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

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Can these pills lift brain fog? And link up

Colourful dandelions illustrating a report by over 45s style blog Is This Mutton? on nootropics, supplements which claim to enhance brain function
Have you heard of nootropics? Nootropics are foods or dietary supplements that support brain functions such as focus, memory and concentration. I was invited by the brand Utmost Me to try their two products, Neuro Focus Plus and Neuro Rest. Here's my objective, unbiased review.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Smart look, supermarket style

Over-45s style blogger Gail Hanlon in forest green and mustard stripe dress from Sainsbury's, mustard pull-on ankle boots, also Sainsbury's, and green ribbed tights
I was doing the shopping at Sainsbury's and couldn't help noticing the clothing aisles were full of new arrivals. Plenty of on-trend colours;  a decent looking leather jacket; good looking coats.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Favourite Shirts and Link Up

Close up of over-45s blogger Gail Hanlon in pink leopard print blouse from POM Amsterdam worn with a burgundy velvet jacket
Leopard print is all around us and I'm already getting bored with how ubiquitous it is, but this gorgeous blouse ticks many other boxes.  It's from POM Amsterdam at and will be a very versatile asset in my wardrobe.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Tourmaline - a gem of many colours

Close up of a beautiful pink tourmaline and diamond ring in 18 ct yellow gold from Sanders Jewellers in New Zealand.

You may thought we had covered all the birthstones by now in the regular Is This Mutton? series. Oh no, we still have a few alternative birthstones left, and tourmaline is one of the birthstones for October.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Sentence a Day, September 2018

Brightly coloured cycling tops on a washing line
Saturday 1 September
Seems a long time ago now, but J finally finished the Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride today, over 1000 miles. Says it's the hardest thing he's ever done - and he's run nearly 30 marathons. Here he is celebrating after the ride.
Cyclist celebrates finishing LEJOG, Land's End to John O'Groats
Sun 2
I walked to the gym for Power Plate. ("PP").  Long day of travelling for J. He was finally home by 7. His bike will follow in a few days.

Mon 3
In office. Tough week ahead, lots to do before holiday. Went for a lunch walk to try to breathe and get through stress.

Tues 4
At home. Too busy for gym.

Weds 5 
In office. J not very well. Body is trying to recover after its ordeal.

Thurs 6
Had a meeting in London. Got home, took Molly to the cattery. She doesn't mind it there. Bit worried about J who has a bad cold. We had to cancel a dinner tonight with Rachel and Sean.

Fri 7
We're off on holiday! Taxi at 3.30am to the airport. First time at London Luton for more than five years. Used to be a sweet little airport, what have they done to it? Bag drop and security took so long the plane was boarding by the time we got to the gate.  Flight to Skiathos, Greece. Arrived at our hotel just after 12. Yay! Had dinner at one of our regular haunts, the Final Step, travelling by water taxi.

Sat 8th
I was up early and took some photos of the sun rise.
Sun rise over the sea and a beach at Skiathos, GreeceJohn still poorly. We spent the day on the beach., which is what we always do. There's a button by each sunbed to summon the waiter. I watch all the shipping going by in the distance with binoculars. We always have lunch overlooking the sea, usually a delicious Greek salad for me.

Sun 9th
J a little better. Went to Lo&La, a fun Italian we love, where we had a hug from owner Anastasia. Delicious feta pastries in honey followed by carbonara. I didn't take many photos of our holiday because we've been to Skiathos five times. See my post from last year to get a flavour of the place - it was my best read post of 2017!

Mon 10th
Wind expected and the boats stopped running in the morning. I was keen to get into town to get some medication for J. Went by bus. Came straight back. Boats started operating again. Wind quickly died down.

Tues 11
J a bit better. Went into town and ate at Lo&La. Two complimentary liqueurs each, amaretto and limoncello from Anastasia. Wonderful Greek/Italian hospitality.

Weds 12
Overcast in the morning,  quite windy.  Decided we'd eat in hotel.  Shared meatballs starter - huge!  I had salmon.

Thurs 13
Storms in night. Wet. Sheltered in bar for a while and then went on beach. Mostly overcast. Had a Greek salad lunch and later, cocktails and dinner at hotel. Pork skewer with grilled veg. My bank  texted me about fraudulent activity on a debit card. Aargh. Great to know  (not!).

Fri 14
Going home day. Our suitcases had to be outside by 7.15. It was a long day getting home. Shed a tear as we flew away from Skiathos. Been there 5 times but this was probably our last time. Home by 4.30pm. Fish n chips for dinner.

Sat 15
Up early, 5.30am. Lots of washing to do; shopping and collecting M.  Had to speak to the bank's fraud team. Had an Asos delivery. Keeping the leopard print boots and zebra jumper. See them here.

Sun 16
Slept badly. Bad cough. Rachel & Sean came for lunch. Had roast chicken. Haven't seen them for 5 weeks. They scrap booked their honeymoon in the afternoon.

