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Friday, 30 September 2022

September Favourites: Books, TV, Podcasts


Dear friends. Welcome to another Favourites, a monthly round-up of what I've been watching, reading and hearing. 

We're now getting seriously into the Autumn/Fall schedules, always heralded by the start of "Strictly Come Dancing".  I'm going to start with TV and a couple of the new season blockbusters.


Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Nailing Your Personal Style

 And #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in cream patterned brogues, brown jeggings, pale peach top and flamingo pink short tie wrap

Dear friends. Have you nailed your personal style?  Do you gravitate towards certain styles and shapes that suit your build and personality?  Or do you get seduced online, in shops or on Instagram, by the whims of fashion, the desire to keep trying something different, or not really knowing what to buy that will suit your shape?


Monday, 26 September 2022

Lux Layering! Style Not Age Challenge

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton shows how to layer up for warmth and style, without turning into the Michelin Man.

Greetings friends. It was my turn to choose the challenge for Style Not Age this month, and, with rising fuel bills in mind, I chose Lux Layering.

During lockdown we became familiar with athleisure, wearing sweat pants, fleeces, onesies and PJs (and occasionally a smart shirt for a Zoom call). But judging from retail sales, it seems we're heartily sick of this trend and want to look smarter.  So how to keep warm?

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Ghyll Scrambling and other Jolly Japes

 With #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton tries ghyll scrambling in the Lake District, over 60!

Dear friends. We're back from a fabulous week in the Lake District in the north of England. Not only did we have wonderful weather but we tried a couple of new activities. In addition to the usual fell walking we went ghyll scrambling. 

Clad in wetsuit, jacket, flotation vest and helmet, you make your way down a ghyll (or waterfall), in this case Stoneycroft ghyll, diving and jumping into pools, scrambling down rocks and getting fully immersed in the process. Below: John with Jay from Keswick Adventures who was our guide.

Ghyll scrambling at Stoneycroft Ghyll in the Lake District

Jay assured us his oldest client had been 84, so we were spring chickens. It was great fun. We were both wearing Go Pro's so check out John's short video of our adventure. 

 Next time we're going to book Canyoning, which is ghyll scrambling on stereoids, involving wearing a  a harness.  I'm also willing to try bungee jumping and kayaking. But I may take a rain check on "via ferrata." which you can do at Honister Slate Mine. I'm not good with heights.

We also spent half a day on ebikes. Poor John is very keen to make a cyclist out of me, but I've been too traumatised by London traffic.  Here I am before we started. John was tinkering with the bikes before we started. He's a very keen cyclist and has a ebike along with various others, so the first thing he does with a new bike is change the position of the handlebars and saddle.

The first hill we did was a HUGE one, but the bike was in turbo mode and shot off.  I quite enjoyed that, but I didn't like the steep descent and was braking (with brakes squealing) the whole time.  We managed to get to the hotel in time for the procession taking the Queen's coffin to Westminster Hall for the lying in state.

We did a couple of strenuous walks, both favourites which we've done a few times. Neither of us seemed to be at full power, energy-wise, which was strange;  we didn't have Covid. But it meant we had a less active time than we normally have in the Lakes.  Here's one of the spectacular views we enjoyed during our lunch stop.

Views from Carlside of Derwentwater, September 2022

On the last day, we went to the garden and grounds of Mirehouse near Keswick and spent a long time exploring the bee garden and woodland and lakeside walks, plus popping into this tiny church in the grounds. I'd love to go to a service there.

St Begas Church in the grounds of Mirehouse, Keswick

This picture shows me in the heather maze, with the backdrop of three fells we walked earlier in the week. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with background of woodland and fells in the Lake District

Apart from my hiking clothes, I packed a capsule wardrobe of Kettlewell separates in my spring colours, which work beautifully together.  I tried a couple of full length selfies in the room but they weren't great, so here's a brief look at what I wore, along with the rose gold boots and teal brogues I took. For bottoms I had brown and dark green jeggings from M&S, which appear to have sold out already.  I took a few necklaces to jazz up the outfits. Dinners in our hotel are less formal than they used to be, but you still like to make an effort.
A capsule wardrobe featuring Kettlewell Colours, teal brogues and rose gold boots
And the dinners! Well, fabulous. Here's a small selection.  Food highlights from the Borrowdale Gates Hotel near Keswick
We're booking our next visit for April as it's always lovely in spring with the lambs, pheasants and azaleas. 

Have you / would you try ghyll scrambling or via ferrata? 

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,Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine Whatever,, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Friendship Friday at Create with Joy, OMHGWW at Oh My Heartsie Girl , Trend Spin at The Fashion Canvas

Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up.  Posts on any topic are welcome. I'd encourage both bloggers and readers to explore what's on offer. Blog comments make it all worthwhile. 

