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

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.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Six tips for must-have accessories

Image showing an over 45 woman showing how to add great accessories to a plain black outfit
When I revived Is This Mutton? two years ago, one thing I quickly noticed was my lack of accessories. I had just two handbags in black and brown, hardly any belts, one or two necklaces I wore all the time, and no hats at all.

Is This Mutton? featured in Blogger's Corner

Image showing Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton, featured in Blogger's Corner at My Random Musings.
Have you discovered the blog My Random Musings by UK author and blogger Deborah Stansil? She writes about motivation, inspiration and success, with plenty of material for writers and bloggers. I'm thrilled to be featured in Blogger's Corner.

Find out how I started blogging, my penchant for collecting random information, and which style blogger influences me the most.

Thanks Deborah!

My Random Musings, UK blog by Deborah Stansil, featuring Is This Mutton?, the UK fashion and beauty blog, in Blogger's Corner FOR MORE MUTTON

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Josh Wood Hair reviewed

Celebrity hair stylist Josh Wood plans to overhaul the "aisle of death" - which is how professional  hairdressers refer to the hair colour aisle in supermarkets.

He has spent two years creating a range of products to reinvent do-it-yourself hair colour. There are hair colourants (ammonia and PPD free), special conditioning treatments, shampoos and conditioners, "Shade Shots," a colour touch-up tool and a tinted dry shampoo.

Josh became a Redken Global Colour Creative Director in 2017 and has a (very expensive!) hair "atelier" in London where he looks after the hair of Elle McPherson amongst others.

I am not the best blogger to try hair products, it must be said. I am too impatient to use products which take time. I dislike dry shampoos. I seldom use hair masks or conditioners.

I have my hair coloured in a salon, and it's in fairly good condition. I find, like a lot of you I expect, that most conditioning and styling products are too heavy for my fine hair.

Colour Shot

The first step to using the Josh Wood system is the online consultation which creates your "prescription."  My hair is predominantly blonde  (thanks to the bottle) and occasionally needs a violet reviver if I swim in chlorinated pools or spend too much time in the sun. Josh Wood Colour Shots come in four variants, two for brunettes and two for blonde hair.You mix the colour shot with the Everything Mask, which as its name suggests, is a conditioning treatment. I chose the "Cool me Down" colour shot.

I was expecting the Colour Shot to be one treatment - one shot - but it comes in a tube and there's no guidance on how much to use, except to mix it in equal quantities with the Everything Mask. I would prefer the instructions to indicate how many treatments you're supposed to get from the tube, because you don't know if you've used too much or too little.

You have to leave it on for a while, and it's a semi permanent gloss that in the case of Cool me Down, counteracts unwanted brassiness.

It worked perfectly well, leaving my hair colour a cleaner blonde, and shiny, and it lasted for several shampoos. I was too impatient to wait more than five minutes, but I seemed to get a good result at five so no need to wait for 10.

Everything Mask

I coloured my hair at home for many years when it was dark  (I mostly used reddish brown colourants) and I remember how "crispy" the hair became and how flat and monotone the colour would look. This was one of the reasons I chose to go lighter, because there's nothing worse than the unconvincing helmet of too-dark hair. As we get older our colouring changes: not just our hair but our skin and eyebrows as well, and dark hair is often unflattering.

I reckon the Everything Mask would be great for home coloured hair, anyone who's had too many highlights or bleaching, and those with thick, long hair.  I don't use a conditioner every time I wash my hair - it becomes too soft and floppy - and it was thus with the Everything Mask. Sorry Josh!

The packaging of the range is excellent, as is the quality of the products, and it's good to see a top colourist creating a range that addresses the needs of the millions of people who colour their hair at home and deserve brilliant results.

Find the range online at Josh Wood Colour  or at Boots.

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

I was gifted with two products from the Josh Wood Colour range. 


