Fashion,beauty and jewellery for the non-invisible woman over 45

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Can these pills lift brain fog? And link up

Colourful dandelions illustrating a report by over 45s style blog Is This Mutton? on nootropics, supplements which claim to enhance brain function
Have you heard of nootropics? Nootropics are foods or dietary supplements that support brain functions such as focus, memory and concentration. I was invited by the brand Utmost Me to try their two products, Neuro Focus Plus and Neuro Rest. Here's my objective, unbiased review.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Sentence a Day, September 2018

Brightly coloured cycling tops on a washing line
Saturday 1 September
Seems a long time ago now, but J finally finished the Land's End to John O'Groats bike ride today, over 1000 miles. Says it's the hardest thing he's ever done - and he's run nearly 30 marathons. Here he is celebrating after the ride.
Cyclist celebrates finishing LEJOG, Land's End to John O'Groats
Sun 2
I walked to the gym for Power Plate. ("PP").  Long day of travelling for J. He was finally home by 7. His bike will follow in a few days.

Mon 3
In office. Tough week ahead, lots to do before holiday. Went for a lunch walk to try to breathe and get through stress.

Tues 4
At home. Too busy for gym.

Weds 5 
In office. J not very well. Body is trying to recover after its ordeal.

Thurs 6
Had a meeting in London. Got home, took Molly to the cattery. She doesn't mind it there. Bit worried about J who has a bad cold. We had to cancel a dinner tonight with Rachel and Sean.

Fri 7
We're off on holiday! Taxi at 3.30am to the airport. First time at London Luton for more than five years. Used to be a sweet little airport, what have they done to it? Bag drop and security took so long the plane was boarding by the time we got to the gate.  Flight to Skiathos, Greece. Arrived at our hotel just after 12. Yay! Had dinner at one of our regular haunts, the Final Step, travelling by water taxi.

Sat 8th
I was up early and took some photos of the sun rise.
Sun rise over the sea and a beach at Skiathos, GreeceJohn still poorly. We spent the day on the beach., which is what we always do. There's a button by each sunbed to summon the waiter. I watch all the shipping going by in the distance with binoculars. We always have lunch overlooking the sea, usually a delicious Greek salad for me.

Sun 9th
J a little better. Went to Lo&La, a fun Italian we love, where we had a hug from owner Anastasia. Delicious feta pastries in honey followed by carbonara. I didn't take many photos of our holiday because we've been to Skiathos five times. See my post from last year to get a flavour of the place - it was my best read post of 2017!

Mon 10th
Wind expected and the boats stopped running in the morning. I was keen to get into town to get some medication for J. Went by bus. Came straight back. Boats started operating again. Wind quickly died down.

Tues 11
J a bit better. Went into town and ate at Lo&La. Two complimentary liqueurs each, amaretto and limoncello from Anastasia. Wonderful Greek/Italian hospitality.

Weds 12
Overcast in the morning,  quite windy.  Decided we'd eat in hotel.  Shared meatballs starter - huge!  I had salmon.

Thurs 13
Storms in night. Wet. Sheltered in bar for a while and then went on beach. Mostly overcast. Had a Greek salad lunch and later, cocktails and dinner at hotel. Pork skewer with grilled veg. My bank  texted me about fraudulent activity on a debit card. Aargh. Great to know  (not!).

Fri 14
Going home day. Our suitcases had to be outside by 7.15. It was a long day getting home. Shed a tear as we flew away from Skiathos. Been there 5 times but this was probably our last time. Home by 4.30pm. Fish n chips for dinner.

Sat 15
Up early, 5.30am. Lots of washing to do; shopping and collecting M.  Had to speak to the bank's fraud team. Had an Asos delivery. Keeping the leopard print boots and zebra jumper. See them here.

Sun 16
Slept badly. Bad cough. Rachel & Sean came for lunch. Had roast chicken. Haven't seen them for 5 weeks. They scrap booked their honeymoon in the afternoon.

Mon 17
Another poor night's sleep. Back to work. Took a while to sort out my monitor etc as someone had used my desk and left everything unplugged. Home by 4.30 with brain fade.

Tues 18
V windy. Slept well. Early PP class then several conf calls. Reading Thin Air by MIchelle Paver. Very creepy ghost story (and I don't normally rate ghost stories).  Started taking Imedeen, a skin supplement.

Weds 19
Glorious late summer day. Trees changing colour. In office. Listened to a new podcast, Telegraph Fashion Unzipped. Started taking some new tablets, Neuro Rest from Utmost Me. They're to help with sleep. I'll be reviewing them soon.

Gloomy and grey. Became windy. Busy day. We had a team lunch at The Wrestlers pub to say goodbye to a colleague going on maternity leave. Thai food.

Very windy in night and this morning. At home. Did PP.  Gathered some conkers. We place these around the house, on windowsills and ledges, and they repel spiders. It seems to work. Conkers are small and shrivelled this year because the weather didn't suit them. Went to the pub for dinner.
A handful of conkers from a horse chestnut tree
Did the shopping in nearby Epping. Cold and raining. Did a shoot indoors, two outfits: a red blouse and today's outfit for a "7 Outfits,  days post. ". In a classic sign of autumn, (fall), Strictly Come Dancing started this evening.  This was the show that led to what the US calls "Dancing with the Stars." We always watch it.

Bad weather am. Went to PP. Did two outfit shoots indoors. Just us for lunch, which was roast beef. Booked to see Party/Celebration at the theatre on 26 Jan, starring Celia Imrie.

In office. Lovely day. Colder. Left early to get back for late meetings by Skype. Watched the final episode of thriller The Bodyguard, which has been gripping the UK. Convinced I saw an alien space ship but J was not bothered.

