, one of whom was her employer. She became the last woman put to death in Iceland. It's a haunting book, pulling you into an unfamiliar world and the mind of a condemned woman. It was shortlisted for several literary awards

Human Remains,  Elizabeth Haynes  

A large number of people have been dying from natural causes in their own homes.  Police analyst Annabel spots the spike in figures but can't get her colleagues to investigate. Is there something sinister at play? Also available in Audible.

The Skin Chairs, Barbara Comyns

This was the first book I read by Barbara Comyns, a much under-estimated British writer whose books were mostly published in the 50s and 60s. The Skin Chairs is written from the perspective of a ten year old girl, Frances. When her father dies, Frances, her mother and siblings are taken under the wing of their horsey relations, led by the formidable Aunt Lawrence. Living in patronised poverty isn't fun, but Frances makes friends with Mrs Alexander, who has a collection of monkeys and a yellow motorcar.  This one is quirky and somewhat eccentric, but laugh out loud funny.Middle aged woman reading a paperback novel from Virago, The Skin Chairs by Barbara Comyns

Never No More, Maura Laverty

"You were the purple blog and ripe wheat-field and a crab tree in May. You were good food, and songs in the firelight and the rosary at night. You were a welcome for my coming and a prayer for my going out. You were Gran."

If you want escapism, in the form of the homespun charm of a cottage in Ireland and a gran who was forever cooking, this is it. Delia goes to live with her grandmother in County Kildare, in the 1920s, Ireland and we find a close knit community, not inmune from social problems, and there are surprising acts of kindness. As Delia grows up, she decides to go to Spain. Maura Laverty also spent time in Spain, firstly as a governess and later as secretary to Princess Bibesco and eventually becoming a foreign correspondent based within Madrid.  It is such a charming, beautiful book. I have read it countless times.

A Five Year Sentence, Bernice Rubens

Rubens was the most superb writer. Some of her books became films - for example, Madam Souzatska with Shirley Maclaine.  One of my favourites is the story of quiet, mousy Miss Hawkins, who is planning to end her life after her last day at work. But her colleagues give her a five-year diary, and as someone who has always followed rules and instructions, Miss Hawkins feels duty bound to fulfill the expectations of the diary and its timeline, even though the diary starts giving her instructions to do things she has never done before in her life.

Podcast Pleasures


Now that I'm not driving 90 miles a day to work, I'm not listening to so many podcasts, although I'm going to use them on my daily walks when I'm walking alone. I'm gripped by The Dating Game Killer. It's the true story of a serial killer who was so charming, well educated and plausible that hardly any of his employers ran background checks, and he would quickly skip state and adopt a new identity to avoid capture. He actually was on a TV dating show and was chosen as the date of the female contestant.  Find out what happened.


Viewing Delights

The joys of Netflix have quickly worn off and we're not watching much on there at the moment, having enjoyed Cheer and a surprisingly engaging documentary series going behind-the-scenes in Formula 1.

My current favourites:
Hidden:  extremely atmospheric and beautifully filmed thriller from BBC Wales  (BBC iPlayer). It's a bit long and drawn out, but kept our attention.
Race Across the World:  the contestants are more varied, interesting and likeable than those in the first series.  Racing as couples, the contestants are not allowed to use planes and have just the price of an air ticket to get to the final destination.  BBC 2 and iPlayer.
The Nest - (below) - episode one of the new drama from BBC Scotland looked promising.  A woman desperate for a baby befriends a young girl with a troubled past who wants to become her surrogate.  But her husband (Martin Compston from Line of Duty) is less convinced.
Glasgow looks very aspirational and the riverside home of the glamorous couple is to die for. BBC1 and iPlayer. Three cast members of The Nest by the river
Belgravia:  the lavish new drama from Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey).  The first episode was very strong, the second less so. ITV 1 and ITV Hub. It's very Downton-esque, even down to the theme music.

I'll be back on Monday with the monthly fashion challenge, Style Not Age.

Sharing this post with Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge. #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, #ShareAllLinkUp with Not Dressed as Lamb,  Anna at Mutton Style

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Polka Dots Twice - and Link Up

Monochrome with polka dots and a splash of green from over-50s style blogger Gail Hanlon
Hello everyone - hope you are all safe and well.  I was reading today that many online fashion retailers are not planning to restock for spring/summer because the sentiment is that by the time we've got through COVID-19, it may be too late for summer clothes. Let's hope not!

As I mentioned last week, I've made a few purchases, mostly timeless pieces that will serve me well for the years to come. Take this polka dot pair for example: both from Marks and Spencer.
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