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Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Friday 12 July 2024

The Garden in June and July

 Is This Mutton's garden in June/July along with gardening tips

Dear friends.  This is the time my garden is at its height. It's fairly small and I focus my attention on spring and summer planting. 

It's now July and 1 of my 4 dahlias is flowering; the phlox are out, in very splashy colours, and "shed corner " has returned to its former glory, with brightly coloured containers. 


Wednesday 10 July 2024

Boden Skirts Over the Years

  And Wow on Wednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in her latest pre-loved Boden skirt buy

Dear friends. This summer I've been wearing far more skirts than I normally do, having bought four pre-loved Boden skirts from eBay.

It got me thinking about my Boden skirts over the years.  I can see why some of them worked less well for me, and why some were outstanding. 


Friday 5 July 2024

The Most Exciting Book List Ever!

 (And I Never Exaggerate)

Is This Mutton shares the books recently read and on the to be read pile, saying this is a truly exciting list of books

Dear friends. A quick post to share an absolutely phenomenal list of books. They're titles I've either just read, or am about to read. Some of my favourite contemporary writers are here:  Elizabeth Strout, Clare Chambers, KL Slater. You'll be wanting to pre-order.


Wednesday 3 July 2024

What I Wore to the BIBA Exhibition

 And Wow on Wednesday

Gail Hanlon from over-50s style blog Is This Mutton in retro lime green 60s dress with crochet overlay

Dear friends.  Had a delightful outing with friends from the Kettlewell Colour Club to see the BIBA exhibition at the London Fashion & Textile Museum. 

BIBA was a fashion brand started by Barbara Hulanicki in 1964.  It became very influential and along with Mary Quant, was one of the fashion retailers shaping "the London Look." 


Friday 28 June 2024

June in Review: Vivienne Westwood, Greece and More

 Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton on an Epping Forest walk. She reviews the month of June 2024.

Dear friends.  June has been a satisfying month. I did quite a lot, and the weather improved. Highlights included a visit to the Kettlewell Colour Studio, a beach holiday on the Greek island of Skiathos and a couple of cycling adventures.  I also saw an excellent exhibition of Vivienne Westwood's private collection, prior to auction. 


Wednesday 26 June 2024

Shorts and a Scarf

 With #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton on how to dress up a simple shorts and tee outfit

Dear friends.  I don't expect many of us wear scarves in the summer - too hot  - but I've found a light silk scarf is a great way to elevate the simple outfit of shorts and a t-shirt.

Northern Boy by Iqbal Hussain

 The cover of Northern Boy by Iqbal Hussain, under the spotlight at Is This Mutton

Dear friends. Today's book spotlight is a story that will make you laugh and cry. It's a colourful, vivid and evocative account of a Blackburn boy's battle to become a performance artist and remain true to himself. 

Northern Boy is the debut novel from award winning Iqbal Hussain. 


Monday 24 June 2024

Dreamy Dresses

Dreamy Dresses is the Style Not Ae challenge prompt for June 2024. Is This Mutton shares a picture of her nautical retro dress on a visit to the Vivienne  Westwood pre-auction exhibition in London

 #StyleNotAge Challenge

Dear friends. Dreamy Dresses is Jacqui's prompt for this month's Style Not Age challenge. Five style bloggers from the UK and Ireland interpret a different prompt each month.

Regular readers will know that until recently, I seldom wore dresses.  I had around 3. But this year I've satisfied my inner gamine by finding some shorter, retro style dresses.

I wore my Voodoo Vixen nautical dress for an outing to Christie's with Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper.  The auctioneer had put on a splendid pre-auction exhibition of the Vivienne Westwood personal collection, which comes under the hammer this week. 

It was a very inspirational exhibition and very well done.  As it was a chilly day, I'm wearing my dress with a Kettlewell short tie wrap in soft white.  Shoes are from Boden. 

Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon in retro-inspired nautical dress at the Vivienne Westwood pre-auction exhibition

Below: a quick snap of the building, with a neon Westwood logo. 

