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Wednesday 28 February 2024

Tell Us Your Reading Habits: 2024 Survey

Plus #WowOnWednesday

It's the 2024 Is This Mutton survey and this year it's all about what you read and when

Dear friends. Every year Is This Mutton has a survey to get your views on a particular topic. We've previously covered domestic chores, fashion buying and perceptions of ageism. 

This year I've chosen reading. I'm convinced it's the one hobby most of us have.   You may have noticed that I've been writing more book reviews and spotlights lately.

How to Take Part

As before, I'm using a Google Form for the questions. You don't need to have a Google ID.  Responses are anonymous and no email addresses are being collected.  The questions should take you around 10 minutes.  I'll be reporting back on March 20. 

Am I right in thinking we're all bookworms?  Is reading one of your favourite hobbies?  Maybe you'd like to read more but don't have time. Do tell in the comments. 


I share my posts with these fabulous sites. 

It's time for Wow on Wednesday!

Please take a few minutes to read some of the posts from bloggers around the world. A comment makes our day. Scroll down below the link-up for the comments box on Is This Mutton. 



Saved by the Bell from Shauna at Lipgloss and Lace 


Weird Weather We're Having by Vronni of Vronni's Style Meanderings


Swedish Meatballs - For Now or Later - by Jean of Delightful Repast

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday 26 February 2024

Put a Bow On It

 #StyleNotAge challenge

Is This Mutton and four other style blogs interpret the prompt Put a Bow on It. Gail Hanlon chooses an 80s blouse with bow

Dear friends. Today we're styling bows in the latest Style Not Age Challenge. This month's prompt was chosen by Emma of Stylesplash.

I have had plenty of blouses with bows in the past, and back in the 80s, a black jumper that had huge satin bows sewn to the sleeves. The purple blouse with bow that I'm wearing here is pre-loved from a vintage shop on Etsy. It actually dates from the 80s. I love how it looks like a waistcoat.

Saturday 24 February 2024

A Year in the Garden: February


Dear friends. This is the first in a series of monthly posts where I share what's going on in the garden, my latest tasks, learnings and plans.  I'll be sharing this with #6onSaturday at Garden Ruminations, to give you even more gardening goodness.

Background on how we transformed our small garden in 2012.  

February in London, UK, is still very much winter. And yet. There are many signs of spring. The monster clematis montanas -3 of them - have tiny buds.  The forsythia hedge has even bigger buds. Bulbs are making strong progress. 


Thursday 22 February 2024

The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson

 Cover of historical fiction novel The Wartime Book Club, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends. I'm thrilled to bring you a book today that earned the rare accolade from me of 5 stars. It's my stop on the blog tour for The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson.  

The book is described as "A gripping and heartwarming novel inspired by the true events of the women who joined the resistance in Jersey during the German occupation in WW2."


Wednesday 21 February 2024

Mother's Day Outfit Inspiration with Cotton Traders {2024}


Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in dusky lavender blazer and dove grey chinos from Cotton Traders

Dear friends. Mother's Day in the UK is early this year, on March 10.  I always go to Plymouth to see my mum, who's 91, and we usually go out for lunch. 

Readers in the USA and Australia may be scratching their heads over the date. Your Mother's Day is on 12 May. The reason for the UK date being different each year is that our celebration is rooted in the Christian observance of Lent, with Mothering Sunday taking place on the fourth Sunday, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. 

Here's a sneak preview of what I'll be wearing, thanks to my friends at Cotton Traders.


Friday 16 February 2024

Latest Book Reviews

 Is This Mutton's latest book reviews include the acclaimed Deadly Animals by Marie Tierney and Where They Lie by Claire Coughlan.

Dear friends. I'm spoiling you this month with the most amazing selection of books.  Highlights include a quirky 13 year old who helps find a murderer; miners leaving their homes in the early morning mist;  a collection of unforgettable short stories, and the return of Aisling, "Ireland's answer to Bridget Jones."  They're all available now. Enjoy! I certainly did. 


Thursday 15 February 2024

Tell Us About: Friends and Friendship


Mid life women gather in Hyde Park for a meet up of the Kettlewell Colour Club

Dear friends. Welcome to this month's Tell Us About challenge.  The prompt was chosen by Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper. Penny has become a good friend and we've met up several times. It's a good example of how " finding your tribe" can help you meet new people and make friends.

Today's post is all about forging friendships later in life. 


Wednesday 14 February 2024

Technicolor Dream Coats

 & Wow on Wednesday 

Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon writes about her passion for staying colourful throughout winter, with choices such as this cobalt blue coat from Warehouse

Dear friend. At the start of autumn I resolved to up my coat game.  I wanted to banish black and navy from my wardrobe and enjoy wearing bright colors throughout winter.  