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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Whitstable Wedding

The bride and groom with proud father of the bride and stepmother
This weekend was spent in glorious sunshine in the seaside town of Whitstable in Kent for the wedding of John's daughter Rachel to Sean.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Sentence a Day: July 2018

Part brickwork, part wood shed painted Cuprinol rosemary green and decorated with bunting
Sunday 1 August
Sunny, no rain now for 30 days! Went to a BBQ at Christopher and Katie's (John's son and wife). Just a small family gathering, good sausage selection from a farmers' market including a "Harry and Meghan" banger.  

Mon 2nd
Worked at home. Inspired by the summerhouse in Christopher's garden, John painted the shed. Looks very pretty (above).

Tues 3rd
In office. Lunch walk. World Cup: England eventually beat Colombia. Too wired to sleep

Weds 4th
Still sunny. Walk. Jubilation in office after England win.

Thurs 5th
Worked from home. Still sunny. Power Plate. Feel Unique delivery. Keen to road test the Fairydrops mascara. See my review here.

Fri 6th
In office, unusual for a Fri. Delayed on M11 for ages on the way home because of an accident. Grrr. This is why I try not to travel on Fridays - the motorways are very busy and there always seems to be an accident.

Sat 7th
The whole of England was up early bustling about to make sure we were all ready for 3pm: the England v Sweden match. We won 2 nil. Did yoga for 1st time in over a year. 

Sun 8th
Walked to gym for PowerPlate. Roast beef with Yorkshire puddings. Just J and me.  Did some gardening. Published lilac floral skirt blog post. 

Mon 9th
Another accident on M11, this time on the way to work.  Had a new tyre fitted (nothing to do with the accident!).  Office is buzzing with "communitas", the joy that humans find in collective experiences

Tues 10th
At home. Did new gym class body conditioning. J watched RAF flypast celebrating their 75th anniversary. 

Weds 11th
Felt bit stressed and apprehensive. Couldn't find purse. Home early for England v Croatia. Lost 2 - 1. I must have had a premonition.

Thurs 12th
Wrote piece about the football. Ate too much. Took a salad to work but it was abandoned for a sandwich and crisps instead, and later a shortbread someone had taken to a meeting. Then when I got home had one of my favourite meals, quiche with a Greek salad. Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

Fri 13th
Went into London for the Monet & Architecture exhibition and had to battle our way through the Trump demo in Trafalgar Square. Then we had dinner at Langans Brasserie. It rained unexpectedly, first time since May 29. Quite prolonged and had no umbrella.
Van Gogh Irises painting with cushions picking out the blue and orange tones
Sat 14th
Sun is back. Delivery of new cushions and a lamp for the sitting room.   Do this occasionally to freshen it up. Usual tasks:  yoga  (hopefully, now becoming a habit every Saturday);  shopping,  housework.

Sun 15th
Did PowerPlate; got home, did make-up and then a "shoot" for four different outfits for the Two of the outfits are for winter so did the shoot indoors, out of the blazing sun.  Results here and here. Had gammon and jacket potatoes for lunch.  Rachel (John's daughter) and fiance Sean came over.

Mon 16th
Sunny. Went for a pub lunch with my "buddy" at work, a fairly new colleague who I'm helping with informal support. Had a duck wrap. With chips. 

Tues 17th
At home. Finished book The Wives, Lauren Weisenbeger. Found it a bit predictable.  Re-reading Philippa Gregory's novel about Margaret Tudor, Katherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor:  Three Sisters, Three Queens. Did a stretch class.

Weds 18th
Quite an exciting day after Drivetime post went live and a lot of reaction on Twitter and Facebook  (this is a parochial UK thing concerning a much loved radio show), 

Thurs 19th
Quieter day. At work. Signed the agreement for a new car. Will take delivery hopefully at the end of November. 

Fri 20th
At home. Went to my first MeetUp for over a year, a piano recital.  It was in the basement of a record shop and not quite as enjoyable as the recitals they occasionally run in churches. 

Sat 21st
Rained a little in night, convenient. J went to Sean's stag night. Meant I could indulge in whatever TV I wanted. Started with an episode of Say yes to the dress UK followed by the film Lady Bird.

