Teach our children well

by Tilly Smith Dix

Two topics seem of enormous relevance in my world at present. Okay, three. Rising crime, dating in our mature years, and raising children to be resilient.

Why are we talking about children? Well, if we are lucky, we have grandchildren by the time we reach our sixties, or, we are lucky enough to get to embrace life as if we were grandparents by spending time and embracing our family’s pixies.

I think most parents today are mostly on auto pilot. Working, sometimes even studying further once the kids are at school, playing taxi, paying bills, and trying to be good parents by spending quality time with the brood when possible, and energy permitting!

As we age, which is one of the many privileges of life, we tend to have more time to think, reminisce about our own youth, what we needed to fix that somehow broke during childhood, how we managed to heal ourselves, and, finally, accepting ourselves, and realising our worth as important components in the greater scheme of things.

We tend to judge too quickly when we see a child being indulged too often or being allowed to get away with bad behaviour. We connect the dots, not always perfectly but often logically, when we look at rising crime around the globe, including our own backyard, or, often, in our own neighbourhood, and we end up with more questions than answers.

Then we contemplate how to prepare children to be balanced, well-adjusted human beings without depriving them of the importance of simply being children.

How do we provide them with the tools to deal with all life’s hurdles that lie ahead?

Life is never perfect, but we should never forget to dream, and to encourage children to dream big too. I totally agree with those who suggest all schools should include life-skill classes so children could learn how to deal with disappointments without giving up their dreams.

Teaching resilience is key as society has turned our kids into entitled brats, mostly. This also could lead to crime. It starts with small, petty crimes. They get away with it. Then it escalates… and sadly, for some, they are never made to see the error of their ways, as, too often, their parents don’t know any better! A travesty, a vicious circle.

I recently observed such discussions, whereby it was suggested there were not enough teachers, not to mention teachers who were equipped with the skills to assist troubled children at school, available to guide students in dealing with life’s realities. So, they claim, it is a job for parents.

Sadly, I disagree as many parents don’t have the knowledge, and often not the ability, to teach their children by example.

I recently had to communicate with someone who was brought up by parents who certainly did not teach their children about common decency, how to address others graciously, nor having respect for their community. How could this person know better?

When this person was confronted by the legalities of their behaviour, their question was, “but what if my friends do something bad to that person, would I still be held responsible?”

So, not only does this person live by what they’ve been shown, through example of their parents’ bad behaviour and ongoing attention from the police, but they have also chosen to surround themselves with bad company. Birds of a feather.

Does anyone remember the good old days, when crime was addressed assertively in New York and cleaning up a city that was fast getting a reputation of being run by gangsters?

Those were the days when the then 107th Mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001, Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer, and United States Associate Attorney General from 1981 to 1983, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1989, had his head on straight.

He vowed to clean up crime in that city that never sleeps. He succeeded to an enormous degree and how? By addressing all crime, big or small as he believed small crimes lead to bigger crimes. The more people get away with, the bolder they become. Where do most criminals cut their gangster teeth? In their youth, it seems!  

Yes, in recent years Giuliani seems to have deviated from his original path of logic, which saddens me as I enjoyed reading his autobiography. However, he did a great job of cleaning up that city back in the day. I recall him also being involved in arranging for successful, law-abiding black citizens to donate their time to set an example for children being raised by criminal parents by engaging with these kids at their schools.

This was a smart way of teaching children of all race groups that it did not matter where you came from, you had a choice. Learn to be a decent human being, get educated, learn by osmosis, and be resilient and the best person you can be.

Does anyone know if such initiatives are still in place and if so, where? Most of us are keen to save the planet by teaching children to respect Mother Earth and all her bounty. I’d say if we also taught children emotional intelligence, good manners, and respect for their fellow man, not forgetting good table manners, it’s a good start to further save this planet.

As for dating in our dotage, okay, let’s speak for ourselves, I see myself as a forty-something-year-old trapped in an ageing body and at times, a mind that prefers peace and quiet to senseless chatter, and I know I’m not alone in this zone. This will be a saga, so, I’ll save that for the next blog, as time is of the essence… speaking of which…

Time in Melbourne

Whether we are living in the city or on the outskirts, such as the Mornington Peninsula, we have choices galore when it comes to world-class entertainment.

Visiting the larger-than-life art installation by the artist known as Rone, Tyrone Wright, based in Melbourne and born in Geelong 43 years ago in 1980, is something to behold.

Imagine a large abandoned ballroom, library, fashion sewing room, post office, typing pool, switchboard, and artist’s studio, complete with the main recreated clock of Flinders Street Station in the abandoned top floor of this iconic bustling station in Melbourne.

Now hear a blackout siren, experience the blackout, complete with the drone of a war plane flying overhead, and a train rumbling in.

These are just some of the many layers to be found in this powerful installation at 273 Flinders Street, which is the entrance to that nostalgic, atmospheric space above the station, which is now home to mostly magnificent art exhibitions.

The attention to detail, from creating spider webs, dust, lint, broken windows, invasive creepers, and a realistic image of a bygone era, left behind in Time, is astounding. I’d call it Abandoned in Time.

Pictured above, Time, by Rone, in the abandoned ballroom of the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. How small one feels in the face of such enormous talent, and dear friend Rika contemplates the beauty of his work and the hauntingly beautiful music.

A street artist by origin, Rone explores beauty and decay with sensitivity and a deep understanding. His paintings of delicate, expressive, beautiful faces, in his own words of, “fragile women’s faces to balance the aggressive masculinity in street art,” left me in awe of his talent.

This nostalgic love letter to the past is further enhanced by hauntingly beautiful music composed and recorded by Nick Batterham. Creating further authenticity to this enormous art installation, each room, which represents a location of significance in time, is complemented by music that will withstand the test of time and become evergreen classics, from Flinders Street Waltz to The Stitching Line, to Under the Clocks, to Hallway Train.

Experiencing this mastery was one of the shortest hours of my life.

Dinner and a show

Bjorn Again at the Frankston Arts Centre, what a show! With stage names such as Agnetha Falstart, Frida Longstokin, Benny Anderwear, and Bjorn Volvo-us, I was expecting a farcical night of fun. Turns out this group not only sports superb musicians and vocalists, but also some hardcore rock talent!

Critically acclaimed, endorsed by ABBA, praised by some of the world’s biggest rock stars and adored by fans worldwide, Bjorn Again was established in Melbourne, Australia in 1988 by John Tyrrell and Rod Stephen, and the group has performed over 7,000 concerts in over 120 countries worldwide.

Having played at the world’s most prestigious venues, including The Royal Albert Hall in London, The Sydney Opera House, The Point in Dublin, and Wembley Stadium in London, the band has also played at rock festivals such as Glastonbury, Roskilde, and Reading in the UK, and The Big Red Bash in Australia.

Top international celebrities have booked Bjorn Again for private shows! Said Benny Andersson of ABBA, after meeting with the group in Sweden in 1992, “Fans had better make the most out of Bjorn Again because that’s the closest they are going to get to seeing ABBA, which will never reform.”

Dining Out

Doppiozero in Mt Eliza, just off Moorooduc Highway at The Coolstores, serves the best pizza I’ve had in years. Thin crust, authentic toppings, not drowned in fatty cheese, the Napoletana, topped with tomato salsa, mozzarella fior di latte, white anchovies, black olives, oregano, capers, and basil, oozed authentic flavours of Italy.

Add the rocket, pear, and parmigiano salad, finish it with a vanilla bean panna cotta with raspberry coulis and strawberries, and you’ve got a winner. Oh, and don’t forget a glass, or two, of N.V. Sparkling White Foxeys Hangout Red Hill bubbles. Perfecto!

Pictured above, Napoletana pizza, pear and rocket salad, and berry panna cotta at Doppiozero in Mt Eliza.

Breakfast is always a good idea and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere at Ad Hoc in Mt Eliza ticks all the brekkie and brunch boxes. My favourite when I’ve got a long working day ahead? The golden-brown halloumi, crispy bacon strips, avocado and poached eggs on fresh sourdough toast. The juice is delicious too if you’re not up for a frothy cappuccino.

Pictured above, city slicking on Degraves Lane, delicious calamari and a limoncello spritz at Cafe Andiamo in Melbourne.

Melbourne’s wearing a party frock again and she is aglow with local and international tourists once again after those dark, dismal days of lockdown, when businesses and restaurants were shut down.

A favourite spot for lunch is Café Andiamo in Degraves Street Mall, just off Flinders Street. I’ve always been gaga about their delicious pastas but this time I had the golden fried calamari, golden fries, and a green salad. A great outdoor dining area to observe the passing people parade too. Complemented by great company, and a limoncello spritz, which contained a dash of prosecco, of course, made the world seem quite alright.

Pictured above, lamb curry with a view of Mt Eliza beach at Ranelagh Club on the Mornington Peninsula.

Ranelagh Club in Mt Eliza overlooks the privately situated beach of this scenic village on our Mornington Peninsula, and on a mild day I opted for the lamb curry. A great choice, served with a fresh cucumber salad.

I believe the social club, complete with tennis courts overlooking the bay, has reached full membership capacity. However, it is available to host special events and one would be hard pressed to find a better seaside venue. So lucky I was invited by a sweet friend! These hidden dining gems abound in and around the city of plenty!

Pictured above, sundowners are always a good idea in Mornington.

Sofa binges

Logan Lucky on Netflix, starring Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Riley Keoch, (Elvis’ granddaughter), Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, and Hilary Swank, about changing your luck and lifestyle, is hilarious, with smart dialogue.  I’d call it hapless, hopeless, and street smarts with faux glow.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it’s non-stop fun! Again, Daniel Craig proves he is not just a Bond piece of prime beefsteak!

Faraway, also on Netflix, takes place on an island in Croatia. A woman inherits a bijou house with endless vistas of that magical coastline. Having visited parts of that spectacular country, I was into the story in a jiffy!

This is Shirley Valentine but without the local gigolo, okay, there was one, but he was not local, and even Shirley Valentine would have seen that one coming. Starring Naomi Krauss and Goran Bogdan, it’s a charming escape from today’s bizarre dating process reflected in so many movies now.

Free on Binge, Top Gun Maverick remains pure entertainment, and a soundtrack that will resonate with most of us who were around for Top Gun one! I always loved T-Rex, and Get It On just gets the feet tapping and the hips swaying…

Prime Video on Amazon is always a good idea and Shotgun Wedding is a romcom with some serious kick. A terrific cast, headed up by Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge and Lenny Kravitz. This is a wedding you’d have wanted to miss but if you were in it, you’d be happy to tell the story well into your dotage. Jennifer and Josh make an electric onscreen team, Jennifer Coolidge just knows how, and Lenny certainly makes a statement, ever the sexy Rockstar. Non-stop escapist fun!

Still on Binge, the travel documentary on The Cevennes in the South of France, tasting locally produced goats cheese, and witnessing the local silk production, this UNESCO heritage destination has soul. Wild horses, a griffin sanctuary, beavers, and exploring spectacular caves, proved supreme armchair travel in this natural, wild, mountainous terrain.

There is plenty hype around Amazon Prime’s Daisy Jones & The Six, again starring Riley Keogh. Mesmerising, not to mention Sam Claflin’s acting chops. Being transported back to the 70s is a good vibe, baby! Can’t wait for the next episode as it’s electric.

Speaking of which, if you have an enduring love and respect for the electric guitar, look no further than Kevin Bacon, actor, and musician, presenting the Electric Guitar in Turn It Up on Prime Video, featuring guitar wizards such as BB King and Slash, starting with its origins as the frying pan guitar of the 1930s to its magnificence of modern day. It is as sexy, if not more so, say some, as the saxophone. I love the piano but you can’t hug it. This is a party, so, pour a tipple, get the snacks, and put on your dancing shoes. Now turn it up…

Like vintage movies that just flow, and you can simply relax and have a giggle too? Pop over to The Art of Love on Binge, starring the now late James Garner, Dick van Dyke, Elke Sommer, and Angie Dickinson. Paris, art, and love, always a good idea!

Travel: Safari in South Africa or hire a villa in Italy

Autumn at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve of South Africa, just over a four-hour drive from Johannesburg on good roads, is always a safari treat.

This is also the time when the visibility of game enthrals visitors even more, as the animals are less inclined to seek shade after the summer heat has subsided.

The five-star family-friendly lodge is enclosed within the malaria-free reserve, resulting in the humans being subtly fenced in, while game, including several crocodiles, roam free. The spectacular birdlife is world-renowned.

Autumn 2023 rates start from R11,620 per couple.

See more at:  www.taugamelodge.co.za

Pictured above, Tau Game Lodge in South Africa, embraces a waterhole, where the big five, plentiful game, African wild dogs, and spectacular birdlife offer non-stop entertainment in their natural habitat.

One could always opt for a delicious bite of la dolce vita in bella Italy! Want to go with friends or family and make it a home-from-home adventure, but so much better, with all the hospitality bells and whistles?

Centrally located for visits to Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra and Lucca, the villa sports 2 kitchens, sleeps 13 guests, has 7 bedrooms, 4 double beds, 3 singles, 9 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, and a swimming pool See more at www.villasaletta.comciao!

Pictured above, Villa Vale in Italy.

 Smart Retirement

Ageing cannot be prevented but how we age matters. Keeping our minds and bodies healthy, if we are lucky enough to have the choice, will result in living our best life as we are as old as we feel! I found this guide helpful:


About books

This South African travel writer and inspirational author is attracting plenty good reviews and I think her latest online sensation, Flow, is most entertaining, inspiring and witty. A guide to navigating better relationships, and reigning supreme. Go to http://www.carolinehurry.com – her books are available from Amazon.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, American author, journalist, and musician. He also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie, which I loved reading and saw the movie years ago.

This is an oldie and I’m so enjoying reading it again after many years. A refreshing take on life after death, inspired by Albom’s uncle. The book remained on the New York Times Best Seller List for 95 weeks when published in 2003!

No, I’m not ready to pass on but if I was, this novel would make the final journey of waiting for God so much more interesting.

Style at any age

Some time ago, someone commented they were surprised to discover I was a writer as they thought I was just a social media influencer. Just. Influencer. Social. The younger me would have rambled off a list of things I had mastered but this older, wiser me, simply smiled and responded with, “like most people, I have many layers and I enjoy them all to the fullest, like Sybil.”

The meaning of that name, a movie from long ago, clearly went right over the person’s head and I let it go. Suffice to say I don’t have multiple personalities like Sybil, well, not to my knowledge anyway, but my one dark layer of grit imagined some nasty things happening to their kitchen blender next time they used it, such as the lid being left off… hie!

So, on this note, I must admit, when I’m blogging and working on writing assignments, I don’t always have the time nor the inclination to pop to the beach for a stroll as that would just put me in a holiday mood, which means no writing will be done that day, only photographing the ocean!

No, I grab some wardrobe therapy, add music, depending on the mood, ranging from classical to jazz to soul to even soul rock, and I’m transported. Here, I, like many of my fellow Instagram style sisters, escape the stresses of reality. In my case, often the ping pong between the dictionary, the thesaurus, the creative mind, and the storylines I focus on. They clear out the moment I start engaging with fashion. Magical.

What is individual fashion? Style that never quits. It is authentic, evergreen, uplifting, fun, classic, bold, it is everything we wish it to be. Mostly, it is unique. Creating our own style is fun and so much kinder to the budget than blindly following current fashion trends. Personal style is presenting a picture to the world of who we are. It’s also creative, as it expresses how we see the world, and ourselves.

Settling for versatile items, imagining what one accessory, dress, pair of pants, shirt, jacket, coat, or hat could do to enhance our existing wardrobe is a smart way to design our own slow-fashion style, or a capsule wardrobe. Of course, we need to update certain items seasonally, breathing new life into something old.