At home. Sunny cold. PP. Ordered bulbs (late). Delivery of  Charlotte Tilbury Stars in Your Eyes eyeshadow palette, reviewed here.  Finished Dark Matter by Michelle Paver.  Creepy!

Day started badly, was attempting to post my new blog link up but there were problems. By the time I'd sorted it, I had to leave for work and didn't have time to make my salad for lunch. Stressy day. Stomach in knots. Realised it was unclenching as I drove home talking to Mum.

A beautiful autumn day. Worked from home. Delivery of two beautiful blouses from the Bias Cut. Have a nasty crick in neck - not sure how that happened. Thai curry for dinner.

Lovely day. At home. Did 2 sessions PP. Went into London to see a play, Foxfinder with Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones). Tiny theatre.  Quite enjoyed it. Intriguing. Saw some singers at Liverpool street as part of BBC music day.
Blogger outside a London theatre
Had hair coloured and a very light trim. Have decided to grow hair.  Lovely warm day so did some gardening.
Over 45s blogger Gail Hanlon after cut and colour
After the hair cut 
Went to PP.  Lots of housework and prepared roast pork with crackling. Yum. Asos delivery of some pairs of jeans, checked trousers (too long) and black ankle boots with silver heels.

Sharing this post with #WeekendBlogHop at Claire Justine and #Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb.


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And 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. 

How was your September? Let's find out.....


Friday, 21 September 2018

My Autumn 2018 Bucket List

Image showing a conker, the fruit of the horse chestnut tree
I've been meaning to follow the example of lovely Leslie from Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After and have a quarterly bucket list of things to attempt to do. Finally got round to it!

I'm not a big fan of autumn or winter. It's so hard to get up on those dark mornings and drive to work in the rain or fog, and then return home in the dark. You want to hibernate and eat carbs. But I try to make the best of it.
Image showing the autumn bucket list for over-40s style and beauty blog, Is This Mutton

Spring Bulbs

First up is the very pleasurable task of ordering my bulbs and planting them. Normally I would have already bought my bulbs but because we had a September holiday, I  delayed ordering them to avoid them arriving while we were away.  I usually order some crocus, three varieties of daffodil, and four or five different tulips. For next spring I'm going to choose tulips that flower both early and late in thr season. Selecting the colours is fun. There's a lot of yellow in the garden in early spring so I'm going to go for purple, white and orange.

Christmas Carols

The Christmas carol service is a fabulous event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. There are several, part of a Christmas festival.  This year it's being moved to the Barbican Centre.  It's easier for us to get to, but not so festive or special in my view. So we may skip the festival and perhaps go to the service at St Paul's Cathedral instead.

Blogger Meet-Up

It's great to meet up with fellow bloggers so I'm hoping to get a posse assembled to go to the Berkeley Hotel for their famous Prêt-à-Portea. The cakes are inspired by latest catwalk trends, and the line-up changes every six months.

Theatre Visits

It's been a bad year on the theatre front. We haven't been once! Shocking when we live in London. But I have no fewer than four theatre visits booked so far, starting with next Friday and rural drama Foxfinder, starring Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton).

Lose 7 Pounds

I've been trying to do this for a long time but can't sustain it.  So I've told myself sternly that I must knuckle down and stick to it.  To lose weight I usually need to drop to around 800 calories, because most women of 45+ only need 1,300 calories a day for normal life.  So it's hard to be devise nutritious diets which don't have you climbing the walls. I'll still be doing my usual exercise regime.

Start the daily walking again

I started the Walk 1000 Miles Challenge on New Year's Day to get ready for the 200 mile walk we were doing in May  (which sadly I had to stop).  Since then I haven't done much walking. I find it easier in cooler weather so it's time to reinstate "the Tesco Circular" when I'm at work.

Buy a year planner

Mr Mutton is now retired and determined to fit in as many sporting holidays as he can. He's slack at using the Google or Outlook calendar so I'm going old school to try to track what he's planning.

Buy fewer clothes

I didn't buy much in summer because I found I didn't really need many new clothes. So for winter, apart from buying into a few key trends and wardrobe updates, I won't be buying many new clothes. Expect to see me "shopping my closet."

Participate in at least one "style imitating art" challenge

I love these SIA challenges, run by a team including Jen from Librarian for Life and Style. It really encourages you to think outside the box. I've only ever done two though. So let's attempt at least one this autumn!

Gather some conkers

Tick tick! Did this today. I don't tie string in them and use for some conker fights, as we did at school. There's an old wives' tale that spiders don't like conkers, and we tried it last year.  Definitely seemed to work. So Mr M will replace all the old wrinkled conkers with nice shiny new ones.

Organise a mini break

One way of livening up winter is to go on a short mini break so I'm going to arrange a long weekend in York.

I kept my list fairly short so let's see how I get on!

Sharing this post with #WeekendLinkUp at Claire Justine, #BloggerClubUK at My Random Musings, and #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb.


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And 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.  


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Sentence a Day, August 2018

The father of the bride and his wife with the happy couple: Whitstable, UK, August 2018
Welcome to my month of August!

Weds 1
Bad cough. Working from home. J fell off his bike, but, every cloud - by the roadside he found a pair of cutters on the road.  I picked some blackberries from the wasteground at the back of the house, but forgot they were stewing and burnt the saucepan.

Thurs 2
Back in office.

Fri 3
Day off: we are heading down to the seaside town of Whitstable for the wedding of John's daughter Rachel to Sean. Left for Whitstable at 1.15, car loaded with wine. It was very hot so as soon as we got them I swam in the sea (stubbed toe). Met up with some of the party for dinner.

Sat 4
The big day! Weather still beautiful.  Went for a walk around the town and found some earrings that matched my dress perfectly. Around 1.30, John dropped me off at the venue at the harbour to pick up Rachel. Wonderful day.
Drop earrings bought in Whitstable to match a mint mother of the bride dress
Sun 5
After breakfast left Whitstable and back home by 11.30. Did the shopping.