Sun 22nd
Cycled to PP - first time on my bike for probably two years !! Roast chicken for lunch. Hot and sultry. Played what I call the Instagram algorithm game, where I look up people whose posts I haven't seen for ages, and then leave comments on the posts Instagram made me miss). Listened as usual to  Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the 70s. I've found a fantastic Facebook group for his show and it's so enjoyable seeing all their comments for each song.
Middle aged woman in cycling helmet and colourful leggings on bike
Mon 23rd
Busy day in the office. Had meetings late afternoon so left early to do those meetings at home. Makes life a whole lot easier.

Tues 24th
At home. Did an early PowerPlate class. Sweltering in my little office.

Weds 25th
In the office. Very hot outside, short walk at lunchtime. Cancelled gym class because we were going to watch the last episode of series 2 of Line of Duty. Have seen it before but it's very gripping. A bad excuse for not exercising!

Thurs 26th
Am really enjoying a podcast series called The Bright Sessions (found it at iTunes store). It's sci-fi, about a US psychologist who specialises in people with atypical abilities such as being able to read people's minds, and time travelling.

Fri 27th
27 degrees today and hot in my home office. Did two classes I haven't done for probably two years, Pilates and Body Pump, so pleased that I'm using more of the gym's facilities. Was looking forward to the "red moon" lunar eclipse, but unfortunately the weather took a change for the worse. We had a short shower and then it became cloudy. Too cloudy to see the eclipse. Boo hoo.

Sat 28th
Household chores today. Very tired after yesterday's exertions. The Body Pump squats have killed my knees, and the Pilates has tortured my obliques!

Sun 29th
Did a PowerPlate class. Rachel and Sean came for lunch - it's their last Sunday lunch with us as an engaged couple. This time next they will be married.

Mon 30th
Bad night, couldn't sleep - woke up at 5.30am feeling feverish with a sore throat. A cold, but decided not to go to the office as I don't believe you should knowingly spread germs.

Tues 31st
A bit better, coughing a lot. Getting hot again after a few days of cooler weather. Picked blackberries in some waste ground behind our house. At 5pm had hair cut and coloured, ready for the wedding.
Wonderful stewed with apple:  wild blackberries


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.  

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.

An InLinkz Link-up

Monday, 30 July 2018

BBC Radio 2 #DriveTime protest, 30 July update

This week I'm featuring an excellent video in the style of Bohemian Rhapsody - please like and share - and a letter below from one of the Facebook group members. He is sending the letter to Simon Mayo and Matt Williams, via their new books podcast (which tellingly, shot to #1 in the podcast chart as soon as it came out).  The letter describes very well the Radio 2 audience's love and affection for Simon and Matt.

If you want to get involved in trying to get the BBC to end its failing efforts to "bed-in" the appalling new format for the revamped 5pm show, "Jo and Simon," please sign the petition and join the Facebook group

It might seem that the BBC has imposed an old-fashioned "D Notice" style blackout on any response to the mounting criticism of the new format, three months after it launched.  But don't be deceived:  every tweet, every email, is a knife in the heart of Head of Radio 2 Lewis Carnie, and Radio 2 Controller Bob Shennan.

Letter from the 4,000+ members of the Facebook Group Bring Back Simon Mayo’s Dreamteam on Drivetime

Dear Simon and Matt,

I am emailing you today on behalf of a 4,000+ strong Facebook group to give you our personal thank you for eight years of a brilliant show. We want to thank you for eight years of entertainment, hilarity, and, above all, friendship.

Your show was like tuning in to a group of friends who were clearly enjoying themselves and bouncing off each other. Running jokes made us laugh, the confessions and Matt's laugh made us howl, Sanjeen's confession made us cry. The homework kept us informed and your interviewing skills when you had an expert on the next day showed just how fine a broadcaster you are.

Sitting in a car in traffic on the motorway can be a lonely place, we welcomed you into our vehicles and our homes and we never felt too alone. The Seven o'clock pips always seemed to come round too soon. People no longer have their friends with them while making the tea.