The trick, for me, is to ascertain what styles I don’t ever wish to wear again. This is a great way to create longevity and introducing modern items to style up a slow-fashion wardrobe, whilst recycling unwanted items to my fast-growing pixies, or the Opshops, (opportunity/charity stores).

The current styles conjured up in my wardrobe are ideal for spring as well as autumn. I do love changing seasons as dressing becomes more fun when we layer. If people judge us because of our stylish appearance, it’s at their peril. There is so much more to us than just our appearance…

Pictured above: Simple basics, on repeat, with some creative accessorising and a dash of colour when we are in the mood will change a look in an instant. Many of my vintage items, collected on visits to Italy and London, styled with timeless items from Witchery, Country Road, Zara, Seed Heritage, Valleygirl, MinnieandMaxxie, Sea of Love Mt Eliza, and Wittner Shoes. Full credits appear on the Instagram fashion page @Sixty_is_the_new_40

Cheers to the goodlife… choose happy, stay honest, and never forget that gorgeous smile! It will brighten somebody’s day.

Just add water

By Tilly Smith Dix

A dear friend reminded me of this quote a while ago, “life is simple, just add water,” and I recalled these wise words from Leonardo da Vinci, “Water is the vital humour of the arid earth, flowing with unceasing vehemence through the ramifying veins, it replenishes all the parts.”

Show me someone who is not soothed when watching water, and I’ll show you someone who is not in sync with nature. Being quiet, relaxing at a lake, pond, stream, river or the ocean, is one of my many soul churches.

Raised by parents who had a deep appreciation for nature’s bounty, from its flora and fauna to its mountains, rivers, creeks, lakes and oceans, living close to the bay is the cherry on the delicious fruitcake of life.

We chase our dreams as we are driven by success and money for most of our lives. Then, life knocks us about a bit, and we end up with more questions than answers…

This is when we need to listen to our soul. What is joyful? Loving whom and whatever we wish as long as we don’t hurt anybody, the earth or its creatures. Okay, I am not fond of snakes and poisonous spiders, however, I do try to avoid them so I’m never in a situation where I need to have conflict with my fears, said with BIG round eyes…

You get my drift, though. Life is as lovely as we wish to make it and appreciating the myriad gifts that are free, fills me with enormous gratitude. Reconnecting with dear old friends who are like kin, communicating with strangers that seem oh so familiar, feeling the love of animals and children when we are kind to them, and making new friends that we just know we have crossed paths with before… these are the favours of the universe.

Of course, there will always be perverse personalities sent to test us. It’s up to us how we deal with them. Stop. Think. Is it worth responding to a fool? Sometimes we have to address the issue, especially if it poses a threat to our home, ourselves or anything and anyone we care about, though.

This should not result in us giving disruptive personalities the power to ruin our day. Once we have dealt with such tricky situations, we should breathe deeply, several times, let the toxic breath go out long and slow, then think of or look at something or someone who elevates our mood. Skipping from miffed to charming is not as hard as it sounds. The mind is surprisingly responsive to how we train it.

Pictured above, top, from left to right, dining with dear friends Mark, Brett, Angie and Jessica at Vinnies Pizza Boys, where the cuisine is authentic Italian in Mt Eliza; just add water, view of Frankston Pier from the Yacht Club.

Then there is laughter. The best medicine! Even my amazing yoga coach Tee had us in stitches when we were in an awkward pose, the Garudasana, (I had to google it as I simply know it as my snakes-intertwined pose), with arms and legs entwined whilst standing up, when she impishly told us to hop backwards! We were in hysterics, giggling like teens. Whatever tension we still had in our minds and bodies were gone after this hilarity.

Then I popped into the grocery store for supplies before heading home and tempted by some toys for the boisterously playful Kiki, I bought a feline toy that looks like a tiny European robin and it chirps when you touch it. Birdie was being shaken about in my shopping trolley and the chirping continued on my journey through the aisles. I did feel rather silly but I owned it and it made other shoppers laugh as they were trying to figure out where I’d hidden a bird, in my handbag, perhaps?

I simply pointed to the toy in the trolley, and giggled. When I returned the next day to get a spare, (no, not the book), as Kiki was so taken with Birdie, I feared it would lose its tweet soon when getting beaten up or licked lovingly by the gangster diva, stock was sold out! So, I guess twitter works. Tweet that!

Let’s not forget to laugh, even with strangers in a supermarket. It hides the wrinkles too! As a little boy once told me, smiling makes our faces turn up. Keep it up.

Pictured above, Kiki and Birdie.

Motown magic

I remember being so obsessed with the sounds of Motown, I’d record all the music on the radio by artists such as The Supremes and Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, and The Four Tops, on a cassette tape, editing the commercials out of the mix, and dancing in my parents’ lounge to the amazing energy of these performers in the early 70s.

Pictured above, Dancing in the Shadows of Motown vocalists Franchesca and Veena, with friend Rika.

Several years later, I’d relive this era, when disco was uber-sophisticated and my friends and I would meet up at Raffles in Cape Town, where we’d dance the night away, dressed like dancing kings and queens, after a fabulous dinner at La Perla in Sea Point, or, if we were feeling flush, usually at month-end, we’d dine in the Raffles Restaurant! Oh, and not forgetting those boogie nights at Charlie Parker’s on Main Road, Sea Point, after a gourmet burger at Whatney’s Girls diner next door! Motown lived on…

So, when my dear friend Rika suggested we see the show Dancing in the Shadows of Motown at the Frankston Arts Centre, I started planning my razzle-dazzle outfit to complement the music and the outstanding eleven-piece powerhouse-band playing those foot-tapping classics of the Motown era.

The audience were grooving in their seats and when we were given permission to boogie in the aisles, even folks with walkers and wheelchairs were in motion! This may be a retirement haven but there were at least three generations of families attending, and it was evident, Motown was introduced to a younger generation, who quickly picked up some smooth moves from us wrinklies!

When the band joined us in the bar after this rocking show, the energy was charged with joy, and, when I got to chat to some of them, one of the superb vocalists, Franchesca Appolis, picked up a nuance of my South African accent and dropped her American-Motown stage drawl! I detected a Cape Town dialect in her native tongue and before you could say Table Mountain, we were happily communicating in the language of the Cape.

What fun! It turns out the gorgeous songstress has been a Sydney resident for many years, where her and her musician husband are raising their family. There is talk of six-degrees of separation… I say zero degrees! All we need to do is talk to people, right? I’m still vibing to the beat, baby…

Dining Out

Between Us in Maling Road remains one of my favourite eateries and meeting with strangers from South Africa, who looked me up as dear friends and neighbours of my sister and brother-in-law in Joburg, Egoli, Johannesburg, Place of Gold. Colleen and James promptly became my new friends! Remember back in the day, before email and social media, when people would turn up at the door, having been sent by a relative or friend from far away? “Just go see so-and-so, you’ll love them,” we’d say? Sometimes we did not love those strangers so much but in this case, it was instant good karma.

Pictured above, lasagna at Donato in Mt Martha.

Catching up with my gorgeous Italian friend Rosaria is always a treat and her suggestion for us to dine at Donato in Mount Martha, proved a great idea. Delicious, authentic lasagna accompanied by a fresh green garden salad proved an ideal choice.

Yabby Lake Winery was the perfect spot for a convivial, scrumptious lunch with my fabulous friends from Florida, and meeting their local relatives proved delightfully fortuitous. Breaking bread with good people, enjoying superb service and dining on the best local cuisine, complemented by delicious local wines, is another church for me. Cheers to that, and friends who remain constant, no matter how far apart we are scattered around this planet.

Pictured above, Bass Strait scallops, steak frites with French butter, and a beet salad at Yabby Lake Winery with my gorgeous lifelong friend Angie.

Sofa binges:

I treasured conversations with my late American godfather, who was laconically wise and well-travelled. He said he loved good movies when he was relaxing in his hotel rooms on his business trips as he often got answers in the dialogue and storylines of such films after a tough day of business negotiations. After all, movie scripts are written by real people. Okay, some are not all that real… I’ve met a few in Los Angeles and whilst some were rather far-out, they were scintillating anyway.

I remembered this conversation often when I’m immersed in a good movie on my sofa.

Watching Brian Wilson, Long Promised Road on Prime, was a reminder of musicians who truly have music in their veins. This flow of genius never stops and it will often start in a dark, sad place the musician might find themselves in at any given time, and help them transcend into the happiest place of light.

Battling mental illness, blessed with this gift, detoxing from drugs years ago, and always being driven by that natural ability to create sweet music, Brian Wilson’s legacy lives on and it will continue, with the rest of the Beach Boys tunes, long after they’ve all gone.

This man, I agree with Elton John’s comment on the documentary, should not only be honoured for his musical genius but also for dealing with his mental illness every day! I must admit, I shed a tear, okay, several, as the music took me back to my first beach party, my first love, and right back to the present day, when the gift of his music still resonates. This honest, pure, innocent soul, to me, is an angel in the darkness of some current mediocre musical hell.

I decided to watch the Grammys on Channel 9 last week. BIG mistake. Looking at many of the artists, the way they were dressed, tacky, talent that seems to be cloned in some modern-day music factory, I was aghast at the accolades and awards. The artists that should be recognised, true talent with class, like Adele, were mostly in the audience only! The best music of the event? Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, no longer young but still shining lights of true, musical talent.

Perhaps my critique is harsh but looking at so many brutally honest comments on Instagram, many people agreed, and they were mostly younger audiences, the Grammys were a waste of time. However, Trevor Noah, another talented South African export, did a sterling job presenting on the night.

Vintage movies transport me to a time when my late parents and much older siblings were in their prime. I also believe many of the directors, stars and cinematographers of those halcyon days had magical vision as so much of their work continues to thrill audiences today.

Some of my recent binges on Binge, include:

Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman;  Written on the Wind, with Lauren Bacall and Rock Hudson; and Rock Hudson, and Gina Lollobrigida, who passed away last month, in Come September. As for the spectacular location of this film, with a fleeting glimpse of Portofino and a villa in neighbouring Santa Margarita, where I visited some years ago, a summer romance could not occur in a more picturesque setting. A delightful movie to watch during Valentine’s week!

Netflix offers superb choices and I’ve honestly enjoyed:

Emily in Paris by the creators of Sex and the City. The refreshing fashion, colourful characters, Paris in all its most charming guises, make for an armchair escape of the sweetest kind. My memories of Paris spring to mind. Seeing this city of light through the eyes of a younger generation, with a quirky, sexy peppering of several mature characters, made me wish for season three to roll on faster!

I don’t know anyone who does not enjoy the cuteness of Reese Witherspoon. Add dishy Ashton Kutcher and Your Place or Mine should delight you as it did me. A good date-night binge too. Bring wine…

Safari in South Africa

Autumn in the bush is a magical time, when the hues and landscape change to warmer colours. Hot toddies and much conviviality abound around boma dinners on luxe safaris at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve.

This is also the time when the visibility of game enthrals visitors even more, as the animals are less inclined to seek shade after the summer heat has subsided.

The five-star family-friendly lodge is enclosed within the malaria-free reserve, resulting in the humans being subtly fenced in, while game, including several crocodiles, roam free. The spectacular birdlife is world-renowned.

The Tau Easter 2023 packages from R25,000 per couple, include:

  • Accommodation for 2 nights in one of the 12 recently refreshed Luxury Standard Chalets
  • 3 meals per day
  • 2 game drives per day
  • Drinks and snacks on safari drives
  • Tau Spa Oasis African Foot Ritual (30 minutes) per adult: Allow your feet to be pampered by our therapists in a soothing footbath to drain away fatigue. Next your feet are cleansed and massaged with an aroma-therapeutic based scrub, followed by a true African warming foot massage.

This rate is exclusive of the following:

  • Park Entrance fees of R180.00 per person (Subject to change)
  • Tourism Levy of R10.00 per person per night (Subject to change)
  • Bar, Mini Bar, Laundry and all other extras
  • Rhino Conservation Levy of R190.00 per adult per night
  • Easter egg hunt for kids applicable for families in Deluxe and Family Suites – please contact the lodge for rates.

To book this special package, please quote: TAU EASTER 2023

Autumn 2023 rates start from R11,620 per couple.

Pictured above, luxe safari at eco-conscious Tau Game Lodge – more info at: +27-(0)11-466 8715/17 – taugame@mweb.co.za  – www.taugamelodge.co.za

Ageless style

Summer has been a pleasure, with several balmy days dotted in between mostly liveable days of comfortable warmth here on the shores of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.

This month’s special style feature embraces wearable fashion, easy styling, and nonchalant chic, from day to evening…

Basic, timeless items in silk, linen and cotton, are highlighted for versatility and in celebration of slow fashion, wearing old with new.

Pictured above, simple classics are elevated and styled for longevity. Australian brands featured include: Witchery, Seed Heritage, Wittner Shoes, Decjuba, and Country Road. International brands include: Showpo and MinnieandMaxxie – full details are tagged on Instagram @Sixty_is_the_new_40

Add a pair of heels with attitude, something bright to jazz up earthy hues or shades of white, and a capsule wardrobe becomes easy to manage, also ideal when travelling.

Black is always the new black, but adding some shimmer, in white or ivory for night-time, creates show-stoppers, standing out in a crowd of black… not forgetting this being the month in which love is celebrated universally, add a touch of rouge or cerise!

Cheers to the goodlife, don’t forget to add water and smile, better still, laugh as much as possible, it’s the healthiest contagious energy… and long live love!

Helmets and crowns

By Tilly Smith Dix

I mentioned in my December blog, the sadness of losing my dear childhood friend to cancer at the end of 2022.

Given the timing of Mariekie’s passing a service to celebrate her life took place on January 7, 2023.

The live stream via YouTube was heart-warming and she would have approved, I’m certain. The pastor talked about helmets and crowns, which deeply resonated with me. We wear helmets to protect us when we have no choice but to face a problem and imagining a light on that helmet to help us navigate the challenge, makes sense.

We wear our crowns of pride to celebrate what we hold dear in our lives. These scintillating crowns tend to define us, so, we need to choose them wisely.

The eulogies delivered by Mariekie’s beautiful, accomplished daughters, Steph and Mica, confirmed their mother’s biggest crown was her two amazing daughters. She also took enormous pride in her beautiful head of hair, which was always immaculate.

Tears were shed as I prepared my video to celebrate my beautiful friend, my ya-ya sister’s often eccentric outlook on life. My way of dealing with this loss of a soul, gone too soon? I’m clinging to the memories of our childhood, when we fought like cubs and made up like soul sisters. In the end, we always ended up laughing and dancing, which continued throughout our adulthood.

She is teaching the angels some interesting dance moves and promoting the joy and glamour of always wearing red lipstick. I hear laughter. This makes me smile and somehow, when we smile, the sadness subsides, and we let go…

So, it was with a bitter-sweet note I celebrated my dear friend’s passing and found closure of her visit to this earth. As I am in another country and could not attend her memorial service, I dressed for the occasion, blow-dried my hair to a strand-width of perfection, and applied red lipstick, knowing she’d approve this stylish online attendance to pay homage to her life.

Then I ate a delicious mince pie, left over from the endless Festive Season’s smorgasbord, and had a glass, or two, of champagne. Kiki was keen on the box containing the gin infused mince tarts but I told her she was too young. Mariekie would have laughed at this discussion between me and the fluffy feline tornado. She loved animals and was kind to people too, especially those less fortunate…

Why, said someone, do we have such religious services, especially when people are not religious? Celebrating a life that has gone is not only for the religious as it brings closure to everyone, a final farewell, remembering a life that was lived. I feel better about her being gone too soon now, having witnessed that service on my screen. There is always something spiritual to take with us, no matter what our views are on religion. Believing in the good and the betterment of our soul, to me, is a religion too. I say amen to that.