Mon 6
In office. Tomorrow my company has a major event in the centre of Cambridge. Went on a recce as I'm co-ordinating the filming of around 30 videos. Took a leisurely walk back to the office, passed the river Cam and tourists punting.
Tourists on a boat in Cambridge
Tues 7
Left home around 6.30am but then had a call from J to say I'd left my notes behind. Had to turn round to fetch them. Then the motorway was busy. Was panicking in case I was late.  Fortunately got to Cambridge in time. Filming went smoothly.
Arm demonstrates machine learning
Weds 8
Even earlier start today. Left house just before 6.  On the plus side, able to leave around 3pm. Fitted in some pruning and weeding. Garden looking a bit jaded now

Thurs 9th
The busiest day at the event for me. Left home 6.35. Finished with filming of 13 videos. Exhausted. Poured with rain in the afternoon.

Fri 10th
Working from home.  J is getting packed and ready for his 15 day holiday cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats, over 800 miles. He has started what I call his nervous "panther pacing." We watched the European championship athletics.

Sat 11th
Sunny but not so hot.  Did yoga, went to Epping to food shopping and then a garden centre. Got a penstemon and some dianthus to fill late summer gaps.

Sun 12
J was mansplaining about my tyre pressures saying he would show me how to do it.  Called him out. How long have I been driving and checking my tyre pressures?!

Had roast beef. No guests today. Rachel and Sean are honeymooning in America, and coincidentally, John's son Christopher and his wife Katie are also on holiday in America - they're taking in New Orleans and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to name a couple of places.

Mon 13
In office.  Booked some fun activities for next weekend when I'm going to Mum's in Plymouth.

Tues 14
At home. Busy.

Weds 15
In office. Tyre has puncture. Booked in for Fri.

Thurs 16
Bit stressed today. So much work to do. Thought yoga might help but was mortified by knees cracking and being asked if it was me!

Fri 17
Cambridge. Tyre. Didn't take too long. As it's our last night together for a fortnight we went out and had Wagyu burgers.

Sat 18
We were both heading for the Westcountry but at different times and with different modes of transport. I left at 4.30am by car, but the closure of part of the M25 meant I got delayed anyway. Got to Mum's around 10. My brother was there. J and his bike, meanwhile, were travelling by train to Penzance ready for the start of his cycling holiday.

Sun 19
Cloudy start. Took Mum to a pretty place, the Horn of Plenty, on Dartmoor, for lunch. The sat nav decided to take me down terrible windy lanes.
Two women arriving at the Horn of Plenty in Devon for Sunday lunch
Starter of mackeral pate with flowers from the Horn of Plenty, Devon
My starter of mackeral pate 
Foodie image of belly pork with Dauphinoise potatoes from the Horn of Plenty in Devon
Main course of belly pork with dauphinoise potatoes 
We were too full for a pudding but the petits four made up for it. Drove home the long way. No twisty country lanes!

Mon 20
Mum and I went into Plymouth on the bus. Had a mooch round the shops first. Sad to see House of Fraser,  the city's flagship department store, looking so dilapidated. The chain has recently been taken over by Sports Direct but I fear the worst for its future. I had a very happy time there when I was a sixth former and working on Saturdays in the first floor coffee lounge.
House of Fraser did not keep on top of making sure Plymouth's flagship department store was looking good. Summer 2018
 Lunch at Quay 33 on the Barbican. Mum was wearing one of her trademark scarves. I got her this one.
 John, on his cycling holiday,  made friends with a Dartmoor pony. I would be very wary, seeing as I was bitten in the Lake District by a similar looking equine!
A male cyclist pats a Dartmoor pony
Tues 21
The long drive back to London, via Swindon where I used to work. I met up with former colleagues  Jill and Caty for lunch. We had some brilliant times.
Weds 22
Working from home. Collected my new green sequinned shoes from the post office. Couldn't resist them.  Felt good to be back in the gym. Have probably put on five pounds!

Thurs 23
Working at home. It's been a good year for my sweet peas. They're the perennial, "ever lasting" sort, so they don't have any scent sadly.
A tiny vase of perennnial sweetpeas, loved for their everlasting nature by Gertrude Jekhyll
John arrived in a place called Clun and had to go to a launderette called Rub A Dub Dub to do his washing. Of course he had no coins or powder, but someone helped him out

Fri 24
Working from home. Went to Body Pump.  Watched film Finding Your Feet with Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton and Celia Imrie. Very enjoyable.

Sat 25
Warm and sunny. Went into London to do some shopping. Bought a green jumper and pair of black trousers (pants).

Sun 26th
Set off early to the famous Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. Have always wanted to go there! Beautiful – narrow street lined with flower stalls. Bought three massive stems of hydrangea - see them on my Instagram - and some dried lavender. Got home before the rain set in. Poor John is cycling 80 miles today in the north of England – very wet and windy!
Fragrance to keep summer alive in the home from dried lavender
Dried lavender at Columbia Road flower market 

A colourful display of sunflowers at London's Columbia Road flower market
Sunflower display 
Mon 27th
Bank (public) holiday - day off. Up early as usual. Yoga class, then did a lot of cleaning which was very satisfying.

Tues 28th
Working from home as I have an evening blogger event in London. Yay! It's only my third one, because I'm either not available because of working, or not invited :-)  I met up with Laurie from Vanity and Me (right)  and Ashley from Lazy Daisy Jones (centre, in the pink blouse) which was lovely. More on the shoe event here.
Image showing women bloggers along the runway of a show fashion show run by Vionic UK in London
Weds 29th
Went to the office, gloomy autumnal day although it brightened up later. Sold on ebay the mint green dress I wore to Rachel's wedding. I loved it, but it's so distinctive I don't feel I could wear it again.

