Is This Mutton?

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

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Striped Maxi Dress

Get s cool boho vibe with a colourful striped maxi dress, ideal for long balmy summer nights. Is This Mutton, the blog for the sassy over-45s, has found a great floaty dress from Monsoon.
Surprising confession:  I've never had a maxi dress.  I've often meant to put that right, after seeing other bloggers looking fabulous, or women wafting around in maxis on holiday.
It was the eye catching colourful stripes that attracted me to this dress from Monsoon, even though it's sleeveless, normally not something I embrace. Lately though I've been thinking: who cares about someone's arms? Life is too short. Older women get bingo wings, no matter how many bicep curls and tricep dips you do.
Styling a striped maxi dress for summer nights:  Is This Mutton? the style blog for the over-45s
The dress has a fun, floaty vibe and doesn't look too formal. I can imagine wafting around Skiathos, getting on the water taxi and going to one of the lovely restaurants in this dress.
I've styled it with old accessories- my Pure Collection sequin straw bag from last year;  pink sandals and a necklace. The hat was in the Next clearance sale a few months ago for around a tenner - I knew it would come in handy one day!
Gail Hanlon from over-45s blog Is This Mutton? in a colourful striped maxi dress from Monsoon

Sharing this post with Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Creative Mondays at ClaireJustineStyle with a Smile at StylesplashTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Chic&Stylish at Mummabstylish,  Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style. Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots , Hat Attack at Style Crone and Weekend Wear at Threads for Thomas.

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Friday, 15 June 2018

New from StriVectin: wrinkle blurring primer and multi action eye cream

Clinical beauty brand Strivectin's new R&R eye cream photographed by Is This
I've been trying two new products from Strivectin, an interesting brand which provides clinical anti-aging skin care solutions. They have developed a patented technology, NIA-114, which is a form of niacin/vitamin B3 said to strengthen the skin's barrier and supercharge the performance of other ingredients.

First up: Strivectin's new Multi-Action R&R eye cream. Most eye creams claim to try to improve either dark circles or puffiness, but this cream says it targets both, plus it helps reduce sagging, dehydration and lines and wrinkles.

I always test eye creams by using the product on one eye and my usual product on the other. I've been doing this for about three weeks.

I like an eye cream to have good "slip" so that it glides on easily without pulling the skin or needing to be rubbed in. It needs to provide a non-greasy, smooth base for eye make-up underneath an eye primer. The Strivectin product did this as well as my usual product. 

I didn't notice any difference between the two, either in immediate appearance of the eye area and how it looked several hours later.

The key difference however is the price: my normal eye cream by Clinique is £27.50 for 15ml. The Strivectin product is £45 at Amazon UK ($65 from their official US website). So I would stick to my usual product unless the price comes down once it's more readily available. It wasn't listed yet at Look Fantastic which sells Strivectin products.

Strivectin R&R eye cream ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Myristyl Nicotinate, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Glycol Distearate, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Caffeine, Allantoin, Alginic Acid, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Asparagopsis Armata Extract, Dunaliella Salina Extract, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-150 Stearate, Maris Aqua (Sea Water, Eau de mer), Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Sucrose, Tocopherol Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Sorbitol, Butylene Glycol, Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Steareth-20, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Mica, Pantolactone, Darutoside, Chrysin, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 16035 (Red 40), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides)

Strivection LineBlurfector Instant Wrinkle Blurring Primer
The pink and white 30ml tube of Strivectin's new Line BlurFector instant wrinkle blurring primer

The new primer boasts a very long name and also features Strivectin's NIA-114.  a form of niacin/vitamin B3 which is said to strengthen the skin's barrier and supercharge the performance of other ingredients.

I always use a primer before make-up so I was keen to try it.

This is me with the Strivectin primer applied over my usual serum and moisturizer, with my normal foundation on top.
The finished effect:  what Strivectin's LineBlurFector primer looks like on an over-50s woman, under make-up
I found that the primer did a good job of blurring the imperfections and wrinkles to some extent, but gave a flat, matte appearance which is not very flattering.  I like a primer to give a smooth, light canvas for makeup and to contribute a certain dewy glow.  My current primer de jour, Becca Priming Filter, does do this:
An over 50s woman using Becca Backlight Priming Filter under makeup for a glowy, luminescent appearance.
But to be fair it's not really comparing apples to apples because the Becca product makes no claims about blurring out imperfections: it's intended to create a luminescent glow. So it's a matter of personal preference. I would expect the Strivectin product to perform well in selfies on Instagram!

