Is This Mutton?

A personal style and beauty blog by a working woman who wants to instil joie-de-vivre in the over 50s

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Friday, 22 November 2019

Let's Talk Tea: The Is This Mutton? Guide

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton? takes tea with her Royal Albert Old Country Roses tea set
“Under certain circumstances, there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Today I'm talking about one of the greatest pleasures in life: tea.

The British are well known for being a nation of tea drinkers. Many of life's most significant moments are marked with a cup of tea. Newly created millionaires, according to national lottery promoter Camelot, are more likely to toast themselves with tea than champagne.
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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Shades of Brown and #WowOnWednesday Link Up

Is This Mutton the style blog for the over-50s dusts off a pair of 1990s brown parallel check trousers and brings them up to date with a mock neck jumper and layered coin necklace.
I was pleased to hear that brown, caramel and beige shades are in because it gives me the chance to dust off my old "Rupert Bear" trousers and style them in a modern way.

These trousers are probably the oldest garment I have - I bought them in the early 1990s. I thought at the time they were like the Oxford bags that David Bowie was wearing in the Hunky Dory era.

I like the combination of brown and white so wore my white bouclĂ© jacket from summer 2018 and my white ankle boots from last winter. It would be easy to slip my caramel coloured cape over the outfit for extra warmth. You can also see how I styled the trousers with touches of faux fur here.
Brown Oxford Bag trousers from the 1990s worn with a mock neck lurex striped jumper, white jacket and layered coin necklace by over-50s style blogger Is This Mutton?
What brings the outfit bang up-to-date is the top and the necklace. Thin sweaters/jumpers made of a fine fabric with a soft "mock neck" are trending so much on Asos they have an entire section devoted to them.  The mock neck is lower and looser than a polo neck, and not generally turned over. Mine, from All Saints, has a fine lurex stripe through it.
Brown and white together with check trousers, white boucle jacket and lurex striped mock neck jumper
Mega coin necklaces are another hot trend. You can either create your own by layering different necklaces, or buy one ready layered, as I did for just £25. It's a great necklace for adding drama to plain or dark backgrounds.
Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton takes two trends, mock neck jumper and layered coin necklace, and creates an outfit of brown and white suitable for office to evening wear

Close-up of check detail on brown Oxford Bag trousers dating from the 1990s, worn by over-50s style blogger Is This Mutton
The print shown in more detail on the trousers/pants
Brown and white outfit with a mock neck jumper and layered coin necklace, worn by over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?
What's the oldest garment you have in your wardrobe?  Do share in the comments.

Disclosure: no items were gifted for this post.

Sharing Shades of Brown and #WowOnWednesday Link Up with: #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Emma at Stylesplash, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Red Carpet Link Up at Glamadventure, Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and My Random Musings.

I'll be back on Friday talking about tea. Come over for a cuppa.
The colourful sheep logo of Is This Mutton, the style blog, and its weekly fashion and beauty link-up for bloggers #WowOnWednesday.
Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the weekly fashion, beauty and travel link-up that helps bloggers find new readers, and readers to find new blogs to enjoy!

Last week's most clicked was Michelle from Fifty and Fab, with her thoughtful post: Decluttered and Conscious Christmas Gifting IdeasI love the idea of giving people experiences rather than more "stuff."
Michelle from blog Fifty and Fab in Christmas mood
Also with the same number of reader clicks, and my favourite last week, was Darlene from Aquamarina Style with her post Easy-to-Style Sweater Dress with Sneakers and Boots. Darlene shows how versatile a simple sweater dress can be with two different looks.
Take one sweater dress and style it two ways as shown by mid life blogger Darlene from Aquamarina Style at #WowOnWednesday.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter













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Friday, 15 November 2019

Five For FriYAY: The Best Book, Pod and Beauty Recommendations

ARK Skincare Skinperfect Firming Serum reviewed by beauty and style blog for the over-50s Is This Mutton?
Five For FriYAY is an occasional post where I share my latest recommendations for beauty products, books, podcasts, TV, exhibitions. First up, ARK Firming Serum. ARK is a British skincare company whose products are free from parabens, mineral oil, formaldehyde and other nasties. You can shop by age and/or concern at their website.

I've been using ARK's products, gifted, for a while now, and my skin is looking brighter with a more even skin tone. It feels well hydrated, there are no dry patches, and so I am pleased with the skincare I've been using  (find my earlier posts on ARK here and here).

ARK's The Firming Serum is aimed at all age groups.

I can't say I have noticed a major firming effect after just one week, but I test products for three months so I'll let you know later. What I do like is the hyaluronic acid formula. I'm passionate about the need for women over 40 to use hyaluronic acid under their moisturizer. It makes such a big difference and you can buy them quite cheaply.


Podcast Recommendations


I'm enthralled by a "rich seam" podcast (where there are lots of episodes available) called Criminal.  I love the quirky and the unusual, and Criminal is all about offbeat true crimes. They are fascinating stories, beautifully produced and narrated by a woman with a most hypnotic voice.  The episodes include interviews and the Criminal website features a new illustration for every episode.

