"". November 2023 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

Search This Blog

Wednesday 29 November 2023

White Jeans in Winter

 & Wow on Wednesday

A jaunty silk scarf adds some drama to white jeans, a red top and a denim jacket for Is This Mutton

Dear friends. I know there's a saying in the US that you shouldn't wear white jeans after Labor Day. Here in the UK, we have no Labor Day and no such edict, but most would say that white jeans are impractical because of puddles and mud. I disagree!

There's no reason to discard your white or cream jeans. Just don't wear them on muddy walks, or at toddlers' parties. 


Monday 27 November 2023

Inspired by Autumn Colours


Gail Hanlon and the Style Not Age collective are inspired by the colours of autumn

Dear friends.  Welcome to another Style Not Age challenge, where 5 style bloggers over the age of 45 create an outfit each month based on a prompt.  In November it's Hilda's choice and she went with "Inspired by the Colours of Autumn", or Fall, as you would say in North America.

This was a good one for me because I've recently bought a beautiful new yellow coat. It's by Gianni Feraud and reduced from £265 to £75 at Asos.  An unbelievable bargain because it is extremely good quality.

Friday 24 November 2023

November: My Birthday Month

&  What's Been on My Calendar 

Is This Mutton's November including a birthday, memorable walks, Frans Hals, Monty Don and a mews street party

Dear friends.  November was a lot busier as I'd thrown off the lurgy. Plus, it's my birthday month and I always try to do that in style. NB: oops, published this a week too soon. Will keep updating it for the remaining days of November.  

Weds Nov 1

Returned from Plymouth, where I'd spent a few days seeing Mum and attending a fun reunion with former colleagues.  Uneventful trip home. J met me at the station, which was useful as my suitcase weighed a ton. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton by a train

Thurs Nov 2

Storm Ciaran was supposed to hit. We had rain but no wind. Walked to the gym for Pilates. Watched the first episode of the new series of Shetland. Had hoped it would be better without the miserable Douglas Henshall, but it was rubbish. 

Fri Nov 3

Sunny. Met Jill  from Grownup Glamour for the first time, with Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper, at the V&A. Very busy so I couldn't get into the Diva exhibition.  We had a fun lunch. Caught in rain on way home. No umbrella.  Unfortunately no picture of the 3 of us, but here are the style mavens. 

Style bloggers Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper and Jill from Grownup Glamour

Sat Nov 4

Not a nice day but did walk anyway.  Hardly anyone in forest. Another Premium bonds win. Did housework. Saw fireworks from sofa. 

Sun Nov 5

We did a brisk walk, nearly 5 miles. Muddy. Christopher, Katie and the children came round to give me my birthday present.  Stayed a while. Had roast lamb.

Mon Nov 6

Nice morning.  Walked to Tesco. Travelator wasn't working, the steps were blocked off, and only one lift operational. Very poor. Did some blog photos and created 2 posts.

Tues Nov 7

My birthday.  Lovely morning,  did weeding watched by a robin. Planted 40 Negrita tulips in containers. 

In the afternoon I watched the film Nyad (Netflix). I always like to watch a film on my birthday. 

Then we went into London and had a pre-theatre dinner at The Jugged Hare followed by Monty Don at the Barbican Centre. I didn't know what to expect but Monty came onto the stage alone and spoke for 2 hours. Very eloquent and entertaining. Even J approved and he doesn't like gardening.

Getting out of the Barbican Centre was like a comedy for us and everyone else. It's a stylish building but lacks signage (I imagine it would detract from the architect's vision). 

Below:  before the show started, with seats filling up. 

The anticipation grows before Monty Don in Conversation at the Barbican Centre in London

Weds Nov 8

Busy on blog front with 2 posts going live, one a collaboration. Rainy but did walk.  Spoke mum. Saw a webinar, curator's intro to Frans Hals. Going to see the exhibition on Saturday. Dealt with another missive of doom from Google:  robot txt issue. I dread their emails.

Thurs Nov 9

Walked to place where J had to give blood. Am mysteriously a Vine Voice again.

