"". March 2019 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Wednesday 27 March 2019

Fast fashion or thrifted chic? And Link Up

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon in thrifted print jacket and black top and skirt with silver accessories
It's only logical that after my post about what I'm doing to reduce the use of single-use plastic, I would return to the issue of "fast fashion". This is a contentious topic for fashion bloggers like me, and lately it sometimes feels as if we're letting the side down by not buying more in charity shops  ("thrift" or "consignment stores" in the US). But it's not as clear cut or easy as it sounds.

Sunday 24 March 2019

A new shape for jeans: Boden Helston

Which style of jeans for 2019?  Nothing is completely ruled out, thankfully. But the older woman need to choose with care to avoid looking dated.  Boden's new Helston Sailor jeans are a great choice with their flattering style and gold buttons.
I've written before about how tricky it is to get jeans trends right. When you were rocking straight/drainpipe and flared jeans back in the 70s, wearing them second time round can make you look dated. But even worse is wearing "mum jeans" which make you stand out as middle-aged.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Monochrome - and Link Up

A monochrome outfit in burgundy worn by over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?
I'm a big fan of the monochrome look, which is not as many think, wearing black and white.  It applies to a single colour, which can be worn in different hues, applied head to toe.

Sunday 17 March 2019

Green for St Patrick's Day

Enjoying the spring sunshine and wearing green for St Patrick's Day

"Green for St Patrick's Day? How original," - it could be a quote from Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.  Green is always the thing for the Irish saint's day.

St Patrick's Day celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick died on March 17, 461. But he wasn't even Irish. Patrick's birth name was Maewyn. He was born in Roman Britain. He was kidnapped into slavery and brought to Ireland.

Friday 15 March 2019

What I'm doing to stop using plastic

A large strip of beeswax wrap, a natural alternative to using clingfilm to keep food fresh. One of the ways of reducing plastic consumption in the home in a blog post by Is This Mutton dot com
Who could fail to be horrified and dismayed by the deluge of pictures showing birds and sea life being tortured to death by carelessly discarded plastic? What initially presented itself as a miracle in transforming our lives is now the planet's biggest nightmare. But we can all take steps to try to reduce our use of single-use plastic, and to apply pressure for more non-plastic packaging. Here's what I've started doing:  small steps, but we have to start somewhere.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

This concealer really works!

It's sad but true ladies that as we get older, we have more to hide. On our faces. It's not just pesky under eye circles but redness around the nose and pigmentation.

I've used dozens of concealers in my time, starting at age 14 with Rimmel "Hide n Heal" as it was called then.

Most of them start out OK:  there's a degree of coverage, then, over the hours, it all falls apart.  They either disappear or "pill," flaking into your lines and making you look far worse than when you started. But now I've found a real game changer in the world of concealers: Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Away liquid concealer.

Sunday 10 March 2019

A dress for all seasons

Green and pink asymmetric dress by Studio at Preen by Debenhams, ideal for all seasons
I don't buy dresses very often and I often wonder why, because when you find a good one, all your prayers are answered. They're comfortable, easy to style, and flattering. The Studio by Preen line at Debenhams has been raved about by many fashion writers and I couldn't resist this asymmetric dress featuring my two favourite colours, pink and green.

Friday 8 March 2019

International Women's Day: Remembering Barbara Castle

Today is International Women's Day and I wanted to share a profile of one of the women I admire the most, the late Labour politician Barbara Castle, nicknamed "The Red Queen."

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Endermolift facial to stimulate collagen production

Putting the machine to work:  beauty therapist Sue Ali with her LPG Endermolift facial
After a week in Germany at an industry trade event, I was exhausted, dehydrated and feeling the effects of a convenience diet without many fruit and vegetables. So it was a great time to indulge in a special facial courtesy of Sue Ali at her salon Endermospa in Loughton, Essex.

The salon specialises in Endermologie, which is extremely popular in France where there's a salon practically on every high street.  Unlike many treatments, this one is backed by serious scientific studies. Endermologie tackles the connective tissue beneath the skin with a gentle massage machine that has dozens of different protocols.

The Endermolift facial uses the same technology specially adapted for the face. A study showed that it's the only technique in the world capable of stimulating the natural production of hyaluronic acid by an increase of +80%* without the use of injectable sources.