The Strivectin primer costs $39 at their US website or £29.50 at Amazon UK. The Becca Backlight Priming Filter is £32 at Cult Beauty

Primer ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Isododecane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Mica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Myristyl Nicotinate, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Verbascum Thapsus Flower, Dimethiconol, Propanediol, Tocopherol, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), BHT, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides)

Sharing this post with Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous, Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb and Weekend Blog Hop at Claire Justine.


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) 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.  

Disclosure:  I was gifted the Strivectin eye cream and primer and as always provided an objective editorial review based on my personal experience. 


Sunday, 10 June 2018

Sequins for summer

Woman wearing rose gold sequin top and  white denim skirt, in a garden
I know ladies that most of you have a soft spot for sequins. My green sequinned look for daytime was one of my most popular posts on Instagram.
Image showing Is This Mutton? blogger wearing a rose gold sequin top and white denim skirt
This stretchy rose gold sequin top, which was a bargain on eBay a few years ago, adds a touch of glamour to any outfit.  Here it's dressing up a white denim skirt from TU at Sainsbury's. The gorgeous Lotus Cattleya sandals, last seen here, and cute peachy clutch, add a little more glamour. The rose gold leaf earrings are also from Sainsbury's.  A perfect outfit for date night or cocktails (or both!).
Woman in a rose gold sequin top and white pencil skirt
Molly's latest hobby is photo bombing shoots, so see if you can spot her each time.

Sharing this post with Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Creative Mondays at ClaireJustine, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Chic&Stylish at Mummabstylish,  Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style. Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) 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.  

Disclosure:  I was gifted the Lotus Cattleya sandals.



Thursday, 7 June 2018

Sentence a Day: May 2018

As you may remember, May was a Big Month for me because I was walking the 190-mile Coast to Coast route for 15 days with Mr Mutton (J) and his sister K. I had been training and buying suitable clothing for months. So the holiday mentions will be a bit longer than the usual sentence format.

May 1 Tues
Working at home. Published April SAD.

May 2 Weds
Received an invite to a Dove blogger retreat. Never been able to attend an event like this before because of working. Actually able to attend because it falls during time off! Exciting.

May 3 Thurs
At work; lunch walk became painful. Got home, voted in local council elections, then went to  see a GP about knee. Have a sports injury - me! Never thought the day would come. Too much walking apparently.

May 4
Had an ultrasound guided cortisone injection. Didn't hurt. Finished handover at work for holiday. Had a delivery from Dove - some of their "Summer Revived" and "Visible Glow" gradual tan products to try. Had a fish n chips supper.
May 5 Sat
Hot weather!! Gardening. Knee feels fine.

May 6
Walked to my gym class, four miles. First time I have walked since I had the injection 48 hours ago.  Told J it's a miracle. Leg fine! Read article about Charlie Puth. Big Instagram star. Never heard of him. Finished packing for the holiday.

May 7 bank (public) holiday
Set off on the holiday, Euston to St Bees via Carlisle on board a train called Matthew Flinders. Captain Flinders RN was an English navigator and cartographer, who was the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and identified it as a continent.

J had splashed out on First Class tickets. Free drinks and sandwiches. Wonderful sunny day. St Bees is a tiny village on the coast which does brisk business from Coast to Coast walkers. Our bed and breakfast (B&B) was very close to the station. We had dinner at a place called The Manor. Crispy batter fish n chips.

May 8: Day one - St Bees to Ennerdale, 14 miles (turned into 16)
High standard set at the St Bees B&B with a big breakfast, plus for our packed lunch, a plastic bag with our name on and home-made flapjack.  As is the tradition, picked up two pebbles on the beach to carry to Robin Hood's Bay (one to take home). The first few miles were along the St Bees coastal path. Saw a lighthouse and a bird hide to view gannets. Cloudy in the morning and became very overcast and misty in the afternoon.

First 10 miles were OK but soon we had to climb a horrendous fell, Dent hill, by which time visibility was very poor. K set off very fast and we couldn't see her after a while.  A local gave us a longer route to avoid a very muddy steep descent, which added another mile. Had to walk through about 12 wild horses who were in the middle of the path and refused to move.

Our farmhouse accommodation was reached via meadows. The lady owner rushed out to meet us and liberate us of wet clothes. Her husband drove us to a local pub, the Fox and Hounds, for dinner.  Long wait for the main course and we were very tired.
Three pictures showing St Bees at the start of the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk
Left: three pebbles; top right, setting off from St Bees; bottom right, striding out along the coast path
May 9 Day two - Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite, 16 miles
Set off at 8.20. Proprietor of the B&B drove us to the village. Saw cockerels on the road as we walked to Ennerdale lake. After walking round the lake, we had a long walk along a straightish road to Black Sail Youth Hostel, in the middle of nowhere. It seemed to take forever but then the isolated building appeared like a mirage.