In the evening went into London for J's sister Kate's tour of Christmas lights and mews party. We swerved the lights because it was raining. The party, with family and neighbours, was fun. There was a burger van and we had burgers to order, followed by a mince pie.Signalling probs meant we had a bit of a circuitous route home.

Below: Kate and J on the right.


Fri Nov 10

Rain intervals.  Much colder. Went to Pilates and used cardio machines first. Did my first ever cover reveal for a book on Twitter/X,  The Actor.  Started 2nd series of The News Reader (BBC iPlayer). Saw  last episode of Island Crossings (BBC iPlayer).  This was a pleasant series about the largest ferry company in the UK, Caledonian McBrayne, and their hundreds of crossings of the Scottish isles. 

Sat Nov 11

Beautiful sunny day. Went to the National Gallery with Oxana to see the Frans Hals (1582- 1666) exhibition. He isn't as well known now, but in his time he was as lauded as Vermeer.  I really enjoyed it. Below: two of my favourite paintings. His subjects were less wooden and more relaxed. 

The Lute Player by Frans Hals

Sun Nov 12: Remembrance Sunday

Did big clear out in my office. Watched Cenotaph proceedings on TV.  Roast chicken.  Spoke Mum. Watched film The Killer, 8 out of 10

Mon Nov 13

Fairly warm, 16. Have some birthday vouchers to spend. Went in town. Bought pair jeans (below: trying them on). Planned to buy more with gift vouchers but couldn't find anything, style or colour-wise. Had a nice lunch. Storm Debi blew in, it was windy late pm. Finished The Actor. Started Robbie Williams documentary (Netflix) although I find him a bit boring. 

Tues Nov 14

J and I did an early walk, 5 miles. Quite warm. Rained this afternoon  scuppering plans for a blog shoot. Rachel and Olive came round. Spent afternoon writing post for tomorrow. Attempted to resolve issue of non-indexed pages, which is the latest missive of doom from Google

Weds Nov 15

Lovely day. Did bike ride, our first one for 5 weeks. J wants to run the batteries down. Lee Valley. 

Slept 8 hours 51 which is a bit of a record (still up at 6.30 but must have fallen asleep almost immediately with Kindle still in hand!). 

Spent couple of hours planting bulbs at the back of the border where there aren't many plants. Had to get rid of huge weeds. Fed a robin with worms. 

Thursday Nov 16

Didn't do much today! Shocker. Applied to be a 2024 poppy appeal volunteer

Friday Nov 17

Nice weather, finished off planting the bulbs then went to Pilates.  Fish n chips. Rachel and Olive came round bearing Pudsey cookies made by Olive (allegedly). 

Saturday Nov 18

Overcast. Took returns to post office.  Then we did yoga. My first time for about 3 years. Below: J, in pink,  limbers up before everyone else arrived.

Watched Plane with Gerard Butler. 6 out of 10. Very gripping plane crash but mercenaries a bit boring. Had hoped for dinosaurs.

Sunday Nov 19

Out walking early to have time to do a blog shoot before lunch. Saw J and Bob  running together.  Did 3 outfits including Teddy Blake bag for this post. 

Mon Nov 20

Did a Meetup, the 7 Hills of Croydon.  Clare, a friend from the Kettlewell colour club, came for the first time.  Weather stayed dry and we saw lovely woodland scenery and great views of the City.  The leader got lost a few times so we had a few bonus hills in addition to the seven advertised.  I didn't have lunch, we got to the cafe too soon and they didn't have many sandwiches. So I was starving and glad of a baked potato and sausages when I got home.  Fitbit says I walked 11 miles total today.

Spectacular views of the City of London

Tues Nov 21

Wanted to go to Yogalates but it was an early class and I guess it's a sign of getting older when you need to recover after a strenuous day. Did ironing, then worked on blog post for tomorrow. We watched the last episode of The Newsreader. I enjoyed the series. 

Amazon wouldn't publish a review saying it was contrary to their community guidelines. I asked them to explain why. It's quite challenging finding out how to do this, and to get to a real person. 