Sounded good to me, particularly as Sue uses the respected SkinCeuticals range in her salon.

The Midas Touch

After a cleanse and exfoliation, Sue put her magic machine to work. The "probe" makes a cute chugging little sound which is quite relaxing, and the treatment tackles different areas. My facial was intended for lifting and firming. Sue explained how the treatment also increases the natural production of collagen as well as elastin in the skin cells.  If you've been having other treatments, it enhances the results of Dermal fillers, Botox and Mesotherapy.  Importantly for me, it reduces the appearance of dark circles and eye bags and smoothes wrinkles. I like the fact it is a 100% natural, non-invasive, non surgical treatment.

Sue is one of the most highly qualified LPG practitioners in the country (LPG is the French company behind Endermologie), holding the Advanced Expert LPG Practitioner Certification.
Sue Ali, advanced LPG practitioner, at her salon in Loughton, Essex
She regularly takes new training courses and experiments on new technology from LPG as it is developed. Sue  will be bringing a new medical machine to the salon soon which tackles skin pre and post liposuction, in collaboration with cosmetic surgeons.

After the relaxing treatment, a gold colloidal mask was applied - the final Midas touch!
Middle aged woman undergoing a facial with a gold colloidal face mask applied
Sue finished off with SkinCeutical's famous CE Ferulic Serum and a moisturizer.

Afterwards I could definitely see the lifting effect, and my skin was glowing.  This is me without any make-up. My jaw line is a little more defined, my eyes are lifted and the dark circles underneath are diminished.
Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon after a facial aimed at stimulating collagen production
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary facial at Endermospa in Loughton, Essex, but as always my opinions and editorial judgment are my own. 

For More Mutton

Stay in the loop: follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. 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. 

It's Time for #WowOnWednesday!

Now folks it's that time of week when fashion and beauty bloggers are invited to share their posts, giving readers the opportunity to discover sites that may be new to them.

Last week's readers' favourite was Maria at Passion Fruit, Paws and Peonies, with her post "What do you wear on cool spring days?" 
Giving advice on how to style outfits suitable for a cool spring day in the UK: Maria from blog Passion Fruit, Paws and Peonies
The link up will be opening at 12 noon GMT - the new link up tool doesn't allow you to set a time on Chrome so I need to look into this for next week.

Inlinkz Link Party

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Sentence a Day: February 2019

The welcome to Nürnberg sign at the airport in Germany, featuring local hero, artist Albrecht Dürer
Nürnberg; see Feb 25 
Friday 1 Feb
Woke up to snow- about a teaspoon full! Worked from home. In the evening, Team Hanlon unfortunately lost in the pub quiz that was raising money for J's sister's charity foundation.
Quiz night paper

Sat 2 Feb
Went into London. Exchanged a Pandora bracelet for a larger size  (the more charms, the more difficult it becomes to fasten). Watched a documentary about vegan ultra marathon runner Fiona Oakes. 

Sun Feb 3
Sunny; did Power Plate and went to Epping to do my shopping. I have a few snowdrops in the garden to remind me spring is in sight. 
Snowdrops in the garden, London 2019

Monday Feb 4
Horrible rainy conditions.  Listened to a sad documentary podcast Seriously, about a man with dementia who wrote a book a few years ago, Haunts of the Black Masseur: the swimmer as hero. 

Tues Feb 5
Working at home. Did a Power Plate class before work.

Weds Feb 6
Had time to go food shopping on the way to work. Nice lunch with Berenice. Had my annual appraisal.

Thurs Feb 7
Did an Amazon pre-order of Kindle book You Know You Want this (includes the cult short story Catperson, from the NY Times).  We have a major event at the end of the month and it's now very busy - I'm organising a filming schedule and other activities.

Fri Feb 8
Working at home. Been tough week. Ghastly weather. Getting stuck into the new book. The stories are a little disturbing.

Sat Feb 9

Did an all-day yoga workshop run by a friend, Jodie. It was in a barn out in the countryside. Very enjoyable.

Sun Feb 10
Power Plate followed by shopping, cleaning and hoovering.  Was intending to do a blog shoot but by 3pm had run out of momentum. 