Mon 17
Another poor night's sleep. Back to work. Took a while to sort out my monitor etc as someone had used my desk and left everything unplugged. Home by 4.30 with brain fade.

Tues 18
V windy. Slept well. Early PP class then several conf calls. Reading Thin Air by MIchelle Paver. Very creepy ghost story (and I don't normally rate ghost stories).  Started taking Imedeen, a skin supplement.

Weds 19
Glorious late summer day. Trees changing colour. In office. Listened to a new podcast, Telegraph Fashion Unzipped. Started taking some new tablets, Neuro Rest from Utmost Me. They're to help with sleep. I'll be reviewing them soon.

Gloomy and grey. Became windy. Busy day. We had a team lunch at The Wrestlers pub to say goodbye to a colleague going on maternity leave. Thai food.

Very windy in night and this morning. At home. Did PP.  Gathered some conkers. We place these around the house, on windowsills and ledges, and they repel spiders. It seems to work. Conkers are small and shrivelled this year because the weather didn't suit them. Went to the pub for dinner.
A handful of conkers from a horse chestnut tree
Did the shopping in nearby Epping. Cold and raining. Did a shoot indoors, two outfits: a red blouse and today's outfit for a "7 Outfits,  days post. ". In a classic sign of autumn, (fall), Strictly Come Dancing started this evening.  This was the show that led to what the US calls "Dancing with the Stars." We always watch it.

Bad weather am. Went to PP. Did two outfit shoots indoors. Just us for lunch, which was roast beef. Booked to see Party/Celebration at the theatre on 26 Jan, starring Celia Imrie.

In office. Lovely day. Colder. Left early to get back for late meetings by Skype. Watched the final episode of thriller The Bodyguard, which has been gripping the UK. Convinced I saw an alien space ship but J was not bothered.

At home. Sunny cold. PP. Ordered bulbs (late). Delivery of  Charlotte Tilbury Stars in Your Eyes eyeshadow palette, reviewed here.  Finished Dark Matter by Michelle Paver.  Creepy!

Day started badly, was attempting to post my new blog link up but there were problems. By the time I'd sorted it, I had to leave for work and didn't have time to make my salad for lunch. Stressy day. Stomach in knots. Realised it was unclenching as I drove home talking to Mum.

A beautiful autumn day. Worked from home. Delivery of two beautiful blouses from the Bias Cut. Have a nasty crick in neck - not sure how that happened. Thai curry for dinner.

Lovely day. At home. Did 2 sessions PP. Went into London to see a play, Foxfinder with Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones). Tiny theatre.  Quite enjoyed it. Intriguing. Saw some singers at Liverpool street as part of BBC music day.
Blogger outside a London theatre
Had hair coloured and a very light trim. Have decided to grow hair.  Lovely warm day so did some gardening.
Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon after cut and colour
After the hair cut 
Went to PP.  Lots of housework and prepared roast pork with crackling. Yum. Asos delivery of some pairs of jeans, checked trousers (too long) and black ankle boots with silver heels.

Sharing this post with #WeekendBlogHop at Claire Justine and #Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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. 

How was your September? Let's find out.....


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Happiness is gorgeous jewellery plus Link Up

Against a Virginia creeper background, over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon in red check asymmetric skirt, black polo neck, red and black boots and jewellery from Happiness Boutique
Today I'm going to introduce you to a boutique that has a wonderful selection of affordable fashion jewellery  (or as the US spell it, jewelry). Happiness Boutique - and just its name makes me smile!  - has a great range of up-to-the-minute statement earrings, delicate chains, bracelets, rings - you name it, with a lot of inspiration from vintage pieces.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

7 Days, 7 Outfits

Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon in lilac top, lilac cross the body bag, grey poncho, jeans and silver loafers
I always think it's fun to see what fashion bloggers really wear, day to day. So here's a week in the life of yours truly, Is This Mutton?

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Stars In Your Eyes Palette and Link Up

 I had resolved not to buy any more eyeshadow palettes.  I used to be addicted to them - so pretty! - but found I was only using one or two shades in each one. But I couldn't resist Charlotte Tilbury's new limited edition Stars In Your Eyes palette.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Denner Cashmere Poncho

Style, warmth and sustainability:  red cashmere poncho from Denner Cashmere London
The first item of cashmere I ever had, around 15 years ago, was by Denner Cashmere London. It was a black ribbed jumper and so unbelievably soft that I knew right away I would rarely go back to wool or polyester.

I was thrilled when Denner Cashmere got in touch and asked me to choose something from their AW range.

I chose this red poncho, because I find ponchos invaluable at this time of year. The fact it has sleeves gives it extra versatility because you can wear it loose or belted, and I've shown both ways. It comes in seven colours.