Last Week's Favourites - Most Clicked

Drowning in Pinks from newcomer to to the link-up, Chajleen. 

Life Lately from Marsha in the Middle, on moving into a new home. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

The End of an Era: Queen Elizabeth II

 & Link-Up

Is This Mutton the London style blog gives a personal view on the reign and significance of Queen Elizabeth II

Dear friends. I'm writing this the day after our dear Queen died. As you read it, I am away in the Lake District so I prepared my post in advance, and wanted to reflect on her life and what she meant to me and the rest of the UK. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Purpleologists of the World Unite!

 & WowOnWednesday Link-Up

How to use purple as a neutral:  wear it as a skirt or trousers and put your most flattering colours next to your face, as demonstrated by Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton?

Dear friends. Do you consider yourself a Purpleologist? This is a person who loves anything and everything to do with the colour purple. 

I discovered this week that purple is quite a divisive colour.  It's something you either love or hate. 


Sunday, 4 September 2022

Outings, Art, Wild Flowers - August in Review


Gail Hanlon from style blog Is This Mutton at Somerset House in central London

Dear friends. Welcome to my review of August. What a month! The fabulous weather continued, more or less unabated. There were quite a few outings including a Kettlewell Colour Club day by the seaside and a trip to the Tower of London to see the wild flowers growing in the moat.  I finally made it to the refurbished Courtauld Gallery to see the Munch exhibition. 


Friday, 2 September 2022

Friday Favourites: Books, TV, Podcasts - August


Dear friends. Here we are again with the reviews and recommendations from the last month. Very strong in terms of TV, less so for books and podcasts.  As before, I've included my "Didn't Like It" section at the bottom, which includes some controversial choices!


Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Another Bad Week for Women

 & WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton in an ocean blues inspired outfit of knee-length shorts, top and scarf in different shades of blue

Dear friends. Regular readers will know that I oppose gendered discrimination, particularly against older women. This week has seen several bad examples.  I am, as we say in the UK, "spitting feathers."

Monday, 29 August 2022

Maxi Madness! Style Not Age Challenge

Gail Hanlon from style blog is This Mutton in green maxi dress from Asos

Dear friends.  A month has sped by and it's time for the Style Not Age Challenge.  This is when five women in their 40s, 50s and 60s set each other a style challenge each month. This time it was the turn of Hilda and she chose "Maxi Madness."


Friday, 26 August 2022

How I Improved My Nails in 6 Months

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with her improved nails after an intensive 6 month regime

Dear friends. I set myself a challenge in March, "Six Months to Improve my Nails."   The results are in, and the answer is Yes! 

However. I was planning to show you perfectly manicured long nails in the reveal, and kept delaying the post because my cuticles are still not wonderful, but nonetheless, there has been a big improvement all round.


Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Planning and Storing Your Autumn Collection

& #WowOnWednesday

Dear friends. As the long days shorten, and Strictly Come Dancing and soccer are with us again, thoughts inevitably turn to the new season's clothes.  

If you're like me and short on wardrobe space, your autumn/fall and winter clothes may be stored away. I make sure I always have a few lightweight cardigans, wraps and jackets to act as transitional items before the coats and thick jumpers are brought down from the attic.

In this post I'm going to cover autumn/winter trends and what I'm looking for, before turning to the subject of making our existing wardrobe work better for us by understanding what we need.  Get yourself a cup of something, it could be a long one.


Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Wear Shorts at Any Age

 & #WowOnWednesday

Women of any age can wear shorts of any length, says Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton. Ignore all those click bait online posts saying older women shouldn't go near them!  Wearing white shorts Marks and Spencer and poppy red sleeveless V neck from Kettlewell. Spring scarf from My Season Jewellery.

Dear friends. It's certainly been a scorcher this summer. Record temperatures, crops dying in the fields,  serious drought - and that's just the UK. In an effort to keep cool, with no air conditioning, I've been wearing shorts and sleeveless tops all summer.  And I'm over 60.

Why does that matter?  Well, I know a lot of us have been programmed by the media / well meaning relatives / society in general to think we shouldn't be wearing shorts over a certain age, and we certainly shouldn't be baring our arms.

When I worked full-time in tech, which was fairly recent, I never alluded to my age. Working mainly with millennials and gen Z, it didn't seem a winning strategy. But now I'm retired, I don't mind who knows my age.  Let's not be cowed by outdated stereotypes.

Two people who are role models for this are singer / actor Toyah Willcox, 64, and guitarist husband Robert Fripp, 76. You may remember Toyah from her hits in the 1980s, and Robert from his time with King Crimson. 