Mon Feb 11
In the office. Awful day. Glad to get away early. 

Tues Feb 12
Working from home. Sunny spring like day.

Weds Feb 13
In office. Went to Tesco first. New blog post, fashion tips for the petite over-50s. I'm not petite at 5'5, so it took a lot of research.

Thurs Feb 14
Didn't do anything for Valentine's Day. In office. Busy but fun day. My favourite night of the week, knowing I'm home until Mon.

Fri Feb 15
Beautiful spring day. Tulips starting to show. At home. Fish n chips. Finished The Necessary Marriage, Elisa Lodato. 

Sat Feb 16
Not sunny sadly. Had patch test at a hairdresssers in Epping.  Did food shopping. Got 2 kitchen magazines as we're finally planning to get the kitchen done. Have been putting it off for years. The naturalized bulbs look lovely in Epping.
Clusters of crocuses under the trees in Epping, Essex
Sun Sun 17
Sunny again. Went to Power Plate and Sainsbury's.  Roast beef. Both of John's kids are on holiday so it was just us. Did a yoga session with Robyn Kristen which ended with the most blissful relaxation. 

Mon Feb 18
Half term so the roads are quieter. Saw the Feb full moon. Not a great day. Felt stressed and irritable when I got home. Watched a documentary about one of our favourite hills in the Lake District, Blencathra, which was soothing

Tues Feb 19
Sunny. J took delivery of new cushions and covers for the conservatory furniture, and put them on. 

Weds February 20
Working at home. Did Power Plate. Very busy! Hoping it would have tailed off by now. Published a blog post on outfits I've been wearing.

Thurs Feb 21
In office. Briefed APAC colleagues on the big industry event next week. So much still to get across the line. Started my prep by sorting out my boarding pass, conference pass etc

Friday Feb 22
At home. Very busy. By 4pm, and after PP, suddenly completely exhausted. Went to the pub for dinner. 

Sat Feb 23
Sunny. Hair done in Epping for the first time. Bit nerve wracking as it was colour and a cut, but went well. On the way, watched transfixed as dozens of deer crossed the road.
Selfie in a hairdressers salon showing the "after" of highlights and a cut
Sun Feb 24
The usual Power Plate class and shopping.  Tomorrow leave for Nürnberg for the big trade show. Had a lot to print off (the only time I ever print things). Wrote two blog posts  for while I'm away, and did a photo shoot. Changed sheets, cooked a roast dinner. Tiring day. Alarm set for 4.15. 

Mon Feb 25
Got to the airport early even for me. Had porridge in one of the cafes. Arrived in Nürnberg just after 10am. Did some email in my hotel and then went over to the conference venue, the Messe, where our stand was being built. Always amazing to see how untidy the halls are, with fork lift trucks and rubbish everywhere, compared to the next day when it's all pristine.

Tues Feb 26
The show opened. We were ready! Busy day for me, coordinating videos and social media. Had an unhealthy meal from a shop in the train station (sandwich and crisps), and early to bed. 

Weds Feb 27
V hectic day. Our stand was even busier today. No sitting at all. Utterly exhausted when got back to hotel at 6.30. Had a bath to soothe my throbbing feet. I had a healthier diet today but suspect dehydration and caffeine withdrawal are making me more tired than usual. 
The dream team 
Thurs 28 Feb
Last day of the show. Weather still good but J got caught in rain at home. Drank more water and paced myself better. Show ended at 5pm. Had cava on the booth. Team went out for the usual end-of-show celebration. Traditional Bavarian place - I had this braised beef and gingerbread gravy. Didn't eat much of the potato dumpling. Set alarm for 4am for the taxi taking us to the airport. 

That was my month - now let's hear about yours!

For More Mutton

Stay in the loop: follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. 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. 

Inlinkz Link Party

Monday 4 March 2019

The Sunshine Blogger Award for Is This Mutton!

The writer of Is This Mutton? the UK style and beauty blog with her long suffering husband on the island of Skiathos in Greece

Sharing a few sunshine-y images from Skiathos last year to go with the fact that I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by the lovely Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper. (I also enjoy her Other Blog which covers the weighty topic of Brexit among others!).