Ponchos are brilliant because they go so well with everything. I wore mine yesterday to the gym, with leggings, and it looked as good as it does here with an asymmetric skirt and ankle boots. Ponchos look great with jeans.  Autumn is usually not cold enough for coats and ponchos fill a useful gap. When made of super fine cashmere like this, a poncho doesn't don't take up too much room in the wardrobe.

I always carry a poncho when I go on a plane because it's such a comfort to have the warmth and softness. And in America, on business trips, I take a poncho with me everywhere because you often need an extra layer indoors.
A beautiful red cashmere poncho from Denner Cashmere London is perfect for so many situations: Autumn, when a coat isn't always needed; on planes and on business trips. They look great with jeans, joggers and smart business dress, as Is This Mutton? shows.
Denner Cashmere's Mongolian cashmere leaves a very light footprint on the planet, especially compared to synthetic fibres, which involve converting oil into fibre. Not only is the cashmere recyclable and biodegradable, with just a little love it lasts for years and years.

I can vouch for that. I still have the ribbed black jumper.  I wash cashmere in the machine on the delicates cycle and use a dedicated cashmere washing detergent. I then dry them flat on a clothes' horse, making sure to shape the garment as it dries. Occasionally you may get a few bobbles on the sleeves and I shave them off with a cashmere comb (Denner Cashmere sells one).

Cheap, low quality cashmere often shrinks, even in the delicates wash, and bobbles very quickly. Denner Cashmere doesn't: the pieces stay beautiful so it's a good investment.
Red cashere poncho with sleeves by Denner Cashmere London, worn by Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon

A red cashmere poncho with sleeves worn with red and black by over-45s style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton dot com
Denner Cashmere is a small London based team with a website and store in St John’s Hill, London
SW11. I've always wanted a cashmere dressing gown - it seems the ultimate in luxury - so I will be adding this one to my Christmas list. I'll also be treating myself to a cashmere polo neck jumper because there's nothing worse than scratchy wool polo necks!
The team behind Denner Cashmere London
The Denner Cashmere team 

Sharing this post with #CreativeMondays at Claire Justine, #Anything Goes at My Random Musings#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as LambVisible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Style with a Smile at StylesplashTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge, 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 DotsTina's Pink Friday, Weekend Wear at Threads for Thomas 

I was gifted by Denner Cashmere but I only accept gifts that I would happily choose for myself, and my opinions are always unbiased and objective.


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. 


Friday, 21 September 2018

My Autumn 2018 Bucket List

Image showing a conker, the fruit of the horse chestnut tree
I've been meaning to follow the example of lovely Leslie from Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After and have a quarterly bucket list of things to attempt to do. Finally got round to it!

I'm not a big fan of autumn or winter. It's so hard to get up on those dark mornings and drive to work in the rain or fog, and then return home in the dark. You want to hibernate and eat carbs. But I try to make the best of it.
Image showing the autumn bucket list for over-40s style and beauty blog, Is This Mutton

Spring Bulbs

First up is the very pleasurable task of ordering my bulbs and planting them. Normally I would have already bought my bulbs but because we had a September holiday, I  delayed ordering them to avoid them arriving while we were away.  I usually order some crocus, three varieties of daffodil, and four or five different tulips. For next spring I'm going to choose tulips that flower both early and late in thr season. Selecting the colours is fun. There's a lot of yellow in the garden in early spring so I'm going to go for purple, white and orange.

Christmas Carols

The Christmas carol service is a fabulous event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. There are several, part of a Christmas festival.  This year it's being moved to the Barbican Centre.  It's easier for us to get to, but not so festive or special in my view. So we may skip the festival and perhaps go to the service at St Paul's Cathedral instead.

Blogger Meet-Up

It's great to meet up with fellow bloggers so I'm hoping to get a posse assembled to go to the Berkeley Hotel for their famous Prêt-à-Portea. The cakes are inspired by latest catwalk trends, and the line-up changes every six months.

Theatre Visits

It's been a bad year on the theatre front. We haven't been once! Shocking when we live in London. But I have no fewer than four theatre visits booked so far, starting with next Friday and rural drama Foxfinder, starring Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton).

Lose 7 Pounds

I've been trying to do this for a long time but can't sustain it.  So I've told myself sternly that I must knuckle down and stick to it.  To lose weight I usually need to drop to around 800 calories, because most women of 45+ only need 1,300 calories a day for normal life.  So it's hard to be devise nutritious diets which don't have you climbing the walls. I'll still be doing my usual exercise regime.

Start the daily walking again

I started the Walk 1000 Miles Challenge on New Year's Day to get ready for the 200 mile walk we were doing in May  (which sadly I had to stop).  Since then I haven't done much walking. I find it easier in cooler weather so it's time to reinstate "the Tesco Circular" when I'm at work.

Buy a year planner

Mr Mutton is now retired and determined to fit in as many sporting holidays as he can. He's slack at using the Google or Outlook calendar so I'm going old school to try to track what he's planning.