They have had more than 33 million views for their weekly YouTube video Sunday Lunch with Toyah and Robert. Each week they take a rock classic and re-interpret it, with Toyah showing off her energy and amazing body in outfits which the tabloids would scream shouldn't be worn by anyone over 30, let alone 60. She radiates confidence and sexiness.  

Toyah was a guest on the How to Be 60 podcast with Kaye Adams, and I was blown away by her attitude to ageing. In the process of hiring a PR,  one of the candidates, a young man, asked her: "How are you, old woman?" She said she was very well, and wouldn't be hiring him. 

All of this is a long winded way of saying forget how we've been pre-programmed. Wear whatever we like! 

Shorts and sleeveless tops can be stylish:  knee-length shorts are no different than a knee-length skirt, so fine for the office.  A simple sleeveless top can be dressed up with a scarf or necklace. Stretchy material can be more flattering - the shorts in the top pic are cotton but I also have knee-length shorts and cropped trousers in a stretchy material, like the ones below from Robell. Rachel jacket and apple zebra infinity, Kettlewell Colours

City shorts and a suede jacket and scarf are smart enough for business. Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in purple shorts from Robell, Bright Violet jacket and scarf from Kettlewell Colours.

Have you been wearing shorts all summer?  What women over the age of 50 do you admire for throwing away the "rule book" on dressing? Do share in the comments. 

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, Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine Whatever,, #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), Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi

Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Bloggers/Instagrammers can find new readers, plus readers can find new blogs to read. 

Last Week's Favourites

Finally Wearing my White Lace Dress by Jacqui at Mummabstylish

French Style Wardrobe by Jennifer at Curated by Jennifer

Summer Neutrals - How I'm Wearing Them by Alison at Midlife and Beyond

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Thinning Lips and Barcode Lines

 & WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton wearing Atomic Cherry lipstick by Lisa Eldridge as she explains ways of dealing with thinning lips and barcode lines around the mouth.

Dear friends. I was asked recently what we can do about thinning lips, something which happens as we age.  I'm also troubled by "barcode lines," those lines  above the top lip. They're usually associated with smokers but we all have them to some extent. I'm going to explain a few ways of camouflaging these issues, and what's available if you decide to get professional treatment.


Tuesday, 9 August 2022

10 on the 10th: Good Sports


Dear friends. It's time for 10 on the 10th and this month the questions have been supplied by me! The topic is Sport, but with a spin. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Have We Reached Peak Wild Flower?

 & #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon visits the Superbloom display at the Tower of London

Dear friends. A few years ago, municipal flower beds, certainly in the UK, were filled with bedding plants in straight lines. Wild flowers were classed as weeds. But ever since the 2012 London Olympics, the trend has swung round to wild flowers, sown with abandon. 

The Tower of London has embraced the trend and this year's Superbloom event has encouraged thousands of people to meander along the moat, filled not with water but with a mix  of annual and perennial wild flowers. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

July Reviews: Books, TV, Podcasts

The Is This Mutton round-up of good - and bad - books, TV shows and podcasts.

Greetings dear friends and welcome to another selection of podcast, TV and book reviews. Quite a few this time because my last post was a books special. 


Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Reap the Exercise Rewards

 And #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in red sleeveless top with cream skirt and red espadrilles

Dear friends. I was shocked to read this week that half of all women in Britain haven't done any exercise since lockdown.  I mean, come on ladies! Use it or lose it. 

I wasn't always a convert to exercise. I went through long periods - including the whole of my 30s - when I did no exercise. This is what I looked like. I used to wear black a lot.


Monday, 25 July 2022

Summer Sizzlers: Style Not Age Challenge

 Gail Hanlon in pink and lime green for the July Style Not Age Challenge of Summer Sizzlers photographed on the Greek island of Skiathos.

Dear friends. We're all in celebratory mood here at the Style Not Age Challenge.  Anna, who lives on the Isles of Scilly, decided to celebrate summer with the theme "Summer Sizzlers."  Jacqui, Emma and I took our pictures on holiday, and Hilda and husband G are celebrating their 40th (ruby) wedding anniversary.


Wednesday, 20 July 2022

The Best Beauty Products on Holiday

 & #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon and husband on holiday in Skiathos, Greek Islands

Dear friends. I'm back from a wonderful 10 night stay in Skiathos, Greek Islands.  We've been there several times and I've already re-booked for next year. No wonder they call it the boomerang island. 

It's very hard to beat in terms of a perfect location, beautiful scenery and good food. Above, in a new-to-us restaurant in Skiathos Town, called Paraxenos. It was a great discovery.