We also bid farewell to an Old Year. For many, it was a year best forgotten. So, here’s to celebrating this New Year, remembering what we savoured last year, learning from the hardships, as without those we cannot move forward, and embracing the best of what’s to come.

Cheers to wearing our helmets and crowns with determination and at least a semblance of wisdom. Let’s not forget to laugh and dance – and don’t forget the red lipstick!

Pictured above, a good partnership. I eat the tarts and Kiki destroys the box.

Solstice feasting

Being born on 21 December has plenty perks. It is a day of celebrating the winter or summer solstice, depending on where one is in the world, and this past December proved a plethora of celebratory feasting, resulting in almost a week of daily birthday lunching with dear friends.

How lucky could I get… I did try to pace myself for two days before the Christmas feast with my extended family, otherwise, I was certain, my liver would object, together with my waistline… I also took long walks on the beach, always good for body and soul.

Pictured above, Frankston Pier, gulls, crested terns and dear friend Rika.

As subscribers to this blog will attest, this liveable city, and its surrounds, including the Mornington Peninsula where I reside, offers sublime dining destinations and I could not fault any of the restaurants I’m about to mention.

Commencing with Spanish sharing platters at De Barcelona in Hawthorn with my expat Fab 5 group, there was laughter, tasting and much catching up to do. A most convivial venue, and I vote the Tropical Sangria, with pineapple and coconut, a winning summer tipple. The home-made beef empanada was fresh and delicious, the nachos a treat.

Pictured above, history and Italian humour in Hawthorn.

Botticelli in Brighton offers authentic Italian cuisine and excellent service. I highly recommend the simple Linguini aglio olio, comprising salty Sicilian anchovies, spicy chilli, garlic, capers, herbs, olive oil and shaved pecorino. You are offered a choice of avoiding any of the spices, which impressed me even more about the service.

Pictured above, scenes of Brighton, and delicious pasta at Botticelli.

Manhattan in Mornington serves sublime crispy skin duck breast on Paris mash and orange sauce. Teamed with a fresh garden salad, it was superb!

Pictured above, dining on delicious crispy skin duck with friend Gretchen at Manhattan.

The Atrium in Sorrento is a most convivial venue for a special occasion. The ambience is bright and airy, the food scrumptious. Portions are scant, though. The tuna tartare and natural classic mignonette oysters proved ideal starters, whilst mains of the ocean trout poke bowl, grilled barramundi, and sides of golden chat potatoes and creamed corn were mouth-watering.

Pictured above, The Atrium in scenic Sorrento.

Reading wisely

As I like reading at bedtime and prefer to hold a book in my hands, I’ve neglected the online books I have lined up, for now…

At a loss for what to read to keep my short attention span in check, I’ve returned to past literary pleasures. John le Carre’s The Secret Pilgrim is entertaining me again after many years of a sabbatical in my small library as I now have less space for a larger bookcase. I love a good spy story and this one tells a fine tale…

The Treasury of Kahlil Gibran is reminding me of the insight of this man, who in his short life between 1883 and 1931, left such a wealth of wisdom in his written words, from poetry to philosophy, and in his art. Sometimes we need to go back to go forward, in literature anyway…

“Humans are divided into different clans and tribes, and belong to countries and towns. But I find myself a stranger to all communities and belong to no settlement. The universe is my country and the human family is my tribe.” I particularly like this paragraph and philosophy of this wise man as it resonated deeply during a recent conversation with someone, when we agreed how we are all connected, and what a thrill it is when we discover even deeper connections in which to create our global village, our tribe.

Sofa Binge

Brunel, 150 years of creating landmark structures in the UK gives insight into the genius of the man, available on Binge. A fascinating documentary if you appreciate timeless bridges made of steel.

Also on Binge, I enjoy vintage movies, and Marriage on the Rocks with Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Deborah Kerr and even Trini Lopez, takes us back to a different time.

However, Splendor in the Grass, also on Binge, which I’ve always wanted to see because of the true-life romance that sparked between Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood, was worth watching. That poem by William Wordsworth remains a classic: ”What though the radiance which was once so bright, Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of Splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not…”

Where the Crawdads Sing on Prime Video was less satisfying than the book. Still worth watching, though. As the movie was shot mostly in Australia, the director did a fine job of creating a Deep Southern US ambience.

The English on Amazon Prime is worth watching, with Emily Blunt, as always, portraying her character brilliantly.

Back on classic movies on Binge,  The Young Philadelphians with Paul Newman, Barbara Rush, Robert Vaughn, Alexis Smith and Diane Brewster, does not disappoint. An intriguing 1959 drama.

For something lighter on Binge, I’ve enjoyed The Carrie Diaries. Before Sex and the City, there was just Carrie, Carrie Bradshaw. This might sound lame but watching this series out of desperation, as I’m so over the murder, darkness and manic over the top special effects and dark side of so many current movies, I got swept into being a teen all over again. It certainly keeps the old woman out, chuckle…

Not sure it’s a good idea, as now I’m having flashbacks of some really crazy things I got up to with my friends in the 70s, and, last, but never least, experiencing that first, painful, all-consuming love. Austin Butler aces the part of Carrie’s first love, Sebastian, and got me remembering my first beau.

So, if you want to escape the present and revisit your teens and the growing pains of entering the world of young adulthood, again, enjoy this charming series.

The Pale Blue Eye on Netflix, starring Christian Bale, Lucy Boynton, Robert Duvall, and Gillian Anderson, is darkly mesmerising with an unexpected twist.

For armchair travel, look no further than Amazing Hotels on Binge. The sublime locations include a surreal volcanic Icelandic experience, fascinating Madeira, and the magical small city and port of Rovinj in Croatia, which I fell in love with and wrote about some years ago, when several publications published my review. Of course, this being a British production, it ends with an award-winning home-from-home for the filthy rich in London. I’ve strolled past that hotel on past visits, and I now regret never popping in for tea!

Pictured above taken some years ago on a visit to Rovinj, Croatia.

Get the snack and tipples ready, this one is pure entertainment… and you may wish to book a trip to a dream safari destination next… read on…

Romance in the wild

Valentine’s getaways are always a good idea and for the ultimate getaway, a luxe safari is the stuff romantic dreams are made of. Celebrating romance in five-star style at Tau Game Lodge has often resulted in happy couples returning to Tau, not only to embrace new love but also to celebrate and revitalize romance in relationships that have withstood the test of time…

Indulge in a romantic breakfast overlooking the waterhole at the lodge after an early morning safari, sip cocktails in the bush, and dine under the stars. Then relax in the privacy of one’s room overlooking the natural waterhole, where the wide-angled vistas of the endless parade of game and prolific birdlife seem never-ending.

Fancy a swim, as it is summer, in one of the two pools, one being an infinity pool, both overlooking the waterhole?

Pictured above, nightfall at Tau Game Lodge, South Africa – see more at www.taugamelodge.co.za

Shopping and style, the Aussie way

Accompanying my gorgeous friends to shop for items to complement their lifestyle and existing wardrobes has become a regular adventure. I may just start hiring my services out as a personal stylist and shopper. Spending other people’s money is such fun!

Spoilt for choice, it pays to shop around. From Mornington to Mt Eliza and Sorrento’s Riviera-styled bijou boutiques to old-meets-new-money in Brighton’s small but select fashion precinct, looking good on a budget is not difficult.

An advocate of slow fashion, acquiring only sustainable items to complement my existing wardrobe, I’m enthralled with the quality and affordability of Italian linen this summer. Relaxed, cool, timeless, and versatile, it is my summer staple.

Melbourne weather is like a diva, mostly sparkly and at times cool, which is reminiscent of my happy years spent in Cape Town. It makes dressing fun for summer as often layers are required.

A linen shirt over a sleeveless dress, a light knit over a silk shirt, or a big silky or linen scarf to enhance and keep a slight chill at bay, make for versatile and interesting dressing.

Bright colours are back with flash, and I’m thrilled as I have some relics from years ago that are now back on trend! From berry pink palazzo pants to an orange tiered skirt, a bright green or orange wrap belt, or a cobalt blue linen-weave light knitted dress, summer style has not been this vibrant and exciting for years. Embrace it and don’t forget the bright lipstick…

Pictured above, mixing and matching the old with the new, from bright and bold to understated linen. The best linen I’ve spotted this season in timelessly elegant styles, was at Trenery and Seed Heritage. Bright colour sliders for comfy casual style at Witchery Fashion, which also features the sublime black sequin palazzo pants and berry pink silky palazzo pants. Most of the items featured above are from my timeless closet, up-styled with a belt, scarf or shoes reflecting the current Aussie summer style. Detailed style posts appear on my dedicated fashion Instagram page @Sixty_is_the_new_40

Cheers to the goodlife, embracing the now with gratitude, and being in the moment. That’s my only resolution for 2023… what’s yours? If it does not make you feel fabulous, don’t do it, don’t buy it, don’t wear it, don’t eat it, don’t date it, and don’t keep it… cheers to that too!

Let it flow

by Tilly Smith Dix

A social media friend recently bemoaned too many cliches being posted online as all this inspirational stuff made her gag, she said.

I never tire of being reminded of life lessons. Yes, life toughens us and moulds us, a bit like a garden. Often, one plants a seed or shrub, and they simply won’t grow, whilst something we were not paying much attention to, will flourish. There’s a lesson here. Life has its own flow.

In life, we plan to get ahead or simply to stay in step. When we are young, we are encouraged to develop our professional and emotional skills and somehow, we define ourselves through our management of self. I was going to become a pianist. I loved music, worked hard at it since the age of seven, and with the support of my teachers and mother, this, I felt, was what defined me.

When that dream came to a crashing halt because of circumstances beyond my control, I felt lost. I was sixteen, in a new city, a new school, a fish out of water, so to speak…

Slowly, I evolved, after a few heartbreaking life lessons, and discovered, through a supportive tutor, that I had a gift for writing essays. I found some balance in a new city, at last.

However, this was not going to pay the bills after my studies were completed and I started at the bottom of public relations, and as a PA before that, but earned extra cash through modelling after an agent spotted me in a bank and signed me up. I even had a few small parts in movies, but the money was rubbish, and I rejected the tacky casting-couch regime.

This, however, was not how I wanted to be defined. I always liked fashion and enduring style but wanted to be taken seriously as a young woman with a good mind and not just a pretty face.

To cut a long story short, what I love about almost reaching the rude number in 60 plus, I don’t wish to be defined by anything as, like most of the people of my village, in other words, my tribe scattered around the globe, we are multi-faceted. Simply call us by our name, not yours.

I enjoy writing and photography, I have been an editor, a corporate manager, an agency boss, and I am still a publicist and blogger, as well as a social media inspirer for people over 60.

Oh, and I’ve started playing the piano again, after a sabbatical of some 50 years. I’m just a woman who has lived an eventful life, travelled extensively, had ups and downs, and who continues to live authentically – a grateful woman who lives by her own rules. Cheers to that, and all the men and women out there, who embrace their true spirit and worth. We have stories.

Pictured above, top left, a time for sentimental gifts of old and embracing the inner child. The teddy was given to me many years ago by my godparents in Savannah, Georgia. It is unwrapped every Christmas, with love and laughter, long after they have moved over the rainbow bridge. The cute little riders, bottom left, seem to love their modern transport and are proud supporters of The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation @dashpatch. No space or time for a tree, or a preference for less fussy Christmas decor? The Christmas vase works too. Bottom right, Kiki approves of the Walkers gin-infused fruit tarts box.

What am I proud of? I no longer accept every invitation to a fight I’m invited to, and I decline offers I’m not keen on. I’m too busy embracing life. As for this time of year, I do embrace a great mince pie and the best I’ve sampled so far is the Walkers gin-infused mini mince tarts from Woolworths. Kiki loves the box and it will be destroyed over the next few days. She can ruin the box but I hide the pies!

It is with deep sadness I think of my lifelong friend since childhood passing away a few days ago. Mariekie suffered for some time and her pain could no longer be numbed by morphine. Cancer is a monster. It is with gladness I let her go, free of pain. How would she be defined? A conscientious corporate assistant accountant, a teen beauty queen, a kind person, a woman who loved fashion and fabulous cars, a proud mother, and a person who forgave easily and loved to laugh. She was beautiful and she was loved. I hear laughter when she is welcomed by her family and loved ones who arrived at her peaceful new haven ahead of her. She will be missed. RIP, soul sister. Your light was bright.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it … I say, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! Let life happen. It has its own purpose, as long as we do our best and learn our lessons well. Otherwise, we may have to start all over again. A good time of the year to reflect, I’d say. I’m starting with gratitude and telling the folks I adore how much I love them.

All in the family

Celebrating an early birthday and Christmas lunch with my precious family proved the perfect occasion to want to burst with gratitude.

Doing a crazy jitterbug Christmas dance with an eight-year-old, with our jazz hands flying and bottoms bumping against each other, giggling madly, is a moment treasured forever. Again, there is gratitude. For starters, I did not dislocate anything doing the crazy dance!

Pictured above: made with love by the pixies for their crazy Christmas Auntie Tilly. What’s not to love.

Hand-made Christmas cards and art created just for me by the pixies made my heart sing. So, if I’ll be defined as the laughing, crazy-dance auntie they’d like to join them on holiday, I’ll take it!

No, I won’t crash their grandparents’ long-awaited Cape holiday with the pixies as that would be selfish but knowing I’d be missed makes all the difference. Okay, so maybe they’ll miss my pavlova more… I’ll take that too.

That’s entertainment

Music of most genres thrill me and on any given day, I’ll listen to classical music, jazz, blues, and whatever sounds good to my musical ear. So, when my dear friend Rika invited me to attend a blues concert at the Frankston Arts Centre, I accepted before the offer could be withdrawn.

Paying tribute to the Three Kings, BB King, Freddie King and Albert King, this event was a triumph. If you love blues, you’d understand. Their music lives on and thanks to Australia’s Geoff Acheson, Dave Hole and Shane Pacey’s superb homage performances, I bet not only were plenty memories stirred up with fans of the blues, but a new generation has become privy to the old masters of the blues.

The guitar-slinging fretboard talents and vocals of these Australian musicians are pure musical pleasure and I’m hoping this world-class show returns to the Mornington Peninsula soon.

These Kings inspired the like of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Green and the great Jimi Hendrix, who are now forever regarded as guitar gods.

Returning to Frankston Arts Centre for Christmas Carols proved a celebration of the combined talent of professional Australian musicians who have not only performed with our top operatic and symphony orchestras, but who have indeed performed internationally, to great aplomb.

Compere Chris McKenna, who also performs with the tenors, baritone and soprano did a great job engaging the packed audience in the Christmas spirit, with plenty giggles and hearty participation.

Star Opera Australia baritone Roger Lemke, soprano Alison Jones and tenor Roy Best, were backed superbly on the grand piano by young rising star William Schmidt.

Alexandra Partridge, one of Melbourne’s finest cellists, who has played for Orchestra Victoria and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, added warmth and beauty to the concert. I’m still giggling at some of the additional Aussie verses, such as, “riding through the bush, in a rusty Holden ute…” to the tune of Jingle Bells!

Sofa binges

Michel Roux in the South of France streaming on Prime Video proved a blissful trip down memory lane for me, comprising visits to Arles, St Remy, and other delightful villages of the region.

The famous London chef with his French origins, shines a light on simple food, sourcing the fresh produce Provence is famous for.

Getting down to basics in Provence begs simple dishes to celebrate the fresh flavours of this region’s abundant produce, from lamb to fruit and vegetables, herbs, and fish, to cheese and wine.

