"". April 2022 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Friday 29 April 2022

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Fashion and Gardening, Mutton Style - plus Link-Up

 Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon beside her vigorous Clematis Montana Rubens Superba

Dear friends. Today I'm trying to achieve the impossible by combining fashion with gardening. Regular readers will know that most of my fashion posts are photographed in my garden. And I promised you a while ago that I would tell the story of how we created the garden. 


Monday 25 April 2022

This Old Thing? - Style Not Age Challenge

 Gail Hanlon with two old things: paste jewellery that belonged to her grandmother, and

Dear friends. It's my turn with this month's Style Not Age Challenge, and I chose "This old Thing" as the theme. How many times have we said that to a loved one, when asked about something new we're wearing?


Wednesday 20 April 2022

Styling a Teddy Blake Bag

 Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon with a Teddy Blake Kim Croco bag in green

Dear friends. You may have seen a few of my blogger friends with Teddy Blake handbags. I was thrilled when the New York brand offered me the chance to choose a bag and style it for you.

The great thing about these bags is the way they cut out the middleman.


Wednesday 13 April 2022

All About Diamonds


All about diamonds: Is This Mutton answers questions in the 10 on the 10th diamond edition and shows her own diamond rings plus her favorite song about diamonds and memories of the Diamond Jubilee

Dear friends. So this is my 10 on the 10th post, except that it's the 13th. 

It was yesterday afternoon when I realized something was missing. A post for today! I had no content or photos ready, which I put down to my holiday last week, and then having a lot of chores to do when I returned at the weekend. 

But then I remembered 10 on the 10th, which I was keen to do because of the diamonds theme. So here I am burning the midnight oil and making sure you have a post to link up with.

Thanks Leslie and Marsha for the easy format of this 10 on the 10th, the Diamond edition! I wrote a series of posts about all the birthstones so I'm looking forward to answering the questions. Let's go.

Diamonds are April’s birthstone. What is your birthstone?  What do you like or dislike about it?

I was born in November and my birthstone is the topaz. Now most of you will think of topaz as pale blue, but the blue stone is really rare, so many are irradiated to create the color artificially (read more in my post about topaz). 

The color I associate with the topaz is a beautiful orange, and this stone is known as Imperial Topaz. The reason it fell out of favor is that deposits are mostly depleted. But you can occasionally find vintage pieces.  I love the rarity of this stone. When I was 12, I was given an Imperial topaz pendant but sadly it got lost over the years. Here's an example of an Imperial topaz. 

Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance found on Earth.  What is something hard you’ve dealt with in the past year or so?

It's something I'm dealing with right now, and it's the possibility of redundancy. Everyone in marketing, over 100 people, at my company has been placed "at risk". We won't known who's actually leaving until mid May.  The uncertainty, and the high number of people affected (30%), is causing a lot of anguish. I am somewhat sanguine: I've had a good long career and have worked since I was 18. Maybe now is the time for me to stop working. 

Marilyn Monroe is synonymous with the saying "Diamonds are a girl's best friend."  Do you have a favorite Marilyn Monroe saying, movie, or picture?  Please do tell!

I absolutely love Some Like It Hot. It's one of my favorite films. My mum and my brother Andrew also loved it, and we have seen it so many times we can recite some of the lines. 

I love her quote (not from the film)  "A smile is the best makeup a girl could wear."

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was in 2012.  What were you doing in 2012 and would actually confess to?

2012 was a memorable year in many ways.  London hosted the Olympics, and what a magnificent occasion that was. The hubster and I went to the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, and it was the most moving and enchanting event. The warmth and joy in the stadium was contagious. The hubster was a volunteer for the Olympics and had fun giving directions to tourists. Below: a few memories of the Olympics.

Montage showing highlights of Is This Mutton's trip to the 2012 London Olympics during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year

Name a song with diamond in the title and then tell us why you picked that one.

I'm going with Diamonds by the Boxer Rebellion. I love this song. It's got wonderful lyrics and is a bittersweet account of someone feeling he doesn't match up. "I'm no good with diamonds. When I'm too close to start to fade". Here's a video of them performing the song. The Boxer Rebellion is a London-based internationally known indie band. 

Would you splurge on a large diamond, a grand experience, or a new car?  Why?

Much as I would love a diamond, my hands are not my best feature so I wouldn't splurge on a large diamond. I'd probably buy a car instead. The hubster and I will soon be sharing a car: it's the first time I won't have had my own car since I started driving. 

Do you have a sentimental diamond gift or bequest?  What makes it sentimental to you?

My mum gave me her two diamond rings: she wanted to see me wearing them, and she can't wear them now because of arthritis in her hands.   One is a solitaire, the other has three diamonds (below)

Why do you think diamonds have become such a desired gemstone?  Do you like diamonds?