Thanks to Penny for the photos. If you'd like to see more pics from the Vivienne Westwood pre-auction exhibition,  check out my post about June on Friday (28 June). The auction happens on 24 June so I'm sure there will be pictures in the papers too. (Who still read a paper? I do, The Times on my tablet). 

Let's see how my style friends got on. A beautiful picture in the golden hour for Jacqui from Mummabstylish,  whose prompt this is. Unlike me, Jacqui is often seen in a dress. The one she's wearing came from a last minute shop at Matalan. She's added from her wardrobe sandals from New Look and a  leather bag from Sicily, Coccinelle. 

Anna from Anna's Island Style is wearing a recent purchase from Vinted, from where she also bought the sandals last year. The bag is from TK Maxx and belt is from Amazon.

Hilda from Over the Hilda wore her dress to a dinner in Derry/ Londonderry.  It's a Whistles dress bought last year and  never worn, probably, says Hilda, because there's too much skin exposure. But the sun was out, so she wore it, along with fake tan. And we're very glad she did. 

Finally Emma from Stylesplash, whose dress is by Max Studio from TK Maxx. Her vegan leather bag is by Fenella Smith (snap! I'm carrying the same one), and her wedge sandals are from Coast.

Five style bloggers show their favourite dresses for summer 2024 in the Style Not Age challenge.

I hope you enjoyed our Dreamy Dresses.  How many dresses do you have?  I now have 5.  Do tell in the comments  (and also if you read a newspaper!). 


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Saturday 22 June 2024

Latest Books Reviewed

A woman reading during a picnic. Picture by Sueda Dilli for Pexels

Dear friends.  I'm back with another batch of new books which hit the shelves this month.  They were all provided by NetGalley, except any marked*.  NetGalley reviewers allow publishers to gather comments and early feedback on books, ahead of publication, via the NetGalley website. 

Thursday 20 June 2024

Tell Us About....Beauty

 Collage showing different representations of Beauty through the centuries

Dear friends.  I've always been fascinated by the way perceptions of women's beauty have shifted over the centuries, so I was thrilled when Marsha chose Beauty as the prompt for this month's Tell Us About challenge.

Each month bloggers from around the world give their own unique interpretation of the prompt. 


Wednesday 19 June 2024

Sequins on Holiday

And Wow on Wednesday  

GailHanlon from Is This Mutton in lime green on holiday in Greece

Dear friends. We're back after a fabulous 10 days on the idyllic Greek island of Skiathos.  

It was our seventh visit and yes, I've already booked for next year. We're seasoned travellers and have been to several other Greek islands, as well as beach holidays in Hawaii, Italy, Turkey and Portugal. But Skiathos ticks all our boxes - and indeed the lengthy list of criteria.

I'll be sharing more about the holiday in my review of June, next Friday, but in the meantime, here's one of my evening outfits. 

Skiathos is a laid back place and no-one tends to dress up, but I like to take at least one sequin top.  I spotted this beaut in one of my favourite colours last summer, at M&S. I'm wearing it with crops from Roman and my ultra-comfortable sandals from Vionic. Plus my new prescription Gucci sunglasses from Boots. They're a bit spendy but well worth it.  

Don't be wary of wearing cropped trousers with sequins on holiday if you're over 60.  Is This Mutton shows how to do it.

I wore this particular outfit to one of our favourite restaurants on Skiathos, the Windmill, high up with views over the town and bay. It was our 14th wedding anniversary. 

We tend not to take too many pictures now because we'd rather be in the moment, but I wish we'd had a couple of pics taken of us in the Windmill. Ah well. Below. on the water taxi.  It's a 10 minute journey from our hotel to the main town. 

A relaxing beach holiday is a must for me and we usually go in June before the school holidays. Our next holiday will certainly be a bit different:  cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats, 1,189 miles. We'll be in an organized group with our baggage transferred each day.  Still, it's quite daunting, particularly in terms of packing. No huge suitcase, as I took to Skiathos, with the priority being cycling clothes for all weathers.

What are your holiday plans?  Do you like to dress up on holiday?  Do tell in the comments.

Sharing my posts with these fantastic sites.

