"". February 2024 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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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. 


My Own Reading Life

I was a slow learner and couldn't read until I was about 8. It was my dad's perseverance at home that made the difference.  The breakthrough came with the Ladybird book The Elves and the Shoemaker.  I still remember it verbatim. Once I could read, I quickly progressed to adult books, particularly after a teacher told 10 year old me that I shouldn't be reading Enid Blyton (I loved the Famous 5 and the St Clare's books).

I got my first Kindle in 2010. A game changer! Previously I'd had to lug 10 books on holiday (necessitating extra baggage allowance). Now I could travel light, and never worry about where my next book was coming from. 

The authors I love, or have loved, include Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, Thomas Hardy, George Orwell, Bernice Rubens,  Marian Keyes, Barbara Comyns,  Edna O'Brien. 

Nowadays as a book blogger, I get my fix from NetGalley.  I love the insights I've gained into the publishing world. I particularly like to support debut authors, and those with small independent publishers.  

I typically read from 8 - 10pm, and sometimes during the afternoon.  I  always read on train or plane journeys.  I read faster on a Kindle than a book, and don't really enjoy audiobooks because the pace is too slow, even speeded up.

My goal this year is to read 100+ books and to try different genres.  Goodreads tells me I've read 34 books so far, and am 17 books ahead of schedule,  so I may need to revise my target. I've been reading historical fiction which is a new genre to me ( although I did love Jean Plaidy as a teenager). 

I do want to write a book and worry I've left it too late. Yesterday I went to a creative writing workshop in Cambridge,  which was very helpful. I'm interested to know how many of you are aspiring authors, hence the last questions in the survey! 

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. 

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