Sadly the BBC decided that the perfect show had to be messed with. We respect Jo as the excellent broadcaster that she is, we just feel it's the wrong show for her. When she was shoehorned in, the show became flat and Simon, you don't sound like you're enjoying it either. The biggest problem is the lack of Matt. Personally I can't stand sport, but Matt, you weren't just 'sports guy' (as referred to by Steve Wright) you were an integral part of the show and one of our friends as were Nigel and Bobbie. How will we know now whether it's ok to put the heating on?

The confessions podcasts used to be the highlight of our week. Most no longer download it now. Thanks to several of our group, we now have a confessions podcast file share with nearly every podcast ever produced, they make for much easier listening.

Your jingle 'It's Later Than You Think' is very fitting, we never knew it was so late in the shows lifespan.

Unfortunately many of your loyal fans have tuned out, Magic FM gaining a large part of your former audience.

We hope that one day the BBC can see the error in its ways, or that you can find another organisation to take your show and team to.

To quote the late Sir Terry, thank you for being our friend. We love you and we miss your friendship. Different times.

Suzanna has stopped ironing.

Regards, your loyal listeners

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Anthropologie colour block dress

Anthropologie colour block sleeveless dress worn by over-45s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?
I didn't buy a colour block dress when they first came out. They seemed to be sold as dresses that took off inches. Now the colour blocking is less about creating hourglass shapes than having fun with colour.

This Anthropologie dress caught my eye because of the unusual mix of colours, and, with an eye on autumn, I thought it would make a good transitional piece paired with perhaps a lightweight Kettlewell silky top.

I snapped up it in the sale, along with the teal and white shoes from Next. It's my "reserve" for a wedding next Saturday. I'm not sure which dress I will go with. Probably the other one, which I'm not showing you (yet) because this dress can be worn to smart work occasions, whereas the other dress is more dramatic. 

The fabric is wonderful, skimming the figure in a kind way. I relished the chance to wear a necklace which my mum gave me years ago. She thinks it's some sort of rare stone but I'm not sure.
A sleeveless colour block dress worn by over-45s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?

A colour block dress featuring teal, turquoise and burgundy from Anthropologie, worn with teal and white shoes and accessorized with a white clutch bag and burgundy necklace.
I'm looking forward to having a hair cut  next week. 
Come back on Thursday for Sentence a Day to find out what I did in July. There was quite a bit of football.


Sharing this post with #CreativeMondays at Claire Justine, Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb, Visible 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.  

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The most amazing beauty find for under five pounds

Forget pricey body lotions. Is This Mutton? has found a product produced in England's Lake District which uses wool fat to produce an exceptionally moisturising product at very low cost.
I'm so excited to share with you a beauty find that's a real gem! When I was in the Lake District recently, I forgot to take a body lotion and my skin was becoming very dry. A general store in the tiny village of Patterdale had a bottle of the somewhat unprepossessingly named "Mitchell's Wool Fat Original Hand and Body Lotion."  I'd never heard of this brand but needs must, and it was as cheap as chips, so I bought it.

I've been staggered by how effective this product is! Forget all the expensive scented body creams and lotions - this one really does make your arms and legs feel smoother and more moisturised over time! You can buy it here. 240ml is only £5! My bottle - which you can see is well used and a bit battered - is a smaller size and cost even less.

Other products are available, including wool fat soap and shampoo.

The story is that Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap was first produced in the early 1930’s by Bradford chemist Fred Mitchell. He realised that the natural lanolin content of wool fat, which kept the hands of local sheep shearers and wool sorters so exceptionally soft, could also be beneficial to delicate complexions and sensitive skins. A simple and natural product, this soap is still made to Mr Mitchell’s original formula, based on a recipe from the turn of the century and incorporating lanolin from the wool fat as the key ingredient.

I love anything to do with sheep as you might guess from the blog title. Feta cheese, woolly jumpers, wool mattresses (I have a Herdy mattress)and now wool fat soap, so I'm a convert. And for this price, you'd be mad not to.

No products were gifted for this review

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

For More Mutton

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.  