I'm back tomorrow with fabulous blogger friends Penny, Debbie, Suzy, Mary Katherine, Leslie, Marsha, Jill and Sue for our different takes on the prompt BEAUTY.  Hope you can pop over. 


Bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers are invited to share their posts in this weekly link-up. Readers can find new blogs to enjoy and bloggers can find new readers.

Last Week's Favourites

Cheryl of Cheryl Shops with My Top 10 Books of the Last 5 Years

Mother of the Bride in Las Vegas from Pamela of Style Yourself Confident. Doesn't she look fabulous!

Jill from Doused in Pink with  A Casual Capsule Wardrobe for Summer 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Vegan Hair Products that Hydrate

 Gail Hanlon of Is This Mutton tries out the HYDR-8 range of hair products from Vegamour

Dear friends.  If you're anything like me, you scrutinise hair care products to check their ingredients, while keen to find hair care solutions that work.

I was pleased to be invited to try a new range from well-known Vegan brand Vegamour. Not only are their products free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, gluten and artificial fragrance, but they're a good natural alternative to products which can give unwanted side effects.

The range I tried is called HYDR-8, formulated for those with dry, damaged hair.


Monday 10 June 2024

Why I Love Clarkson's Farm

 Jeremy Clarkson and Kaleb Cooper. Copyright Radio Times

Dear friends. I was never keen on Jeremy Clarkson during the Top Gear days. And The Grand Tour is even worse, because the stunts and the gents are so jaded.

So I was as surprised as anyone to find I LOVE Clarkson's Farm (Prime). We started watching as soon as it launched, back in June 2021. We were in another lockdown at the time and new programmes were quickly seized upon.


Wednesday 5 June 2024

A visit to the Kettlewell Colour Studio and a Garden Centre Treat

 And Wow on Wednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in new lilac leopard dress

Dear friends.  I visited the Kettlewell Colour Studio in Somerset at the weekend,  and today I'm showing my new purchase, their Tilly dress.

I don't know what's come over me because it's my fourth dress purchase this year, although the other three were retro styles.  All this from a person who said she hardly ever wore dresses! 


Friday 31 May 2024

Chelsea Flower Show and More: May in Review


Dear friends. The two main highlights of May were the Chelsea Flower Show and our 4-day cycling holiday along the Way of the Roses.  I'm going to major on the flower show as you can read about the cycling break here.

Plus the rest of the month's trivia. Picking up from where we left off, with the last few days of April. 


Wednesday 29 May 2024

Holiday Outfit Ideas with Cotton Traders

 And Wow on Wednesday

Look good over 60 with Is This Mutton, showing several ways to style 3 key pieces from Cotton Traders.

Dear friends. Today I'm creating a few outfits for spring and summer holidays using three pieces from Cotton Traders.

I chose a pair of striped trousers, a tie-front top and a cotton shirt. All very versatile, as I hope to prove.


Monday 27 May 2024

French Girl Style

 #StyleNotAge Challenge 

Dear friends.  It's my turn to set the challenge this month in Style Not Age, and I chose quite a difficult one: French Girl Style.

It's difficult because I like to wear bright colours,  as you know, and French women don't.


Friday 24 May 2024

New Books Reviewed in May


Is This Mutton's varied selection of books reviewed and published in May 2024

Dear friends.  We're almost at the halfway point of the year (already!) and in the Goodreads Reading Challenge I've read 58 books out of my target of 100.  


Thursday 23 May 2024

Cycling the Way of the Roses


Is Tgis Mutton's Gail Hanlon and husband at the start of the 170 mile long Way of the Roses from Morecambe to Bridlington

Dear friends.  We've just spent an enjoyable few days in the north of England on a guided cycling tour following the "Way of the Roses."

The Way of the Roses is a spectacular coast to coast cycle route which passes through both the red rose county of Lancashire and the white rose county of Yorkshire.


Wednesday 22 May 2024

Genuine 60s Dress!

