By Rachel Lankester.
You know how sometimes the best laid plans go awry? Well that’s how it goes with this post. It really should’ve been written last week but life got in the way. I’m only now getting a chance to collect my thoughts. But I really want to share with you how utterly delightful it was to have been a finalist in this year’s UK Blog Awards.
The Mutton Club website has been going for three years now and it was the first time we’d been nominated. And not just in one category! We were nominated in the Business (if you have more than one writer you’re considered a business) Lifestyle and Social Influencer categories. So a double whammy on our first venture into the awards blogosphere. I was particularly excited about the Social Influencer category as you know I’m trying to change the world when it comes to women in midlife and beyond!
I didn’t expect to win (though of course one always secretly hopes to) and we didn’t. But I actually felt like a winner just for being there. And also because I got to hang out with some lovely people doing similar things in the 40+ blogging world. And despite it being at times a rather silly event – we struggled to hear all the presenters’ talk between the giggles from the stage – it was great fun and just lovely to be there. (Those bloggers who’d been at the awards ceremony before were rather more scathing in their comments on the event!) Even if we were very much in the minority age-wise, it was great to wave the flag for slightly older bloggers.
I spent weeks trying to find the perfect dress. I decided early on it had to be Mutton Club red. But could I find one that worked well and flattered my quite prominent backside? I’m not a fan of shopping in real life but I love me a bit of internet browsing. I bought several lovely looking dresses online only to find I could barely get them over my hips!
Eventually the cheapest dress I bought was perfect. It’s often difficult to get an opinion on clothes out of Mr Mutton Club but when I tried it on there was an emphatic Yes!
Thank goodness for that because I had already decided I loved it and if he hadn’t, it would have been very annoying!
The dress I chose was extraordinarily clever. It’s basically a skirt with two long strips of cloth coming out of the waistband. You then wrap these pieces of cloth around you however you like – halter-neck, short sleeves, one-shoulder with back variations, as you fancy. There are many different ways to wear it.
I think perhaps the red version is no longer available, but here is the dress in other colours on the Jane Norman website. It’s only £45! A bargain I reckon. I think it helps if you’re not particularly well endowed. It’s quite nice for once to find a formal dress that works for small boobs and a round bum! Plenty of room in the skirt bit to cover a multitude of bumps!
I also searched high and low for the perfect pair of shoes, but found none that looked nice and also allowed me to walk. Much time was wasted before I eventually realised I had the perfect pair already in my wardrobe. A lovely pair of patent neutral platform Mary Janes from Clarks with a goldish lustre. These provided some height without crippling me. I have very slim ankles (more on those in another fashion related blog post soon) and cannot do any court shoes that don’t also have a strap. They just fall off my feet!
I’d originally wanted my shoes to match a gold bag I’d bought on the recommendation of one of my fellow blog awards nominees, Nikki Garnett of Midlife Chic on one of her posts about great sale bargains. (As she wrote about the awards and me, more on her later!) So I spent ages hunting for the perfect pair of gold shoes. Until I finally realised my gold bag was actually bronze and impossible to match with my shoes. So I gave up and worked with what I had already which ended up being perfect. Lesson learnt. Here’s the bag I just had to buy after reading Nikki’s blog.
On the night I actually felt fabulous which was rather lovely. I think it was only the second time in my life I’ve worn a floor length gown to an evening do! And the first one was borrowed. I think I’ve been deprived! I’ve already got my money’s worth out of this particular dress, but I think it’ll see a lot of wear.
There was a lovely contingent of midlife bloggers at the event. I met up with Catherine from Not Dressed As Lamb who won the Individual Fashion category for the second year running and Michelle from The Barefaced Chic who was highly commended in the Individual Lifestyle category. They’re with me in the pic at the top. Congratulations both!
I finally met Annabel and Grace from Country Wives who were nominated in the Business Lifestyle category with me. And I met up with Nikki from Midlife Chic nominated in Individual Lifestyle. None of us three blogs won this year unfortunately.
Nikki and I had a good old chin wag and she even wrote about it on her blog. I first met Nikki at an over 40 bloggers meet up organised by Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb a couple of years ago. I never intended the Mutton Club to cover fashion and beauty, mainly because there are so many great bloggers out there covering this so well. And of all of them, Midlife Chic is the one I read avidly twice a week.
Nikki includes all sorts of recommendations on her blog, as well as fashion. She also writes about daily life in a fun, honest and compelling way. She recently suggested watching a BBC Wales drama called Keeping Faith. You could only watch it on BBC iPlayer if you weren’t in Wales and it was brilliant telly. I can’t wait for Season Two as Season One ended rather abruptly!
Nikki’s also responsible for me now owning a yellow rubberised mac. She did a post about how in Keeping Faith, the main character, Faith, was always wearing a yellow mac and how she wanted one too. I thought the yellow mac rather cool, so I’m now the proud owner of this beauty, bought online in the sale at Next. It was half price but now unfortunately sold out. It has a lovely warm lining too and will be very snug come winter. Such is the power of Nikki Garnett! She’s the blogger I’d like to be when I grow up.
We had a good debate about our own perceptions of midlife and how Nikki really doesn’t like my use of the word mutton. But she was willing to listen to my point of view and it was a great discussion. I can’t really better her description of our chat so you can check that out here.
And as she says, our other halves got on famously too. Funny how they can both be referred to as Mr MC!
It all got a bit silly as the night went on!
All in all, despite not winning, it was a great evening. And a fantastic milestone for the Mutton Club.
And thank you readers – we never would’ve reached the final without your votes.
You may also like How To Work Fashion Trends In A Business Setting, Dorrie Jacobson Senior Style Bible Founder At 80, and Michelle Pozon, Closet Guru – Helping Women Love Their Clothes.
Rachel Lankester is the founder of the Mutton Club. She has a background in corporate communications and sustainability, and has found her passion helping women feel good about life at any stage and particularly midlife. She’s rather introverted but still has an awful lot she wants to communicate to the world! She loves yoga, singing, travel and anything to do with China. On Twitter: @ (but mostly @)