Thurs 30th
Working from home. Trying to keep up a regime of going to the gym every day for a class or Power Plate ---- on holiday from the end of next week and now frantically trying to lose the pounds gained down at Mum's! John reached Inverness after the most strenuous day of uphill cycling.

Fri 31st
A couple of exciting deliveries from Charlotte Tilbury  (ooh!) and John Lewis - slightly less exciting, silk pillow cases and lap trays!


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And 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.  

Sharing this post with #WelcometotheWeekend at Claire Justine, #SaturdayShare at Not Dressed as Lamb,  UK Blogger Club at My Random Musings and Continental Drift at Mutton Style.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Dear BBC: why we care

The original BBC Radio 2 Drivetime Dreamteam, including Simon Mayo, Matt Williams and Bobbie Pryor
It's now three months since the BBC changed the format of the much-loved and award winning BBC Radio 2 Drivetime programme, pairing Simon Mayo with Jo Whiley and ditching Simon's posse, above, and most of the best content.

This is "halfway day" for Lewis Carnie, the Radio 2 controller, who gave a couple of high handed interviews before the change happened but has been missing in action ever since.  He told us the show would need six months to "bed in."

In those three months, one of the petitions demanding for the return of the original show has grown to 15,000 signatures, and every day more people join the Facebook group.

Today the supporters of the original show have blitzed Twitter, Facebook and the BBC's complaints process. There seems to be a suspicious news blackout on the whole thing. Complaints about the deplorable Love Island TV show (2,600) was reported by BBC News, yet the petition (15,000 names) was not. To put this in perspective, the audience for Drivetime is (currently) far bigger than anything Love Island enjoyed.

Below, I have chosen a few of the letters and stories from the Facebook group, to show the suits why we care so much. You;ll find more in my posts here, here and here.

Email sent to Messrs Shennan (Bob, Director of BBC Radio) and Carnie

Mr Shennan, Mr Carnie

You must realise by now the error you made in radically changing the format of the Simon Mayo Drivetime Show.
You had then an award winning show that brought real pleasure, every day, to millions of people - young and old, male and female.
Now that has been destroyed, and its replacement is simply not working.
We all make mistakes in life. Captains of industry do it, politicians do it, even the finest football managers do it. No one is infallible.
The problem is in not acting to rectify the problem.
Winners accept that things haven’t worked, and change course instantly. Losers blindly plough on, and then are eventually forced to change, but not before inflicting unnecessary pain, suffering and (sometimes irreparable) damage to their organisations.
You have the chance to change - please grasp the opportunity now before it’s too late.

Gordon Young

Letter to the BBC on behalf of the 5,000 strong Facebook group Bring back Simon Mayo's Dreamteam on Drivetime

Dear Sirs,

You will by now be aware that a great number of BBC licence fee payers are disgruntled enough to have formed and joined a Facebook group about the way that the Simon Mayo Drivetime show has been unceremoniously dumped and replaced by a very poor substitute of a programme of which the two main members of the team, Simon Mayo and Jo Wiley, are now absent for holidays right in the middle of the “bedding in” season (your words in the numerous letters, not mine). How could this have even been thought about when planning the launch of a new show and with a controversial line up? The show which has been removed was a fun and all-inclusive – young children right through to the more senior of listeners, a group in which I now nearly find myself.

Such is the frustration experienced by people that many have emailed the BBC directly to express their concern. Your reply to each is basically a selection of standard phrases and sentences designed to make the reply look personal. Can you not understand that by the volume of email complaints and random commenting on any Radio 2 show that we, the listeners, communicate with each other? I am sure that the intention was not to be patronising to individuals, but by comparing replies it is clear this is what is happening. It is high handedness in the extreme and disrespectful to your listening public.

It is interesting that the letters now no longer have the reference to there being no right of appeal. This response was appalling and really did show what the hierarchy of BBC Radio really thinks about the public. This alone was almost enough to make me retune to other radio broadcasters. We do have a right of appeal and this is included within your own charter. Should we not be happy with a proper review our response to the decision could be to listen to shows on other stations. Your own marketing people cannot be blind to the comments made by other radio stations welcoming new listeners? We do know that the BBC has "moles" within the posting public, and some of these are really quite unpleasant, but this will be the subject of a separate formal complaint from me to you (unintentional reference there) and Facebook for allowing this to happen and continue.

We are all licence fee payers and, as the BBC so boldly states, the BBC is owned by the people. We have no choice about paying, that is enshrined in law but as a consequence you should regard what the listeners are saying. To just disregard a very large group of people who have all expressed the same view is just ignorant.

The egos who have made the decision to remove this show, and clearly other changes are being planned, should be stopped now before further damage is done not just to Radio 2 but to BBC Radio in general. There would be more sympathy from the listening public if the people in charge accepted that the new format just does not work. You have stated that Simon and Jo have known each other for 25 years. That makes them friends, or acquaintances, it does not make them a good team – they are just too different. I like cream and I like lemon juice, but mix the two and you will have a curdled mess which is unappetising. This is what has happened to the Drivetime Show.

You will be receiving a great deal of emails and other communications today and I really hope that you read and respond to each of them separately as, despite what you may think, people really do care and can vote on change by the use of the tuning dial on their radio.