If you love this beautiful part of France and good, honest food, this series is for you! I enjoyed the synergy between this series focused on simplicity, and Michel’s legendary two Michelin-star eatery, Le Gavroche in London, which he took over from his famous father and grandfather, where the focus has always been on fine dining.

I’ve mentioned one of my favourite British chefs James Martin in an earlier blog and his 2016 Christmas Comforts series on Binge remains a joy, hosting Michelin-star chefs, and celebrity friends, such as the always delightful Sir Michael Parkinson. The recipes are indulgent, the mood jolly, and the conversations lively. Michel Roux Snr, who passed away in 2020, makes an appearance too.

Add the festive food reports from Austria, which brought merry memories of my visits over the years, and a food historian, who offers interesting background to some of the traditional dishes, and you have a delicious BBC food binge. Fancy some Yorkshire pudding with your roast? This one’s for you! Proper, mate.

Documentaries are such fun binges, and I found the tribute to David Geffen on Netflix quite enchanting. He made artists such as Jackson Brown, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Guns ‘n Roses, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Bob Dylan household names.

Man About Town, with Ben Affleck and Rebecca Romijn, made for a comfy rainy-day movie binge. The story is not new but it’s always good to see a new storyline for couples fixing their problems for a happy ever after. It beats the cheesy Christmas movies for me.

Ah, then there are the oldies, those vintage movies directed by people like Bob Fossie, who could act, choreograph, and dance. Fancy a trip down memory lane with Howard Keel and Doris Day on Binge, look no further than Kiss me Kate – and watch out for Cole Porter and Bob Fosse himself appearing in this movie.

I had a giggle whilst flicking through Amazon Prime Video, where I came across most of the Bond movies. The parental warning on The Spy who Loved Me reads: Mild coarse language and sex, and a mild sense of peril…

Currently trending on Netflix is The Watcher. Based on the true story of the book The Haunting of a Dream House. Greed and the insular lives of old New York suburban money are thrown in the mix and it’s bloody scary. Scarier than my neighbours…

Bobby Cannavale, as always, is great value. Jennifer Coolidge adds her usual odd method persona in the mix, whilst Naomi Watts is a mother protecting her family. Mia Farrow, Margo Martindale, and Christopher McDonald add to this ominous limited series. Pour some wine and don’t watch it alone if you are sensitive…

Eating out

Lorida is situated on Main Road, Mornington, and serves Greek cuisine. My first visit was great, with an excellent tasting platter for two with a generous helping of fried calamari, spanakopita cigars, zucchini chips, kataifi, prawns in honey, lemon and roasted hazelnuts, and dips including taramasalata, tzatziki, hummus, and warm pita.

My second visit was not so good as the zucchini dominated the platter, offering less calamari and smaller prawns. When I suggested to our server this was different to a few weeks ago and the zucchini was a bit much, he returned to say he’d mentioned it to the chef.

We did not finish the zucchini as it was dripping with oil from the batter, whilst the calamari, this time far less than before, was pale. Still hungry, we ordered baklava, which was superb and tasted fresh as this was my friend’s birthday lunch, after all.

Sadly, the second visit convinced me to avoid Lorida in future. Customers matter.

Oliver’s Corner at the Frankston Yacht Club is affordable, relaxed and offers a panoramic view of the pier and convivial beach.

Pictured above, top, left to right: Frankston Pier, calamari and fish cakes at Oliver’s Corner; bottom, left to right, poached eggs on crispy bacon, rosti and haloumi, with fresh orange juice at the Winey Cow.

The sparkling Seppelt Salinger Vintage Pinot Noir Chardonnay from Victoria, lemon pepper calamari with tartare sauce, hot smoked trout fish cakes with pea puree, roasted leek, spinach and herbed cream cheese, and crumbed pepper calamari hit the spot – I will be back.

The Winey Cow in Mornington is my new brunch crush. Feasting on Eggs Norwegian, comprising smoked salmon, panko-crumbed eggs, halloumi, sesame avocado, citrus hollandaise, and squid ink tuille; and the Brunch Stack, including streaky bacon, avocado puree, halloumi, potato rosti, poached eggs and hollandaise, was delecious. Fresh Orange juice and a chai latte complemented a scrumptious start to the day. The diner is always busy, with good reason!

Love on safari in South Africa

Gosh, Christmas is hardly here and romance is calling for planning ahead… love the idea of gifting a safari for Valentine’s at Christmas, https://lifebrands.co.za/tau-game-lodge-valentines-love-on-safari

Pictured above: Make a romantic gesture for Christmas, a gift of a romantic getaway to Tau for Valentines leaves enough time to plan…

Come snow or sunshine, wherever we may be in the world, this is a time to celebrate, eat the pudding, drink the wine and dust off our Santa shirts and sweaters, wear red and green as often as we wish, and reflect on a year gone way too fast.

It’s also a good time to assess one’s wardrobe and donate unwanted items to those less fortunate. This is a time to give. Don’t forget, Santa’s watching… it’s okay to be a bit naughty but don’t be a Grinch…

Pictured above: Layered linen, old with new, glam silk, changing a look effortlessly, easy dressing for the Holidays – and pool parties. Ageless basics, mixed with new accessories could elevate the look. White and ivory never date for me, add a splash of cerise, cobalt blue or emerald green, and it brightens the mood as well. As weather patterns are tricky, coats should never be forgotten. Full details of garments are available on my Instagram fashion page @Sixty_is_the_new_40 and stockists featured include: Trenery, Witchery, Jo Mercer, Zara, Silk Maison, Sea of Love, and Country Road.

Cheers to the goodlife, and wishing you ONLY joy for the Holidays, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Buon Natale, Joyeux Noel, Geseende Kersfees, and happiness in any language of your choice!

To Like or not to like

by Tilly Smith Dix

Love is the most abused word, too often used to cajole, influence, bully, placate, manipulate, and control, by some. However, the word like seems enormously underrated.

Yes, this could become a conundrum, understanding whether we LIKE or LOVE someone, or something.

A good friend once told me she loved her husband deeply but she sometimes disliked him. We then got into a discussion about this, to clarify if we could differentiate between those two emotions. Her response? “I love him as we have a strong bond, and he is a loving, caring husband and father.

“However, there are times I dislike his mannerisms, his short temper, his inability to think outside the emotional box. Most of the time, though, I do like him.”

When we profess to love, don’t we agree to take on the entire human package, faults and all? However, when someone constantly treats us with disrespect, bullies us, and behaves selfishly most of the time, how could love possibly last, as resentment sets in, and dislike becomes rife?

So, my take on this dilemma? I’d much rather be in like than in love. A fine line, perhaps, but I believe friendships, relationships, marriages, partnerships, and the like last longer when built on a foundation of LIKE as that surely leads to respect and an enduring relationship. Add that chemistry triggered by the thing called love, the racing of the heart and softening of the eyes when in each other’s company, and it’s a winner. As for my smart friend who knew the difference between love and like? She is still happily married.

So, I’ve spent a few days in Facebook jail, again, because of my acerbic responses to some of the madness of the world. Will we eventually break away from social media, which seems dystopian in so many ways, yet, the real criminals and evil souls of the world continue to form their wicked chat groups, and speak in code so as not to get caught by social media administrators when conspiring to do dastardly deeds?

Always a silver lining, as I’ve had so many messages from good friends offering to send cake and wire-cutters, hie! Tell you the truth, I enjoyed the break, but it is frustrating reading comments yet unable to respond. I did not like that, chuckles.

So, why was I in FB jail? A young man in a skirt raped a young woman and his mama defended him in court, stating the girl should have put more effort into fighting her son off! Seriously? My response? Some people should never have children as they are unfit to teach their offspring right from wrong.

Okay, I was probably harsher than that. My point, what’s to like about bad parents rearing bad children. Some chromosomes should not be passed on…

In a world gone awry and spiralling into profound confusion, it seems we are ready for a meteor strike. One of my learned friends suggested it was time for Noah to send the boat.

Speaking of the ark, the recent floods caused by torrential rains, resulting in rivers and creeks overflowing on a massive scale, caused devastating damage, not to mention the destruction of so many lives and livelihoods here in Australia.

Yet, the Aussie spirit could not be dampened and people reaching out to those who suffered similar or worse losses, still tried to see the bright side. Seeing this on the news, daily, was deeply humbling. Hope certainly floats… I like that.

Single White Female

No, I’m not being racist but the title of that scary 1999 movie, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, springs to mind. So many women bemoan the fact of their no longer being part of a couple. They become invisible to their friends with partners.

This is sad. Are some women threatened by their newly single female friends? Do they think such single women wish to take over their lives, and partners, as did the obsessed bad girl in that movie?

A word of advice, not every single woman is set on taking on another woman’s partner. Frankly, many single women are just too happy to be out of a toxic relationship and are not looking for more drama anyway. Yes, there are some man hunters who are relentless and believe me, I’ve known some. Those, you walk away from, but now and again, its kind to embrace single friends into the fold of a couples’ event. We tend to forget there were times we hankered for not only the company of our girlfriends but the balanced conviviality of both the men and women of our tribe.

The old cliché, ‘life is short,’ should be changed to ‘life is for living.’  To single women feeling a tad lost without a partner, my advice, for what it’s worth, is not to wait for a man to take you to a show, take you to dinner, or go on a fabulous vacation. Just go with a good friend or, if you don’t have a friend to accompany you, go solo! It is empowering. Live life.

I know of someone who spent her entire life waiting for a man to take her to faraway places because some fortune-teller told her a man would take her abroad to a place where the beaches were pebbled. That prince on his white charger never arrived and now she regrets never travelling abroad and taking her girlfriends up on their offers of a fun and soul-enriching getaway. Now in poor health, it is too late for her and she is filled with regret.

For those of us who have been fortunate enough to travel extensively for business and pleasure, the memories of such journeys never stop bringing joy.

It’s not the story, it’s how they tell it…

Who remembers Taylor Caldwell’s Testimony of Two Men?

Holding a book, feeling its energy, and inserting a bookmark for the next evening’s bedtime indulgence is an old habit that remains part of my evening ritual.

Yes, Ms Caldwell’s diction was old school and the spelling of certain words were certainly different in the early 1900s, especially in the US, when today was to-day. However, her writing style, use of the English/American language, and story-telling magic enthralled me even more than when I originally devoured this book about 40 years ago.

Effortlessly creating memorable characters, delving into human nature, and creating a story that did not seem like fiction, is an art to embrace. Much to learn from the old guard…

Pictured above, adorable Kiki, a very loving, funny cat. I guess my breakfast story was not entertaining… it’s in the telling?

Sofa Binge

The Luckiest Girl Alive on Netflix, starring Mila Kunis. Released on Netflix in September, directed by Mike Barker and screenplay by Jessica Knoll. Ms Kunis, also known as Mrs Ashton Kutcher, has matured into a formidable actress. I enjoyed every moment of this movie. I don’t want to spoil the story by divulging too much but suffice to say addressing and shedding the past could be thrillingly emancipating.

Rick Stein’s Cornwall on SBS on Demand is armchair travel and dining at its finest. A longstanding fan of his honest food, I had the privilege to engage with his gorgeous wife Sass a few years ago and believe me, she is as approachable and nice as the food maestro himself.

Cornwell has always been on my bucket list as somehow, I never got there in my travels. This series is certainly going to encourage visitors to that historically beautiful region, not to mention going on a food fest to test the international award-winning gin and sparkling wine of Cornwall!

Think gin-drizzled blackberry pancakes and Cornish cream, not to mention fresh local lobster and crab! This is an addictive binge, so, put the phone on silent, and get the nibbles and tipple ready!

Speaking of food, From Scratch, a limited series I enjoyed immensely, filmed on location in one of my favourite cities, Florence, is worth a binge on Netflix. Delightful and it’s not just about food as its about bitter-sweet romance too.

A riveting documentary, House of Hammer, paints a dark picture of actor Armie Hammer and his family’s legacy of abuse and disregard for women. Getting back to my introductory musings on this blog, we mostly take our cue from our parents and elders. When entitlement is the norm in a bloodline, the cycle often seems neverending. How does one break the mould… this was deeply disturbing to watch but it gave plenty insight into a dark family legacy.

The Sound of Bond, the music of Bond through the ages, includes most of the composers and performers of these unforgettable movie scores. A magical tour of the unforgettable music created for the massive Bond franchise on Amazon Prime. Enjoy this shaken, as well as stirred, ride down memory lane.

Sustainable safari indulgence in South Africa

In South Africa or planning a summer safari to that land of the Big Five, and the rest of the fascinating game tribe to be found in abundance, look no further than Tau Game Lodge. This is what the fabulous Caroline Hurry of Travelwrite published about this summer safari indulgence: https://www.travelwrite.co.za/summertime-tau/

Pictured above, teen lion summer siesta at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve.

A table with a view

I’ve reviewed Stumpy Gully Restaurant and Winery before and my most recent visit was, to say the least, a feast for the lips, the eyes, and the soul.

Deciding on the two-course option, I picked the Pork Jowl, served with cauliflower, golden raisins and sprouts as my entrée; my great dining friend savoured the Torched Blue Mackerel. Suffice to say, not a morsel was left of the ample serving.

My main course was the Duck Confit, served with red cabbage, baby beets and sorrel. Tender, deliciously pink inside, enveloped in a crispy skin crust, it was perfection on a plate and on the palate. My lunch buddy had the Mushroom Forestry Gnocchi, which was a scrumptious melody of mushrooms, blue cheese, gnocchi, and herbs. Hedonistically yummy.

Naturally, this delicious cuisine was superbly complemented by the Stumpy Gully sparkling wine, which I regard as a sin not to purchase a bottle of for another day before departing for home…

As spring had sprung, albeit a cool wet day, the vineyards looked spectacular. The antics of the strutting ducks at the large pond, and vistas of the magnificent roses beautifying the estate, made for a superb afternoon.

Pictured above, duck confit, roses and vineyards, and torched blue mackerel at Stumpy Gully.

Counting House in Mornington is an old bank, complete with historical relics of days gone by, offering a modern twist on the dining areas, but remaining true to its origins, described as rustic chic. The pressed ceilings, antique bank vault, Victorian sitting areas, and bar, complete with its ornate original bank counter, conjure up an eclectic blend of then and now.

Settling for a tapas sharing menu proved a great idea. The prawns and smoked chorizo, rocket and pear salad, laden with caramelised walnut and pecorino cheese, the three-cheese croquettes, and saucy prawns, served with the best crispy ciabatta bread I’ve ever sampled, were sensational.

Having left a tiny space for dessert, the Bread and Butter Pudding, served with Baileys liqueur, topped with butterscotch sauce, and Turkish delight ice cream, ticked every box of delicious. I always thought my late mama’s bread and butter pudding was the best but this was a triumph!

Pictured above, bread and butter pudding, tapas, and a park view at rustic chic Counting House.

Add views of Port Phillip Bay and the beautifully maintained Mornington Park, excellent service, and the always friendly vibe of this gorgeous village, and you’ll want to buy a house nearby.

Heronswood Café Gardens and Nursery, part of the Diggers Foundationin Dromana, is another historical relic, reflecting the grand old-world charm of yesteryear. This is not a fine-dining destination but the views of the gardens and bay, not to mention the nursery specialising in native local flora, are worth a visit. The chicken pie was fresh and tasty.

From the Gothic Revival architecture of this stately historical house built in 1874 to the fairy-tale garden scapes, it is a magical location. Within an easy downhill drive, one could be walking on Safety Beach, which is visible from Heronswood, within a few minutes.

Pictured above, Heronswood in Dromana, and Safety Beach Pier nearby.

