"". November 2019 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Wednesday 27 November 2019

Party Face With Bargain Makeup: And #WowOnWednesday

Over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with the finished result of a thirty pound makeup spree to find bargain products needed for a party face.
An eyeshadow palette with 15 shades and seven other items of make-up for less than £30 - how does that sound? Well, as someone with a severe Charlotte Tilbury addiction, quite tempting - but also nerve wracking. I decided to find out if any of the latest formulations of bargain make-up could tempt me away from the luxury brands.

Friday 22 November 2019

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Shades of Brown and #WowOnWednesday Link Up

Is This Mutton the style blog for the over-50s dusts off a pair of 1990s brown parallel check trousers and brings them up to date with a mock neck jumper and layered coin necklace.

I was pleased to hear that brown, caramel and beige shades are in because it gives me the chance to dust off my old "Rupert Bear" trousers and style them in a modern way.

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

I like the combination of brown and white so wore my white bouclĂ© jacket from summer 2018 and my white ankle boots from last winter. 

Brown Oxford Bag trousers from the 1990s worn with a mock neck lurex striped jumper, white jacket and layered coin necklace by over-50s style blogger Is This Mutton?

What brings the outfit bang up-to-date is the top and the necklace. Thin sweaters/jumpers made of a fine fabric with a soft "mock neck" are trending so much on Asos they have an entire section devoted to them.  The mock neck is lower and looser than a polo neck, and not generally turned over. Mine, from All Saints, has a fine lurex stripe through it.

Brown and white together with check trousers, white boucle jacket and lurex striped mock neck jumper

Mega coin necklaces are another hot trend. You can either create your own by layering different necklaces, or buy one ready layered, as I did for just £25. It's a great necklace for adding drama to plain or dark backgrounds.

Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton takes two trends, mock neck jumper and layered coin necklace, and creates an outfit of brown and white suitable for office to evening wear

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

What's the oldest garment you have in your wardrobe?  Do share in the comments.

Disclosure: no items were gifted for this post.

The colourful sheep logo of Is This Mutton, the style blog, and its weekly fashion and beauty link-up for bloggers #WowOnWednesday.

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the weekly fashion, beauty and travel link-up that helps bloggers find new readers, and readers to find new blogs to enjoy!

Last week's most clicked was Michelle from Fifty and Fab, with her thoughtful post: Decluttered and Conscious Christmas Gifting IdeasI love the idea of giving people experiences rather than more "stuff."

Michelle from blog Fifty and Fab in Christmas mood

Also with the same number of reader clicks, and my favourite last week, was Darlene from Aquamarina Style with her post Easy-to-Style Sweater Dress with Sneakers and Boots. Darlene shows how versatile a simple sweater dress can be with two different looks.

Take one sweater dress and style it two ways as shown by mid life blogger Darlene from Aquamarina Style at #WowOnWednesday.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Friday 15 November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast Recommendations

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

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

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

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

Must See Exhibition: Tutankhamun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book recommendation: Olive Again and Our Rainbow Queen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Recent Outfits

Style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in red sequin top, asymmetric plaid skirt and red and black boots

This week is a round-up of recent outfits I've been wearing, smart, casual and work wear. First up: the outfit that didn't make it.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Crazy About Boots - and Link Up

Style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton blog shows her collection of boots

One of the things I love about autumn and winter is the return of boots. Ankle boots, long boots, over-the-knee boots, round toed, pointed toed - I love them all. And here I am surrounded by most of my collection.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Sentence a Day, October 2019: US Visit and Big Reunion

Pumpkin display for Halloween at Marks and Spencer, Epping, England
Tues Oct 1
The hubster has added Netflix to our Sky subscription at a bargain rate so at last we can start watching The Crown!

Weds Oct 2
At home. Extremely busy, last meeting at 7.30pm. Watching The Crown.......

Thurs Oct 3
Getting colder. Wore new green snakeskin boots for first time. Came home early as have late meetings again.

Fri Oct 4
One of those days where everything going wrong! Except for being able to get in size 10 (US size 6 trousers.) again. We were supposed to be going to a restaurant tomorrow for J's birthday but unfortunately they rang to say it's closed for a few days because of a flood in the kitchen.

Sat Oct 5
Nice morning, went to garden centre and bought 2 hellebores, a winter hanging basket and an indoor stephanotis plant. Did a blog shoot.

Sun Oct 6
Weather was bad. Went to gym, did roast chicken. John's birthday so kids and grandchild came round to give him his presents.