Monday, 23 July 2018

Radio 2 #DriveTime protest update, 23 July

I'm starting a weekly update on the growing protest about unwelcome changes made to the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime programme. This follows my letter to the Director-General and other luminaries last week.  There's a fantastic group on Facebook and a petition here. 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Winter in July

Over 40s blogger Gail Hanlon in winter attire in July, to show that you can find timeless bargains from previous seasons in the July sales. Here she is wearing a sequinned star jumper and Jaycee skirt from
Christmas often happens in July. Magazines are already preparing their festive editions and press and retailers will be showcasing their wares to bloggers and journalists. And thanks to some canny sales shopping, I am also showing you a touch of winter in July.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

#DriveTime Protest

This post might not make sense to many of you (particularly US readers) but indulge me while I share a letter I've sent to the Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, in protest at the changes made to the Radio 2 Simon Mayo #DriveTime programme.

If you also feel strongly about this, please sign the petition. Keep up the pressure on the BBC by sending complaints. There is also a friendly Facebook group here.


Lord Hall



Portland Place

London WIA 1AA

Cc Anne Bulford, Bob Shennan, Lewis Carnie

July 17 2018

Dear Lord Hall

I’m afraid I am another of the BBC Radio 2 #DriveTime whingers, the people you assumed would “move on” or go away after our favourite show was dramatically changed.

I am writing to you by snail mail because the widespread protests on social media don’t seem to be eliciting much response from you, Ms Bulford, Mr Shennan and Mr Carnie. I imagine your social media moderators and PR teams have been keeping you appraised of the ongoing furore and there are all sorts of “defcon” meetings happening in conference room Frankie Howerd.

It was a sad day for me last Thurs when, faced with my usual 60 mile drive from work, (a senior marketing post I took up a year ago – showing that 50-somethings are not change averse) I couldn’t face the strident tones of Jo Whiley any longer, despite giving the revamped show a 10 week chance.

A drive time show has to have some special ingredients for the frazzled commuter.  Simon Mayo and team had delivered this in spades, to audiences of millions. That audience is dwindling by the day, as I’m sure you’re already aware.

After a stressful day I want to imagine myself in the studio on a Thursday with Nigel Barden cooking up a storm. I can just imagine the fragrant smells. I want to guffaw with laughter, as I’m stuck in yet another tailback on the M11, as Matt and Bobbie “corpse” at Simon’s put-on accents in the Confession.

I really don’t want to have “new music” rammed down my throat or another interview with a band flogging a new album.  I don’t want to squirm with embarrassment at Jo Whiley’s lack of empathy during interviews with normal people who aren’t musicians. And even the Confession has turned into a rushed damp squib. Simon has lost all his sparkle next to his humourless assassin.

Valour in admitting defeat

There is no shame in admitting you got it wrong. Good companies admit their mistakes and the public forgive them. Coca Cola and Apple (when Taylor Swift boycotted them) are just two.

If you’re determined to sit it out for a year and wait for the listening figures, the humiliation will be far worse and you’ll have to sack Lewis Carnie and do some wholesale moving around of presenters.

Hold your hands up. Move Jo Whiley to another slot. We understand all too well the mess the BBC has got itself into, with institutional misogyny around pay for women and so few women in top presenting jobs.  Yes, we know the problem. We realise you have to sort it. But parachuting Whiley into Drivetime has not proved a solution.  I have nothing against women on Radio 2.  I love Liza Tarbuck and wish Sara Cox could replace Chris Evans.  Janice Long and Annie Nightingale should still be on the airwaves. But Jo Whiley is not in their league. She’s a new music specialist, a DJ, and nothing more.

As a Baby Boomer you know yourself we’ll never give up. We’re not going to let it drop over the next few months. We are furious that a successful show was changed, without any research. The justification given so far is lame in the extreme.  “We want to attract younger listeners”.  Yes, as if the baby boomer population isn’t already the biggest cohort in the UK. As if “younger” people would be lured over by a 53 year old.  “The programme has been running for eight years.”  Yes, and Ken Bruce and Steve Wright have been running a lot longer – and both of those programmes need refreshing.