 And WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in a new purchase of an old dress - genuine 60s retro

Dear friends. A genuine 1960s dress today, bought on Etsy. The quality is exquisite. In the 60s, the UK had a thriving industry of clothes production employing thousands. Today there's hardly any clothes manufacturing, thanks to cheap imports from China, Bangladesh and Turkey.

The dress has the label Diolen Loft, and astonishingly it's washable. It's a nice fit although there's no room for any extra pounds. Having just returned from a 4 day cycling tour, where we had to pre- order most meals in advance and they were huge, I won't be wearing it this week!

The dress cost £45, so very reasonable for such good quality. For chilly days I'd wear it with a jacket or cardi. The shoes are current, block heeled MaryJanes from Jones Bootmaker. 

There'll be more on the cycling break soon - and also on the Chelsea Flower Show, which I visited yesterday. 

Excited for an imminent holiday? Do tell in the comments. Scroll down below the link-up for the comments box.  

Linking my posts with these wonderful sites. 


Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday. Readers can find new blogs to enjoy and bloggers can find new readers. It's a win-win all round. Please, if you enjoy reading a post, share the love by leaving a comment. It makes a blogger's day.

Last Week's Favourites 

Packing Tips for a Week Long Holiday Abroad by Hilda from Over the Hilda

Is This Mutton Pick: A Degenerate Gambler's Summer Vacation by Amber from The Hungry Mountaineer 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday 20 May 2024

Hidden Depths by JH Mann

 Cover of the book Hidden Depths by JH Mann as featured on IsThisMutton.com

Dear friends. The wild and savage Cornish coast is the setting for today's evocative thriller, Hidden Depths. It's my day on the blog tour. 


Thursday 16 May 2024

Tell Us About Musical Influences


Is This Mutton on the moment in July 1972 that changed her life (for the better)

Dear friends. A fabulous prompt for this month's Tell Us About challenge, courtesy of Suzy from Suzy Turner, our Portugal-based Yorkshire lass. 

Music plays a huge role in my life so apologies if it's a long post.  You might want to get a coffee or a schooner of sherry, depending on what time of the day it is.  


My elder brother was 6 years older than me so I inherited his mono Alba record player, Sid, and many of his records, including some Beatles LPs.  With our younger brother, we were forever bartering records.  Certain unloved records would change hands quite often.

The first single I ever bought was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John.  The first album was David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. It cost £2.10 from my mum's Freemans catalogue, and I paid 10 pence for it over a number of months with my pocket money.


Ah, David Bowie.  In July 1972 I was watching Top of the Pops, which was required viewing in those days, when this gorgeous boy with red spiky hair came on, flanked by his outrageous musicians.  The song was Starman, and it changed many peoples' lives, including mine.  I was 11 and from then I was smitten.

David Bowie's eponymous appearance on Top of the Pops in July 1972 performing Starman, as recorded by Is This Mutton

He chimed with a part of my personality that resists the ordinary, or going with the herd. At this time most of my school friends were mad on Donny Osmond or David Cassidy, and later the Bay City Rollers, but they did nothing for me.  David Bowie was pure talent, constantly evolving and being different. 

I saw him 3 times in concert, including the Serious Moonlight Tour at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1983. I had only just passed my driving test.  I had a massive print out of directions from the AA because this was pre-Google and sat nav.  I'm amazed now that I drove there on my own, from Plymouth, aged 22.  The support acts were Madonna and Ice House. I was gutted that the balloon I'd proudly captured was taken away from me at the exit! 


In 1977 my heart was beating loudly for one of Bowie's mates, Iggy Pop.  I'd seen in my weekly read, New Musical Express, about Iggy's new album The Idiot.  I pre-ordered it via mail order without having heard him at all, convinced he would be wonderful.  Of course, he was, and I saw him twice in concert and adored the subsequent albums Lust for Life and New Values  (the others, not so much). I also collected what was available from The Stooges. They were way ahead of their time. 

Punk rock was pounding our shores and I was a big fan, not that you would know with my permed hair.  I did have straight leg jeans and a pair of razor blade earrings.

The punks would sit outside the Virgin record store in Plymouth on Saturdays, looking very exotic. I would loved to have joined them but was too conventional to dress that way. 

