Fashion, books, fun for the over-50s.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Beauty Rummage and the Cult Products I Can't Live Without

 & #WowOnWednesday

Beauty over 60 with London style blogger Is This Mutton.  Latest discoveries include Korean Erborian Super BB Cream and Japanese Suqqu Waterproof Mascara.

Dear friends. I won't lie to you, it has not been an easy week.  I lost my devoted companion Molly seven days ago and the grief has been intense. Last week I threw myself into work - blogging and cleaning. But the last few days have been more difficult.  I sent J to collect her ashes, which we will scatter on the garden on a sunny spring day. 

I jettisoned plans for an outfit shoot today when it started raining again.  Instead it's a good time for a periodic rummage in the makeup bag and a look at the products I consider indispensable. Plus the cult products I can't live without.  These would surprise the young beauty bloggers and social media managers I suspect. But we like to surprise them, don't we? 


Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Pretty Daytime Make-Up with Look Fabulous Forever

 & WowOnWednesday

A Before and After: 62 year old woman's face before and after using make-up by Look Fabulous Forever

Dear friends. Pull up a chair, it might be a long post. I can't wait to talk to you about some of my latest beauty discoveries. 

Today I'm going to create a pretty everyday make-up with Look Fabulous Forever, the brand created specifically for older women. And I'm going to reveal my best beauty secret. But let's start with skincare, because unless our skin is looking good, make-up can't do its job.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Thinning Lips and Barcode Lines

 & WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton wearing Atomic Cherry lipstick by Lisa Eldridge as she explains ways of dealing with thinning lips and barcode lines around the mouth.

Dear friends. I was asked recently what we can do about thinning lips, something which happens as we age.  I'm also troubled by "barcode lines," those lines  above the top lip. They're usually associated with smokers but we all have them to some extent. I'm going to explain a few ways of camouflaging these issues, and what's available if you decide to get professional treatment.


Wednesday, 20 July 2022

The Best Beauty Products on Holiday

 & #WowOnWednesday

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon and husband on holiday in Skiathos, Greek Islands

Dear friends. I'm back from a wonderful 10 night stay in Skiathos, Greek Islands.  We've been there several times and I've already re-booked for next year. No wonder they call it the boomerang island. 

It's very hard to beat in terms of a perfect location, beautiful scenery and good food. Above, in a new-to-us restaurant in Skiathos Town, called Paraxenos. It was a great discovery.

Today's post will focus on the capsule wardrobe I took - pros and cons - and a few standout beauty products. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

The Big Beauty Bonanza


Dear friends. It's been a while since we had a look at my latest beauty buys and what I'm currently trying from brands who have gifted me. So here's my big beauty special. There'll be an update on my eyelash growing experiment; a brilliant new mascara; a new serum, and some body "bio hackers" to reverse cell damage. 


Friday, 25 March 2022

The Lowdown on Collagen

 Revive Collagen sachet and glass of water. Copyright: Is This Mutton

Dear friends. Chances are you may have seen one or two ads lately for collagen to improve your skin, maybe peppered with a celebrity or two.  And you may be wondering if it's worth trying.  Alternately, you may be thinking about collagen to try to improve arthritis.  I've been looking into the subject so here's what you need to know.


Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Six Months to Improve My Nails


Dear friends.  I'm ashamed of my nails. When I was young, I had long, strong nails. But for the last few years, my nails have been in a terrible condition.

I try to do the right things. I always have at least 3 different cuticle creams and oils on the go, and apply them twice a day. I use rubber gloves. I rarely use nail polish.


Saturday, 22 January 2022

Sunday Home Spa

Dear friends.  Today I'm sharing my new skincare routine, what I do for my Sunday spa ritual, and a new product from one of my favourite brands, Look Fabulous Forever.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Have You Tried Make-Up Sticks Yet?


Dear friends. You may have noticed ads appearing on Facebook and IG for make-up sticks, aimed at older women, which are designed to simplify cosmetics and give a natural, fresh look without trying to make us look younger.

I wrote about one of the brands, Forever Yours,  a few weeks ago.  Now I am trying another range from a UK company called Violet Jordan.


Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Makeup with Me Using Look Fabulous Forever: and Link-Up

Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton wearing makeup by Look Fabulous Forever
Dear friends. As you read this, I am several hundred miles from home at an exercise boot camp. Yes! Judging from the reactions of some friends, most people think I'm mad, but I wanted to do something challenging during my sabbatical month off.

I've gone under my own steam so I will hopefully write an unbiased review when I'm back. In the meantime, I bring you a make-up tutorial using products from Look Fabulous Forever.  I've written about the brand before, and am an avid user of three of their products:  the Hydration Hold face serum, Smooth the Day face cream, and Smooth Out Eye Prime.


Friday, 15 October 2021

Turning the Beauty Industry Upside Down with 3 Sticks

Forever You Beauty's Natural Glow Trio as tested by blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton. Image copyright Is This Mutton 2021

A young British company is poised to revolutionize the way older women apply make-up. Instead of offering the usual products aimed at covering up the signs of aging, Forever You's range aims to enhance our natural beauty without concealing or erasing. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Back to the Office - and Link Up


Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in red and beige

Dear friends: quite a mixed post this week. I'm covering the imminent return to the office;  a wonderful pre-Christmas season gift to ourselves, and a quick beauty update that includes my lash and brow trial, inspired by Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb. 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Summer Beauty Bonanza and Link-Up

 Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon is overjoyed at sharing her five times emptied beauty products

First a big thanks for the outpouring of support and shared experiences after my post on The Loneliness Epidemic last week.  It was so lovely to read all your comments both on the blog and sent to my email address.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

First Cut Since Lockdown - and Link-Up

 Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon gets an up-to-date hair makeover following lockdown

What a difference a new haircut and colour makes.  On Monday I had a day off work to spend a pleasurable four hours catching up with Jodie. After a full head of highlights and permanent base was applied, followed by a pale pink glaze, my hair was cut quite a bit shorter. 


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Look More Radiant Over 50 - and Link-Up

 Over 50s style blogger Gail Hanlon with some of the new make-up she has bought recently to tackle pigmentation, dark under eye circles and lack of radiance

I've been experimenting with a few new beauty products.  It helps pass the time when we're in lockdown.  None were gifted, so I will give you a completely honest opinion on what's working for me, and what didn't. 

I have particular requirements for beauty products. For age-related issues like lines, pigmentation, dark shadows under the eyes, dull skin and dryness -we need specialist products to hide imperfections and help us look radiant. 


Monday, 8 February 2021

Beauty Treatments at Home During Lockdown


Is This Mutton tries some salon treatments at home including ice globes for facial massage and a home gel manicure kit

We're in lockdown in the UK and not likely to see hair or beauty salons opening for several weeks.  While I'm quite high maintenance with my hair, having a cut, regrowth and highlights every seven weeks - I've realised I'm low maintenance when it comes to beauty routines.


Friday, 8 January 2021

I Liked Regentiv So Much I Bought More Products!

Some of the UK skincare brand Regentiv's products created to solve problems such as lines, wrinkles and lax skin texture
I was intrigued when a UK beauty brand called Regentiv got in touch with me back in October.  I've seen their ads in magazines like Good Housekeeping for years. It's a real word-of-mouth range, as you can see from the testimonials on their Instagram feed.

I've often wondered about trying their flagship product, the Specialist Serum, and Regentiv kindly sent me a bottle to try, plus the Invigorating Exfoliant. Now that I've used them for a couple of months, I was suitably impressed to buy a couple more products - the Super Lifting Serum and Neck & Decollete Rejuvenation.


Friday, 13 November 2020

Friday Fizz: A Beauty Box Winner and the Return of Epicure Piccalilli


Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton tries out the My John Lewis x Hannah Martin beauty box - and likes it

Welcome to a new monthly post, Fizzing on Friday, where I'll feature a beauty update and other news and updates. In this first post, I'm praising a beauty box - after saying I wasn't going to buy any more - and the return of an old favourite, Epicure Piccalilli. Plus some other random thoughts.

The contents of the My John Lewis x Hannah Martin beauty box

My John Lewis x Hannah Martin Beauty Box

I was buying something online in beauty at JLP and I noticed this beauty box, a collaboration with makeup artist Hannah Martin. I pledged a few weeks ago I wasn't going to buy any more beauty boxes or beauty Advent calendars or Easter eggs because once you've done it a few times, you get the same products, some of which haven't been selling well. But this box intrigued me because the products looked carefully chosen, and some of them are very well rated.