Please stop patronising the loyal listeners of Radio 2 and give us back what we want. Move Whiley to a 7pm slot, or do something with the horrendous Saturday morning schedule, and restore Matt, Nigel and all the other ingredients that made the original DriveTime show so special.

This letter will also be published on my blog, and shared via social media.

Yours sincerely


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Top picks from The-Bias-Cut Sale: Part 1

White Mimi t-shirt with pink fronds worn with fuchsia shorts and statement earrings
One of the most thrilling experiences I've had as a blogger was when I was invited to a professional shoot a few months ago for So I was delighted when Jacynth contacted me to see if I'd like to choose some pieces from the sale and style them at home.

If you haven't discovered this site, you're in for a treat. Jacynth created The Bias Cut (what a clever name) when she realised her mother couldn't find anything she liked in the shops. It would be wrong to describe the Bias Cut as a site for the middle-aged because many of the pieces could equally be worn by a 20-something. But in terms of cut and quality, the clothes suit everyone, and are ideally suited to the over 40s because we still want fashion but we don't want to look the same as everyone else.

The quality of the clothes is amazing and they make you feel special when you wear them.

A t-shirt is always a good buy provided they're not in a design that will immediately date them as 2018  (t-shirts with slogans in French for example). The Mimi t-shirt featuring fuchsia pink fronds (and also available in turquoise) has embroidered ferns.
Keeping cool in the heatwave in pink shorts and a white and pink shirt by Fabienne Chapot
I added some matching shorts (old), a new pair of Accessorize sandals and pink statement earrings from Mango.
I've long been looking for a classic but contemporary poplin shirt that can be worn both casually and to work. The Bias Cut has some great designs and I chose the Gibson and Birkbeck artichoke design, now reduced to £65. It's beautifully cut, and, the sign of a good shirt, the buttons are covered by a placket. I styled this two ways, firstly casual, with my M&S shorts and Adidas Originals Stan Smiths.
Turn heads with this distinctive white shirt decorated with artichokes from The-Bias-Cut,com

Artichoke poplin shirt by Gibson & Birkbeck from worn with white knee-length shorts and Adidas Stan Smith originals.
Then I changed the shorts for a green skirt. This one came from Sainsbury's and was last seen here. I love mixing up different finds from high-end stores, charity shops or supermarkets. If you do this you'll never find yourself looking the same as someone else. The gold mules are last year's.
A work wear look for a contemporary white shirt decorated with artichokes, worn with gold mules and a green patterned skirt.
I'm quite a careful sale shopper. I try not to buy pieces that are in colours that will date. I have a list of pieces that I need. For winter, for example, I already know I want a new raincoat. As I wear a lot of black, I will be looking out to see what's fashionable for skirts and trousers, and buy a couple of new pieces to pair with my existing jumpers and tops. Jewellery and bags are an easy way to bring an outfit up-to-date. I bought several pairs of statement earrings from the Mango sale.

Another of my tricks is to find bargains from the previous season.  On Thursday, I'll show you three more pieces from The-Bias-Cut's sale, this time two jumpers (sweaters) and a skirt. They are timeless contemporary pieces with real stand out. The only snag was, I had to photograph them in the current heatwave, as if I was styling pieces for winter! So that's why I did the shoot indoors, where it was cooler. See you on Thurs!

Some of the clothes featured in the shoot back in October are also reduced in price.  The gorgeous Narelle green dress by Nathalie Vleechouwer is available in a couple of sizes. at £110. The green velvet jacket by Fabienne Chapot is reduced to £108.

In the meantime, do share any great tips you have for sale shopping, and any pieces you've snapped up.

I was gifted two items by

Sharing this post with Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as LambVisible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Creative Mondays at ClaireJustineStyle 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 and Anything Goes Linky at My Random Musings.


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Thursday, 12 July 2018

It's coming home, just later than advertised

Image showing the individual England World Cup squad players in 2018
I couldn't resist going off piste from fashion to write about the extraordinary few weeks we've had, here in Blighty. Continuous sunny weather; the royal wedding, and of course The Football.