Buy fewer clothes

I didn't buy much in summer because I found I didn't really need many new clothes. So for winter, apart from buying into a few key trends and wardrobe updates, I won't be buying many new clothes. Expect to see me "shopping my closet."

Participate in at least one "style imitating art" challenge

I love these SIA challenges, run by a team including Jen from Librarian for Life and Style. It really encourages you to think outside the box. I've only ever done two though. So let's attempt at least one this autumn!

Gather some conkers

Tick tick! Did this today. I don't tie string in them and use for some conker fights, as we did at school. There's an old wives' tale that spiders don't like conkers, and we tried it last year.  Definitely seemed to work. So Mr M will replace all the old wrinkled conkers with nice shiny new ones.

Organise a mini break

One way of livening up winter is to go on a short mini break so I'm going to arrange a long weekend in York.

I kept my list fairly short so let's see how I get on!

Sharing this post with #WeekendLinkUp at Claire Justine, #BloggerClubUK at My Random Musings, and #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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.  


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Turning a wrinkled blogger into a Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess

The end result after recreating the Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess look, shown on a woman aged 50 plus
I was recently sufficiently seduced by a Charlotte Tilbury make-up tutorial to try to recreate her  Golden Goddess look, as seen on Jennifer Aniston.

How easy is it to become a golden goddess when you're a mature, wrinkled and sun damaged middle aged blogger? Jennifer is in her 40s but is rumoured to spend thousands of pounds on skin treatments involving lasers and ultrasound.

Using some new Tilbury products and those I already had, plus equivalents where I didn't have the exact product, I attempted to recreate the look (above). These are my assembled products.
The product line up to recreate the Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess look

Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask

First I prepared my skin, which is not looking its best since last week's holiday in Greece.  I've been wanting to try this dry mask for ages. The worst thing about a normal face mask is the mess. I was intrigued by the concept of a dry mask. Unfolded from the sachet, the mask is indeed dry, like a mass of tissues.  You place the pink side on your face, attaching two hooks on each side around your ears., ad gently massage. Et voila - I could audition for a horror movie.
A look for a horror film - Is This Mutton? blogger tries out the dry sheet mask from Charlotte Tilbury
Fifteen minutes later, there's a sheen of moisturizer and my skin is definitely looking more glowy with wrinkles slightly less pronounced. And no need to wash it off, with all the drips that entails. The mask can be used up to three times.  I followed this with Charlotte's Magic Cream. It lives up to the hype and I have the face and eye versions.

In the tutorial, Charlotte now uses her primer Wonder Glow followed by Light Wonder foundation.  I had both of these products a few years ago but didn't get on with them. I found they're a little too sheer for me, I need more coverage while still looking dewy.  So I used my Becca Backlight Priming Filter followed by Darphin Anti-Dark Spots Correcting Foundation in beige. I love this: it hides dark circles and dark spots but doesn't look heavy and cakey. Next, Charlotte uses The Retoucher concealer. I tried her newer product, the Mini Miracle Eye Wand.

Mini Miracle Eye Wand

A double ended eye product, Charlottre Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand
This dynamic duo is designed to lift and illuminate.  One end of the stick reveals an eye cream, which you apply under the eye and pat in;  the other end reveals a Touche Eclat style eye brightener, which is designed to be worn over concealer.

It was a great colour match for me (shade 2) and successfully camouflaged my dark circles, plus, big bonus, it lasted well and didn't sink into the lines as most concealers do.  Very pleased with the effect, although I suspect it won't last long - or at least, the eye cream "end" won't.

Next step for Charlotte's look is tidying the brows.

Brow Lift: three way shape tool
A great tool for shaping and highlighting the brows:  Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift

In the tutorial Charlotte Tilbury used this tool to create tiny eyebrow hairs. The wand has a brush at one end, a pencil at the other (I chose Supermodel, a brown shade) and, cleverly concealed and revealed by unscrewing the brush, a pinky highlighter. I love the brush and highlighter;  the pencil could be a little finer for my liking, but I love the way it keeps the brows looking good all day, unlike my usual brow product which disappears after a few hours.

My eyelashes are now curled and ready, and Charlotte starts using her Golden Goddess luxury eye palette.  I had this, a few years ago, but gave it away because the colours didn't work for me. Bronze/brown shades tend to amplify my dark circles.  So instead I used a gold shadow from Nars with plenty of sheen.

Mascara is next. I didn't have Charlotte's Full Fat Lashes but used Fairy Drops Scandal Eyes waterproof mascara in black.

Contour and Blush

Next I sucked in my cheeks and use the darker shade of Filmstar Bronze and Glow,  brushing the highlighter along cheek bones and down the center of the nose.

I then used Nars' blusher in Orgasm, which has a lovely rose gold sheen.