The box retails for £95 but is worth £160. The products are:  Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, 50ml; MAC Mascara in Extreme Dimension Waterproof, black; By Terry Terrybly  Eye Pencil, black; Charlotte Tilbury The Queen of Glow Luxury Palette;  Clarins Natural Lip Perfector, Candy Shimmer and Rose Shimmer, 5ml; NARS Blush in Deep Throat (I hate the names of those NARS blushers - cringe city).

There's a card in the box where Hannah Martin explains why she chose each item.  This box really delighted me because the items are so good. The mascara doesn't budge, and is noticeable on my puny eyelashes. The blush is a soft pink with a gold undertone, which imparts a pretty, soft flush.  I have a few Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palettes and the high pigmentation and dazzling colors always impress me. I'd forgotten about Clarins Natural Lip Perfectors, but used to love them - and I rememer why; they make the most lined and wrinkled lips look smooth and luscious with just a hint of colour. 

I had to be convinced about the eye pencil because I've tried a few By Terry products and never rated them, but the kohl is very soft and glides on easily. It did transfer to the lower lash after about 30 minutes, which was irritating, but I dabbed it off.

The products create a soft pretty look with emphasis on the eyes.  I didn't use the eyeshadow palette for this picture, or indeed the Bobbi Brown enriched face base, because I'm using other products right now. But my "Bobbette" friends on Instagram rate the face product very highly so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Graham Norton Leaving BBC Radio 2

I've always enjoyed Graham Norton's Saturday morning show;  it's relaxed with interesting guests (he attracts a higher calibre than the usual Z listers) and I enjoy the "Grill Graham" slot and his banter with co-presenter Maria McErlane.  Unfortunately it was announced this week that after 10- years, Graham is giving up his show.

The BBC said it was his own choice, but we later learned that the BBC wants its presenters to talk less and to play more music. 

Back in the day when I worked in BBC local radio,  there was a high cost for royalties called "needle time", so they would substitute free-of-charge music called "radioplay"  (I would describe it as muzak or not by the original artists).  

I had hoped the BBC was going to regain some common sense now it has a new Director General who overturned a couple of daft decisions. But no.  They pay Graham Norton a lot of money to be Graham, which means a lot of chat and laughter.  I can't understand why they'd want to play more music, unless it's another futile attempt to make Radio 2 attractive to younger listeners, who already have Radios 1 and 6. 

A welcome return for Epicure Piccalilli 

A jar of Epicure Piccalilli which is back on the shelves after a very long absence

Back in 2008 on my old blog, I wrote a post "It's thick and yellow" about my passion for piccalilli and my search for a replacement to Epicure's distinguished product, which had been discontinued a long time before 2008.

I was recently contacted by Jason Beaumont, managing director of a company which has revived the Epicure brand. Epicure Piccalilli is back on the market! 

I was quick to purchase a jar of piccalilli from Ocado.  The verdict?  The color is a deep gold, perhaps a little more lurid than I remembered, and there were fewer silverskin onions. But the balance is exactly right. 

Jason told me: "We researched brand archives in a bid to find out what set Epicure Piccalilli apart from the rest.  With piccalilli it’s all about getting the right balance of the key ingredients - chunky and crunchy veg and gherkin - not too much, but then again absolutely not too little and thin.  Pack a tangy punch with the mustard dressing - again not overpowering and definitely not too acidic to strip the back of your throat."

The piccalilli is a harmonious blend which will be perfect with the Christmas cold meats, pork pie and cheese board. 

Those who remember Epicure will be pleased to know that a wide range of products is now available and you can see them on the Epicure website, including a Christmas pudding and mince pies, honey, tinned vegetables (artichokes, asparagus spears and so on), ingredients and home baking.  Buy the products at Ocado and in farm shops, delis, and supermarkets, not just in the UK but also in Ireland. 

More good news: Cummings is leaving

We'e been spoiled this week with good news: the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines for Covid are on their way;  we're getting a bank holiday in 2022 for the Queen's Platinum anniversary, and now the loathsome Dominic Cummings, Machiavellian advisor to Johnson, is said to be quitting after Christmas.

You may remember he ruined lockdown by flouting the rules, "testing his eyesight" in a trip to a castle, and then lying about it on TV.  Johnson should have sacked him but was too cowardly and selfish. 