Had sandwiches inside and tea with millionaires shortcake. Left money in the honesty box. Joined by other walkers. After lunch, which was poor  (slices of tasteless cheese in boring bread with crisps and a Mars bar and nothing home-made), had a very steep ascent followed by a worse descent as it had rocks and stones which jar my dodgy knees. Windy and cold.

Finally got to Honister slate mine. Ordered drinks but didn't get chance to have mine because I'd decided to catch the bus rather than walk another three miles. Aching with sore feet.  Got to our accommodation, the Langstrath, around 4. Had a cup of tea in bar. We've stayed in the Langstrath before so I knew there would be a bath. Bliss!

Dinner in their restaurant was delicious:  haggis/black pudding croquette followed by trout and then a cheese board. J was so tired he went to bed before the cheese and biscuits arrived. The first few days, in the Lake District, are tough.
May 10: day three, Rosthwaite to Grasmere, 9 miles
Better weather, sunny intervals. Long ascent up Borrowdale valley. Boggy beyond. J fell in the mud, up to knees. Lunch from the Langstrath was pleasant, smoked salmon bagette and wild thyme crisps, although there was no drink. The descent was long and hard on the knees but not too bad. Was excited to be going to Grasmere. A proper town, with shops! After just three days I'm missing retail therapy.

Got to Grasmere at 3. Had coffee in an art gallery coffee shop,  and did a little shopping. Dinner at The Jumble Room was excellent. Lively, crowded place. We all had something different. I had the "thriller from Manila" - spicey noodles with seafood -  and a starter of crab crostini. J had the dessert speciality, gingerbread sponge.

May 11: day four, Grasmere to Patterdale, 7 miles
The initial ascent was long but fairly gradual. K decided to walk a more challenging ridge route. J was anxious as he watched her in the distance, as it was getting very windy.
My feet are prepared every morning with plasters! Bottom left, setting off from Grasmere.
Arrived in Patterdale about 2.30. Tiny village with a general store, couple of pubs and a school. Walked to the next village, Glenridding, for coffee. Then back to our accommodation, the White Lion Inn. Dinner was good. I had beef chilli followed by syrup sponge. I'm eating the sort of calorific food I wouldn't normally have.

Noisy, busy pub full of walkers. Good atmosphere. Saw Michael from Herts and the 2 young Americans. We've been seeing them each day although the youngsters have a rest day so we won't finish at the same time.

J booked all the evening meals and it's becoming a hilarious trend that nearly every time our name is wrongly spelt, even though he insists he spells it out. Below, Hanlon has become "Landlen"

May 12: day five, Patterdale to Shap, 11 miles
J and I went off the official route, getting a steamer across Ullswater to Pooley Bridge and following a fairly benign mostly flat path. This took around 4 miles off the route, mostly for my benefit. Such beautiful views across the lake.
Ullswater Lake

The baguette from the White Lion was very good. Meals are extremely important on this type of holiday!

The weather was great until about 3.15 then clouded over a little and rained around 5. Unfortunately my feet were hurting very badly. Particularly left ankle. Became very weary. Then we had a long walk to the  B&B. I was lurching like a zombie. Margaret, the B&B owner, who's been doing this for 50 years, made scones for us presented with tea and served on Victoriana Roses crockery. How lovely.
Brookfield House B&B in Shap, Cumbria, presents walkers doing the Coast to Coast walk with delicious warm scones and lemon curd with tea

Had dinner in the Kings Arms. Scampi and chips.

I had been mulling over whether or not I could carry on, for a couple of days. Decided to go home tomorrow. While the walks may be flatter now, some are still very long. I would be fine if there were rest days, but we couldn't fit any in because I didn't want to use up too much of my holiday allowance.

Some of the walks are 19 -20 miles and I can't contemplate it. I knew everyone was going to try to talk me out of it so I quickly booked a one-way train ticket. No arguments. I figured it was best to leave at this point because from tomorrow the walk takes us into Yorkshire and a long way from train stations.

Sunday May 13
I took the usual "starting off" photo for J and K. They were already arguing about the route. Then I  waited for a taxi to take me to Penrith station. Home by 4pm. I felt irrationally happy to see dear old London.  I'm a city person when all's said and done. Those hills frighten me.

Meamwhile J and K have arrived in Kirkby Stephen, Yorkshire - looking cheerful!

May 14 Mon
So now I've got two weeks of holiday! I did think about going back to work but it was only a passing thought. Lovely weather. Went to garden centre and bought lots of plants. Spent most of day in garden. Called J around 5pm to see how he was doing.