It’s personal

Luckily I had not packed up my winter wardrobe for its spring and summer siesta as the chill has remained with us, on and off. I like that.

The bright side? When we are enveloped in sunny, mild spring days, it is pure bliss going all bright and boho in style.

Fashions change but style remains. Mood dressing is allowed and why should we be defined by one particular look? Tailored, boho, girly, sexy, eclectic, or classic, we embrace whatever makes us feel good on a particular day or evening. In the mood to be chic in monochrome? Just do it. Every self-respecting wardrobe should have basic items in monochrome. Need to up the mood? Add some pop, like cerise, apple green or red!

Pictured above, slow fashion never dates. Add something quirky to old jeans, wear a silk or satin shirt, add a belt or scarf to emphasise, we create our own style, which outlasts fashion. Many of the items featured above have been in my wardrobe for some years. When acquiring something new, I always consider which items in my existing wardrobe would give it longevity and versatility. Authentic fabrics are long-lasting, and I prefer cotton, wool, linen and silk. For my detailed fashion page, see @Sixty_is_the_new_40 on Instagram.

Whether one wears plenty makeup or the bare minimum, I believe in looking healthy and authentic. Not a fan of thick, plastered makeup, I have become a loyal fan of Enhance Proage, as its three makeup sticks, reviewed in this blog before, are moisturising too!

Pictured above, left, Enhance Proage makeup sticks are my new best friends. Right: Silk Maison never disappoints when it comes to glamming up. I’ve styled the silk jumpsuit with my old silk wrap – use my 35% discount code TILL25 and glam up for the party season at https://www.silkmaison.com/ or view their IG page @silkmaison

This is a superb gift idea too for the special women in our lives. What’s not to love about getting a moisturising Blush, Glow and Shine? Get less 10% by using my discount code Tilly10 at https://enhanceproage.com/.TillySmithDix10 – see more on their Instagram page @enhanceproage – not sure how I ever managed without these beauty enhancers, and, the beauty sticks won’t make a mess in the handbag either, thanks to the double caps. I like that.

Cheers to the goodlife, which is the best life we wish for ourselves. It does not have to be extravagant, and we know, nothing is perfect. However, if we simply tap into what we have around us, nature, good people, sunshine, and waking up every day being grateful for at least one thing that will inspire us into being joyful on a given day, it becomes a good life. It certainly helps us cope with some of the obstacles life throws at us before Noah sends the boat…

The times, they are a changing

by Tilly Smith Dix

Grief is the price we pay for love, said Queen Elizabeth II, after the loss of her husband. This sentiment resonates deeply, as she apparently preferred to grieve in private.

One has to respect her dedication to her nation, whether one is a royalist or not, which I’m not. Her solemn oath, to put her people first for as long as she lived, was honoured. No, she was not perfect but gosh, I think she tried her best.

It could not have been easy for a man of distinction and pride to play second fiddle to a woman. He did it though, and I’m sure his wicked sense of humour often got him through some dilemmas.

This reminded me of a profound post by a Facebook friend, obviously a true gentleman, about real men, or the lack of such good men.

He wrote about how women bemoan the loss of good men. How we don’t hate men but how we wish there were more good men around to fill voids, which we often deny, in our lives. The voids of true companionship, being respected by a good man, allowing us to be strong, yet, holding us when we feel vulnerable or tired.

I salute you, my friend, I’m so honoured to know you. To the men out there who think a real man should control, bully and belittle women, think again, and again.

Try to imagine your life with a woman who is happy being in your company because you are kind, fair, thoughtful and man enough to know that no matter how often the lads scoff at your being too decent a man, you are man enough to know who you are and your worth as a real man. Now teach your children those good values too.

I, for one, respect a woman who showed us, by example, that a woman could hold the most powerful position in the world for so many years. RIP, Ma’am. May your reunion with the love of your life, Prince Phillip, and all those who departed before you, including your beloved corgis and horses, be sweet.

I did get to meet the now late Queen’s youngest and his lovely wife, Edward and Sophie, some years ago at a charity tea party in Johannesburg, hosted by the boss of events managing in South Africa, Edith Venter.

Prince Edward was charming, funny, and well-informed. Sophie was humble and lovely. Her PR skills were superb, having been a professional publicist prior to her marriage to this quietly spoken man must have prepared her for this job, which the two of them handled like a well-matched team. I might be tarred and feathered for uttering this, but I think the Wessexes would have made an admirable team on the throne…

Documentaries are great company on chilly, rainy wintery evenings and once I showed signs of royal fatigue during the Queen’s funeral procession, the buildup thereof, and a slew of documentaries on the Royals, a friend posting a letter written by Rudolph Nureyev while he was dying of AIDS, evoked memories of ballet dancers I worked with back in the day. No, I never met Nureyev but did watch a superb documentary on his life some time ago.

What a scintillating talent he was. Born to dance, with a difficult childhood, I’d describe him as a beautiful, tortured, complicated soul, a true artist, much like a wild, barely contained, gracefully fascinating animal. True art never dies. He left big shoes to fill in the dance world.

A writer recently questioned the fact that the late, great, enormously talented dancer, actor and singer, Patrick Swayze, who also battled demons of alcoholism, smoked. This reminded me of working with the ballet companies of South Africa and at times, such artists from abroad. This was the late Seventies and most of the ballerinas smoked! They ate very little, drank too much coffee, and smoked like chimneys.

I then had the honour of working with and meeting the magnificent, classically beautiful ballerina, Natalia Makarova, and her dance partner Ivan Nagy. I even took them gliding during their spare time over a weekend! Picture The Thomas Crown Affair but with that glider carrying two world-renowned dancers! Imagine the insurance that would be involved in such an adventure now? Back in the day we did not even think of that and merely planned which farmland would be suitable to land in during an emergency! How times have changed.

Nagy, sadly no longer with us, was a magnetically handsome Hungarian, and took my breath away with his spectacular leaps. Makarova, a defected Russian, was light as a fairy and you could barely hear her float across the stage! I don’t recall either of them smoking but I may have been so mesmerised by these enigmatic artists, I never noticed.

With Makarova only 5’2”, I did some of her early costume fittings to prepare the wardrobe for her arrival from New York to dance a world premiere of Swan Lake with Nagy, in South Africa! I was an inch taller than her, still am, happy to say. Must remember to thank my yoga teacher, Tee at Soul Essence Yoga, namaste.

What is my point with these musings? Live life. Make memories and on cloudy, cold days, when we cocoon in a cosy space, it’s always a thrill to reminisce about the good stuff…

Local travel and dine

It has been a month of magical sensations, where more memories were made.

It’s no secret that I am dotty about living on the scenic Mornington Peninsula and one of my favourite villages has to be pretty Sorrento. This is where a ferry departs daily on return trips to Queenscliff.

I had not dined at Italco in Sorrento for some seven years. Authentically Italian, complete with Italian-speaking staff, the food, and view of the bay, did not disappoint.

Settling for two of the chef’s specials with sharing plates, the fresh flounder with sweet potato fries, and salmon tagliatelle, were delicious. I’d forgotten how bony flounder was but enjoyed it all the same.

Pictured above, dining at Italco in Sorrento, the essence of the town, striking a pose and good friend Rika.

I’d not visited the city of Melbourne at night for some years and what a thrill it was, seeing the city getting its life back not only by day but at night too!

Dinner and a show, and what a show! Hamilton, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, was a mind blow! For anyone not familiar with this world-renowned musical, I don’t want to write any spoilers. Frankly, I simply kept an open mind and hoped to be pleasantly surprised.

Not only did the show tick all the musical boxes but it also educated me on some of the history of the US I was unaware of. As for the performances, talent, sets and scale of this production, I did not want it to end! My gratitude for being treated to this spectacular show is endless. Feeling so lucky to have beloved family here.

Prior to this auspicious show, dinner at Hochi Mama on Little Bourke Street, proved a scrumptious Vietnamese, Asian-infused feast. Offering superb service and friendly, attentive staff, this introduction to Chinatown was a delectable prequel to a night on the town.

The starter portions of salmon sashimi and fried prawn dumplings were followed by bigger Mama’s pad see ew (Thai stir-fried rice noodles), with prawns, broccoli, chilli and stir-fry sauce, cashew stir-fried chicken with capsicum, Chinese celery and spring onion, and a side of fragrant, sticky, scrumptious steamed coconut rice. I’ll be back!

The trendy Interior has a modern, NY-styled warehouse conversion vibe. A well-priced menu and good wine list complement their sensational cocktails.

Pictured above, dining at Hochi Mama and the charm of Melbourne.

Back on the Peninsula, offering myriad dining options, ranging from ocean-front to vineyards, I’m so pleased to be able to return to another old favourite, the Beach Café in Seaford, offering panoramic vistas of the bay as well as the city in the distance on a clear day.

The prawns, calamari, fresh catch, which was barramundi, sweet potato fries, and saucy slaw did not disappoint. The Beach Café is not licenced but one could always take an easy stroll to the Spanish Bar for a glass of elixir afterwards, right?

Pictured above, dining at the Beach Cafe, Seaford, and that vista.

Winery dining is sublime and I’m a sucker for the bijou intimacy of the smaller restaurants in the vines, and Barmah Park Restaurant is a treat.

Indulging in the baked scallops, pure black angus beef brisket, cauliflower cream, roast parsnips, wild barramundi, organic grains, zucchini, bass strait lamb shoulder with braised winter vegetables, washed down with Barmah Park Sparkling Brut, proved an auspicious celebration of my first year in my little Peninsula home.

Pictured above, dining at Barmah Park Winery and Restaurant, and scenic surrounds.

Travel abroad

I’ve collaborated with Michael Gebicki, a superb travel writer, for many years, who was kindly introduced to me by the fabulous Caroline Hurry, a prolific travel writer, now also a published author of Reign and its riveting sequel.

Michael is a Sydney-based travel writer and together with partner, Liz, he leads small-group tours to exotic places.

He says: “During my travels I’ve discovered some pretty remarkable places that I wanted to share with other like-minded travellers, and so Tripwired Tours was born. It’s not just places – I like to travel slowly, with flexible itineraries, I don’t like long bus trips. I prefer small hotels with character and calm as well as comfort, and I like to eat great food in lovely surroundings, but I also opt for street food from time to time.

“Liz has a talent for finding special places to stay and to eat, and the unique experiences that underpin the small-group tours we operate. We’re still charmed, excited and delighted by our travels, and that’s what we enjoy sharing with clients who journey with us.” 

On the Tripwired Tours agenda for 2023 is an 18-day tour of Rajasthan, the same in South India, a two-week tour of Umbria in May, with three nights in Rome, and 17 days in Morocco, scheduled for October – see more at www.tripwired.com.au

Pictured above, some of the exotic destinations hosted by Tripwired Tours, from Morocco to Umbria to India, with Michael Gebicki and partner Liz.

Already in South Africa or planning a trip to that land of beauty and diversity – and its sublime wildlife? I enjoyed reading this article recently published in Nomad Lifestyle Magazine: https://www.nomadslifestylemag.co.za/travel/spring-safari-wonderland-at-tau

Pictured above, safari bliss at Tau Game Lodge – www.taugamelodge.co.za

Sofa spud

Recent indulgences on the box had me tune into a delightfully romantic movie, Love Locks, with an actress and her husband, Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell, whom I’ve always enjoyed watching. My good friends in LA also assure me these are lovely people as they know them well.

If you are a romantic and you love Paris, you’ll enjoy this 2017 movie – currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Prefer spies and sassy, classy kick-ass MI6 action? Look no further than The 355 streaming on Amazon Prime. The aesthetically fabulous cast comprises: Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Sebastian Stan, Lupita Nuong’o and Edgar Ramirez.

Spring into comfy chic

Slow fashion is one of my passions as I do believe in keeping our carbon footprint light. Love fashion and style? Buy with a conscience and look after it. Your wardrobe will serve you well for many years in the process.

Spring has been arriving at a snail’s pace, but layering is such styling fun. Linen, cotton, silk, with overlays of light knits, such as cashmere, make for fun combinations – and one has to use your imagination, planning for any eventuality the weather might conspire to deliver.

I know my style-sisters now entering autumn are experiencing similar patterns in temperatures, so, we are on the same page, yet in different seasons.

Pictured above, layering ideas for spring, mixing old with new. Starting with basics such as silk, linen and cotton, adding layers of light wool and cashmere to elevate a look and stay snug on colder days. Can’t go wrong with silk scarves, light blazers and wraps, depending on the occasion. Occasionally, a coat is still called for. I keep it classic and simple. Layering with shirt dresses works for me during the changing season. No rules, we create our own individual style – so much better than following trends religiously. See more on my daily style Instagram page @Sixty_is_the_new_40 – I tag stockists on IG and many of the items featured above are from my vintage stock gathered over the years. Slow fashion…

They had me with ‘sustainable fashion,’ that’s Grizas, a family-owned fashion house, keeping its carbon footprint light by producing only on customer orders, ensuring each garment is individually produced, without industrial machines! One garment is fully sewn by one seamstress. Pretty remarkable in a time of mass production frenzy.

“Celebrating individual beauty through naturalness,” is the Grizas team’s motto.

“Creating floating silhouettes in bright colours, the Grizas designs offer women the chance to express their personal and individual style,” says a spokesperson.

As I am an advocate for slow fashion, individual style and expressing personality through fashion, I’m smitten with the silk dress received from the designers, offering me the choice to wear it in a free-flowing, boho style, or, more form-fitting, by adding a belt.

Part of keeping a light carbon footprint, includes an ethos of keeping it local all the company’s material suppliers and the production centre are based in Europe.

Garments are wrapped in silk tissue paper which is dyed with soybean dye and all parcels are dispatched in 100% recyclable cardboard boxes.

The business is owned by one family and all employees are treated as family members. “We value each worker and treat them with the utmost respect, creating a safe, comfortable, and happy work environment for the past 31 years,” state the owners.

Pictured above, a versatile, sustainable design from Grizas. Even the shipping packaging is sustainable. Styled with my vintage items. See more at www.grizas.com

Cheers to living our best life, here’s to the good life and looking, and feeling, fabulous…

The Circle of Life

by Tilly Smith Dix

Losing a beloved relative is never easy. However, watching their deterioration, struggles with memory, and the simple, basic functions of life, is worse. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer, these seem to be the most dreaded enemies of the aged.

When attending a celebration of a long, fruitful, mostly happy life that has left us, we do tend to dwell on the departure of the special soul we are paying homage to, instead of celebrating a life well-lived.

While I was contemplating this thought, a granddaughter of this dearly departed, strong, feisty, clever soul we were paying our respects to announced her and her partner’s excitement in expecting a new little soul, in the summer. I cannot express in words how happy this news made me on such a sad day. It changed the mood into a celebration of life, as it should be.

As the seasons come and go, as lives depart, new life springs eternal and this, I see as the magical circle of life at its best, ever mutable.

Speaking of that magical universal circle of energy, the news has been laden with professors and other experts in psychology labelling some dodgy world leaders and celebrities as narcissists. How to keep ourselves positive and safe from such toxic people, not easy.

If you are working with a narcissist, involved with one, even married to one, these are points to remember:

         A narcissist will never apologise for being wrong, unless it is a means to their hidden agenda; they will never admit to being mistaken; they will rewrite scenarios to suit their agenda; they also love-bomb to get someone to fall in love with them; once they feel they have the power over such a person, they will try to control that person; once they’ve established dominance, they will also use banter to belittle that person in company as the narcissist needs to be the centre of attention.

They are on a spectrum, therefore, often highly intelligent in reading their environment to execute their agenda. They also happen to like losers as they know they can control such people.

They will usually choose a partner who is attractive and accomplished, an asset on their arm. Once such a partner defies their will, war is declared in a catch-22, never-ending battle of wills.