Tuesday 13 February 2024

Mongrel by Hanako Footman


The cover of literary novel Mongrel by Hanako Footman, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends. Today's book spotlight is on the extraordinary Mongrel, the debut novel by Hanako Footman. Mongrel tells the stories of three interlinked women, Mel, Yuki and Haruka. Today is my stop on the blog tour. 


Sunday 11 February 2024

This Week in Books


The bookshelves at Is This Mutton

Dear friends. Welcome to what's hopefully going to be a regular weekly post looking at books. There's also a sneak peak into what's coming on the blog this week.

The pic at the top shows my main bookcase.  I mostly read books on a Kindle and consequently have got rid of hundreds of actual books in the last few years.  I saved my favourites plus various reference books, and these are the books on our shelves.  I'll zoom in on a couple of interesting collections over the next few weeks.


Wednesday 7 February 2024

The Blues in February

 & Wow on Wednesday 

Dear friends. February is such a relief after never-ending January. Normally a short month, the spring bulbs start proliferating and the birds get more chirpy. Spring is not far away.

If you've popped over from Platinum magazine, check out this brief welcome post. 


Tuesday 6 February 2024

Welcome to Platinum Readers


Gail Hanlon explains what Is This Mutton is about to new readers who saw the blog featured in Platinum magazine

A warm welcome if you've popped over after seeing me in the March issue of Platinum magazine. I can't link to the article unfortunately (it's not online), but I took part in their Big Debate about what women over 50 should wear.


Monday 5 February 2024

My Sister's Baby by Louise Guy

 The cover of My Sister's Baby by Louise Guy, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends.  I'm happy to share with you today a real page turner, My Sister's Baby by Louise Guy. I literally couldn't put it down.  It's my stop on the blog tour. 


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Outfits and Food Fun

  & #WowOnWednesday

Colourful outfits and questions about food - what could be better, asks style blog Is This Mutton

Dear friends. A few outfits I've been wearing, along with some random food faves and dislikes. I'm sure some of them will chime with you! 


Monday 29 January 2024

Red Alert!


Is This Mutton and four blogger friends are on Red Alert as they style outfits in the colour red

Dear friends. It's time for the monthly Style Not Age Challenge and Jacqui from Mummabstylish has us on Red Alert.


Friday 26 January 2024

Fun in January? Yes it's Possible


English National Ballet take their encore for Giselle at the London Coliseum, part of Is This Mutton's month of fun in January 2024

Dear friends.  January is relentless! Five Mondays this year, no less. The weather is bleak, we're often doing one of those ghastly challenges like not buying anything, and viruses are flying around.

I resolved however that January would not be a washout. I booked a few activities in advance. And we were lucky to have quite a few blue sky days, which are stunning in winter. 

What's coming up? Two art exhibitions, two ballets, David Bowie's old haunts, a meet-up of colourful ladies and a moon walking experience.


Wednesday 24 January 2024

Beauty Update and Make-up Bag Rummage

 & #WowOnWednesday 

Join Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon for make-up and skincare tips for women over 50

Dear friends.  Today I'm sharing the beauty products that I'm finding really good. And who doesn't like to peak into someone else's make-up bag?


Tuesday 23 January 2024

The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton

 Graphic showing the blog tour banner for The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton, reviewed at Is This Mutton.com

Dear friends.  I'm thrilled to bring you today's book review and spotlight. I loved The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton, and I'm sure you will too. 


Friday 19 January 2024

Books in January


Dear friends. It looks like I've been on a big reading spree this month but in reality most of the books were read last year, ahead of publication. It was an enjoyable month's reading with some very good thrillers.  They all came courtesy of NetGalley and the publishers, except for any marked with an asterisk which I bought.

Let's dive in and discover the first of my two 5 star rated books this month.


Thursday 18 January 2024

Tell Us About....The Road Not Travelled

 & Tell Us About link-up

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton- right - meeting Prof Stephen Hawking

Dear friends. This month's Tell Us About challenge was set by Mary Katherine, and it's The Road Not Travelled.

"The Road Not Traveled" is a poem by US poet Robert Frost. Its meaning is often misinterpreted.  In the poem the traveler reaches a fork in the road and chooses the path less traveled, with greener grass. 


Eat to Your Heart's Content by Sat Bains


Dear friends. Today I'm bringing you a review and spotlight on a book from renowned chef Sat Bains.  During lock down, aged 50,  he nearly died after a massive heart attack during a workout, leading to a triple heart bypass.

Sat, a Michelin starred chef, told The Times:  “I had a really good life balance with work, training, diet and sleep. And then all of a sudden, two weeks after my 50th birthday, a massive heart attack. I didn’t think it could or would happen to me.”

Two days after the operation he contacted Dr Neil Williams, senior lecturer in exercise physiology and nutrition at Nottingham Trent University, and they began to work on a diet and exercise programme which included this book. 