Instead, the government did everything it could to "move the debate on", ie, close it down. Historians will remember that period as the moment the public saw this government for what it is - contemptuous of us, with different rules for them - and a turning point in the public's good will in upholding lockdown situations. 

Ironically Cummings is quitting now after some petty spat involving the firing of the PR chief.  Shows their priorities doesn't it?

Prince Harry got it right this time 

More stick in the papers for Harry and Meghan for their lone photo call in a US war graves cemetery to mark Remembrance Day. Apparently Harry had wanted a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph in London on his behalf, but the royal family refused. How long is this boring feud going to drag on?  Harry and Meghan have made their bed but surely there's a bit of room for compromise every now and then. 

I applaud their Remembrance Day effort because young people need to be educated about remembrance and why we do it, and the younger (trendier) royals will do a better job in conveying this than Charles and the Queen. 

I would caution William and Kate to remember what happened to the  Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, who abdicated for the love of (another) American divorcee. Bored and idle, spurned by his family, he was a Nazi sympathizer who was apparently involved in a failed plot to overthrow the British crown during World War II.

Hope you enjoyed this first Friday Fizz. Nothing was gifted for this post. I'm back on Wednesday with #WowOnWednesday and a long cardigans style up.

Sharing this post with Not Dresssed as LambMy Random Musings, Fancy Friday at Nancys Fashion Style, Fabulous Friday at Lucy Bertoldi, Beauty by Miss L,  and Shelbee on the Edge 


There's a fashion or beauty post every Wednesday with the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Stay in the loop: follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. Check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter and Instagram


Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Glow to Go with Three Make-up Products - and Link Up

 Beauty products added to the regime of over-50s style blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton
My beauty routine changes in autumn as I instinctively fight some of the problems caused to my skin by summer. Today I'm going to tell you about what I'm using now, including a new foundation; and my quick three product makeover. Yes, down from five products! Nothing was gifted for this post. 

The pigmentation on my left cheek is always noticeably worse in the summer, even though I apply as much SP50 as I can. The fact that it reappears  (and largely disappears during winter) is why I haven't sought laser treatment because while it's said to work, the brown marks still return in the summer. 

I saw some good reviews of dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting's Brightly serum which is packed full of the latest "actives" to use the jargon. You're advised to start with half a pump, which I did;  I quickly progressed to a full pump because my skin is already conditioned for retinol and actives.  I didn't feel any tingling, but after a few days I developed some spots on my cheeks. Practically unheard of, but apparently a good sign as it shows the actives are purging the skin.

The serum is formulated more as a cream than a liquid. It's easy to smooth in and soon disappears. You can use it as a serum in the morning and apply make-up over the top. I will stick with it because I usually get good results with products like this for reducing the pigmentation during winter.


I'd also heard good reports about Olaplex No 6, a leave-in styling cream. You only have to mention "leave-in" and I'm looking for the Paypal button. One of the banes of my life, irrationally, is having to use conditioner after shampoo. The Olaplex is not my no 1 choice.  I prefer Color Wow Dream Coat, which styles my hair beautifully and doesn't add weight or oil. I also rate the Aveda Damage Remedy, shown in the picture. Both of them save me time because I can shampoo without a conditioner. 

Cream Blusher

One of the problems caused by my brown spots and where they are on my face is where to use a blusher. Inevitably, it has to land on the left brown spot, and if it's a powder formulation, it seems to darken the brown spot and make it all the more noticeable. Cream blushers are better, and  I've used them for several years as they're more flattering on older skin. I've just bought a Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick blusher in Las Salinas.  This gives a pretty pink glow which would probably work with most skin tones. I apply it just above the pigmentation. 

Night Cream - yay or nay?

I've never been too impressed with night creams but a sample of Goldfaden MD Regenerative Night Cream convinced me otherwise. Goldfaden, also a dermatologist, created a range of effective plant based products to achieve strong results.  It's absolutely true that with this cream my skin looks more glowy and fresh first thing in the morning. I apply it over the Brightly serum. It's very pricey though.  I had a big reduction when I bought it at Cult Beauty but that big box is housing a miserly 50ml pot. which retails at £140. 