Thank you,

Bill Cummings
For and on behalf of our 5055 members

Facebook posts by Paul Loughlin

I have read the letters received by some today. How patronising and condescending they are. They appear in their Text to be rather like a teacher humiliating a student. Well BBC let me tell you something. Good Radio is a very rare thing these days. Every man and his dog believe that they can do it. That in essence is what is wrong. I grew up fascinated by the radio. Kenny Everett. Terry Wogan. Ken Bruce. Jimmy Young. Even the likes of Henry Kelly. Sarah Kennedy. And Bob Harris. Later we had Steve Wright. Chris Evans and the utterly fantastic Alex Lester. Where I'm going with this is Simon Mayo belongs on that list. He is a brilliant broadcaster and the reason for change within drivetime was neither wanted or needed. An idea to fulfill a desire to have more female hosts has resulted in both a terrible annihilation of a great show and a backlash towards Jo Whiley. Well done BBC!!! Radio fans are loyal. But also are far from stupid. This new show is awkward and poor. So very very poor. In the end. Patronising the listeners wont do. As license payers we require more than that. Great radio is indeed rare. Thanks to you even rarer now. The way you are treating this wonderful medium it could soon be extinct. Thanks for that!!

And in reply to Lewis Carnie's assertion that there was a big protest when Chris Evans took over the Breakfast show from Terry Wogan

I remember it well. After many fun mornings listening Terry Wogan announced to us TOGs that he was leaving the breakfast show. After picking myself up off the floor it was also stated Chris Evans would be the new host. I approached that with an open mind and to be fair Chris is a natural. Having Moira Stewart on the show was a master stroke and along with Vassos Alexander the show is brilliant. Great chemistry and a fun show. The point I want to make is Sir Terry retired (sort of) and went to Sunday mornings. Chris was asked to be the new host and after a while he flourished. In the case of Simon Mayo. He has created a great show and for 8 years it was all you would want. Funny. Inventive and great music. A wonderful dynamic in the studio. Suddenly!! Jo Whiley is just dropped in there.(dropped in it if you ask me!!) Most of the team go and the show (sorry to say) really sucks the big one!!! The audience can't accept the new show. We all loved the real one. Whilst Chris replaced Terry due to the togmeister leaving the slot. Jo has just been sent in and the end result is a awful dynamic. Poor chemistry and the whole thing is dull!. Please Radio 2. It's not too late!!
Director of Radio at the BBC, Bob Shennan
Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio
Lewis Carnie, BBC Radio 2 Controller
Lewis Carnie, Controller of BBC Radio 2 

How about it guys?

So gentlemen, what do you say? Remember, we forgive very quickly when those who got it wrong apologize, and put it right. Coca Cola, Toblerone, legions of England football team managers. There would actually be huge kudos in restoring the original show in terms of PR spin.

I absolutely get why you parachuted a female presenter into a mainstream programme. You had to. After years of paying women peanuts and putting them into night time slots  (and Mr Carnie and Mr Shennan were among those responsible, having been senior managers for many years), the BBC suddenly finds it has no option.

But now we have the problem of what do we do with Jo, because you know as well as we do that she hasn't got the right personality for the Drivetime show.

Bob, I'm sure you could have a word with Tony (Lord Hall) and get her moved to TV.  Win win, because that would be seen as a promotion! She likes gardening  (and so do I, but I would be willing to tolerate her on Gardeners' World just to get her off Drivetime....) and there all those programmes where the BBC broadcasts "new music" like Florence and the Machine  (not really all that new) from various pop festivals. She could do those.

Or is this the start of the end of Radio 2?

Some of us have noticed that you seem determined to lower the age of the average Radio 2 listener, and you may possibly have some Machiavellian plot brewing to merge Radios 1 and 2.  In which case, millions more listeners for Magic, Absolute and Smooth. And with their increased revenues from ads and listeners, one of them will be bound to offer Simon and the original Dreamteam a berth.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Six tips for must-have accessories

Image showing an over 45 woman showing how to add great accessories to a plain black outfit
When I revived Is This Mutton? two years ago, one thing I quickly noticed was my lack of accessories. I had just two handbags in black and brown, hardly any belts, one or two necklaces I wore all the time, and no hats at all.

Is This Mutton? featured in Blogger's Corner

Image showing Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton, featured in Blogger's Corner at My Random Musings.
Have you discovered the blog My Random Musings by UK author and blogger Deborah Stansil? She writes about motivation, inspiration and success, with plenty of material for writers and bloggers. I'm thrilled to be featured in Blogger's Corner.

Find out how I started blogging, my penchant for collecting random information, and which style blogger influences me the most.

Thanks Deborah!

My Random Musings, UK blog by Deborah Stansil, featuring Is This Mutton?, the UK fashion and beauty blog, in Blogger's Corner FOR MORE MUTTON

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Whitstable Wedding

The bride and groom with proud father of the bride and stepmother
This weekend was spent in glorious sunshine in the seaside town of Whitstable in Kent for the wedding of John's daughter Rachel to Sean.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Sentence a Day: July 2018

Part brickwork, part wood shed painted Cuprinol rosemary green and decorated with bunting
Sunday 1 August
Sunny, no rain now for 30 days! Went to a BBQ at Christopher and Katie's (John's son and wife). Just a small family gathering, good sausage selection from a farmers' market including a "Harry and Meghan" banger.  

Mon 2nd
Worked at home. Inspired by the summerhouse in Christopher's garden, John painted the shed. Looks very pretty (above).

Tues 3rd
In office. Lunch walk. World Cup: England eventually beat Colombia. Too wired to sleep

Weds 4th
Still sunny. Walk. Jubilation in office after England win.

Thurs 5th
Worked from home. Still sunny. Power Plate. Feel Unique delivery. Keen to road test the Fairydrops mascara. See my review here.

Fri 6th
In office, unusual for a Fri. Delayed on M11 for ages on the way home because of an accident. Grrr. This is why I try not to travel on Fridays - the motorways are very busy and there always seems to be an accident.

Sat 7th
The whole of England was up early bustling about to make sure we were all ready for 3pm: the England v Sweden match. We won 2 nil. Did yoga for 1st time in over a year. 

Sun 8th
Walked to gym for PowerPlate. Roast beef with Yorkshire puddings. Just J and me.  Did some gardening. Published lilac floral skirt blog post. 

