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Wednesday 11 March 2020

Latest Favourites - and Link Up

Ageing gracefully over 50 - blonde hair and bright pink lipstick
In my monthly round-up of favourites, I'm focusing this time on beauty and podcasts.  I'm starting with beauty and a foundation that many bloggers have been raving about:  IT Cosmetics CC Cream.

I couldn't resist buying a tube, even though I've been fiercely loyal to Darphin's Melaperfect foundation for several years. You can get a 12ml travel size which is ideal as a trial size  (and cost around £14 from Cult Beauty. It's also available on Amazon).

My verdict?  Below,  I have used just the CC Cream and no other make-up. I used the shade Fair, and it's a good match for winter giving a golden creamy colour.  The coverage of pigmentation and redness around the nose is excellent. It lasts well and looks fresh all day.  There isn't much to choose between this product and my usual foundation - both can look a bit cakey if you apply too much.  Both give a natural appearance, like your own skin but refreshed. The Darphin foundation is a little more beige so will be better as I acquire a slight tan.
Woman in her 50s having applied a CC cream and no other make up
My second beauty choice is a set of the most beautiful make-up brushes I have ever seen. I first saw them in one of Trinny Woodall's beauty adverts for Trinny London.  Inevitably, people ask every time where she got the brushes, and the reply is always "Amazon."  Well let me tell you, the Artis brushes are not sold on Amazon!  They are quite pricey, but just look at the quality. I bought them online direct from Artis and they shipped from the US.  A lovely gift for any woman who loves make-up.
Artis rose gold make-up brushes, photographed by Is This Mutton

Podcast Pleasures 

When I first started listening to podcasts, probably about 15 years ago, I had a long commute of 112 miles each way. As with my commute now, public transport wasn't really feasible. Podcasts were my saviour on that long drive, which involved two motorways so sometimes long delays. At that time, they were mostly radio programmes from the mainstream channels, downloaded from the iTunes Store.

I always listened to Radio 4's Drama of the Week, Woman's Hour,  Gardeners' Question Time, Desert Island Discs (and still do). Plus Simon Mayo's Confessions. Now, the podcast genre is just massive. Every week I find, via recommendations and Twitter, many more pods to try. A new magazine has just been launched, Podcast Magazine, which is very impressive although rather US-centric at the moment.  Each month it includes the top 50 pods as voted by the readers.

I've become quite demanding about my podcast listening.   I expect the highest production values, so I don't listen to any pods where the music / speech are at different levels, or the voices sound weedy through use of a cheap microphone. I can't bear beds of music swelling in the background behind audio. Cheesy idents are an instant turn-off.

I'm going to  save you some time by giving you the fruits of my listening labors.

True Crime Podcasts

My first passion was true crime and this is a rich seam, but I find I only like those where a narrator with a good voice regales us with the crime in question. I can't bear those where two people have banter and then "chat" about a crime, or those where one presenter is trying to be a personality and spends 10 mins waffling on about subscribing and what he/she did at Christmas.

My top choices for true crime are therefore: Casefile True Crime, Men's Rea (Irish crimes predominantly - features a wonderful musical intro) and Canadian True Crime.

Drama Podcasts

My latest drama fix is This Thing of Darkness from the BBC,  a compelling 7 part drama exploring the impact of murder through one family’s experience and via group therapy for murderers.  Dr Alex Bridges is an expert forensic psychiatrist, assessing and treating perpetrators of the most unthinkable crimes.
Cover artwork for BBC Radio's drama podcast This Thing of Darkness

Documentary as Drama Podcasts

Increasingly there's a genre of podcast where a true life story is presented as partial documentary / drama.  In real life, there's a new con artist around who is high on charisma and vision and can persuade thousands of people (if not millions) to fund their endeavor.  It all comes crashing down of course when they are finally exposed. The story of Theranos and its young founder Elizabeth Holmes, who modelled herself on Steve Jobs, is thrillingly told in The Drop Out.  I liked less The Missing Crypto Queen, about a woman who conned millions of pounds globally from gullible bitcoin investors, although a colleague loved it.  For me, the pre-publicity had been too intense and I already knew the outcome.  The latest pod in this genre is WeCrashed, about the rise and fall of WeWork.