I have, so far, particularly enjoyed the episodes "The Less People Know About Us," where the podcast revisits a woman whose identity was stolen by her mother (who also did the same to her husband) and Off Leash, where we meet a dog trainer who was seduced by a prisoner in jail and persuaded to help him escape in one of her dog crates. Don't miss the story of Count Von Cosel, utterly fascinating - and disquieting. He was a self-styled doctor who attempted to give eternal life to a patient he had been unable to save.

One podcast which has had a lot of hype has left me cold.  It's the BBC's The Missing Cryptoqueen. Now, a few months ago I absolutely loved a US podcast documentary series called The Drop Out which examined the Theranos scandal. Theranos was a medical start up created by university drop out, Elizabeth Holmes. The charismatic Holmes modelled herself on Steve Jobs and it's a jaw dropping tale of fame and ambition gone wrong. The podcast was pacey with lots of interviews.

In The Missing Cryptoqueen, we have Dr Raja Ignatova, another one said to style herself on Steve Jobs, who persuaded millions to buy into her holistic bitcoin operation. Then she mysteriously disappeared. I was initially excited but then there was a lot of hype about the final episode which put me off the rest. It turns out (spoiler alert) the mystery is still unsolved, so I couldn't be bothered to listen.

Must See Exhibition: Tutankhamun


The Tutankhamun exhibition is back in London for the last time. One hundred and fifty artifacts are on display at the Saatchi Gallery, many being shown for the first time outside of Egypt. The exhibitions ends on 3 May. After a couple more tours, including Boston, the collection will move to its permanent home, a splendid new museum in Egypt, and will never tour again.

There were three striking moments for me, and they weren't the usual fantastic coffins and gold masks.

Among the items in the boy king's tomb was a collection of boomerangs.  They were not the right shape to come back, but were used at the time to kill wildlife, as a sport.  King Tut was only 19 so his boomerangs accompanied him so that he could have some sport in his after life.
Boomerangs placed in the tomb of King Tutankhamun for his after life sport
I loved this amulet of his grandfather, Amenhotep III, placed in the tomb to protect the young king.
Amulet of Amenhotep III at the Tutankhamun Exhibition in London
I was shocked to come face to face with a picture of the mummified remains of the boy as the last exhibit, and how life-like it still looked, with teeth present. I found this amazing, considering how ancient the mummy is.  It felt like an intimate moment, gazing at the remains of a person who once lived, and quite wrong to take a picture.

It's all very well staged and there's the inevitable "have a photo taken with your choice of scenery" moment as you enter the building. Unfortunately only one picture is taken and it wasn't our most flattering look!

It's amazing to consider that after his death, in turbulent times, all memories of Tutankhamun were swept away and statues destroyed. It was as if he never lived.  But now, he is the most famous Pharoah of them all.

I have heard the exhibition gets crowded at peak times. When we went, mid afternoon on a Thursday, it was fine and there was plenty of room.  You might want to take a day off to go during the week  to avoid the crowds.

Book recommendation: Olive Again and Our Rainbow Queen

First, Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout.  The first book about Olive Kitteridge was made into a memorable TV series where the irascible and curmudgeonly Olive was played by the fantastic Frances Dormand.
The cover of new book Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout, reviewed by Is This Mutton style blog.
In the second book, the narrative is not continually about Olive but introduces us to some of her neighbours and acquaintances in the small coastal Maine town of Crosby. We see how they interact with Olive. For all her direct talking and disdain for small talk, Olive is interested in people and unwittingly draws them out. She doesn't turn away from the woman who is dying whose husband is terrified and whose friends have stopped visiting.

Olive finds a new husband in her late 70s and we see a side of her that lingers in all of us, the desire for love and attention. 

There is probably a lot of Olive in all of us because the older we get the more fearless we become, until poor health makes us vulnerable again. 

I'm on the final chapter where Olive is elderly and perplexed at how fearful and anxious she has become. It sounds like it may be a depressing read but in fact it's the opposite.  Strout's writing and observations are so fine that it's a pleasure to be savoured.

One of my birthday presents was this gorgeous little book by Guardian writer Sali Hughes, who professes to being fascinated by the Queen and the colours she wears. 

When  you see the Queen in her monochrome splendour and fantastic jewellery, you can't help but agree that she has taken her duty very seriously in terms of making sure she always stands out in a crowd. 

She has always upheld certain standards. A hat is never worn while eating (although a tiara is fine);  gloves are always worn to avoid germs;  skirts are weighted with grommets to avoid any embarrassing incidents in the wind. The Queen has been the backdrop to our lives, a constant reassuring presence. 

The Queen rarely wears neutrals but here she is in white, below. It's good to see how glamorous and fashion-forward she looked when young. The book also features the Queen in some of the prints which she only rarely has worn.  It's amazing how inconspicuous she becomes in prints and florals. If you want to stand out, a bright or distinctive colour in monochrome is the way. 

If you have any book, TV, film or podcast recommendations to brighten our weekends, do let us know in the comments below. 

Sharing this post with: ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, Anything Goes at My Random Musings, Weekly LinkUp at Claire Justine and Linkup On the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge.


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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Recent Outfits and #WowOnWednesday Link Up

Style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in red sequin top, asymmetric plaid skirt and red and black boots
This week is a round-up of recent outfits I've been wearing, smart, casual and work wear. First up: the outfit that didn't make it.
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