Mon 9th
Another accident on M11, this time on the way to work.  Had a new tyre fitted (nothing to do with the accident!).  Office is buzzing with "communitas", the joy that humans find in collective experiences

Tues 10th
At home. Did new gym class body conditioning. J watched RAF flypast celebrating their 75th anniversary. 

Weds 11th
Felt bit stressed and apprehensive. Couldn't find purse. Home early for England v Croatia. Lost 2 - 1. I must have had a premonition.

Thurs 12th
Wrote piece about the football. Ate too much. Took a salad to work but it was abandoned for a sandwich and crisps instead, and later a shortbread someone had taken to a meeting. Then when I got home had one of my favourite meals, quiche with a Greek salad. Oh well, tomorrow's another day.

Fri 13th
Went into London for the Monet & Architecture exhibition and had to battle our way through the Trump demo in Trafalgar Square. Then we had dinner at Langans Brasserie. It rained unexpectedly, first time since May 29. Quite prolonged and had no umbrella.
Van Gogh Irises painting with cushions picking out the blue and orange tones
Sat 14th
Sun is back. Delivery of new cushions and a lamp for the sitting room.   Do this occasionally to freshen it up. Usual tasks:  yoga  (hopefully, now becoming a habit every Saturday);  shopping,  housework.

Sun 15th
Did PowerPlate; got home, did make-up and then a "shoot" for four different outfits for the Two of the outfits are for winter so did the shoot indoors, out of the blazing sun.  Results here and here. Had gammon and jacket potatoes for lunch.  Rachel (John's daughter) and fiance Sean came over.

Mon 16th
Sunny. Went for a pub lunch with my "buddy" at work, a fairly new colleague who I'm helping with informal support. Had a duck wrap. With chips. 

Tues 17th
At home. Finished book The Wives, Lauren Weisenbeger. Found it a bit predictable.  Re-reading Philippa Gregory's novel about Margaret Tudor, Katherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor:  Three Sisters, Three Queens. Did a stretch class.

Weds 18th
Quite an exciting day after Drivetime post went live and a lot of reaction on Twitter and Facebook  (this is a parochial UK thing concerning a much loved radio show), 

Thurs 19th
Quieter day. At work. Signed the agreement for a new car. Will take delivery hopefully at the end of November. 

Fri 20th
At home. Went to my first MeetUp for over a year, a piano recital.  It was in the basement of a record shop and not quite as enjoyable as the recitals they occasionally run in churches. 

Sat 21st
Rained a little in night, convenient. J went to Sean's stag night. Meant I could indulge in whatever TV I wanted. Started with an episode of Say yes to the dress UK followed by the film Lady Bird.

Sun 22nd
Cycled to PP - first time on my bike for probably two years !! Roast chicken for lunch. Hot and sultry. Played what I call the Instagram algorithm game, where I look up people whose posts I haven't seen for ages, and then leave comments on the posts Instagram made me miss). Listened as usual to  Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the 70s. I've found a fantastic Facebook group for his show and it's so enjoyable seeing all their comments for each song.
Middle aged woman in cycling helmet and colourful leggings on bike
Mon 23rd
Busy day in the office. Had meetings late afternoon so left early to do those meetings at home. Makes life a whole lot easier.

Tues 24th
At home. Did an early PowerPlate class. Sweltering in my little office.

Weds 25th
In the office. Very hot outside, short walk at lunchtime. Cancelled gym class because we were going to watch the last episode of series 2 of Line of Duty. Have seen it before but it's very gripping. A bad excuse for not exercising!

Thurs 26th
Am really enjoying a podcast series called The Bright Sessions (found it at iTunes store). It's sci-fi, about a US psychologist who specialises in people with atypical abilities such as being able to read people's minds, and time travelling.

Fri 27th
27 degrees today and hot in my home office. Did two classes I haven't done for probably two years, Pilates and Body Pump, so pleased that I'm using more of the gym's facilities. Was looking forward to the "red moon" lunar eclipse, but unfortunately the weather took a change for the worse. We had a short shower and then it became cloudy. Too cloudy to see the eclipse. Boo hoo.

Sat 28th
Household chores today. Very tired after yesterday's exertions. The Body Pump squats have killed my knees, and the Pilates has tortured my obliques!

Sun 29th
Did a PowerPlate class. Rachel and Sean came for lunch - it's their last Sunday lunch with us as an engaged couple. This time next they will be married.

Mon 30th
Bad night, couldn't sleep - woke up at 5.30am feeling feverish with a sore throat. A cold, but decided not to go to the office as I don't believe you should knowingly spread germs.

Tues 31st
A bit better, coughing a lot. Getting hot again after a few days of cooler weather. Picked blackberries in some waste ground behind our house. At 5pm had hair cut and coloured, ready for the wedding.
Wonderful stewed with apple:  wild blackberries


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Monday, 23 July 2018

Radio 2 #DriveTime protest update, 23 July

I'm starting a weekly update on the growing protest about unwelcome changes made to the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime programme. This follows my letter to the Director-General and other luminaries last week.  There's a fantastic group on Facebook and a petition here. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

#DriveTime Protest

This post might not make sense to many of you (particularly US readers) but indulge me while I share a letter I've sent to the Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, in protest at the changes made to the Radio 2 Simon Mayo #DriveTime programme.

If you also feel strongly about this, please sign the petition. Keep up the pressure on the BBC by sending complaints. There is also a friendly Facebook group here.


Lord Hall



Portland Place

London WIA 1AA

Cc Anne Bulford, Bob Shennan, Lewis Carnie

July 17 2018

Dear Lord Hall

I’m afraid I am another of the BBC Radio 2 #DriveTime whingers, the people you assumed would “move on” or go away after our favourite show was dramatically changed.