Weds Nov 22

Did a forest walk. Our next door neighbour has died. She was 91. She had lived there for a long time, many years before we moved in. 

Watched The Princes in the Tower  (Channel 4) which has explosive evidence showing that King Richard III didn't murder his nephews in the Tower. 

Thursday Nov 23

Sunny. I had hoped to go for a walk but had to wait in for a timed delivery, and then the groceries, so in the end I didn't make it. Had just finished this post and was making final edits when the whole lot disappeared. I kept pressing back button, and revert to draft  (it had been saved), but it was still blank. Very strange, and annoying!

Friday Nov 24

Definitely colder. Did some cleaning. Pilates. Rachel and Olive came round. At 16 months Olive knows what she shouldn't be doing, but keeps doing it. Banging Grandad's reading light and putting sticky fingers on his black glossy audio stand! I collected fish n chips, wore a woolly hat for first time.

Saturday Nov 25

2 degrees but sunny. Walked to Sainsbury's as we've run out of peanut butter and J likes a brand you can only get there or at Waitrose.  Went to yoga at the Orion Harriers. Nothing very interesting on TV so read. Started regime of Dr Sister Inner Beauty pills. Bought these via a Black Friday deal but the usual price is horrendous, so I will be in a dilemma if the pills really work!

Sunday November 26

Cold again,  cloudy.  Did forest walk. Roast chicken was delicious.  Quiet afternoon.  Ordered peacock wrapping paper.  Am obsessed with peacocks.

Monday November 27

Did walk. Cloudy. First day of my #7dayskirtchallenge on IG. 

Tuesday November 28

Sunny, went into London for a medical appointment.  Wore yellow coat. 

Wednesday November 29

Very cold, 2 degrees.  Did short cycle ride, wearing thick vest, gloves etc. Hands still cold. Lazy afternoon reading by fire. 

Thursday November 30

Sunny start, didn't seem quite so cold though was only 2 degrees. Did a forest walk, saw the Longhorns. There was a frost and I couldn't stop taking pictures.

 Did an outfit shoot to make sure I have a skirt picture for the remaining 3 days of the skirt challenge on Instagram. Then set up my festive blog giveaway which goes live tomorrow, Dec 1. Had curry for dinner.  

Longhorn cattle grazing on Chingford Plains, November 2023

How was your November?



Subscribe to receive 1 email a week with the latest Mutton posts, fashion, beauty and books. 


Wednesday 22 November 2023

Styling my Teddy Blake Bag

 & #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with Teddy Blake Palmelatto 12 inch bag in yellow

Dear friends. My passion for the last six months has been handbags.  I've bought quite a few, mostly low cost fashion bags in bright colours.  I'm glad the trend for "It" bags has passed:  I never bought into costly bags plastered in logos. Very naff! The bags that are trendy now are quietly expensive. They have people wondering what sort of bag it is.

Teddy Blake Bags definitely fit that category.  I was thrilled when they asked if I would like to choose a bag from their extensive range.  I know some of you click away whenever a blogger says they have  been gifted with something, but stick around, I hope to pique your interest.


Friday 17 November 2023

Mutton's Books for November


Dear friends. The darker months bring the promise of more time for reading. I'm on target to finish my challenge of 100 books in 2023  (Goodreads) but need to read a bit faster to make sure. 

As always I hope to bring a varied selection for you, fiction and non-fiction.


Thursday 16 November 2023

Tell Us About...Laughter


Is This Mutton and other bloggers talk about LAUGHTER in the latest Tell Us About challenge

Dear friends. I haven't had a good laugh since 2016. That's when Motherland, the BBC's comedy about navigating the trials and traumas of middle-class motherhood, came out. 

Prior to Motherland, I loved W1A, the "mockumentary" about life at the BBC, and its predecessor, 2012, about the deliverance committee of the 2012 London Olympics. David Tennant's wry commentary has me in stitches. 

But there's a touch of sadness in my phrase "I haven't had a good laugh since 2016."  Of course I laugh many times during the day. But I miss those belly laughs from outstanding TV shows. 