Last night England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and while there were lots of tears around the island, we're all philosophical. At the start of the tournament we certainly weren't expecting our young, inexperienced team to get this far.  Married to a Spurs fan, I had heard of some of the England players, but not all of them. Who does Jesse Lingard play for? I asked, on the night we played Tunisia. Who's Stones? Who's Jordan Pickford?

I know now that the exuberant "JLingz" (Lingard) plays for Man U, and his social feed is much admired. I know now the back story on the players - how most of them fought their way through the mundane Championship with glamorous sides like MK Dons and Bradford. And I read how sales of waistcoats have gone through the roof at M&S, thanks to Gareth Southgate.

Two famous Croatians were critical of how arrogant England was about the semi-final with our "It's coming home" confidence. Goran Ivanišević and Luka Modrić thought we got above ourselves and under-estimated Croatia. But guys, you misinterpreted England's excitement, our playfulness.  How we couldn't help getting caught up in "communitas," the joy that humans find in collective experiences. We finally came to love our fooball team.

When we kept singing "It's coming home", we were referring to a silly song, the words of which speak about the agony of the England supporter over the years.  We did get carried away, but when you've suffered our sort of pain, it's understandable.  England is supposed to be the home of football but apart from the World Cup win in 1966, and a semi final place in 1990, we've had nothing to celebrate.

A telling BBC documentary, "The Impossible Job" told the story of the managers who tried to mould  successive England teams into a winning side.  At the weekend, Lady Robson, the widow of Sir Bobby, who took us to that semi final in 1990, read some of his hand written notes on leadership principles. But even Sir Bobby was pilloried by the English tabloids when his team failed to perform to expectations. Graham Taylor was famously branded a turnip, with his head superimposed on a vegetable, when he lost against the Swedes.

The nadir was two years ago when England was defeated by Iceland in the European Championships. We watched the match with lots of other Brits in the bar at the Greek hotel where we were on holiday. At the end everyone was speechless and left the bar silently.

Gareth Southgate's whole approach, while good management practice, is not rocket science. He tries to understand each player and what makes them tick.  He brought a leading psychologist on board to deal with the legacy of numerous penalty shoot out disasters. He launched his campaign by showing the young team how useless we used to be in the Olympics, compared to 2012 and 2016 when we punched massively above our weight in the medal tables.  And somehow he got the players performing as a team, managing to overlook their team rivalries,

Previous teams were filled with "stars".  The egos had landed. David Beckham unveiled a new hair style every time there was a major tournament. There were scandals off the field, involving the ghastly John Terry and Wayne Rooney to name two. On the field, they laboured, going for the long ball. Or trying to get rid of the ball as if it were an incendiary device. There was no nutmegging  (a new one I learnt about this time!), very few set pieces and very little of the fancy footwork of mercurial players like Modrić, or Sterling.

And in those days, we didn't have a captain with the stature of Harry Kane. Aged just 24, and completely composed, calm and statesmanlike, he was a towering colossus and is on track to win the "golden boot" award of the tournament.

It was wonderful to see the sportsmanship and dignity of Gareth Southgate, consoling a Colombian player who missed a penalty;  speaking to each and every one of his team and coaching staff after each match. This quiet, unassuming man often goes out of his way to help charities and worthy causes without alerting the papers in advance, or boasting about it on Twitter.

The next World Cup in four years time will no doubt see the return of teams who shockingly failed to make it to the finals - Italy and Holland - and the resurgence of teams who went home early (Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina).  Even with these reinvigorated foes, the England team should be a force to be reckoned with.

The UEFA Euro 2020 championship finals are in England, so what could be a better time (and place) for football to finally come home?

In the meantime, I'll be backing Croatia on Sunday. If they're good enough to beat England.........

Sharing this post with #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb and #WelcometotheWeekend at Claire Justine.

If you managed to get through this piece - with no photos! - you;ll be glad to know that normal service will be resumed here on Is This Mutton? on Sunday, when I'll be showing my top picks from the sale of a very special online store.


Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara

The packaging of Fairydrops Scandal Queen waterproof mascara makes it look like it's aimed at adolescent girls but the rose gold casing is quite sophisticated and the mascara performs very well on nearly every vector
I used to be continually searching for the perfect nude lipstick, but having discovered that bright colours are so much more flattering on me, I've abandoned that and replaced it with the hunt for a perfect mascara.

Oh mascara! How problematic this simple product becomes. As a contact lens wearer, my eyes are sometimes moist, and that, compounded by the eye creams I use, makes it challenging for many mascaras to stay put. Panda eyes is a constant bugbear of mine.

A few months ago my lashes became very LONG thanks to daily application of RapidLash, but it doesn't make them any thicker so while it was fun having longer lashes, they still looked a bit spread out (gappy) and I wanted a mascara to create volume.  I find that using an eyeliner pencil and pushing it into the gaps between the lashes really helps, although yet again it's tough finding one that doesn't smudge or creep.

Having heard great things about the Japanese mascara Fairydrops Scandal Eyes, I ordered the waterproof variant (£18.50).  It was devised by a well-known TV celebrity in Japan.

Elegant case

Ignore the somewhat adolescent packaging - this mascara looks quite classy in its rose gold casing.
Close up of the rose gold casing of Fairydrops Scandal Eyes waterproof mascara: copyright Is This Mutton? dot com

It has what I would describe scientifically as a "wibbly wobbly" brush. The brush has three little cloud-like spirals. These help to give a curling effect. Some bloggers have said you don't need to use an eyelash curler beforehand.

The mascara delivers on four big asks:

  • It doesn't smudge.  Nope, I wear it all day, and the only panda in the UK is at Edinburgh Zoo;
  • It feels good on your lashes and doesn't make them feel solid or brittle;
  • It comes out of the tube very well: not too runny and not too thick or gloopy. Just right in fact;
  • It comes off easily with an oil based remover. 
But it doesn't deliver so well on volume. It separates nicely  (probably too well for someone with lashes which are already well separated!) and creates a little length, but it doesn't make the lashes any fuller. It's hard to show this, but the close-up below shows how the mascara looks when I have applied two coats.
Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon in a close-up to show her lashes after application of Fairydrops Scandal Queen waterproof mascara

So would I buy it again?  Well, I will certainly use it - which is progress, seeing as the last few mascaras I tried, from Pur, Stila and Lancome, ended up in the bin because they smudged under my eyes. It gives a classy result and it's a relief to find a product that gives an elegant look rather than the clumpy spider effect. But I still believe a more volumising mascara must be out there waiting for me, with the same positive attributes. Which one(s) have you found brilliant?  Please put me out of my misery.

You can buy this mascara from Feel Unique, Amazon , Beauty Bay and QVC, I bought it myself, it was not gifted.

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


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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Lilac floral skirt

Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon in lilac and yellow floral skirt, bought secondhand from eBay, lilac top and pink sandals
I've mentioned before that I have a skirt search set up on eBay that gives me notifications when new offerings from Boden and others are on offer. I like to shop this way because not only does it save money, it's re-using clothes rather than endlessly buying "fast fashion."
Lilac floral skirt worn with a lilac top and pink sandals
This lovely lilac and yellow floral skirt, originally from Laura Ashley, was an eBay buy for £5.99. I'm wearing it with a pair of old pink sandals, new pink earrings (Mango) and lilac top (Marks and Spencer). As lilac's in fashion this summer, I'm trying to buy nice pieces to wear for many years to come, because normally lilac is only around for prom and bridesmaid dresses.
Mid life woman in lilac and yellow floral skirt and lilac top with pink sandals and earrings.
I find skirts are The Best for summer: easy to wear, colourful, cheery. This skirt is lined which makes it a little less appealing for the hot weather. Here's a post showing another floral skirt, and ways to style it.

Sharing this post with Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous#IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as LambVisible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style; Creative Mondays at ClaireJustineStyle 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 and Anything Goes Linky at My Random Musings.

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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.  


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