Today's post will focus on the capsule wardrobe I took - pros and cons - and a few standout beauty products. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Summer Holiday Book List

A pile of colourful books: it's the Is This Mutton Summer Book List 2022

Dear friends. I'm a voracious reader, as those of you familiar with the monthly Friday Favorites will know. But on holiday, well! I have been known to devour a book in one day. 

I'm always looking for book recommendations so  I thought it might be useful to provide a list of what I'm taking on vacation. I've also come up with the Mutton 5:  books I've loved that you might want to discover.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

10 on the 10th: Things I Love or Hate about Summer

Dear friends. Here's a first. Creating a blog post, on holiday. And trying to do it on a tablet rather than my beloved PC.

It's an easy post technically because pictures aren't essential,  and this month's format is simply state 10 things you like or dislike about summer.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Lavender Fields Forever

And #WowOnWednesday

Walking through the Mayfield organic lavender field in Surrey, Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in blue shorts from Roman and jacket from Kettlewell

Dear friends. I've always wanted to walk in a lavender field, and managed to achieve my ambition last week.  It was in England (yes!)  at the organic Mayfield family lavender business in Surrey.

The weather was a bit cloudy at the time so it probably wasn't the sensory experience as it might have been in France, where I imagine there is probably a lovely scent of lavender on the air. 

Monday, 4 July 2022

June in Review: Bikes, Birthdays and Jubilees

 Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon with her mother, 90 year old June, in Plymouth

Dear friends. I won't forget June 2022! It's the month I finally retired from work. Plus we had two days of public holidays for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee;  the hubster completed the arduous Land's End to John O'Groats cycle ride, and my mother was 90.


Wednesday, 29 June 2022

A Royal Dining Experience

Is Ths Mutton blogger celebrates her 12th wedding anniversary at Dinner by Heston with the Royal Cooking Menu.

Dear friends. Let me tell you about our belated 12th wedding anniversary celebration, where we dined royally on a Platinum Jubilee menu featuring dishes from the centuries. 

We went to our favourite restaurant in London, Dinner by Heston. It's at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Hyde Park.  We've been here several times for birthdays and anniversaries. Although it's Michelin-starred, it's not stuffy or pretentious. 


Monday, 27 June 2022

Tutti Frutti - Style Not Age Challenge

Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton in tutti frutti striped t-shirt and cream skirt with lime green sandals and bag.
Dear friends. It's time again for the Style Not Age Challenge, and this time it was chosen by Emma from Stylesplash. She chose a great theme for summer, Tutti Frutti. 

Coincidentally I had a new t-shirt from Kettlewell that's called Tutti Frutti. I love the colours of this: cream background and stripes in shocking pink, canary yellow and apple green. I'm wearing it with the skirt I rediscovered -see last week's post - which also came from Kettlewell, in 2013.  Apart from the t-shirt, everything was shopped from my wardrobe:  belt from Madeleine, necklace from Boden, sandals from Topshop, bag from Cambridge Satchel Co. 

Five style bloggers interpret tutti frutti. Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton goes for a casual vibe with a tutti frutti striped t-shirt and lime accessories.

Now let's see how my blogging friends got on.  Anna from Anna's Island Style has a beautiful backdrop, the Isles of Scilly, and it was a glorious day when she took the photos. 

She's wearing a vintage Jaeger skirt, a TK Maxx top and pink boots from H&M. Anna says "It's a joyful outfit on a beautiful summer's afternoon. What more could you ask for?"

Jacqui from Mummabstylish is wearing a dress borrowed from her daughter, Steve Madden orange bag which was a birthday present and her lovely tie up shoes in a fabulous shade of green.  She added green earrings to complete her tutti frutti outfit.  

Hilda from Over the Hilda  I thought these pics were taken abroad but no, they were taken at a friend's apartment in Ireland. What a view! It was very windy, Hilda tells us. She has shopped her wardrobe:  Hugo Boss dress, kimono from Zara, shoes from Clarks.  Her bag is by Irish designer @iampeelo.

And finally Emma, who thought up this month's challenge.  You can always rely on Emma for a spectacular colour explosion.

Emma is wearing a shirt and bag from the peach range by Fabienne Chapot. She has several pieces from this print range, including two dresses and a skirt. Lucky girl. Her trousers are by Flounce London (from Asos). Sunglasses are SkinnyDip London.

I hope you enjoyed our tutti fruttis. More pics on each of the blogs. I'm back on Wednesday with #WowOnWednesday, hope to see you then.


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Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Life Lately - and Link-Up

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon in the new spring colors of her color analysis re-rate

Dear friends. Bit of a mixed platter today as I cover two topics: new colors and a holiday packing surprise.
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