Blogger Know-How Podcasts

If you're a blogger and keen to do more with Pinterest, a recent episode of Blogger Genius is just what you need. Pinterest has been changing its algorithms but they do it in a kinder way than Facebook and Instagram, who are only it for money.

The podcast is run by Jillian Tohber Leslie, founder of MiloTree.com and CatchMyParty.com.

I learnt a lot about using pins:  for example, don't make your blog's own board the first destination for your best pin.  Choose a high ranking alternative board, to guide Pinterest as to where your pin best fits.

Aimed at Millennials versus our own age group 

I am nothing if not experimental, so I have listened to a lot of podcasts aimed at millennials and hoped I'd find some good ones.  Gaslight was an intriguing drama podcast which I enjoyed, about a young woman brainwashed by the charismatic leader of a cult. There are quite a few chat/interview format shows, presented by people like Fearne Cotton and Dawn O'Porter, but I found that most of the interviewers were too keen to talk about themselves and didn't give their guests the chance to shine. 

Moving then to podcasts for women of a certain age.....

Woman's Hour is still a top choice, although I do despair at how PC it can be. In a tribute to the NHS, Jane Garvey seemed very annoyed that no women had been significant in its development, but going back fifty years, that is to be expected. The great thing about Woman's Hour is how it confronts taboo subjects in a completely fearless way. Kudos to Garvey and the inimitable Dame Jenni Murray for the no-nonsense way they handle these topics.

The new podcast Postcards from Midlife, from The Times, is worth catching although it does break one of my rules:  the incidental music is terrible and always louder than the speech, as are the ads. I covered the first episode here. Recently the podcast has talked to menopause campaigner Meg Mathews and Kate Garraway for her views on why older women are sexy.

A new podcast which is floating my boat is Susannah Constantine's My Wardrobe Malfunction. She chats to some very high-calibre guests about the clothes they have worn over the years and their sartorial disasters. Her chat with Elizabeth Hurley was controversial in that they both dismissed skirts as matronly - well, that made me splutter, so read read my views on this.

And finally - a standout pod in this genre is "Fortunately with Fi and Jane".  Two seasoned presenters, interesting guests and laugh out loud banter about stuff like "cutlery chuff" which you always find in the cutlery drawer.

Comedy Podcasts

I haven't found many podcasts that raise a smile, if I'm honest.  I used to like BBC Radio 4's "Friday  Night Comedy" but it became too woke. I  love "Dear Joan and Jerica" - you can catch the first two series at your usual podcast provider.  These two doughty ladies deal with sexual woes sent in by their "listeners" in a hilarious and jaw dropping way. Not for the easily shocked. Peter Crouch's podcast is about football but (oxymoron?) it's also very amusing. 


My favourite is Radio 4's Seriously.  The topics are often surprising or mundane, like talking about the lift (or elevator), and the phrase "OK Boomer" - but Seriously's take is always a bit sideways.It feeds my curiosity. Both Radio 4 and the BBC World Service are a great source of documentaries.

Hard to categorize - but one of my favourites

Dying for Sex from Wondery has the potential to be heartbreaking, yet it is irreverent, funny and touching. Molly has stage 4 breast cancer, and has been dealing with it by having random sex encounters to make her feel invigorated and alive. The podcast is a chat between Molly and her best friend (who sometimes doesn't approve of what Molly has been up to).   

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle,  #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile at Stylesplash

Nothing was gifted for this post.

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday

Last week's link up had a record number of entries which was great to see. Non-bloggers, I'd urge you to visit a few of the blogs and leave some comments. You may find a new favourite. You'll certainly make a blogger's day.

Last week's most clicked was by Alison from Midlife and Beyond with her post "Age, Sustainability and Shopping my Wardrobe." This is a topic which continues to grow in appeal as we all try to make more sustainable choices.

My choice was by Nancy from Nancy's Fashion Style. I find myself increasingly drawn to posts about travel, and it's great to read about places which are not written about by the glossies, or off the beaten track.  Nancy wrote about a weekend in Emmen, in her own country the Netherlands. 

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