Mon Oct 7
Early start, flight to San Francisco. Attending my company's big tech event for customers in San Jose which I've helped to manage.  On plane watched films Yesterday (very good), Late Nights (average) and a documentary about Vivienne Westwood (v gd).

Tues Oct 8
Woke at 3 but ok because I class this as "me time" to read and do emails. Event started. Booth looks fantastic. Below, with a colleague on one of the demos.
Style blogger Gail Hanlon with a colleague on the Arm booth at Arm TechCon in San Jose, California
Weds Oct 9
Up at 4. Very long day as there was a lot of normal work I had to do as well as duty at the event all day. I was wearing an augmented reality t-shirt: if you clicked on the back of it, with the Zappar app, I took off!
Showcasing augmented reality at Arm TechCon: Gail Hanlon's t-shirt becomes jet propelled when activated by Zappar
Thurs Oct 10
Awake at 5.15 today, getting better! But now it's the last day. Went out with colleagues for a nice lunch salad in the sun. Left for airport 4.30 and pleasant flight home. No films - managed some sleep.

Fri Oct 11
Landed on time and home by 4.30.

Sat Oct 12
J's belated birthday celebration at The Gilbert Scott - a restaurant at St Pancras station, beautiful decor. Here's the three of us.
Dining at The Gilbert Scott Restaurant in London:  Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon with husband and stepdaughter.
And here's the birthday boy.
Sun Oct 13
Quiet day, did some work on blog

Mon Oct 14
Worked from home. Sorting out sales leads from the event. Went to the gym.

Tues Oct 15
Worked from home. Got 2 pumpkins to put outside the house to show we're receptive for Halloween trick or treaters.

Weds Oct 16
In office. Up early making salads for our lunches. A new nativity stable and characters arrived for Christmas - have always wanted one!

Thurs Oct 17
Office. Good day busy and productive.

Fri Oct 18
Worked from home, went to gym.

Sat Oct 19
Food shopping and garden centre. The pumpkin display at the top was in Marks and Spencer, Epping. At the garden centre bought 6 wallflowers plants and three trays of forget me nots. These will look great with spring bulbs.
Sun Oct 20
Walked to the gym, 2 miles. It was a  strenuous class so got bus halfway home!

Mon 21 Oct
Good day in office.

Tues 22 Oct
Dark when I left the house at just before 7. Gross.

Weds 23 Oct
At home. Went to gym. Squirrel continues to try to steal nuts in the garden - look how muscular he is!
Thurs 24 Oct
Working from home. Went into London to get a train to Plymouth at 6pm - am there for a long weekend for a reunion of the people on my first job as a trainee reporter. Read the post.

Fri 25 Oct
At my mum's in Plymouth. Blustery and wet. Had a lovely lunch on the Barbican.  Bought a secondhand sapphire ring in a shop called Pre-Loved.

Sat 26 Oct
Very wet and windy. Met up with my brother, his wife, son (and girlfriend), daughter and Mum for lunch. Later in the afternoon my friend rang to say she'd arrived and I left Mum's to stay the night in an Airbnb on the Barbican. Nine of us met up for drinks followed by dinner. Very pleasant - and a late night for me (2am!).

Sun 27 Oct
Beautiful sunny day. Originally we had all arranged to meet at 9am for a walk, but this turned out to be too ambitious so I went back to London on an earlier train. I was home by 3pm.

Mon 28 Oct
The clocks went back yesterday so it was light when I left the house. Hooray.

Tues 29 Oct
Working from home. Tidied up old CDs and found my soundtrack to the film Oliver! Been playing it ever since.

Weds 30 Oct
Up early (5.30) to make salads, wash hair, get petrol, drive to work. New monitor and keyboard came for my home PC.

Thurs 31 Oct
Halloween. About 12 kids came in their costumes trick and treating. Had to sit in darknesss after we ran out of sweets!

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Sunday 3 November 2019

Transform A Boring Outfit with Just Three Accessories

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon in an outfit transformed with three accessories
I'm as guilty as the next person of throwing on an outfit on dark wintry mornings and then cursing later how boring it is.

I liked the colours and print of this Mistral skirt from last winter and purposely bought a blue cashmere cardigan to wear with it this year. So this was my intention, adding burgundy ankle boots and a cream silk blouse. Arriving at work, I realised the outfit looked dull, dull, dull.

Here's how I transformed it with just three accessories.
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