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Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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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.  

2023 was a very good year for me, although sadly I did lose my wonderful cat Molly. I didn't have many goals - I don't believe in setting resolutions - but I was keen to go to more art exhibitions, and I definitely succeeded there with highlights including the David Hockney Immersive, Paul McCartney's Pictures, the Van Gogh Immersive and Frans Hals. I became a member of the National Gallery and have lots of their tutorials and "drop in" activities lined up.

I had several fun meet ups with the lovely ladies from the Kettlewell Colour Club, including the event I organized in Hyde Park in August. There were also events in Birmingham, Morden Hall Park, Chelmsford and Kent.  I loved the trip to Tankerton near Whitstable which included swimming.

The joy of swimming with friends in Tankerton, Kent, with Is This Mutton

We went to my nephew's wedding in July in Plymouth. Another highlight was meeting make up artist Lisa Eldridge, whose range of make-up I adore. 

Fan Girl Is This Mutton meets make-up superstar Lisa Eldridge in London

I had two reunions with former work colleagues which were both really good.  I enjoyed two RHS flower shows, Chelsea and Hampton Court, and did some walks with MeetUp including seeing three gardens in the Cotwolds on one day. 

For my birthday in November we saw Monty Don in conversation. In December it was great to see Madness in Bournemouth, and to see English National Ballet in The Nutcracker. 

Health and fitness wise, all was well;  I started the year with a boot camp refresh. I've been doing Pilates and more recently yoga each week, plus my speed walks, which definitely get the heart rate up.  I was a bit slack however about workouts with weights, and I've definitely lost strength and definition.

I decided to get an ebike so that I'd have a hobby in common with my husband. We did a four day cycling challenge, the Coast to Coast, and also took our bikes to the Lake District, and I loved it.

It was fabulous to go back to the Greek island of Skiathos for a summer beach holiday.

Below:  top - reunion of BBC Radio Devon;  bottom left, with the Croydon Kettlewell ladies; second to left, John,Mum, me and my brother at my nephew's wedding;  third from left, on the C2C cycle ride;  far right: Mirror Group Newspapers reunion

Some of the highlights of 2023 for blogger Is This Mutton


As you know I'm a hobby blogger. I don't monetize the blog, although I do the occasional gifted collaboration. I do work quite hard on the blog in terms of trying to adopt the best techniques to get traffic via search and social media.  Google did their Helpful Content Update which affected negatively many blogs. Mine lost traffic for a few weeks but has now fully recovered, and I had the most views in 2023 I've ever had. 

I became a full fledged book blogger, with advance reader copies via NetGalley, and did some book blog tours, plus a cover reveal, which were fun. The books and authors community on X makes it very enjoyable.

I had collaborations with brands including Cotton Traders, Teddy Blake Handbags, Meideya Jewellery,  Look Fabulous Forever, The Nearly New Cashmere Company, and Zuvi Halo

We had 12 months of the Tell Us About challenge with some fascinating prompts. Tell Us About Scent was my most read post.  I took part in two monthly link-ups with the ladies of the southern hemisphere in #WhatsBeenOnYourCalendar and #WhatsBeenOnYourBookshelf.  I got to meet blogger Jill from Grownup Glamour. 

Most Popular Posts

1. How much longer can brands ignore the revenue opportunity of older women?

2. 10 women 10 skirts

3. Try on: Marks and Spencer dresses

4. What I wore on holiday

5. 11 fast ways to update your look

6. On trend summer jewellery 

7. Walk into style

8. Coronation Ready with Cotton Traders 

9. Perfect cord skirt with Cotton Traders 

10. White jeans in winter 


I don't post on Instagram very often - once or twice a week - but I used IG to find my most popular outfits in terms of likes.  


  • WOTY - Word of the Year:  I have chosen a word, and it's LAUGH.  I don't know why, but I seem to be a lot more serious these days, which is strange because I have a mischievous, light hearted side. I want that side to emerge a bit more!  How I will do this....well, stay tooned!
  • The biggest cycling challenge!  Land's End to John O'Groats, 1189 miles (1913km)
  • Being a poppy volunteer for the Royal British Legion
  • Making the most of my National Gallery membership
  • Book blogging:  reading more varied genres
  • Getting weights back on the fitness agenda
  • More "try on" posts, as I know you like them
  • More posts featuring other women and giving style advice and How To's 
  • Do more cooking from scratch - perhaps subjecting Mr Mutton to a Wednesday Night Dinner Date night! (Don't tell him....)
  • Find the joy in each season with the help of my Almanac


I've found private blood tests very useful for making sure I am in the best of health. It's a fast and convenient way to get the data we need, without troubling the NHS.  I wrote about how they play a vital role for me here.

I'm pleased to introduce London Health Company, a medical laboratory based in East London.  They have a range of tests for women and men. This ambitious company is more competitive on pricing than some of the bigger operators.  Being smaller they are more client-focused and offer a very personal service. 

Their kits contain everything that you would need to collect a finger prick blood sample at home and send to the lab for analysis. You'll have a free return label and everything is in the kit. Results are provided within 24-48 hours. 

You might be interested in checking your heart health, or liver or kidney function.  Men will find a kit to test their testosterone levels, among others. 

There's a 10% discount for readers of Is This Mutton.  Simply enter MUTTON10 at the checkout. 

Where are you with plans for 2024? Have you got holidays booked yet?  Do let us know in the comments.  Scroll down for the comments box, below the link-up. 

Sharing this post with these sites. 


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. 


Styling Black Leggings for Gals Over 50 by Karin of Karin's Kottage

2023 A Year of Ups and Downs by Jill from Grownup Glamour


  1. Thank you for highlighting my post about styling leggings for women over 50! What a fun surprise!
    Wow you have had fun year! I love ebike riding. When we are in Italy we always go on bike rides using e-bikes along the Adriatic Sea in central Italy. It’s gorgeous! Great blog you have!

    1. Thanks so much Karin. I had no idea how keen I would become on cycling, thanks to the ebike.

  2. Oh Gail, if I would love in the UK I would have done so many the same things! Madness? Wow. Month? Fabulous! Poppy volunteer? Count me in! David Hackney? Oh yes!
    What a fantastic year you had! Happy New year!

    1. I was very fortunate. Happy New Year to you Nancy!

  3. I’m so sorry you lost your cat last year - I know how hard it is to loose your furry friend. It’s great to hear about all the other adventures you’ve had this year <3

    1. Thanks so much. I can't bring myself to get another cat yet, although it's been 9 months now. They have a big impact in our lives.

  4. What a busy year. Let me know if you come
    to Tankerton again it’s five mins away! Thanks for hosting the linkup too xx

    1. I will, although you may need to join us in a swim! xx


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