They're special because they are so hard, unlike many of the other gem stones. And popular because they come in several colors, although the default is usually the clear diamond, which goes with everything. I always wanted a big diamond cluster ring when I was young, but it wasn't to be. However - you can get very good imitation diamonds, and I have a few rings, below, which people often think are real! 

Selection of faux diamond rings

I also have a diamond eternity ring. 

Are you a traditionalist when it comes to diamonds, or do you like the colored stones?  Why?

I prefer colored stones. My engagement ring is a sapphire. My real favourite is a large square cut emerald. I love the really vivid green. These don't come cheap in the color and size that I lust after, which is the reason I don't have one!

Find my post about the history of diamonds

I hope you enjoyed this unusual post about diamonds and I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Do you have any diamonds? 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile  at StylesplashTFF at Doused in Pink, Lizzie in Lace, Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine WhateverFabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Weekday Wear Link-Up at Away from the Blue Sunday Showcase with Chez Mireille and Elegance and Mommyhood  (first Sunday of the month), Stylish Monday (first Monday of the month) with Ask Suzanne Bell, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri and Traffic Jam Weekend at My Bijou Life

Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Bloggers/Instagrammers can find new readers, plus readers can find new blogs to read. I promote my favorite five posts on Facebook and Twitter every week, and feature the most clicked posts in Instagram Stories. 

Last Week's Fashion Favorite (Most Clicked)

This Instagram post from Mary of the Pouting Pensioner was the runaway winner.  Just goes to show that providing links for IG is a good way to grow your views!

Favorite Non-Fashion Post

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper gave us an update about her recent move to a a new town, Lewes. 

Is This Mutton Favorite

My jaw dropped open when I read this account from Amber, Hungry Mountaineer, about her visit to Desert Hot Springs in California. She was warned it was quite windy, but not hurricane strength! 

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Wednesday 6 April 2022

Red Cardigan 4 Ways

 Styling a red cardigan 4 ways:  Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in white jeans, red and white striped tee and red espadrilles

Dear friends. After all the Covid shenanigans last week, I'm now fully restored to good health and as you read this I will be with my mother in Plymouth for our long awaited get together.

Today I'm creating four different outfits based on one cardigan.  It's got very cold again here in the UK after a few days of "Fool's Spring," so a cardigan is a must-have.


Monday 4 April 2022

March Favourites: Books, TV, Podcasts

 Woman reading a book with backdrop of the sea. Image from Pexels.

Dear friends. Welcome to March Favourites, my reviews of books, TV and podcasts. Lots to discuss so let's dive in. 

Friday 1 April 2022

March in Review


March was eagerly anticipated - there were some fun things planned: the Van Gogh exhibition, baby shower, trip to Devon to see Mum....but then Covid struck, affecting me personally; and the threat of redundancy looms large......

Tues March 1

Happy to see March! Had a "helpful" email from Google about how I need to sort out "unparsable structured data issues." Yes, right. Raining. New Kettlewell range online. Ordered a few bits.

Weds March 2

Bit out of sorts,  sore throat. Had a meeting at 9 30 which meant I couldn't go for a walk. Intended to go to the gym later but somehow it didn't happen. Grrr.

Thursday March 3 

Tired and emotional. It's the Ukranian situation and learning that the upcoming IPO means a restructuring at work. Around 30% in marketing will be made redundant.  Did a walk. Donated to Ukraine with work matching. Day ended with us learning our boss has gone. Stunned.

Friday March 4 

Cold. Did Body Balance. First Kettlewell delivery of new season, electric blue moto jacket and acid yellow wrapover top. Anna was doing a #styleitforukraine post so I took a quick picture for IG. Had the 2nd developers' workshop this afternoon. 

Sat Mar 5

So cold and grey I didn't fancy going out. Did housework. Spent afternoon reading.

Sun Mar 6

Sun out at last. Forest walk. Run Nation 10k happening. Roast beef. Wrote 3 blog posts. Daffodils are blooming in the front garden. I've added many different types over the years and enjoy seeing the sequence unfold. 

Mon March 6

Sun came out but v cold. Did walk, 4.4. Yet another delivery of white jeans to try on.

Tues March 7

Sunny, cold. Nice drive to office.  Did a bespoke Getty shoot from 10 to 3pm.

Weds March 8

Did  urban walk, Tesco 1 way. Was tempted to go to office again as there was a reception for former CEO, but no one else in team was going in.

Thur March 9

Bit down today, cancelled yoga thinking I would do a walk or workout,  but no motivation. I would kill Putin with my bare hands.