Tues May 15
Still good weather so planted the rest of the plants I'd bought.

Weds May 16
Collected Molly from the cattery and took her straight to the next door vet to get her annual booster. This was handy, removing the need to catch her and pop her in the basket a second time. She doesn't like being handled by strangers so sometimes the annual visit to the vet is a nightmare. Fortunately she was OK this time.

K is now walking on her own doing more difficult routes. J had worked out easier routes for my benefit months ago, so he is happy to stick to the original plan. He's meeting other people along the route and isn't too perturbed.

Thurs May 17
Decided to surprise J by booking a train ticket from London to Scarborough for the last day of the walk. From Scarborough I will get the bus to Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire, the final destination.

Went into London to look round the shops, but couldn't find any clothes I liked. This is odd because when I look online, I find plenty.

May 18
Having some back end issues with the blog. Google is currently not indexing nearly half of my pages. Spent ages trying to find the problems. Installed a new template and started a new analytics account.

May 19
The royal wedding! Installed myself on sofa from 9am having been to the shops and made lunch early. By 10.30 had eaten lunch!
Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon getting into the Royal Wedding spirit as she prepares to watch the nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
J hasn't had any company the last couple of nights. K decided to shorten her holiday by a day which meant doing extra miles during the day and  staying at different accommodation.  Normally J sees people he knows at the pubs for dinner, but the last couple of nights he hasn't. I feel sad for him.

May 20
Another hot day. Cooked the usual roast dinner for just me. Planted purple petunias and bright pink geraniums. Wrote a blog post with my thoughts on the Royal Wedding, here.

Tues May 22
Early start, train to Kings Cross then York followed by long wait for the Scarborough train and then a bus to Robin Hood's Bay.

I got there around 1.30 and had a toasted sandwich, having worked out J would get there around 3pm.  He messaged me to say he was coming into RHB, and I got into position and jumped out at him. He was so thrilled to see me. There were even a few tears.
Road sign showing a walker the mileage to Robin Hood's Bay on the final day of the Coast to Coast wak
J sees the first sign to Robin Hood's Bay 

We had a fun dinner at the Victoria Hotel, with two Aussies Sharon and Cliff from Perth (still no bath). J was amazed to learn how much I know about Australian cricket in the 1970s, having had a big crush on Jeff Thomson.

Lots of other walkers were there on their final night too. Had a pate starter (huge) and fish and chips (again!). The fish was from nearby Whitby and melted in the mouth. Sharon and Cliff were going to a Dire Straits tribute evening but we gave it a miss.
Arriving at Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire, the last day of the Coast to Coast walk
Final day: top, view of Robin Hood's Bay from our hotel. Bottom left, J at the finish. Right: we started with three pairs of feet in the sand. Just one pair at the end!
Weds May 23
We left RBH by taxi to Scarborough. Train on time, lovely to get complimentary food in 1st class. Hot when we got home. Exofoliated and applied Dove Summer Revived gradual tanner.

May 24 Thurs
To Bath for the Dove #SummerRevived event. Was stressing a bit about what to wear, and pack, as I knew I would be among "heavy hitter" fashion bloggers. Had a wonderful time. There were eight of us altogether, only one that I had met before (the lovely Laurie from Vanity and Me).

After brunch we enjoyed a massage and the spa facilities, followed by afternoon tea. There were gorgeous flowers in our room. After a class making cocktails we had a lovely dinner with a  tasting menu and matching wines. Then sank into the wonderfully comfortable bed!
Dove's gradual tanning products and beautiful flowers left in hotel room at Dove bloggers spa retreat

Fri May 25
Quite a challenge to get the huge bouquet safely home on the trains, with my case and bag! Went out for a drink with J in the evening. View my Dove post.

Sat May 26
Did usual shopping and picked up my new glasses: tortoiseshell frames. Then did some gardening.
Sun May 27
Power Plate and a walk. J has toothache. Pasta for him, roast chicken for me. Good weather. His daughter and her fiance are in the process of moving house so they didn't come round.

Mon May 28
Bank (public) holiday and day off. Cloudy morning, then sun came out. Our small garden teems with wildlife and we have seen a lot of blackbird activity in the hedge. The female is sitting on four eggs. J managed to get a photo when she left to find food. Just hope there will be a happy ending - last year magpies destroyed the nest and chicks. It was so upsetting.
Close up of blackbirds' nest in the UK with four blue green eggs, May 2018

Tues May 29
Back to work after 3 weeks holiday. A lot of emails to get through! Weather cloudy and cool.

Weds May 30
More reconciled to being back at work. Did a walk at lunchtime and PP abs class in the evening.

Thursday May 31
Worked from home.

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