Luscious Lips

The lipstick used buy Charlotte Tilbury to create her Golden Goddess look, Stoned Rose,
In the tutorial, the model's lips looked fabulous after Tilbury applied her KISSING lipstick in Stoned Rose, and Lip Lustre in Ibiza. In reality, the lipstick is more a browny shade than pink, which looks a bit flat on me, sadly. The lip lustre isn't quite as glossy and juicy as it looked on the model. I should have known better because I tried a couple of Tilbury's lipsticks before and I wasn't overwhelmed by them.

But overall I was quite pleased with the look. It takes 13 products from the Charlotte Tilbury range to create, and that's without the various brushes. But she does have some kits featuring a few of the key products if you want to experiment.

You can read my other reviews on Charlotte Tilbury here  (published in 2014, not long after the brand launched in Selfridges) and here.

Sharing this post with Wordless Wednesdays at Claire Justine,#BloggerClubUK at My Random Musings, and #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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.  

No products were gifted. In the shopping selection below, I make a few pence if you buy any of the items. 


Saturday, 15 September 2018

Mixing animal prints

Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon mixing animal prints with a zebra jumper from Asos and leopard print ankle boots from Office, worn with black trousers with a gold side stripe
I was fancying a bit of zebra print.  Leopard print is soooo ubiquitous, I thought zebra print would stand out a bit more. But I couldn't resist these cute leopard print ankle boots, and seeing as Vogue suggested wearing both animal prints together, I thought why not?

Side side trousers are still a bit of a thing: mine are from Hush last season.
Leopard print ankle boots worn with a baggy zebra print jumper and black trousers
The jumper (Asos, £28)  is in the latest baggy, loose style. It's not a style I normally embrace and you really need a narrow trouser, but I thought the gold in the trousers looked good with the boots.
Style blog for the over-45s, Is This Mutton, shows how to mix your animal prints
The Virginia creeper is about to explode in redness.
I have a leopard print clutch but I that would be over-egging the pudding. Do you agree?  How readily are you embracing the animal magic frenzy?  Bought any new or thrifted leopard or zebra print yet?

Get the Look

Sharing this post with #CreativeMondays at Claire Justine, #Anything Goes at My Random Musings#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as LambVisible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Style with a Smile at StylesplashTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge, 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 DotsTina's Pink Friday, Weekend Wear at Threads for Thomas 


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. 


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Sentence a Day, August 2018

The father of the bride and his wife with the happy couple: Whitstable, UK, August 2018
Welcome to my month of August!

Weds 1
Bad cough. Working from home. J fell off his bike, but, every cloud - by the roadside he found a pair of cutters on the road.  I picked some blackberries from the wasteground at the back of the house, but forgot they were stewing and burnt the saucepan.

Thurs 2
Back in office.

Fri 3
Day off: we are heading down to the seaside town of Whitstable for the wedding of John's daughter Rachel to Sean. Left for Whitstable at 1.15, car loaded with wine. It was very hot so as soon as we got them I swam in the sea (stubbed toe). Met up with some of the party for dinner.

Sat 4
The big day! Weather still beautiful.  Went for a walk around the town and found some earrings that matched my dress perfectly. Around 1.30, John dropped me off at the venue at the harbour to pick up Rachel. Wonderful day.
Drop earrings bought in Whitstable to match a mint mother of the bride dress
Sun 5
After breakfast left Whitstable and back home by 11.30. Did the shopping.

Mon 6
In office. Tomorrow my company has a major event in the centre of Cambridge. Went on a recce as I'm co-ordinating the filming of around 30 videos. Took a leisurely walk back to the office, passed the river Cam and tourists punting.
Tourists on a boat in Cambridge
Tues 7
Left home around 6.30am but then had a call from J to say I'd left my notes behind. Had to turn round to fetch them. Then the motorway was busy. Was panicking in case I was late.  Fortunately got to Cambridge in time. Filming went smoothly.
Arm demonstrates machine learning
Weds 8
Even earlier start today. Left house just before 6.  On the plus side, able to leave around 3pm. Fitted in some pruning and weeding. Garden looking a bit jaded now

Thurs 9th
The busiest day at the event for me. Left home 6.35. Finished with filming of 13 videos. Exhausted. Poured with rain in the afternoon.

Fri 10th
Working from home.  J is getting packed and ready for his 15 day holiday cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats, over 800 miles. He has started what I call his nervous "panther pacing." We watched the European championship athletics.

Sat 11th
Sunny but not so hot.  Did yoga, went to Epping to food shopping and then a garden centre. Got a penstemon and some dianthus to fill late summer gaps.

Sun 12
J was mansplaining about my tyre pressures saying he would show me how to do it.  Called him out. How long have I been driving and checking my tyre pressures?!

Had roast beef. No guests today. Rachel and Sean are honeymooning in America, and coincidentally, John's son Christopher and his wife Katie are also on holiday in America - they're taking in New Orleans and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to name a couple of places.

Mon 13
In office.  Booked some fun activities for next weekend when I'm going to Mum's in Plymouth.