The days of comedies on TV which make us laugh seem to have disappeared.  


Wednesday 15 November 2023

Outfits This Week

 & #WowOnWednesday 

Is This Mutton the style blog for the over-50s shares outfits worn over the last few days

Dear friends. Looking back at old posts, I was nostalgic about the "what I'm wearing" posts when I was working. I decided to show you what I've been wearing lately. 

Monday 13 November 2023

My Best Friend's Secret by Danielle Ramsay


Cover of the book My Best Friend's Secret by Danielle Ramsay

Dear friends. Welcome to another book spotlight post. This time it's psychological thriller My Best Friend's Secret by Danielle Ramsay.


Five women; pretty, privileged, perfect, and ultimately protected… but not for long…

It was ‘their’ dark secret. For twenty-two-years they kept it buried. Time hasn’t healed my wounds. Instead, they’ve festered. Their actions went unpunished. Until now…

Shamed, scarred, and shunned, I watched, waited and plotted how to shatter their enviable lives. Now, finally, they will suffer as I did in their cruel hands that fateful night.

Time’s up. I am here for you, Dr Claudia Harper. But first, you’ll witness your childhood friends, one by one, beg for mercy.

And I’ve saved the best ‘til last, so watch your back; I’m closer than you think. I’m here to expose your best friend’s secret. The one you’ve all kept hidden...until now.

A tale of betrayal, dark, twisted lies and long-awaited retribution. Perfect for the fans of Claire McGowan, Shalini Boland and S. E. Lynes

My Thoughts 

It was a little slow to get going, but boy, once it got going it was a veritable roller coaster of thrills.

We start with the funeral of Jasmine, Claudia's best friend. Unfortunately they had grown apart in the run- up to her death, which had been ruled suicide. Claudia is hurt and volatile as her relationship with Jas comes under scrutiny.  She's already tormented that her husband is not telling the truth about how he helped a drunk woman to get home, and ended up covered in scratches and bites.

Over the course of the book I totally veered away from my original thoughts about Claudia. For a woman with a good career, she initially infuriated me by refusing to believe anything her husband said, and then getting petty revenge. 

But it became clear she had somehow been set up, and her three other long term friends were  hiding something. Then she witnesses a hit and run, seriously injuring one of the friends she was about to meet with. 

It wasn't too difficult to guess who the perpetrator was, but I would never have guessed the complex reasons for that person's anger and need for revenge in a million years. 

Thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources, Boldwood Books and the author for the advance reader copy in return for an honest review.

About the Author, Danielle Ramsay

Danielle Ramsay is a Scot living in a small seaside town in the North-East of England. Always a storyteller, it was only after completing a First Class (Hons) Degree in Media Production that she then went on to follow an academic career in literature. She was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2009 and 2010, and appointed a New Writing North Read Regional author in 2011. 

She is the author of five DI Jack Brady crime novels and The Last Cut, a dark thriller with DS Harri (Harriet) Jacobs. Danielle fills her days with horse-riding, running and murder by proxy.  She is also the proud Patron of the charity SomeOne Cares, which counsels survivors of domestic violence, rape and child abuse. 







Husband and Wife by KL Slater

Death at Paradise Park by Ross Greenwood

The Drowning Place by SW Kane


Wednesday 8 November 2023

My No-Frizz Hair Trick

& WowOnWednesday

A hair dryer that uses light to dry your hair is featured on Is This Mutton, the blog for sassy and discernible over-50s

Dear friends. I don't often accept brand collaborations, and only do it for products I would buy. The Zuvi Halo Hair Dryer was a complete no-brainer.  I'd been thinking about replacing my old hair dryer, over 10 years old and clearly not doing my hair any favours. So when I learnt how the Zuvi has an entirely different method of drying, resulting in shinier, healthier hair, I was hooked!

Read on to see how I got on with this stylish hair saviour, and how to claim the best ever discount offered, especially for Is This Mutton readers.