Often, narcissists are indulged by parents in their childhood who fail to instil boundaries and who prefer to be blinded by the narcissistic child’s charms and whims, allowing the foundation of this personality to be cast, believing it a gift to the world.

How do children handle any failure if they believe they are invincible? Apparently, providing a child with too little or too much self-esteem could also trigger a narcissistic personality. If their belief in themselves is totally suppressed by parents, such a spectrum child will create a world of their own, in which they rule. Too much self-confidence? They will always blame others for any failures of their own.

My point? Be aware of children’s behaviours and flaws. If it is evident the child has narcissistic tendencies, have them evaluated and treated by a professional, who’d also provide parents with the tools to help such a child develop into a more balanced individual.

The world has enough problems, let’s try and lighten its load and prevent unnecessary heartache and mayhem caused by such disorderly personalities. Struggling with insecurities and heartache caused by a narcissist? Get therapy. Seeking professional help makes you a winner!

In short, don’t wrestle with a pig, says one expert. The pig likes it, and you get dirty.

Remember, they will try to destroy you, then pretend to help you as they don’t like to let go of people from the past. Just ignore them. The only way to deal with such a person is to remove their power, by denying them your attention. Choose a good life, choose happy.

Continuing with the wonders of life, attending a school concert with my family, in which the eldest, now eleven-years old, was outstanding in her chorus line, was a reminder of happy childhood events. The energy of children, seeing them blossom on a stage, watching the young discover its creative powers, some displaying great promise of comedic proportions too, brought a happy tear to my eye.

Observing how our young performer on the night was supported by her younger brother and sister, was deeply satisfying. As we all know, siblings often bicker, and compete. So, the brief adoration of her siblings put the cherry on her proverbial cake of joy on the night. I drove home with a huge smile on my face, singing Cinderella Rockefeller, from the hilarious pantomime.

Although the circle of life starts with our young, I believe the secret to eternal youth is not looking twenty forever, it is holding on to our inner child and allowing that boy or girl to embrace the simple joys of life, immaterial of age.

I’ve mentioned, in earlier blogs, how often idiotic people are blocked on the Instagram platform I frequent, on which we focus on ageless style, beauty regimes, life, and slow fashion.

Well, some fool recently commented, “sixty is still sixty,” not understanding the IG handle @Sixty_is_the_new_40 – I must also add, this bloke is a keen fisherman, posing with big fish on his posts. Now what interest, in the name of King Fish, would this man have in following mature women discussing fashion, beauty and lifestyle?

Luckily, and boy, am I grateful for being older and a little wiser, I did not stoop to engage in a discussion. The blocking finger is swift – that would be the deadly long finger third from the thumb.

The point of labelling ourselves as Ageless, Proage, Ageing Well, Age Is Just a Number, and the like, is not because we believe we can compete with younger women or look twenty years younger. It is about simply not allowing ourselves to feel old by behaving as if we’re on our last legs.

While we have life, our health, our faculties, (well, most of them anyway), we embrace it, make the most of ourselves and support each other where needed. It’s called Women Supporting Women. It’s a beautiful thing.

Yes, some do opt for cosmetic help to look younger. That is their choice. I specifically follow those who do so subtly, when they do that thing. If it makes them feel better, power to them. My advice, for what it’s worth, though, is, if irresolute about having work done or fillers injected, wait. Look at others who are older and natural. See their beauty and embrace your own.

I have no beef with men following me on IG if they are respectful. Hopefully, they learn a thing or two about women ageing intelligently, happily and stylishly, and will respect such qualities in their partners as they grow older too.

Dining gems

Dining at Stumpy Gully to celebrate a dear friend’s house sale on a cold winter’s day, was an ideal end to a frantic week.

The myriad winery dining gems on the Mornington Peninsula make for easy dining choices but I think this one is going to be my favourite for some time. Stunning location, a mere 20-minute drive from home, convenient for my Mornington and city friends to meet up with because of its proximity to the highway, superb service, scrumptious food, and excellent wine. In fact, I enjoyed the bubbles, with a slight French nose, so much, I could not resist taking a bottle home!

The select menu made for some time to ponder the delicious choices. Settling for the torched blue mackerel (accompanied by dill emulsion, fennel, and nasturtium), followed by slow cooked Gippsland beef cheek (with caponata, parsnip and pine nut za’atar), and broccolini on the side, washed down with the delicious Stumpy Gully Brut Sparkling, tasted like a sublime holiday.

Someone recently told me they did not like looking at winter vineyards. I see beauty of promise in those bare vines, as every season plays its supreme part in creating the promise of a different, lush transformation in progress, and spring is almost here…

Pictured above: Stumpy Gully is a feast for the senses. Another gem in the winery and restaurant crown of the Mornington Peninsula.

A favourite bayside restaurant remains Waves on the Beach at Frankston. You could not dine closer to the water and whatever the weather, even on a drizzly winter’s day, the view remains a marvel. It somehow reminds me of a little hotel I used to stay in overlooking the beach of Monterrey, California, located on Cannery Road.

This is a different vista with a vibe all its spectacular own but linking it with another special place, somehow, enhances the experience even further. Something I love about growing older. We have memories and stories galore! Silver linings, right? Forget the wrinkles, count the stories instead.

So, my chosen family is growing and great friend Rika, now commonly known as my Aussie sister, agreed, we were choosing our fellow expat Len Vorster as our Aussie brother. Lunch is always a jolly affair, and Len, who loves the drive to the Peninsula to meet with us, finds it a welcome escape from city suburban life.

Also being a child of the Cape of South Africa, I know how he feels, so, the kindred spirits unite on a regular basis, when the stories and laughter shared during scrumptious meals and vistas, make for great new memories.

I can hardly wait to hear accomplished pianist Len’s recordings of our composer friend Lachlan Brown’s latest marvels. I wrote about how my little antique organ brought us all together in perfect harmony in an early blog this year. This magical circle of life just keeps on giving, we simply have to see…

Pictured above: Len Voster, bay views, pan-seared barramundi, seafood linguine, and seafood jamb-aella at Waves on the Beach in Frankston.

So, having such magical destinations on my doorstep makes my decision not to travel for a while in the wake of this lingering pandemic so easy… cheers to the delightful Mornington Peninsula.

However, if you are planning to visit South Africa in need of a five-star, affordable safari fix, look no further than Tau Game Lodge. I enjoyed this recent review by Sara Essop: https://inafricaandbeyond.com/tau-game-lodge-review

Pictured above, the birdlife at Tau Game Lodge’s waterhole is always spectacular.

Sofa spud

No doubt, there is plenty to watch on the box but sadly, most of it is so violent and obnoxious, they all seem the same in the end! Damned scary too. They could drive me into adult nappies ahead of my time, I kid you not.

However, Queen Bees streaming on Binge, with the now late James Kahn and Ellen Burstyn, produced last year before Kahn’s death, insinuates that 80 is the new 18.

We can snigger but I saw firsthand how romance blossomed in retirement villages years ago, when my now late dad moved in after Mom’s passing. The ladies were on high alert, and he virtually had to hide at times. No, it’s not only the ladies who are often ready to get back on the dating train, as the stories I heard of lonely widowers romancing the gals seemed pretty similar to boys trying to impress girls when I was in my teens!

It’s never too late for love. The stellar cast includes the always endearing Anne Margaret, zesty Jane Curtin, hilarious Loretta Devine, and engaging Christopher Lloyd. Delightfully directed by Michael Lembeck, I felt this movie so relevant as now that one is no longer a spring chicken, you realise, authenticity, honesty, life lessons, love, living, caring, this all becomes profoundly relevant when we are in our mature years. Cheers to love and those who embrace it.

An old favourite movie, also on Binge, brought back such sweet memories from the 80s.  Against All Odds, starring Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, and James Woods, with the hauntingly beautiful title song by Phil Collins, is still a great movie.

Somehow, watching this movie again after so many years, remembering that era, the music, trends, and memories of people I encountered, made for a magical trip down memory lane.

One such memory was of a visit to the Overberg region in the Cape of South Africa, not far from Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa.

Reminiscing about spending a weekend in the then relatively unspoiled fishing village, Arniston, with friends and neighbours in Cape Town, brought tears of glee to my eyes.

I remembered arriving at my friends’ holiday cottage, walking on the beach on a wintery afternoon and descending into the cave, big enough to accommodate a large yacht at low tide but impossible to navigate at high tide. A remarkable place, also known as Waenhuiskrans Grot, (Wagon House Cliff Cave), way back when.

So, we collected fresh mussels off the rocks, which I was to cook with pasta for our dinner. The men planned to purchase fresh fish, choices including black bream, (galjoen), or dusky cob, (kabeljou) the following day, fresh off the boats.

Of course, as it was a long weekend, they said the only place in town to purchase firewood from was at the Arniston Hotel, which today, I hear, is a luxurious destination, complete with a wellness spa.

So, while friend Debbie and I cleaned the mussels and prepared the meal, adding fresh garlic and plenty parsley, the men took off to get firewood before the weekenders arrived.

Well, given we were in our 20s, and that boys would be boys, three hours later, the men had not returned, and we decided to have dinner without them. In the meantime, we also discovered a striped field mouse and her two youngsters behind a cupboard in the kitchen. We had cheese and after some wine, okay, several glasses, we had just about tamed mama-mouse enough to snatch cheese from our fingers to feed her offspring.

Then, the wine now really at play, we saw headlights driving in the direction of the cottage and realised the boys had finally gotten off the bar stools at the hotel, where they’d obviously been sharing conviviality with some locals.

So, in a fleeting moment, great (wine-soaked), minds thinking alike, we dripped some tomato sauce at the front door, overturned a chair or two, and hid in a dark corner under the dining table.

Revenge was sweet. The guys, at first, sounded full of bravado, with my boyfriend saying this was probably me plotting to scare them and he’s not falling for it.

After half-hour of searching, joking, and looking for us under beds and in the bush, things got more serious. When Debbie’s boyfriend started passing wind on yet another trip into the garden to look for signs of us, Debbie whispered that David only got windy when nervous.

When we overheard them planning on calling the police on the old landline, we emerged from our hiding place, right under their noses!

See what happens when you watch a favourite old movie? It’s like visiting a dear old friend and sharing stories of the good old days, again. Call it therapy.

Spring and late-winter style

Whilst spring is a tad slow in arriving, the sun has been out most days and layering garments is part of the fun during the transformation of a new season.

Getting creative is not always easy but if we build a wardrobe with solid foundation pieces, timeless accessories and quality wraps and cardigans, even ponchos, the battle is won.

Ah, and then there is the luxury of silk, always a good idea. Receiving a French-bow halter-neck silk maxi-dress in my colour choice, copper, from Silk Maison proved ideal to welcome a warmer season.

I could wax lyrical about this forever goddess dress, suitable for any age, but I’m going to make it short and sweet. Using sustainable silk and authentic textiles, including pure wool, I’m smitten with the craftsmanship and designs of their fashion.

For those of you now entering autumn, or who simply wish to stock up on quality, soft, stylish, sustainable winter items now for next year, feast your eyes not only on the dreamy silk dresses, shirts, suits, and sleepwear, but also the luxe coats on offer for the colder season.

Check them out at: https://www.silkmaison.com/ or on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/silkmaison/

The high-quality garments are shipped internationally, and the prices are highly competitive. By using my 25% discount code TILLY, you get Silk Maison fashion for even less than advertised. You can thank me later as these also make for magical gifts any woman of style would treasure and be grateful for. Prices are in US$.

Another superb fashion label I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog, and often on my Instagram handle @Sixty_is_the_new_40 is Gentle Herd.

I’m smitten with their quality and style, not to mention the affordability of such quality! Lucky me, I recently received two items from them and will be wearing the light knit as well as the cashmere knit for many years to come, ideal for colder days as well as on the milder trans seasonal days. Long live quality and the softness of the finest wool and cashmere.

See their latest ranges at https://smarturl.it/o2z0hg

For less 25%, use my discount code TILLY – prices are in US$ and they ship internationally.

Cheers to the good life, living our best life. Not there yet? Start planning and projecting. If we start with the easy stuff, like the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, the people we care about us and for whom we care deeply, surely the good life will follow…


Music was my first love…

by Tilly Smith Dix

I’ve mentioned the piano tuner and piano removalist, Lachlan Brown, in a previous blog, and finally booked him to tune my piano last week. Well, not only did he do an exceptional job, as the piano needed some minor refurbishments after several big moves in the past 11 years, which included a trip across the ocean, but I got a free show to boot!

This highly skilled and multi-talented man recently told me about his translating ancient Chinese poetry into English, to which he has now also composed music.

Nosy as I am, I asked about it and for my trouble, I got a concert whilst he demonstrated my old concert upright being back in fine form!

Being a private audience to his new compositions and eloquently translated poetry about nature and the country, made for a memorable morning. Then, as a bonus, being privy to his rendition of one of my favourite Rogers and Hammerstein tunes from South Pacific, This Nearly was Mine, made my heart soar.

I was dumbstruck, yes, unusual for me, as the entire process profoundly touched my soul. After Lachlan’s departure, I got onto YouTube and again listened to this wonderful song, which was now haunting me. If this musical is your thing, listen to Julian Ovenden, or Brian Stokes, perform this timeless tune, they are sensational. Thank me later.

I worked on cloud nine for the rest of the day, grateful for these amazing surprises life bestows on us, scattering stardust in my little home on a cold, drizzly Monday. Namaste.

Next chapter? Pianist Len Voster, he who now owns my antique organ, will be recording these sweet sounds created by Lachlan! This story about lesser degrees of separation just gets better. Life’s not half bad…

Then I thought I got even luckier as one Lerynne West at mrslerynnewest6@gmail.com sent me an email via one Alexandra Karuska, informing me she was donating the generous sum of €5.8m to li’l ol’ moi! Geez, I was about to crack a bottle of French but luckily, I curbed my enthusiasm when I realised, I did not know these people! Who are these people?

I once worked with a Lyrene but as you can see, the spelling of her name is different, plus she has children to leave her millions to and she never bought me as much as a cappuccino in the old country, so, I settled for a glass of local bubbles instead. I thanked my lucky stars I did not respond to the sender of the fraudulent message and drank to the fact that I’m not as dumb as I often feel. Hie.

As dear Dad used to say, “it’s okay to sometimes act a little crazy but don’t be stupid just because you are blonde.” Cheers to that, mates. Even my excellent electrician, Jackson, says I’m delightfully eccentric. He claims there are far too many boring people on this planet. I like that! Gosh, at my mature age, I welcome any compliments. Give that young man a Bells! He also does a great job, at affordable rates. Check him out at J. Lewis Electrical Services.

Let’s own our joie de vivre and if people call that crazy, it’s their loss. Authentically peculiar is the new vogue, my rule…

Breaking bread

Speaking of those few degrees of separation, I recently met with a lovely Instagram friend, Gretchen in Mt Eliza, where we had a delicious brunch at Ad Hoc. It is pure delight meeting new people who feel more like old friends. The world truly is filled with special people, we simply must open our eyes and hearts.

My scrumptious eggs benedict on crispy bacon were perfect, the chai latte delicious and spiced just right, whilst Gretchen took delight in her benedict special, which was made with smoked salmon. I’ll be back. Simply yum.

Some people get depressed and grumpy when it rains, I get high. No, not like that, silly, I just love rain and cold, so, I’m a self-confessed pluviophile. An old pal in Cape Town used to call such days, “Janis Joplin, cheap red wine, and slit your wrists,” days. None of us ever felt that low but I guess it summed it up for some folks.