Tues 14
At home. Busy.

Weds 15
In office. Tyre has puncture. Booked in for Fri.

Thurs 16
Bit stressed today. So much work to do. Thought yoga might help but was mortified by knees cracking and being asked if it was me!

Fri 17
Cambridge. Tyre. Didn't take too long. As it's our last night together for a fortnight we went out and had Wagyu burgers.

Sat 18
We were both heading for the Westcountry but at different times and with different modes of transport. I left at 4.30am by car, but the closure of part of the M25 meant I got delayed anyway. Got to Mum's around 10. My brother was there. J and his bike, meanwhile, were travelling by train to Penzance ready for the start of his cycling holiday.

Sun 19
Cloudy start. Took Mum to a pretty place, the Horn of Plenty, on Dartmoor, for lunch. The sat nav decided to take me down terrible windy lanes.
Two women arriving at the Horn of Plenty in Devon for Sunday lunch
Starter of mackeral pate with flowers from the Horn of Plenty, Devon
My starter of mackeral pate 
Foodie image of belly pork with Dauphinoise potatoes from the Horn of Plenty in Devon
Main course of belly pork with dauphinoise potatoes 
We were too full for a pudding but the petits four made up for it. Drove home the long way. No twisty country lanes!

Mon 20
Mum and I went into Plymouth on the bus. Had a mooch round the shops first. Sad to see House of Fraser,  the city's flagship department store, looking so dilapidated. The chain has recently been taken over by Sports Direct but I fear the worst for its future. I had a very happy time there when I was a sixth former and working on Saturdays in the first floor coffee lounge.
House of Fraser did not keep on top of making sure Plymouth's flagship department store was looking good. Summer 2018
 Lunch at Quay 33 on the Barbican. Mum was wearing one of her trademark scarves. I got her this one.
 John, on his cycling holiday,  made friends with a Dartmoor pony. I would be very wary, seeing as I was bitten in the Lake District by a similar looking equine!
A male cyclist pats a Dartmoor pony
Tues 21
The long drive back to London, via Swindon where I used to work. I met up with former colleagues  Jill and Caty for lunch. We had some brilliant times.
Weds 22
Working from home. Collected my new green sequinned shoes from the post office. Couldn't resist them.  Felt good to be back in the gym. Have probably put on five pounds!

Thurs 23
Working at home. It's been a good year for my sweet peas. They're the perennial, "ever lasting" sort, so they don't have any scent sadly.
A tiny vase of perennnial sweetpeas, loved for their everlasting nature by Gertrude Jekhyll
John arrived in a place called Clun and had to go to a launderette called Rub A Dub Dub to do his washing. Of course he had no coins or powder, but someone helped him out

Fri 24
Working from home. Went to Body Pump.  Watched film Finding Your Feet with Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton and Celia Imrie. Very enjoyable.

Sat 25
Warm and sunny. Went into London to do some shopping. Bought a green jumper and pair of black trousers (pants).

Sun 26th
Set off early to the famous Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. Have always wanted to go there! Beautiful – narrow street lined with flower stalls. Bought three massive stems of hydrangea - see them on my Instagram - and some dried lavender. Got home before the rain set in. Poor John is cycling 80 miles today in the north of England – very wet and windy!
Fragrance to keep summer alive in the home from dried lavender
Dried lavender at Columbia Road flower market 

A colourful display of sunflowers at London's Columbia Road flower market
Sunflower display 
Mon 27th
Bank (public) holiday - day off. Up early as usual. Yoga class, then did a lot of cleaning which was very satisfying.

Tues 28th
Working from home as I have an evening blogger event in London. Yay! It's only my third one, because I'm either not available because of working, or not invited :-)  I met up with Laurie from Vanity and Me (right)  and Ashley from Lazy Daisy Jones (centre, in the pink blouse) which was lovely. More on the shoe event here.
Image showing women bloggers along the runway of a show fashion show run by Vionic UK in London
Weds 29th
Went to the office, gloomy autumnal day although it brightened up later. Sold on ebay the mint green dress I wore to Rachel's wedding. I loved it, but it's so distinctive I don't feel I could wear it again.

Thurs 30th
Working from home. Trying to keep up a regime of going to the gym every day for a class or Power Plate ---- on holiday from the end of next week and now frantically trying to lose the pounds gained down at Mum's! John reached Inverness after the most strenuous day of uphill cycling.

Fri 31st
A couple of exciting deliveries from Charlotte Tilbury  (ooh!) and John Lewis - slightly less exciting, silk pillow cases and lap trays!