I am writing to you by snail mail because the widespread protests on social media don’t seem to be eliciting much response from you, Ms Bulford, Mr Shennan and Mr Carnie. I imagine your social media moderators and PR teams have been keeping you appraised of the ongoing furore and there are all sorts of “defcon” meetings happening in conference room Frankie Howerd.

It was a sad day for me last Thurs when, faced with my usual 60 mile drive from work, (a senior marketing post I took up a year ago – showing that 50-somethings are not change averse) I couldn’t face the strident tones of Jo Whiley any longer, despite giving the revamped show a 10 week chance.

A drive time show has to have some special ingredients for the frazzled commuter.  Simon Mayo and team had delivered this in spades, to audiences of millions. That audience is dwindling by the day, as I’m sure you’re already aware.

After a stressful day I want to imagine myself in the studio on a Thursday with Nigel Barden cooking up a storm. I can just imagine the fragrant smells. I want to guffaw with laughter, as I’m stuck in yet another tailback on the M11, as Matt and Bobbie “corpse” at Simon’s put-on accents in the Confession.

I really don’t want to have “new music” rammed down my throat or another interview with a band flogging a new album.  I don’t want to squirm with embarrassment at Jo Whiley’s lack of empathy during interviews with normal people who aren’t musicians. And even the Confession has turned into a rushed damp squib. Simon has lost all his sparkle next to his humourless assassin.

Valour in admitting defeat

There is no shame in admitting you got it wrong. Good companies admit their mistakes and the public forgive them. Coca Cola and Apple (when Taylor Swift boycotted them) are just two.

If you’re determined to sit it out for a year and wait for the listening figures, the humiliation will be far worse and you’ll have to sack Lewis Carnie and do some wholesale moving around of presenters.

Hold your hands up. Move Jo Whiley to another slot. We understand all too well the mess the BBC has got itself into, with institutional misogyny around pay for women and so few women in top presenting jobs.  Yes, we know the problem. We realise you have to sort it. But parachuting Whiley into Drivetime has not proved a solution.  I have nothing against women on Radio 2.  I love Liza Tarbuck and wish Sara Cox could replace Chris Evans.  Janice Long and Annie Nightingale should still be on the airwaves. But Jo Whiley is not in their league. She’s a new music specialist, a DJ, and nothing more.

As a Baby Boomer you know yourself we’ll never give up. We’re not going to let it drop over the next few months. We are furious that a successful show was changed, without any research. The justification given so far is lame in the extreme.  “We want to attract younger listeners”.  Yes, as if the baby boomer population isn’t already the biggest cohort in the UK. As if “younger” people would be lured over by a 53 year old.  “The programme has been running for eight years.”  Yes, and Ken Bruce and Steve Wright have been running a lot longer – and both of those programmes need refreshing.

Please stop patronising the loyal listeners of Radio 2 and give us back what we want. Move Whiley to a 7pm slot, or do something with the horrendous Saturday morning schedule, and restore Matt, Nigel and all the other ingredients that made the original DriveTime show so special.

This letter will also be published on my blog, and shared via social media.

Yours sincerely


Thursday, 12 July 2018

It's coming home, just later than advertised

Image showing the individual England World Cup squad players in 2018
I couldn't resist going off piste from fashion to write about the extraordinary few weeks we've had, here in Blighty. Continuous sunny weather; the royal wedding, and of course The Football.

Last night England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and while there were lots of tears around the island, we're all philosophical. At the start of the tournament we certainly weren't expecting our young, inexperienced team to get this far.  Married to a Spurs fan, I had heard of some of the England players, but not all of them. Who does Jesse Lingard play for? I asked, on the night we played Tunisia. Who's Stones? Who's Jordan Pickford?

I know now that the exuberant "JLingz" (Lingard) plays for Man U, and his social feed is much admired. I know now the back story on the players - how most of them fought their way through the mundane Championship with glamorous sides like MK Dons and Bradford. And I read how sales of waistcoats have gone through the roof at M&S, thanks to Gareth Southgate.

Two famous Croatians were critical of how arrogant England was about the semi-final with our "It's coming home" confidence. Goran Ivanišević and Luka Modrić thought we got above ourselves and under-estimated Croatia. But guys, you misinterpreted England's excitement, our playfulness.  How we couldn't help getting caught up in "communitas," the joy that humans find in collective experiences. We finally came to love our fooball team.

When we kept singing "It's coming home", we were referring to a silly song, the words of which speak about the agony of the England supporter over the years.  We did get carried away, but when you've suffered our sort of pain, it's understandable.  England is supposed to be the home of football but apart from the World Cup win in 1966, and a semi final place in 1990, we've had nothing to celebrate.

A telling BBC documentary, "The Impossible Job" told the story of the managers who tried to mould  successive England teams into a winning side.  At the weekend, Lady Robson, the widow of Sir Bobby, who took us to that semi final in 1990, read some of his hand written notes on leadership principles. But even Sir Bobby was pilloried by the English tabloids when his team failed to perform to expectations. Graham Taylor was famously branded a turnip, with his head superimposed on a vegetable, when he lost against the Swedes.

The nadir was two years ago when England was defeated by Iceland in the European Championships. We watched the match with lots of other Brits in the bar at the Greek hotel where we were on holiday. At the end everyone was speechless and left the bar silently.

Gareth Southgate's whole approach, while good management practice, is not rocket science. He tries to understand each player and what makes them tick.  He brought a leading psychologist on board to deal with the legacy of numerous penalty shoot out disasters. He launched his campaign by showing the young team how useless we used to be in the Olympics, compared to 2012 and 2016 when we punched massively above our weight in the medal tables.  And somehow he got the players performing as a team, managing to overlook their team rivalries,

Previous teams were filled with "stars".  The egos had landed. David Beckham unveiled a new hair style every time there was a major tournament. There were scandals off the field, involving the ghastly John Terry and Wayne Rooney to name two. On the field, they laboured, going for the long ball. Or trying to get rid of the ball as if it were an incendiary device. There was no nutmegging  (a new one I learnt about this time!), very few set pieces and very little of the fancy footwork of mercurial players like Modrić, or Sterling.