A winning mascara

Finally I added the mascara by Maybelline to a shopping basket when I needed to reach a spend threshold for a gift  (that old trick!), and I'm pleasantly surprised with it.  It builds up the lashes nicely and lasts all day without flaking or imprinting itself on the lower lashes. 

Three Product Makeover 

Before and after: using just three make-up products can make all the difference as over-50s style and beauty blogger Gail Hanlon, from Is This Mutton, demonstrates

Some of you tell me you never wear make-up.  I always do, even if it's just concealer. Make-up makes a huge difference for me, and it doesn't have to be a full face of slap.

In the photo above, I'm showing my bare face on the left, and on the right, after my usual "prep" products (which make a huge difference on their own) and three items of make-up plus lip balm.   I took the photo in the same room but from a different position, although I'm sure you'll agree the "after" is noticeably better.

My three product makeover, after applying a hyaluronic acid serum, moisturizer and eye cream, is:

I had been loyal to a particular foundation for years but suddenly it seemed a bit muddy looking and thick.  Another blogger swears by Clarins foundations and I tried a sample.  I liked it so bought a full size bottle. This foundation is extremely light in texture with a delicate scent, but quite a heavy hitter in terms of concealing pigmentation, dark circles and red patches.  Having applied it with a damp make-up sponge on the areas which need it, I then use my eye pencil as a liner, pulling up the eye lid to apply the pencil to the water mark and pushing it into the eyelashes.  This has a miraculous effect in terms of opening up the eyes without looking at all obvious.  Finally a slick of blusher and my face has a rosy glow.

I've included the link for the eye pencil as I've only seen it at one online retailer in the UK.  The purple shade is perfect if you have grey, blue or green eyes.  I tried the teal shade but weirdly it gives the dreaded panda effect.

I'm also using a lip balm but didn't count that as a make-up product because even make-up haters use those!

Finally nails and cuticles - the bane of my life! My nails have been poor for years, ever since I had acrylic nails back in the early 2020s. I use several different oil and cream cuticle conditioners during the day, but it's an uphill battle, particularly with all the hand sanitizers and hand washing. 

This Margaret Dabbs product is nearly finished and I'll definitely be buying a new one.  It has a strange, but pleasant, smell that reminds me of furniture polish. It makes the nails look instantly hydrated and the effect is long lasting. Margaret Dabbs is a podiatrist whose medical pedicures are in much demand at her salon in Marylebone, London. Her products are on the pricey side but devoid of marketing B-S. Put simply, they work.  You can buy her products from the website or from online retailers including Cult Beauty and Look Fantastic.
Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon shows how to get your glow with just three make-up products, including a brutal before and an improved after
Have you tried any of these products, or do you have some new discoveries you can share in the comments below?

I've just splurged on some new products from Byredo, Bobbi Brown and Lisa Eldridge, so there'll be another beauty update soon. 

Sharing this post with Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #LinkupOnTheEdge  at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile at StylesplashAnna at the GlamAdventure, Style Six at Coast to CoastTFF at Doused in Pink, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Beauty by Miss L Link Up#iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb 

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the link-up featuring posts on fashion, beauty, travel and fitness from bloggers around the world. Please click on a few of the posts and leave comments - you'll make the writers incredibly happy.
Last week's most clicked (readers' favourites) were Michelle from Fifty and Fab, and Alison from Midlife and Beyond.

Michelle's post was "My new walk in wardrobe, some pretty underwear from Playtex and a fab white cotton shirt!" Three dead cert favourite topics.
Michelle from blog Fifty and Fab - readers favourite in the Is This Mutton #WowOnWednesday link up
Alison was celebrating her birthday with her post "Turning Sixty - No Big Deal." I loved her dramatic dress. I enjoyed some of the memories in the post. My own 60th is just a month away! 
Alison from Midlife and Beyond - readers favourite in the Is This Mutton #WowOnWednesday link up

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 25 September 2020

L'Aves - Luxurious Vegan Skincare


Products from the L'AVES vegan skincare ranges reviewed by Is This Mutton blog


L'AVES is a new British skincare range which offers something that most vegan brands don't:  a touch of luxury.  I find a lot of vegan beauty products perform perfectly well but they lack the scents, the delicate textures and the feeling of indulgence when you look at the packaging and then apply them. Not so with this gorgeous brand.

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