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Sharing this post with #WelcometotheWeekend at Claire Justine, #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb,  UK Blogger Club at My Random Musings and Continental Drift at Mutton Style.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Latest beauty hits/misses and link up

A quick round-up on four products I've been using (or not!) recently.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Vionic trends for autumn/winter

Style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton? at the Vionic UK runway show in London
Vionic is one of the fastest growing footwear brands worldwide and I was thrilled to be invited to their first runway show in the UK where they showcased the new styles for autumn and winter.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Introducing a new beauty link up party, #WowForWednesday

Welcome to a new weekly link up for bloggers of all ages, covering Beauty. I noticed there weren't many link up parties for beauty, and we all like reading about new and much loved products and beauty recommendations. So here goes!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Trends for Autumn and what I'm buying

What are the key trends for autumn/fall and winter 2018? Is This Mutton, thre blog for the fashionable over-45s, shows us the styles and colours to snap up.
As the leaves begin to fall, our attention turns to new arrivals for Autumn/Winter 18  (AW18) and the trends for the coming season.  I've been studying Vogue, Grazia and Pantone to bring you the lowdown, along with my own wish list.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Bring your face alive with Look Fabulous Forever

Look Fabulous Forever's Lustrous Colour Lipstick in Cherry Red, as reviewed by over-45s beauty and fashion blog Is This Mutton? dot com
Have you heard of Look Fabulous Forever?  This is a brand of makeup created by a woman who wanted cosmetics that worked better on mature skin. Tricia Cusden created not just a makeup brand, but a whole movement that challenges perceptions and celebrates the beauty of ageing.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Dear BBC: why we care

The original BBC Radio 2 Drivetime Dreamteam, including Simon Mayo, Matt Williams and Bobbie Pryor
It's now three months since the BBC changed the format of the much-loved and award winning BBC Radio 2 Drivetime programme, pairing Simon Mayo with Jo Whiley and ditching Simon's posse, above, and most of the best content.

This is "halfway day" for Lewis Carnie, the Radio 2 controller, who gave a couple of high handed interviews before the change happened but has been missing in action ever since.  He told us the show would need six months to "bed in."

In those three months, one of the petitions demanding for the return of the original show has grown to 15,000 signatures, and every day more people join the Facebook group.

Today the supporters of the original show have blitzed Twitter, Facebook and the BBC's complaints process. There seems to be a suspicious news blackout on the whole thing. Complaints about the deplorable Love Island TV show (2,600) was reported by BBC News, yet the petition (15,000 names) was not. To put this in perspective, the audience for Drivetime is (currently) far bigger than anything Love Island enjoyed.

Below, I have chosen a few of the letters and stories from the Facebook group, to show the suits why we care so much. You;ll find more in my posts here, here and here.

Email sent to Messrs Shennan (Bob, Director of BBC Radio) and Carnie

Mr Shennan, Mr Carnie

You must realise by now the error you made in radically changing the format of the Simon Mayo Drivetime Show.
You had then an award winning show that brought real pleasure, every day, to millions of people - young and old, male and female.
Now that has been destroyed, and its replacement is simply not working.
We all make mistakes in life. Captains of industry do it, politicians do it, even the finest football managers do it. No one is infallible.
The problem is in not acting to rectify the problem.
Winners accept that things haven’t worked, and change course instantly. Losers blindly plough on, and then are eventually forced to change, but not before inflicting unnecessary pain, suffering and (sometimes irreparable) damage to their organisations.
You have the chance to change - please grasp the opportunity now before it’s too late.

Gordon Young

Letter to the BBC on behalf of the 5,000 strong Facebook group Bring back Simon Mayo's Dreamteam on Drivetime

Dear Sirs,

You will by now be aware that a great number of BBC licence fee payers are disgruntled enough to have formed and joined a Facebook group about the way that the Simon Mayo Drivetime show has been unceremoniously dumped and replaced by a very poor substitute of a programme of which the two main members of the team, Simon Mayo and Jo Wiley, are now absent for holidays right in the middle of the “bedding in” season (your words in the numerous letters, not mine). How could this have even been thought about when planning the launch of a new show and with a controversial line up? The show which has been removed was a fun and all-inclusive – young children right through to the more senior of listeners, a group in which I now nearly find myself.

Such is the frustration experienced by people that many have emailed the BBC directly to express their concern. Your reply to each is basically a selection of standard phrases and sentences designed to make the reply look personal. Can you not understand that by the volume of email complaints and random commenting on any Radio 2 show that we, the listeners, communicate with each other? I am sure that the intention was not to be patronising to individuals, but by comparing replies it is clear this is what is happening. It is high handedness in the extreme and disrespectful to your listening public.

It is interesting that the letters now no longer have the reference to there being no right of appeal. This response was appalling and really did show what the hierarchy of BBC Radio really thinks about the public. This alone was almost enough to make me retune to other radio broadcasters. We do have a right of appeal and this is included within your own charter. Should we not be happy with a proper review our response to the decision could be to listen to shows on other stations. Your own marketing people cannot be blind to the comments made by other radio stations welcoming new listeners? We do know that the BBC has "moles" within the posting public, and some of these are really quite unpleasant, but this will be the subject of a separate formal complaint from me to you (unintentional reference there) and Facebook for allowing this to happen and continue.