Husband and Wife by KL Slater


Dear friends. I'm a big fan of KL Slater. She devises intriguing plots with ingenious twists. At the same time, her characters are believable and we invest in their storyline. I'm pleased to be on the blog tour for Kim's latest novel, Husband and Wife. 


Monday 6 November 2023

Death at Paradise Park by Ross Greenwood


Is This Mutton's book spotlight falls on Death at Paradise Park by Ross Greenwood

Dear friends. As the weather gets colder and more grey, it's comforting to turn to books. I'm pleased to bring you another very strong crime thriller today: Death at Paradise Park by Ross Greenwood.  

All is not well at caravan site Paradise Park, as DS Ashley Knight investigates several murders.  Book blog tour banner.


When Alfie Hook settles down to eat his fish and chips by the Hunstanton seaside he hasn’t anticipated it is going to be his last meal. DS Ashley Knight and her Major Investigation Team are called to investigate and when they discover who Alfie is married to, they realise this case is not going to be straightforward.

A second body is found in gruesome circumstances at the nearby Paradise Caravan Park, but the team struggle to connect the two victims. Even after hours of interviews with the residents, and many questionable stories, to the police's frustration, all their alibis check out. What are they concealing?

As the bodies mount up and the leads get ever more complicated, Ashley and her rookie partner Hector Fade finally join the dots. But then it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again…

Bestselling Ross Greenwood is back with an unputdownable seaside thriller, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Ian Rankin and Peter James.

My Thoughts 

I loved the deceptively benign start as obese van driver Alfie buys his Friday treat of fish and chips, and gets out his metal cutlery ready to enjoy it. He doesn't get beyond the first bite before he is mysteriously murdered in his van. Shortly afterwards,  the body of a woman is found in a hot tub in the nearby caravan park.

We then segue to America and an assassination, but fortunately it's a brief diversion before we're back in Hunstanton with DS Ashley Knight and her team.

Who would have thought Hunstanton was such a hot bed of crime? But quite plausible when you read about "county lines" operating in villages across Britain.  

The story gives us a lot of stand-out characters at both the police station and the caravan park. The ladies residing most of the year in their upmarket Diamond caravans seem to be living the life: they're honed, toned and enjoying illicit relationships. Good to see older women being portrayed in a different way than the usual stereotypes.  

Ashley comes to life off the page too, wanting a relationship but not having time to meet anyone. She's excited about the idea of her pregnant friend, also a sergeant,  coming to live with her, imagining helping to bring up the baby.   

I love the professional pairing of Ashley with Hector, the fast track rookie. The team has accepted Hector, even though he's a bit posh. 

I actually identified the protagonist quite early on, and was frustrated the police didn't.  It was hard to predict the reasons and history behind the killings. A very complex web.

A satisfying ending and a good read. 

Buy the Book


About Ross Greenwood 

Author Ross Greenwood, a former prison officer

Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

Thanks to the author, Birdwood Books and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel's Random Resources for the advance reader copy. 

Social Media Links

Facebook    Twitter/X 

Instagram   NewsletterSign Up  



There's a round-up of book reviews on the third Friday of every month at Is This Mutton, plus the occasional author and book spotlight. Follow me on Good Reads or X/Twitter to see what I'm reading.

You May Also Like:


Friday 3 November 2023

That was October {2023}


Take 3 girls:  Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon with two friends before a reunion with former Mirror Group Newspaper colleagues

Dear friends. A mixed month, October.  At the very start we were on our cycling challenge, the Coast to Coast. The cold and cough I'd already had for two weeks carried on for another fortnight, and I had to cancel two planned activities.

But it wasn't all bad. There were a few walks and a big reunion in Plymouth. I've also talked about our general day-to-day life and what we watched. 


Wednesday 1 November 2023

Bright in Winter

 And #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton on the trials of trying to wear bright colours in winter, like this Barbour coral puffer coat

Dear friends. The clocks have gone back and people in London are a sea of black, navy and grey. It's very hard to find bright colours at this time of year: the retailers follow suit with the drab colours. 

I find it baffling because bright colours are proven to make the wearer, and those around them, feel more cheerful. 

Blog Design Created by pipdig