And in those days, we didn't have a captain with the stature of Harry Kane. Aged just 24, and completely composed, calm and statesmanlike, he was a towering colossus and is on track to win the "golden boot" award of the tournament.

It was wonderful to see the sportsmanship and dignity of Gareth Southgate, consoling a Colombian player who missed a penalty;  speaking to each and every one of his team and coaching staff after each match. This quiet, unassuming man often goes out of his way to help charities and worthy causes without alerting the papers in advance, or boasting about it on Twitter.

The next World Cup in four years time will no doubt see the return of teams who shockingly failed to make it to the finals - Italy and Holland - and the resurgence of teams who went home early (Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina).  Even with these reinvigorated foes, the England team should be a force to be reckoned with.

The UEFA Euro 2020 championship finals are in England, so what could be a better time (and place) for football to finally come home?

In the meantime, I'll be backing Croatia on Sunday. If they're good enough to beat England.........

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If you managed to get through this piece - with no photos! - you;ll be glad to know that normal service will be resumed here on Is This Mutton? on Sunday, when I'll be showing my top picks from the sale of a very special online store.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Sentence a Day: June 2018. A heatwave!

Women in their 20s, 30s, 50s and 60s at a wedding in Herts, UK, in June 2018
Friday 1 June
Worked at home. Got a lot done. Sun came out pm. 3 parcels including Cult Beauty 10th anniversary birthday gift box.

Sat 2
Shopping and garden centre. Bought 2 scabious, 2 heucheura, compost.

Sun 3
Walked to gym. Roast chicken. Planted heuchs. Went to see step daughter's new flat. Ran out of time to do a lot.

Mon 4
In office. Cloudy and cool.  Back home, blackbirds sitting on eggs in nest.

Tues 5
Had hair done. Blackbirds hatched. J had tooth out.

Weds 6
Stressy day at work preparing for a big 2 day meeting next week.

Thurs 7
Worked at home. Published SAD for May - read it here.

Fri 8
At home. Molly my cat gave me a mouse. She's 14, so good on her! Started watching Dietland on Amazon Prime. Didn't like it.

Sat 9
Our niece Sam's wedding. Glorious day. Held at a beautiful country house hotel. Free standing bath! I wore my "Amal Clooney" yellow (or tangerine, as it's described on the website) dress. Here I am with my sisters-in-law, step daughters-in-law (pic at top).

Sun 10
Stayed overnight at the wedding hotel, and were down first for breakfast. Sunny day. We were home by 10.30.

Mon 11
Start of a tough week with  four consecutive days in the office and four early starts. Our eighth wedding anniversary - we recreated this picture at Saturday's wedding:

Tues 12
Long day started at 5.30am and ended at 10.40pm. After work had a team dinner at Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant in Cambridge. The jasmine tea looked very pretty!
Weds 13
Lovely drive in countryside to barn for all day planning meeting.
Thurs 14
Meeting was in the office today. My turn to present. Around 50 people in the room. Went well!

Fri 15
Tired and glad to be working at home. Blackbird chicks in our garden will be fledging soon
Blackbirds soon ready to fledge. Nesting in N North garden, June 2018
Sat 16
The blackbirds fledged! The adults were stressed. Let's hope the fledglings landed in a tree or hedge.

Sun 17
Quiet day, usual gym session. Maxi dress shoot. Js son and wife came round with Father's Day present.

Mon 18
In office. Sunny. Flags are up for the World Cup! Left early to avoid traffic problems, as England were playing Tunisia.  Won 2 - 1.
Cafeteria at a UK tech company displaying flags from World Cup nations, June 2018
Tues 19
Working at home. Sunny. Had a drop from M&S. Liked everything.

Weds 20
At work. Went for a pub lunch to celebrate a recent successful launch. But, sign of the times, we had to pay for ourselves!

Thurs 21
Working at home. Sunny.

Fri 22
Working at home. Sunny. Went to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A in the evening. Very interesting, particularly to see the personal touches of her life.

Sat 23
Went to the cinema to see The Happy Prince with Rupert Everett, about the life of Oscar Wilde.

Sun 24
Another hot day. Walked to my Power Plate gym. Had a late lunch as England were playing. Beat Panama 6 - 1. Sensational!

Mon 25
At home. Hot. Finished book After the party, Cressida Connolly

Tues 26
In office. Glorious. Walk at lunchtime. Divine scents of roses assailed nostrils

Weds 27
Got train to work. First time I've done this since I started my job ten months ago. It's a lot more expensive and takes an hour longer. Our CMO was over so we had a team dinner at a North Afrcan restaurant. I chose the vegetarian option.
Thurs 28
At home. Sunny. England lost 1 -0 to Belgium. They didn't have to win as they still qualified for the knock out stages, but we all  hoped they'd win.

Fri 29
At home. Sunny. 2.30: gave myself a manicure and pedicure. 3pm: removed the nail polish on my hands. Date night: went to the local pub
Sat 30 
Last day of June, another scorcher. We haven't had any rain for 30 days apparently. Water shortage already in Northern Ireland. Went for a swim in the Serpentine, an open air lido in Hyde Park. There's a mastaba, made of horizontal oil drums, in the middle of the lake.
Sharing this post with Weekend Blog Hop at Claire Justine, Saturday Share at Not Dressed as Lamb and Fake It Until You Make It at Fake Fabulous.


Don't miss a post -  follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies (handbags and shoes) on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. And 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.  

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