Fri Mar 10

Quiet day. Set off for gym to do Body Balance but had forgotten lock for locker, so couldn't do it. Quiz at the Orion Harriers in the evening. Ate so much rubbish! 

Sat Mar 11

Eating so many crisps, mini eggs and other rubbish had repercussions: 3 pounds on.  Did long walk. Sunny intervals.  Went in town (London), tried on 3 pairs white jeans, no good. First time I've tried clothes on in a store for a very long time.  

Sun March 12

Lost 2 of the 3 errant pounds thanks to 9.5 miles walked yesterday. Cloudy. Lunch in a Turkish restaurant for Rachel's Baby Shower.  Below: my virgin mohitjo

Mon March 13 

Email about the redundancy process. A long drawn out affair in the UK. We don't know yet who's on the list. Walk, very spring-like. J went to Cheltenham Races for 2 days.  Watched film The Lost Daughter. 3 more pairs of white jeans delivered. Still no good. 

Tues March 14 

Drove to work in Cambridge. Sunny and warm. First email came, which indicates I'm affected in some way. Org change yes, redundancy, still don't know.  Did a walk at lunchtime with a colleague. 

Weds March 15 

Rain turned torrential.  Nazanin Zagary Ratcliffe freed from Iran, where she has been falsely imprisoned since 2016.  Was checking her status all day. Couldn't stop crying when I saw her plane had actually taken off.  J back from Cheltenham.

Thurs March 16

Sunny! Windows, wheelie bins and car covered in red dust from the "Sahara rain."  Unfortunate seeing as the windows were cleaned on Monday. Meeting describing the redundancy process. Did yoga. 

Friday March 17

Spring-like although chilly. Walked to Body Balance.  New routine and quite hard! Every man for himself. Bought fish n chips, first time for ages.

Sat March 18 

Sunny, breezy. Did a walk but aching quite a bit. 1 pair straight white jeans came from M&S and these are good but maybe in a different size. More pairs on way. Salmon. Watched DTS  (Drive to Survive). 

Sun March 19 

Spring equinox.  Wind has dropped.  J tested positive.  A gift from Cheltenham.  We were supposed to be going to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Courtauld followed by lunch on Wednesday, and then I was going to Mum's on Thurs for a few days.  I tested negative. 1st Grand Prix of the season.  Not great for Lewis. 

Mon March 20

Mum overdid it in her garden and in a lot of pain. Did walk, sunny, saw cows. They're very placid and don't mind you getting close. The "cow bells" are their GPS devices. If they stray beyond their confines, they get a mild electric shock.  This is to avoid them crossing the busy main road. They've learnt how close they can get, and then back off. 

Tues March 21 

I'm still negative but feeling like I am coming down with Covid. Reluctantly told my mum it was best if I didn't come down. She agreed. Cancelled my leave. Sunny. Was busy work-wise so didn't get to go out.

Weds March 22

Bit rough.  Coughing.  Sunny. Did walk but cut it short, not much energy.  J still positive. Garden looking good. Forsythia is out, as are hyacinths and daffodils. Took photos of where there are gaps in borders, for when I plant the bulbs later in the year. 

Thurs March 23 

Finally tested positive.  Have avoided Covid for 2 years. Have to change hair appointment. Didn't get promotion, which I'd been pushing hard for. Very disappointed.  Did an hour in garden.

Fri March 24 

Sunny. Day off.  Did Iris Apfel shoot indoors.  Did walk in afternoon in forest, which is so big I posed no threat to anyone. There's a new bench in the forest, dedicated to Polly Corrigan PhD, 1974 to 2019. Saw the cows. 

Sat March 25

Sunny. Not much energy. Stayed in all day. Watched film Black Crab (Swedish). 6 out of 10. 

Sun March 26 

Cloudy all morning. Did short walk with J. Roast chicken.  Grand Prix, Lewis was right at the back. 

Mon March 27

Cold, cloudy. Did work out. Feeling a lot better.  Faint 2nd line in Covid test.  Everyone in marketing had an "at risk of redundancy" meeting in small groups.  No further forward. Marks start of 45 day consultation period. Should know more by next Monday.

Tues March 28

Was going for walk but overcome by tiredness.  Had a bath. Lay on bed reading with Molly. Finished A Terrible Kindness and started Girl A. Finally threw out my old walking boots. They've done good service. Started series 2 of Traces. 

Weds March 30

Cold grey start. Decided not to go for walk. Approached by a handbag co and invited to choose a bag. Get in!  Lots to choose from. Quite busy today. 

Thurs March 31 

Cloudy and cold start. Did short walk in forest. Feeling better, although a bit congested as if I have a cold. J went to see Rosie to give her her birthday presents - she's 3 today.  She was thrilled with the ice cream shop we gave her. We're going to her party on Saturday.

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