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!
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/
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…