However, I did go to Plymouth's new wave venues, The Metro, Clones and occasionally the Polytechnic, and saw bands including X Ray Spex, The Be Stiff Tour, 1978,  Wreckless Eric, The Buzzcocks and The Ramones.  (This sounds like my husband's idea of hell). 

At school we had a Friday lunchtime record club for the sixth form and we would take in records for Mr Glynn to play.  Ninety nine per cent of my cohort were what we called "Boring Old Farts" who liked prog rock: bands like Yes, Led Zeppelin, Rush.  My friends Dave and Sue would endure ridicule when Mr Glynn occasionally played our records: Devo, Throbbing Gristle, Talking Heads, Television and the Psychedelic Furs. Class! 


David Bowie stayed with me and I have every album, some of them in multiple form factors (vinyl, cassette, CD, streamed - we Boomers were stiffed!). 

In the 90s I was keen on (and still am) Radiohead, Elbow and the Manic Street Preachers. Plus anything that Tom Verlaine (ex Television) wanted to throw out there.

Coming up-to-date:  I'm a sucker for nostalgia so I adore seeing 70s bands I never actually cared for much Back in the Day  (Madness, Squeeze, 10cc.....).  I enjoy an Abba tribute band, and loved the Voyage Abba-tar experience. 

I listen to Boom Radio and Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the 70s.  And I've also become a devotee of classical music.  


Suzy from Suzy Turner, who came up with this prompt, has had musical influences ranging from pop to rock, shaping her journey through diverse genres. From Madonna's catchy tunes to the soulful rhythms of Motown, music has been a constant companion, inspiring her creativity and enriching her life.

Marsha from Marsha in the Middle grew up when AM radio reigned supreme.  Elvis would be crooning in the background along with Tom Jones and even a little Frank Sinatra.  As music changed from the crooners to rock to heavy metal to hip hop, Marsha’s tastes changed, too.  Or did they?  You’ll have to read her post to discover the answer!

Debbie from Deb's World goes back in time to her teenage self, rediscovers some favourites from watching Countdown on TV and realises she was very naive when it comes to song lyrics!

Jill from Grownup Glamour takes a look at the music she has enjoyed. 

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper recalls how pop music was very much part of her life as a teenager and tells us about her musical influences, which were mostly on television. But she reveals that music does not really feature in her life now. 

How about you?  Did you have similar musical influences or were yours totally different?  It's a fascinating subject, do share in the comments.


There's plenty of time to write about your musical influences, or interpret the prompt in a different way. The link-up is open until 24 May.

Next month's prompt, courtesy of Marsha from Marsha in the Middle, is Beauty.  Posts go live on 20 June.  How would you interpret Beauty? 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday 15 May 2024


 And Wow on Wednesday

Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon in navy and white nautical dress and white patent Mary Jane shoes

Dear friends. I'm wearing a colour today that I've always found depressing.  Navy blue. I fell in love with the nautical dress with retro vibes, and decided to overlook the colour. I've always had a bit of a thing for nautical / sailor looks. 


Tuesday 14 May 2024

Alison Weir on her New Book about Mary I

 The Is This Mutton book spotlight falls on Alison Weir's new novel Mary I

Dear friends. For those of us who are avowed Tudorphiles, a new book from Alison Weir about this dynasty is always eagerly awaited. Alison is the biggest-selling female historian in the UK. 

Her latest novel is "Mary I: Queen of Sorrows."  Today's post shines a spotlight on the book, including a QA with the author. 


Sunday 12 May 2024

The Life Sentence by Jackie Kabler


Dear friends. Today I bring you a book described by readers as a rollercoaster, a corker, shocking and bingeworthy.  

It's my stop on the blog tour for The Life Sentence by Jackie Kabler. 


Saturday 11 May 2024

The Garden in May


Is This Mutton's garden update for May with #SixOnSaturday

Dear friends.  May is an exciting time in the garden. Everything is growing, the gaps are filling, and our magnificent clematis montanas burst into bloom. 

I didn't think there was much in flower yet but I managed to get #SixOnSaturday.

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