I recently had some business to attend to in Mornington and popped into Betty’s Burgers as the art deco building reminded me of Miami. I don’t do burgers often, but was I glad I did this once-a-year-burger flip. Fresh, tasting of pure beef, I then popped to the waterfront for a quick pic of the bay on a drizzly day. This midweek treat certainly charged my EQ battery to deal with the rest of the week. Simple pleasures, right? Again, we simply have to see…

Scrumptious eggs, above, at Ad Hoc in Mount Eliza.

Rainy days in Mornington, above, and Betty’s Burgers.

I’ve written about the expat women of Melbourne before and finally, after all those lockdowns of the unmentionable virus, we managed to coordinate our diaries as we are spread across the greater suburbs and outskirts of this liveable city. We agreed, with all these animal-related pocks doing the rounds, we’d better catch up before we start seeing veterinary surgeons for new vaccines!

Five of us gathered in South Yarra at a magnificent heritage estate, Como House, where the food is a treat, the service friendly and efficient, and the location pure old-world charm.

Sharing our life journeys since our last gathering between lockdowns in 2021, it was clear we were all more relaxed, having taken control of the stresses and strains life hurls at us from time to time.

Suffice to say, time flew way too fast, the bubbles were delicious, the stories even more so, and none of us had lost our sense of humour. You can take the girls out of South Africa, but you’ll never take the country out of our spirits. Again, I felt extremely lucky to catch up with these special souls.

Our bubbles of choice proved a perfect complement to our respective dishes, and I highly recommend the Jules Faulker Rose from France at one dollar more than a bottle of bubbles from New Zealand! I know the French can be full of themselves but hey, when it comes to bubbles, they have plenty reason, Oui, on sait

I settled, happily, for the steak frites porterhouse with madame sousou butter. Not ashamed to say, I finished the 250g!

Catching up with the girls at Como House, above.

At the movies

Watching Elvis at Karinga Village Cinema Gold Class, nibbling on prawn and vegetable spring rolls, and wedges, with delectable aioli choices and bubbles, is my idea of movie magic.  Riveting, this Baz Lohman masterpiece. Spellbinding. Three hours too short! I could have watched another hour of this spectacular film.

As for Austin Butler, sensational and mesmerising in character as Elvis. Someone wrote when he stares into the camera, it melts. I’d say it more likely explodes!

Tom Hanks as the evil Colonel Parker, superb. Giggles galore too, reflecting the reactions of women in the audience back in the day. Hysterical females, throwing underwear at Elvis on stage, caused riots. The US bible belt did not react well, and Elvis’ movements were banned, especially being filmed from the waist down on television. Pure sin, straight to hell, ha!

My, how times have changed? Some performers now come on stage almost naked, and top talent have been known to simulate sex acts on stage to the thunderous applause of audiences wanting more.

This reminded me of seeing Tom Jones performing live in Cape Town many years ago, when a friend promptly ripped off her unmentionables and hurled it at the stage. I thought she was going to faint! I was so embarrassed. She was a teacher and totally dropped her prim pose. Her boyfriend nearly fainted too, declaring their pending engagement was off!

I did have questions. What happens to these panties? Is there a special museum, paying homage to the brave panty-throwing brigade? The mind boggles. I’m not judging, seriously, just pondering this phenomenon, and leaving such a show, especially in winter, without proper protection of the nether regions…

Should I even get that crazy, I’ll go buy some big-girl pants, Bridget Jones style, and throw that at the he-god. That should get his attention, right? Might knock the sucker out. Chuckle.

Back to my story at the movies. Keeping social distancing in mind, of course, savouring a movie in gold-class style certainly is the answer. Comfy, spacious reclining seats, food and drinks on order and delivered to your seat, way to go. I’m ruined for life.

Book worm

I’ve become a tad disgruntled with some of the current books and modern authors. There are many superb writers but when I want to relax on a chilly winter’s evening, I want to be certain I’ll not be disappointed.

Great writing and above all, superb storytelling, are my top priorities when opening a book. No, I don’t like to read online and have not yet succumbed to acquiring a Kindle. I love the energy of a printed book and using a bookmark. Yep, call me old-fashioned, I’ve been called worse.

So, as I am with some old movies I’ve watched many times over the years, returning to a good book after many years, is like embracing an old friend.

A writer I’ve never tired of, is Pat Conroy. A while back I read Beach Music again, after some 20 years, and loved every word and nuance, again, always brilliantly described by Conroy, now sadly departed. So, I dug around my library, which is now seriously bijou due to living in a smaller space, and found another old love, South of Broad, by this evergreen author.

Again, I cherished every word. Some authors write for authors. Some write for avid readers. Pat Conroy, to my mind, came up trumps in both categories. Reading his stories, one is never bamboozled with complicated or over-written diction. Yet, when you stop, as a modest writer, to pay attention to his words, you realise, how, gently, he educates and, I’m certain, helped many improve their linguistic skills over many years.

South of Broad, in true Conroy fashion, paints a picture of colourful characters and never leaves one in doubt about the author’s love and understanding of the US South, with his beloved Charleston ruling as a city of many layers.

Hilarious, heartbreaking, shocking, and depicting characters so enigmatically, I’ll read this book again, as I do with all his books, probably in 10 years’ time. Perhaps in five as I’m sure my memory will worsen by then…

The pragmatist, Leo, has problems. He gets in trouble for protecting someone else, and at an early age, struggles with mental problems after his 10-year-old brother commits suicide.

His mother is a former nun and the principal of his school. His father is a sweetheart. Leo befriends a group of orphans, who have had the worst of times and so begins friendships and bonds that bind these characters for life, until death.

Having been to San Francisco several times and having an eternal love-affair with that eclectic, fascinating city on the bay, I’ll leave you with Conroy’s description of this city, which does hold a piece of my heart, but his character, Leo, does not share my sentiments: “In California, the mad, deep breath of deserts is never far away. The sky above San Francisco is often so dazzling a blue that it merits the overripe description of cerulean, or comparison to lapis lazuli. Its clouds are sea-born and formed in the odd depths of its mysterious bay, where the fog moves inland in a billion-celled, mindless creature, amoeba-shaped and poisonous, like a stillborn member of the nightshade family.

“Southern fogs calm me as they paint the marshes with their milk-stained fingers. The San Francisco fog is a silver-lined hunter of the predator class, and I always find it troubling. When I awaken to its fog horns, they sound like the exiled whimpering of a city in endless sexual distress.”

TV indulgence

Love a travel series with a personality that seems like an old friend? Look no further than catching James May in Italy, he of the motoring shenanigans, on Amazon Prime. Funny and delightful. Something couples could watch without fighting over the remote.

Dinner with Friends (2001) on Binge, starring the lovely Andy McDowell, superb Denis Quaid, slick Greg Kinnear, and edgy Tony Collett, depicts the anatomy of a good marriage and friends in bad relationships. Insightful and real. I highly recommend it.

Gino’s Italian Family Adventure on Binge is a delicious journey with Italian chef Gino D’Acampo and his British family.

Gino’s love for his birth-country, traversing from Sardinia to Naples, is highly addictive. He also proves the world is older than 3,000 years by featuring ancient ruins of structures built even before the Romans or Egyptians.

Teaching his English-speaking children how to pronounce bruschetta: b-r-u-s-k-e-t-t-a, had me in stitches! The fact that he pays homage to my favourite Italian hard cheese, pecorino, which is made from sheep’s milk, was heart-warming. I prefer it to parmesan, mia culpa.

As for magnificent Sardinia, I never got there on my magical visits to Italy, but this is the best virtual tour of this bucket-list island I’ve experienced. I love Gino’s emphasis on the Italian way of life: “Simple. Family, Great Food.” Divino. He even teaches his mother-in-law to pop a cherry. Salute. Chuckle…and Mama loves Gino.

Spring safari

Speaking of travel, I see Tau Game Lodge is offering sublime packages for spring, between September 1 and 20 December 2022 – check it out at http://www.taugamelodge.co.za

With over 250 bird species, Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve of South Africa, is a birder’s paradise. This is the waterhole, above, where guests observe the endless parade of game and birds – watch out for the opportunistic crocs!

Style is never out of fashion

I recently watched an excellent documentary on Binge, titled American Style. Yes, many will argue the fact that the USA has produced some iconic style over the years. However, many of its designers were trailblazers and will go down in fashion history as world leaders in style.

Remember Grace Kelley and Oleg Cassini? Jacqueline Kennedy and Oleg Cassini? Anyone worth their salt in fashion, immaterial of age, would agree, Halston was a style god. In fact, in this brilliant doco, Halston and his fellow US designers, Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein, were the stars in the 1973 Battle of Versailles Fashion Show.

Why? They did not rely on elaborate props and backdrops to show off their designs, but let the garments speak for themselves through design, and the movement of the models, dancing to the beat of contemporary music. A triumph, and the start of an era when models looked like living, breathing, moving people, allowing the garments to flow, instead of looking like deadpan mannequins.

I was a teen model and loved strutting and moving, even dancing, down the catwalk to the rhythm of popular music. It was such fun! We were slim but nobody looked hungry, grumpy, or resembled heroin chic. How could looking like death be depicted as chic? Ever? We had the best time, when choreographing a fashion show was pure art, and fashion was wearable!

So, it’s to these fashion icons I’m paying homage. Freedom of style is a gift to savour. We are presented with seasonal fashion four times a year. We have the freedom to have our own style at any time of year. Can’t remember who said that but I like it.

Paying homage to classic designs that remain winter stars in my cupboard, above. From the black Witchery wrap, to the blue alpaca wool scarf, to Trenery car coats, an old butter-soft leather coat, knitted dresses, hats, heels and the classic trench coat, also Witchery, these items remain forever new as slow-fashion gems. See my IG page for more style tips @Sixty_is_the_new_40

When buying clothes, think about the garments complementing us, and with which existing items in our closet such new pieces might merge successfully. Slow fashion is not just a trend, it is a lifestyle. Find a style that will suit your personality and shape. It need not be followed religiously. We are supposed to break the mould from time to time, otherwise we’d be oh, so boring. Just be authentic and own your look…

My motto this month? Find your superpower, own it, live, be authentic and whilst we will never be everyone’s cup of tea, let’s be our own delicious cuppa – the rest will follow, our tribe will find us!

Cheers to the good life, living our best life. Not there yet? Start planning and projecting. If we start with the easy stuff, like the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, the people we care about us and for whom we care deeply, surely the good life will follow…

As time goes by

By Tilly Smith Dix

My late dad used to say you knew you were getting old when most of your friends were dying. Sounds grim, right?

I was thinking along those lines when friends from the past started reaching out across the waters to communicate with me. Sadly, much of their news brought heartache as they are in fact struggling with incurable illnesses, with one of them needing to go into a high-care home, and the other now on permanent oxygen to function basically.

This shattering news brought so many wonderful memories of special friendships. None of these friendships were forced. Honesty always prevailed and whilst it at times had people at loggerheads, love and respect always shone through.

This reminded me that true friendship, as with love, should never be forced or built on deceit. When we are emotionally available, vulnerable and caring, manipulation is forbidden. Above all, if we are honest and caring, forgiveness will always find a way. Sacrosanct equals true friendship.

As for growing older? Tomorrow is never promised, so, never forget to smile, dance, love, live and celebrate today. It is human to sometimes long for a better life, but if we remember and learn from the past and try to make the most of today, tomorrow holds magical possibilities if we are lucky enough to embrace it.

A woman recently tried to bully me in a grocery store. I looked her in the eye, smiled, and asked her to take a stroll to aisle 29. She was obviously confused, and asked, “why?” I responded with, “they sell good manners there.” The shop has only 8 aisles. Okay, so I had a little fun. Only human.

Dining and wining

With so many picturesque dining destinations on the Mornington Peninsula, offering cuisine that would make foodies drool, visits to the city are fewer and further between. However, not having popped on the smooth train to the city on the Yarra River and the port since January, the time was right for a daytrip with my good mate to see how Melbourne was going.

Voted the most liveable city in Australia and among the top ten in the world, Melbs is a marvel. New buildings which were still under construction during my last visit, are now complete and do they strike a perfect pose, somehow complementing their historical, beautifully maintained neighbours. A celebration of old and new.

Strolling the network of lanes, from Flinders Lane to Little Collins Street, embracing the Victorian magic of the Royal Arcade and adjacent modernity, results in my being constantly mesmerized in my own city.

It is heartening to find most of the eateries and shops in full operation again after the Covid lockdowns. Discovering Caffe E Torta in the Royal Arcade, munching on authentic, freshly prepared fettucinne bolognese, sipping a delicious local rose, and watching stylish people walk by, challenges other top cities of the world.

Pictured above, liveable, marvellous Melbourne, and dining on scrumptious fettuttine bolognese at Caffe e Torta in the Royal Arcade.

Halfway to the city, there is Chadstone. A shopper’s mecca, with high-end brands also found in the smart shopping district of the inner-city, available in this world-renowned shopping centre. Great eateries and cinemas too. Just remember where you parked your car. This mall is vast but worth a visit. Yes, it’s not all outback and corked hats here in Aussie, darlings! I’ve not spotted Crocodile Dundee – yet.

Pictured above, dear friend Rika, vogueing it up in Chadstone.

Dining closer to home in Mornington at Casa De Playa, proved a celebration of flavours with my good friend Rosaria. Tapas is so my thing and our choice during this visit included garlic prawns, pulled beef cigars, crumbed calamari steak strips, and cheese croquettes. Exquisito!

Moving even closer to home, the Spanish Bar in Seaford never disappoints. Whilst dining on the most mouth-watering soft-shell crab and flavoursome tortilla I’ve ever tasted, the convivial vibe is underlined further with vistas over Kananook Creek, where ducks, gulls and birds of a feather seem to celebrate nature. The ducks even have their own crossing, but they disregard such rules, crossing the road wherever they wish. Much to learn from ducks. Own your space, just remember to look right, left, right…

Pictured above, delectable tortilla and soft-shell crab at the Spanish Bar in Seaford overlooking Kananook Creek, where ducks have their own crossing, and gulls demand a snack.

Out and about

A concert at Montsalvat in Eltham by Duo Kalen, formed in 2006 by South African Len, and Natsuko, who originates from Japan, now both Australians, proved a triumph and I’d be fibbing if I said I did not brush away a sentimental tear or two…

Accompanist and music tutor Len, and soprano Natsuko, performed at the historical Montsalvat art centre on a cold, rainy winter’s day and I hardly felt the chill as my heart was cosy as toast, listening to Songs of the World.

This heart-warming duo studied and performed internationally and are worth braving the chill at any time.

I’ve mentioned the serendipity of my little antique black organ in my previous blog, and Len is the new owner of that little treasure.

The concert commenced with Heimwee, (longing), by S. Le R. Marais, born in 1896 in South Africa. As a child, I heard South African soprano Mimi Coertse, who performed in the top opera houses in Europe for many years, perform this song of longing on the radio. My father, a superb tenor, often asked to join top choirs, would sing along.

Special memories came flooding through and my spirit felt light.

Pictured above, historical Montsalvat in Eltham, where art is celebrated in all its magical forms.

This heartbreaking song was followed by further enchanting songs from France, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Spain. One of my favourite musical scores by Russia’s Pyotr Tchaikovsky, None but the Lonely Heart Op. 6 no. 6, evoked further sentimental memories as not only did I enjoy playing it on the piano years ago to many encores from my dear mother, but I’d never heard it in song!

Natsuko is pure of voice and her sensitive spirit shines through, whilst Len’s accompaniment is pure velvet. Duo Kalen should be titled Duo Amazing. Go see them soon and catch them on YouTube!

Armchair binges

A series I could not get enough of was Fosse/Verdon. The forever enigmatic Bob Fosse, now entertaining in the afterlife, and feisty Gwen Verdon, shared a love-hate relationship, which resulted in some of the most famous Broadway productions.