The award is given from bloggers to fellow bloggers who inspire creativity and positivity by bringing sunshine to the blogging community and to their readership alike. It is a way of encouraging one another as in saying ‘Hey, you are doing a great job and we can see it. Keep it up!!"

Penny nominated four bloggers and posed eight questions. So here goes!

Why did you begin blogging?

I started way back in 2006 with my other blog  because I was looking for a creative outlet. I've spent 22 years now in the hi-tech world of semiconductors, covering PCs / servers / embedded devices, and I yearned to write about topics like gardening, the arts and politics. I originally trained as a journalist so I've always enjoyed writing.

Is This Mutton? started in 2013 but quickly ran out of steam. I revived it in 2016 as a project to help me keep my hand in, as a digital marketer, when I was looking for a new job.

Has your blog changed since you started it?

Definitely - initially I posted just outfits, and the images were low-res. Here's an example from 2013. My hair is a different colour but the garden still looks the same!

I didn't really have much of a sense of my own style. My confidence has grown in the last three years and I experiment a lot more, plus my images are high res! I also put a lot more effort into promoting the blog with paid promotions occasionally and careful use of SEO and Pinterest. It's hard to find an audience because women over 50 don't generally seek out blogs, unlike the millennial age group. Even my female family members of the same age think my blog is a useless hobby and don't read it!

Blogging is time-consuming – what are the challenges you face in finding the time?

I work full-time, so I operate to a fairly strict schedule. I usually publish twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays. I take the photos at the weekend and write the posts on Sunday, scheduling the post for Wednesday which includes the #WowOnWednesday link up. I try to have a couple of spare posts in reserve in case I'm away. If I'm going on holiday, I'll write something in advance. On Wednesdays I get to work early so that I have half an hour to promote the new post on my social channels.

When do you write a post – the morning or the evening?

Always in the morning or afternoon - never in the evening.

What is your favourite topic?

That's a tough one.  I cover my two favourite topics, beauty and fashion! Beauty posts sometimes take longer because I might take before and after pictures, and photos of the products.
I love writing about jewellery too but I've exhausted all the world's birthstones, except for a couple of gems and a new series (pending) about the precious metals.

What’s the thing you love most about blogging?

The over-40s blogging community is lovely, so supportive, from all over the world. Everyone is so positive about each other's posts. I would love to meet them all!

What’s the thing you like least?

You do worry if anyone is reading! A lot of the comments are from fellow bloggers, which is lovely, but it feels very special to have comments from non-bloggers who have taken the trouble to visit and read a post.  I think we all beat ourselves up about our numbers not increasing as much as we would like. I'm philosophical about it - as I said earlier, our target audience is not huge. As long as I'm enjoying it, that's the main thing.

Where do you see yourself and your blog in five years time?

I'll be retired by then and I hope Is This Mutton? (and me!) will still be going strong.  We're all getting older and hopefully the readers will still be interested in seeing an ordinary woman,  by then over the age of 60, adopting ridiculous poses in the garden and trying to get miracles from face creams.

Now for my nominations!

Mary from Guernsey and her blog The Pouting Pensioner
Irish blogger Hilda for Over The Hilda
Anna from Mutton Style

The Questions for my Four Nominees

What's the blog post you're most proud of?
How do you get the ideas for your posts?
Where are your favourite places in the sunshine?
Tell us an unexpected fact about yourself
What's your favourite social media site and why?
Do you keep yourself on a budget for clothes for your blog?
How proactive are you in trying to build collaborations with brands, if at all?
What does your family think about your blogging habit?

The rules for this award are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
Answer the questions given by the person who nominated you.
Nominate other blogs and give questions for them to answer.
Notify your nominees through social media or by commenting on their blog.
List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

Thanks again Penny, it was fun answering the questions! Look forward to reading my nominees' replies. Sharing this post with: #MuttonStyleMonday at Mutton Style, Creative Wednesdays at Claire Justine, Anything Goes at My Random Musings and #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb.

I'll be back tomorrow with Sentence a Day for February.

The sun comes up over the sunbeds at Vassilias beach, Skiathos in Greece

For More Mutton

Stay in the loop: follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. 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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