"". May 2024 | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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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.


Wednesday 8 May 2024

Best Skirts for Summer

 And #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton praises the Boden Fun Skirt, perfect for short waisted Gamine petite women

Dear friends.  I'm in my happy place today with a skirt that is exactly the right length for me, and suits my style personality.  

I have several midi length skirts, but for a short waisted petite, 5'4 and seemingly shrinking, they're not always the most flattering, even if they are "on trend."

I've decided to dispense with on trend in favour of what suits me.  As I discussed in my post on how I resolved my brief clothes crisis,  I'm favouring shorter skirts and cute retro dresses as they're what I like to wear.  If I had a formal style analysis, I might be defined as gamine. 

Is This Mutton the over 50s style blog on how shorter skirts can suit petite women much better than midi length

Boden have long produced their "fun skirts" which are perfect for my requirements and readily available pre-loved.  I bought this one on eBay and it's lined with pockets. I'm wearing it with a lime cotton tee and light turquoise short tie wrap, both Kettlewell. Vinted is another good source. Short tie wraps are brilliant for creating a waist, and the right proportion for me with this length of skirt. I'm wearing nude tights and rose gold flat shoes from Boden  (they have a similar style in stock at the moment). 

I must confess I only wear lipstick on rare occasions, when I'm going "out out," but the difference it makes is astonishing. If you choose the right shade, it brightens your whole face.  I'm wearing True Coral by Look Fabulous Forever, which is warm toned.  They helpfully label their lipsticks as warm, cool or neutral, as does my other favourite purveyor of lipstick, Lisa Eldridge. 

Makeup details:  Lisa Eldridge Skin Enhancing Tint (shade 7), Studio London Blusher in Inner Glow, Huda Beauty concealer in Coconut Flakes, Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift in Deep Brown, Code Beautiful Lid Lift Enhance, Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black, True Coral lipstick by Look Fabulous Forever. 

I've bought a couple more Boden skirts plus a couple of retro dresses, and reckon my wardrobe is ready for summer.  If you want some advice on finding the best skirt length and shape for you, try my handy guide to skirts. 

How is your wardrobe fixed for the new season?  Happy with it or seeing a few gaps?  Do tell in the comments. You'll find the comments box beyond the link-up and favourites. 

Sharing my posts with these fantastic 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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Fashion Favourite:  Tulle Overlay - Whimsical Style by Mireille of Chez Mirelle 

Recipe Favourite:  The Best Caesar Pasta Salad by Nicolle of Our Tiny Nest 

LIFESTYLE FAVOURITE:  The human dynamo that is Debbie from Deb's World with What's Been on My April Calendar

Debbie from Deb's World, Australia, on her action packed month of April 2024


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Monday 6 May 2024

Why Gentle is Better for Skincare over 60

 Is This Mutton explains why gentle skincare with no actives is better for women over 60

Dear friends. I've done a complete 360 degree turn on my skincare and makeup routine. I've turned my back on "active" ingredients. My skin looks far better as a result.  

I was using a lot of "actives," products with ingredients like retinol, AHAs and peptides. These are said to improve the appearance of mature skin, but what they do is exfoliate. They are fine if you're in your 40s and early 50s. But my belief is, they are too harsh once we're past menopause.

So here's what I'm doing instead.


Saturday 4 May 2024

Death in Bacton Wood by Ross Greenwood

Cover of crime thriller Death in Bacton Wood by Ross Greenwood, reviewed by Is This Mutton

Dear friends. A few months ago I raved about the first Ross Greenwood I'd read. Now I'm on the blog tour for his latest thriller, Death in Bacton Wood. If you like a police procedural with a gripping plot and lots of twists, you've come to the right place.


Wednesday 1 May 2024

Ways with Bouclé

 And #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton styles boucle, or lady, jackets several ways

Dear friends. Bouclé, or Lady Jackets, are having a bit of a moment. It's hard to find an actual definition, but to me a lady jacket is a short jacket with a round collar and fancy buttons. They're very versatile and can be used to dress up jeans, or popped over a dress. 

Here are some styling ideas for two of my lady jackets. 

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