Nominated for plenty awards and landing a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, and more, this is a compulsory binge.

Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse and Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon. Say no more. Think Chicago and All That Jazz. Enjoy, now brush up on your jazz, baby.

As a long-time fan of Yorkshire chef James Martin, I was driven to drink watching his American Adventure series. In the best possible way!

Not only does he create scrumptious dishes based on the local produce and gastronomy of each specific region, he also takes you on an armchair tour of some of the most scenic and thrilling destinations in the USA.

Having visited many of the featured regions and cities in this entertaining series, I found myself guzzling more bubbles than usual as I was in a celebratory mood watching some of my favourite places, such as Sonoma’s Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, San Francisco, LA, and Texas. I believe my male readers would love James’ choices of transport, from a Harley to a 1970 Pontiac, and airboats on the bayous. Exhilarating.

His perception of New Orleans, Louisiana, was my final binge before going to sleep with a huge grin. I also awakened starving for some of his delectable dishes. His spin on gumbo? Proper, which is a word he uses often. His humour is contagious, and I was along for the ride every step of the way. I’ll watch the rest of the series next weekend as my liver simply could not handle another binge right now.


Wishing to go on a luxe, affordable winter safari in South Africa? Look no further than this review from Sandton Times to get in the mood: https://sandtontimes.co.za/tau-game-lodge/

Style it

Black. White. Tan. Grey, loads of grey. These have been the dominant colours for winter for may winters. These basic hues never date, however, putting some colour into winter has never been more fun than now!

Love brown? That’s okay but feeling like upping the ante? Add a cool colour to a warm brown, like cobalt blue, or even a powder blue – or pink.

Love winter white? Always mixing it with a touch of tan or black? Why not go for the warmest tone to add some spark to the brrrrrr, such as desert rose, a softer shade of coral and not as bright as orange. It certainly adds some colour to my pale winter complexion. Of course, red and cerise are always sensational options to improve winter gloom.

We’ve been wearing big knits for a while and they are remain on trend. Want to add definition to an outfit and show off your trim waist? Add a belt. Any size will do but the current favourite is the wider belt for added structure. Waistline not so trim? Ditch the belt and add a scarf instead to draw prying eyes away from that winter waist to a lovely face instead. Smile!

Now add a big wrap coat or a flowing poncho, et voila, you’ve in vogue and feeling fabulous.

Prefer a slimmer line? Wear a fitted knit or silk blouse, layered with a big wrap scarf and belted coat to draw the eye to the neckline, the scarf, and therefor elongating the body line. Seemingly effortless style comes with planning, buying with an eye on the longevity of a garment and outfit, as well as engaging new acquisitions as team players in an ageless wardrobe.

Speaking of coats, I’m smitten with the Gentle Herd woollen coat I received recently. The softest wool, stylish, luxurious, and in winter white. Endless styling possibilities and I’ve got long-term plans for this gorgeous straight-hem double-breasted marvel.

I often get lucky and receive quality garments to wear and promote on my Instagram fashion page, Sixty_is_the_new_40 – colour me grateful as I love luxe winter style.

See the current cashmere and pure wool designs at http://www.gentleherd.com – their passion for sustainable fabrics and high-quality garments is rooted in urban style practicality.

Cashmere and wool are sourced from the world’s largest pasture, Inner Mongolia. Herd sizes and grazing are strictly monitored, and animals are not harmed in the making of their fabrics.

Pictured above, the slow-fashion woollen coat in winter-white from Gentle Herd – use my discount code “tilly25” for less 25%! Styled with my old…pop to my IG page Sixty_is_the_new_40 for a sassy video to showcase this stylish coat.

Workers are employed and respected as per strict labour rights in the entire process. Factories are currently operating in Denver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Paris, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Sydney, London, Shenzhen, and Hang Zhou.

Purchase your forever style @gentleherd by using my 25% discount with this purchase code: “tilly25” – you’ll thank me later, stylish darlings. Slow, sustainable fashion, agelessly in vogue.

Pictured above, styling old with new, featuring timeless turtle-neck sweaters and hat at Seed Heritage, currently discounted, in caramel and ocean blue. The lofty blue cardigan, blue scarf, and striped poncho are from Witchery Fashion – pure, timeless Aussie designs.

Not sure about making a purchase? Stop. Think. Have a coffee, (not wine, that would lead to impulse shopping).

An Australian brand I adore, is Seed Heritage – seedheritage.com – established since 2000. Specialising in sustainable fabrics, top quality designs and sophisticated style. I love the women’s capsule range of luxe, trend-led styles. The designs for girls and teens are a great way to instil elegance and fun with long-lasting style in a new generation.

Live life. Wear your best. Use your special tableware, linen, whatever! Travel. Travelled plenty? Write your memoirs, illustrate your journey with pictures of wonderful memories. Celebrate today. Show the folks you adore how much you care. Cheers to the good life…

Serendipity triumphs

Text and photography by Tilly Smith Dix

Little did I know when I bought a little black antique organ at Billy Moon in Parkhurst, Johannesburg years ago, how such a little treasure, the size of an upright piano, would create a story that sounds too good to be true.

Made in Washington, NJ by the Cornish Company, this sweet little number got my attention when I was looking for an antique rolltop desk to serve as a vanity. I had invested in a beautifully hand-crafted French sleigh bed made by Van der Merwe & Son in Mooi River, South Africa some years earlier. I thought the bed deserved a vanity table to befit its stature in my spacious bedroom in Sandton.

I could not find such a rolltop desk but the rolltop organ was calling my name the moment I saw it. So, after some deliberation, it won me over and I took delivery of it. Yes, there were some naughty references to my keeping a little black organ in my bedroom by a cheeky editor friend, which resulted in interesting lunchtime conversation. South African humour, say no more…

So, this little organ eventually moved with me to Australia. As I simply could not part with it at the time, it travelled here via Singapore in a container with the rest of my household goods.

After several years, I decided to downsize, and I realised I could either keep my piano or the organ, no space for both in my new bijou home. The piano won as I was having it tuned and would commence playing again once settled in my home. It was also of enormous sentimental value, as my late parents bought it for me, on a budget, after I proved my love and dedication to music after passing my first exam aged seven.

Finding its new loving home, the little black organ.

I tried selling the organ. I tried giving it away. I offered it to the Organ Society of Melbourne. This went on for many months, no luck. In the meantime, this sweet little darling was wrapped in blankets in the garage, where the car slept outside to ensure this ageing beauty was snug. I’d like to add I endeavoured to prevent spider and rodent invasions too, so, every precaution was taken to preserve this treasure. In fact, I nearly euthanised myself, given all the earth-friendly pest repellents I sprinkled and sprayed in this process.

So, reaching the end of my tether and deeply saddened about nobody seemingly having interest in such beautiful old instruments anymore, I mentioned it to a Facebook friend I met on a modelling shoot three years ago here in Melbourne.

This incredible person, tiny in stature, but with a voice like an operatic angel, who also teaches karate, immediately told me she would speak to her accompanist for her next concert. She also mentioned the pianist originates from South Africa and that in spite of having lived in Melbourne for some 40 years, he told her he still missed speaking Afrikaans.

Within minutes, Len Voster, Natsuko Minegheshi’s accompanist called me after I forwarded images of the organ to her. Len asked for measurements, which I provided, as it should be when it comes to organs, this one now fondly known as the LBO.

The piano tuner and removalist who moved the LBO to my new nest last year, did play a tune on the relic at the time and pronounced it in good shape and tone.

So, I provided Len with his details. In the meantime, Len discovered my Afrikaans was in good shape too, and as one does, we shared some family secrets, only to discover that on both our mothers’ sides, we were related!

Within a few days my organ removal contact, now Len’s, arrived to collect the LBO, only to advise me he had not seen Len since university days, where he studied when Len was a tutor – some 40 years ago!

Lachlan Brown, piano tuner and piano mover, also turns out to be a composer and his work is available on YouTube. I begged him to share this news with Len when he delivers the little treasure as there must be an opportunity for his work to be performed by the maestro and musical tutor!

I am attending a concert at Montsalvat in Eltham in June, to bask in a performance by Len and Natsuko, where they will be performing music of the world. Some of the songs on the programme are by South African composers and Natsuko is currently being coached by Len to perform these in Afrikaans.

I believe Len and Lachlan are discussing Lachlan’s compositions, so, watch this space. We hear of six degrees of separation. I’d call it two degrees of separation only. How sweet the sound of serendipity is when it warms the cockles of the musical heart…

Running with the muses

Being invited to send my bio to the founder of 800Muses, made me a tad nervous. After all, am I good enough to be part of such a posse of highly acclaimed, published writers?

Yvonne Aileen, Writer, Publisher, Realtor, Indie Author, and Founder of 800 Muses, is a force of nature. A natural communicator and writer.

So, I put on my brave façade and was humbled and thrilled to be accepted. I cannot sing the praises of the writers in that fold enough, the like of Caroline Hurry, Laura Waters, to mention only the few brilliant authors I happen to know and respect.

So, if you’re a writer passionate about telling stories, check her profile on FB and LinkedIn. You will thank me later.

As for Caroline Hurry, her newly published book Reign, mentioned in a previous blog, is enjoying glowing reviews. Available online, you will love the laughter, tears, and balm for the soul stories, not to mention her superb use of the English language:  https://amzn.to/3LIqZvv

Food, wine, and taking a long walk on a long pier

Mantons Creek Winery is home to Quattro, a restaurant I highly recommend. Situated on Tucks Road, driving on the Mornington wine trail is pure magic. Arriving at Quattro, overlooking vineyards, hills, and picturesque avenues of trees, feels like heaven.

The service is efficient and friendly, the food scrumptious. Indulging in the Mantons Reserve Sparkling Rose proved a perfect pairing to the gnocchi mushroom forestry, goat cheese and Mary’s herbs; followed by the salmon, red cabbage, finger lime and wild garlic emulsion; then some sweet sensations, including, Strawberry tart, raspberry and white chocolate ice cream – and Mandarin panna cotta with candied apple and Mary’s flowers. Delicioso – I’ll be back!

Delicate flavours, fresh herbs, and a seasoned chef. The Epicurean Group manages multiple venues across the Mornington Peninsula and Macedon Ranges.

Quattro at Mantons Creek Winery: succulent salmon, melt-in-the-mouth gnocci, and strawberry tart.

From here, it is an easy drive of about 15 minutes to scenic Flinders for the scent of the ocean on the Mornington Peninsula point, where the Western Port meets Bass Strait.

This picturesque seaside town is also home to a world-class golf course overlooking the coast.

I was so enamoured with this quaint town, its vistas, and long pier, I returned a few days later to savour the fresh oysters, and delicious delicacies available at the impressive Flinders General Store, which offers myriad choices of local produce, gourmet groceries, local and imported wines, and delicious ready-to-eat meals.

A picnic on a cool, overcast day, with a glass of delicious local bubbles, was just the midweek escape I needed to revitalise the spirit and revive my senses for the rest of the week.

Idyllic Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula.

Dining closer to the city in Eltham, a leafy, vibrant community, is never disappointing. Meeting my gorgeous cousin Helen at Second Home for brunch, proved delightful. Catching up on family and dining on a delicious, folded egg with basil pesto, on fresh sourdough bread and smoked, crispy bacon, made for the perfect midweek break.

Attending our youngest pixie’s Special Person’s Day at Kinder, was pure joy. Our four-and-a-half-year old served me home-made vegetable soup and introduced me to the resident pets, two spiny leaf insects, which also shed their skin. Who knew? Part of the programme of this special day, was the children paying homage to the native inhabitants of this land, who tended the earth before the westerners arrived.

Tasty folded egg and smoked bacon at Second Home in Eltham.

Hats off to the teachers who instil such values in children at this tender age to have respect for all our people and the land.

Sofa spud

Resistance, featuring the early life of Marcell Marceau and his part in the Resistance, saving thousands of children, was an eye opener. I highly recommend this binge.

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: the unheard tapes – piecing together the puzzle by those who knew her well. It seems this mystery will never be solved. She knew too much. She was out of control. She was vulnerable. She threatened the wrong family. The authorities wanted her gone.

She was a prescription medicine addict who needed to be defined by the men she got involved with.  Her story still saddens me deeply. If only she had believed in her own strength. A broken childhood, fame and men who took what they needed and left. A candle in the wind indeed.

A Very British Scandal on Amazon Original: Claire Foy and Paul Bettany head up the three-part series, the dramatized scandalous divorce case between the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. The Duke, played by Bettany, accused the Duchess, superbly portrayed by Foy, of sleeping with some 88 men during their marriage. Very busy lady but certainly a lot more classy than the recent courtroom soap opera of Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard.

Impromptu, a frothy story of author George Sand, how she pursued Frederic Chopin, his friendship with Franz Liszt, and the French society who courted these brilliant composers. I was intrigued by Hugh Grant, as Chopin, playing the piano and discovered he took lessons with the now late Yonty Solomon, the world-renowned South African pianist, to acquire his technique. I’m a proud Aussie but this heart will never deny the amazing people and places of my origins.

Safari at the place of the lion in South Africa

It is no secret Tau Game Lodge is one of my favourite safari destinations on the planet and when I see the special winter rates, hugely attractive to international luxe travellers and great value for South Africans wishing to indulge in a five-star safari on their own doorstep, all seems well with the world.

Situated in the Madikwe Reserve, just over four hours’ drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, eco-tourism is key at Tau. Think superb visibility of game, magical safari drives with knowledgeable rangers, hot toddies, wholesome food, warm service, and understated luxury.

Add a large waterhole, where the game roam free, prolific birdlife, and guests observe the wild things from the privacy of their rooms, or the convivial dining and hospitality decks of the lodge, and a sublime winter safari unfolds.

Family-friendly, with a bijou spa overlooking the bush, see more at www.taugamelodge.co.za

Enhance and be pro age

Blush. Shine. Glow. These are the little beauty secrets one never takes for granted when ageing.

I could not have been more thrilled receiving three magical makeup sticks that create such alchemy, resulting in a rejuvenated glow, and healthy blush on this sixty-plus face, especially on a day when I felt a tad pale.

The Enhance Pro Age Blush stick is easy to apply, smooth and I not only applied it to my cheeks but dabbed a little above my eyelids and a tiny touch on my nose and chin. This was followed by a touch of the Shine stick, which I applied on my cheekbones. We always want to enhance those, right?

Brightening up with Enhance Pro Age.

The Glow stick I dabbed sparingly on my eyelids, on the cupid’s bow of my lips, et voila, I looked refreshed.  If we look good, we feel good…

Snuggling into winter style

Oh, when I get news of fashion vouchers coming my way to indulge in the latest alpaca, merino, and mohair knits, not to mention stylish capes, coats, scarves, and ponchos, I’m happy as that proverbial bug in a rug.

This is also a therapeutic indoor escape, sorting through my winter finds, gathered over the years, and teaming these vintage pieces up with the gifted new styles, to create a harmonious blend of old and new. Slow fashion rules and it is kinder to the planet.

This winter has such a seventies vibe, with flared pants, high waists, and plenty of boho chic, how could one not feel energised, realising that what goes around, comes around, and to once again take a trip down memory lane with style, but somehow, this time, it’s better, more refined and, oh so slick.

A follower on my fashion Instagram page Sixty_is_the_new_40 recently seemed confused about me talking about autumn and winter, when she was experiencing spring in the USA. I merely responded how amazing this planet was. While I could admire and gather new style tips for the months ahead from my fellow IG sistas, others could hopefully do the same with our current seasonal chic Down Under. Yes, the world is not flat. Chuckles.