Wednesday 17 January 2024

Styling Peach Fuzz

 & WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton on the Pantone colour of the year Peach Fuzz

Dear friends. You're probably aware that the Pantone Colour of the Year 2024 is Peach Fuzz.  I suspect you either reacted with delight or dismay.

Peach sits firmly in the warm toned camp, so if you're a winter in colouring it will do you no favours. However, Peach Fuzz is a shade that has more softness than clarity, so it can work for those coded summer, worn with other colours.

I have a bit of a soft spot for peach. When I was first told I was a spring in the 1980s, it was one of the few colours that was readily available.  I was more of a golden spring then with my dark hair and tanned complexion and peach was a great colour on me.

Now it's inclined to wash me out a bit, but adding a few other colours gives peach a bit of zest.

You don't need to find an exact match for Peach Fuzz. The pink peach family includes other shades such as apricot, salmon, blush. 

Here I'm wearing layers for warmth: a Light Peach top over a Peach Echo silky roll neck and a Turquoise wrap  (all Kettlewell). My trousers are dark brown velvet. The vegan orange bag was a Christmas present and I've tied a silk Kettlewell scarf around the handle.  The scarf would have been too much around my neck but adds a bit more colour lower down. 

Is This Mitton styles outfits based on the Pantone colour of the year 2024 Peach Fuzz

In the next look I've kept the silky roll neck and created a dress with a Kettlwwell Pippa top and ruched skirt, both in chocolate.  The tights are colour Peach from Snag.  Leopard print accessories, belt (Kettlewell) and clutch (old, Next) add a bit of interest. 

How to wear Peach Fuzz by Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon

I decided to take the photos indoors as it's very cold outside. Fortunately the decor is complementary! 

My last peach look for now is a Bright Apricot short tie wrap, pulled in so that I could add a belt. The top is Apple Mint. All from Kettlewell. 

Trousers are cotton rich relaxed straight trousers in calico from M&S (current). 

Peach Fuzz with light green and cream worn by Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon

You'll find plenty of peach in the shops, and not just for clothes.  It's also very trendy for soft furnishings and interior decor. 

Will you be embracing Peach Fuzz in any way?  Do tell in the comments. Scroll down below the link-up for the comments box.

Sharing my posts with these great sites

Tomorrow it's the first Tell Us About Challenge of the new year, so join me and blogger friends from Australia, the US, UK and Portugal to find out how we handled the prompt "The Road Not Travelled." On Friday there's a bumper books round-up for January.


Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the weekly link-up where bloggers, YouTubers and IG'ers showcase their posts from around the world.

A big thanks to the bloggers who link up each week, and to you for reading their posts and leaving comments.  Blogging can be lonely and challenging, so your views and comments make it all worthwhile. 


Jess from Elegantly Dressed and Stylish who asks Why are Stripes Associated with the French? 

Rena from Fine Whatever, who's embracing the Anti-Trend Trend.

Fall Winter Stitch Fix 2024 Review from newcomer to the link-up, Getting My Act Together blog. Welcome!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday 16 January 2024

The Trauma Effect by Zetta Thomelin


Is This Mutton reviews The Trauma Effect by Zetta Thomelin, a therapist whose own family had a deeply traumatic experience which had never been openly discussed.

Dear friends. Today's book spotlight is on The Trauma Effect: Exploring and Resolving Inherited Trauma. It's a book that reveals how a family secret and trauma caused suffering that was passed down to those who were unaware of the original tragedy. The book then follows the journey of recovery.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Reclaiming the Frump Factor

 & WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton in cropped trousers which are deemed frumpy by many experts online, Tosh, she says

Dear friends. What's this, you're thinking, has she lost her marbles? Is it now trendy to look frumpy? (An oxymoron if ever there was one).

I'd just like to say that when we're at home, seeing no-one and doing nothing very much, frumpy is comfy! And frumpy is ageless, because young women will also be wearing the same "lounge wear" as us, in all honesty.


Sunday 7 January 2024

Favourite Books of All Time


Dear friends.  This is the first in a new Sunday books post. I thought I'd kick off with my favourite books of all time. 


Thursday 4 January 2024

The Many Faces of Gary Oldman

Dear friends. Season three of Slow Horses is over, and we're gutted. Like many, we love watching this classy spy drama to see Gary Oldman as sleazy Jackson Lamb is a master class of acting. 

If you don't have Apple TV, it's worth getting just for Slow Horses  (plus the first series of The Breakfast Show). 


Wednesday 3 January 2024

Backwards and Forwards

 & #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon's most popular outfits of 2023

Dear friend. A Happy New Year to you! Today I'm looking in the rear mirror at 2023, and then looking forward to 2024. If you have goals around nutrition and fitness, I have a discount code for blood tests to check your overall health.  

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