We are all licence fee payers and, as the BBC so boldly states, the BBC is owned by the people. We have no choice about paying, that is enshrined in law but as a consequence you should regard what the listeners are saying. To just disregard a very large group of people who have all expressed the same view is just ignorant.

The egos who have made the decision to remove this show, and clearly other changes are being planned, should be stopped now before further damage is done not just to Radio 2 but to BBC Radio in general. There would be more sympathy from the listening public if the people in charge accepted that the new format just does not work. You have stated that Simon and Jo have known each other for 25 years. That makes them friends, or acquaintances, it does not make them a good team – they are just too different. I like cream and I like lemon juice, but mix the two and you will have a curdled mess which is unappetising. This is what has happened to the Drivetime Show.

You will be receiving a great deal of emails and other communications today and I really hope that you read and respond to each of them separately as, despite what you may think, people really do care and can vote on change by the use of the tuning dial on their radio.

Thank you,

Bill Cummings
For and on behalf of our 5055 members

Facebook posts by Paul Loughlin

I have read the letters received by some today. How patronising and condescending they are. They appear in their Text to be rather like a teacher humiliating a student. Well BBC let me tell you something. Good Radio is a very rare thing these days. Every man and his dog believe that they can do it. That in essence is what is wrong. I grew up fascinated by the radio. Kenny Everett. Terry Wogan. Ken Bruce. Jimmy Young. Even the likes of Henry Kelly. Sarah Kennedy. And Bob Harris. Later we had Steve Wright. Chris Evans and the utterly fantastic Alex Lester. Where I'm going with this is Simon Mayo belongs on that list. He is a brilliant broadcaster and the reason for change within drivetime was neither wanted or needed. An idea to fulfill a desire to have more female hosts has resulted in both a terrible annihilation of a great show and a backlash towards Jo Whiley. Well done BBC!!! Radio fans are loyal. But also are far from stupid. This new show is awkward and poor. So very very poor. In the end. Patronising the listeners wont do. As license payers we require more than that. Great radio is indeed rare. Thanks to you even rarer now. The way you are treating this wonderful medium it could soon be extinct. Thanks for that!!

And in reply to Lewis Carnie's assertion that there was a big protest when Chris Evans took over the Breakfast show from Terry Wogan

I remember it well. After many fun mornings listening Terry Wogan announced to us TOGs that he was leaving the breakfast show. After picking myself up off the floor it was also stated Chris Evans would be the new host. I approached that with an open mind and to be fair Chris is a natural. Having Moira Stewart on the show was a master stroke and along with Vassos Alexander the show is brilliant. Great chemistry and a fun show. The point I want to make is Sir Terry retired (sort of) and went to Sunday mornings. Chris was asked to be the new host and after a while he flourished. In the case of Simon Mayo. He has created a great show and for 8 years it was all you would want. Funny. Inventive and great music. A wonderful dynamic in the studio. Suddenly!! Jo Whiley is just dropped in there.(dropped in it if you ask me!!) Most of the team go and the show (sorry to say) really sucks the big one!!! The audience can't accept the new show. We all loved the real one. Whilst Chris replaced Terry due to the togmeister leaving the slot. Jo has just been sent in and the end result is a awful dynamic. Poor chemistry and the whole thing is dull!. Please Radio 2. It's not too late!!
Director of Radio at the BBC, Bob Shennan
Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio
Lewis Carnie, BBC Radio 2 Controller
Lewis Carnie, Controller of BBC Radio 2 

How about it guys?

So gentlemen, what do you say? Remember, we forgive very quickly when those who got it wrong apologize, and put it right. Coca Cola, Toblerone, legions of England football team managers. There would actually be huge kudos in restoring the original show in terms of PR spin.

I absolutely get why you parachuted a female presenter into a mainstream programme. You had to. After years of paying women peanuts and putting them into night time slots  (and Mr Carnie and Mr Shennan were among those responsible, having been senior managers for many years), the BBC suddenly finds it has no option.

But now we have the problem of what do we do with Jo, because you know as well as we do that she hasn't got the right personality for the Drivetime show.

Bob, I'm sure you could have a word with Tony (Lord Hall) and get her moved to TV.  Win win, because that would be seen as a promotion! She likes gardening  (and so do I, but I would be willing to tolerate her on Gardeners' World just to get her off Drivetime....) and there all those programmes where the BBC broadcasts "new music" like Florence and the Machine  (not really all that new) from various pop festivals. She could do those.

Or is this the start of the end of Radio 2?

Some of us have noticed that you seem determined to lower the age of the average Radio 2 listener, and you may possibly have some Machiavellian plot brewing to merge Radios 1 and 2.  In which case, millions more listeners for Magic, Absolute and Smooth. And with their increased revenues from ads and listeners, one of them will be bound to offer Simon and the original Dreamteam a berth.

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