by Tilly Smith Dix

So, spring is still a tad illusive but when she shows her pretty smile, she does it in style here in our Yarra Valley, aka, the valley of plenty.

Our planet is in a state of confusion but I’m not going to get hot and heavy about climate change on this blog, not today, anyway, so, I will celebrate the fact that we’ve had some glorious sunshine and mild days, confettied with the colder, wet days and nights.

No use fretting over something we cannot control, Boris, take note, so, on with the fabulous things to do in our region and beyond, immaterial what the weather, or the Mothership Britain, brings.

Don’t mess with my Sherlock

Theatre, which includes amateur theatre in spades, is big in Melbourne and surrounds and we are keen patrons of the 1812 Theatre productions at nearby Ferntree Gully.

Our most recent attendance was for the Ken Ludwig Baskerville Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Have I mentioned that I adore Sherlock Holmes and devoured all the stories I could lay my sleuth-like paws on since my late teens?

To make this brief, which was not the case during my husband and my discussion post-production, I was disappointed. The cast did a great job and I’m sure the director was having loads of fun. However, being a Holmes fan, I was not amused. You see, I take Sherlock seriously and I did not like this scary story being treated as a spoofy comedy. You can set the hounds on me if you wish but I’m sticking to my opinion. I’m too old to change my views, so, there.

Skincare alchemy

I’ve bragged about getting free stuff to review and post on my Sixty_is_the_new_40 Instagram page and boy, did I hit the jackpot with Sarah of sending me a range of their superb products, specifically geared for my ‘mature’ skin.

Pictured above: from top, clockwise: Skincare Doctor Direct alchemy; my glowing skin; wearing my vintage and some new fashion gifts. So pleased blazers are back and this navy @decjuba jacket is now a fashion staple, not to mention the wide-legged linen pants @trenery – see more on my fashion Instagram page @Sixty_is_the_new_40

We agreed I’d be honest and after testing the products, I’d let her have my honest feedback and if the range was not suitable for my skin, I’d not review it further. Honesty is, as they say, the best policy.

Well, I can honestly say she knows her stuff as she spotted me on Instagram and thought I’d be an honest collaborator. She was right and I’m glad we found each other. Her modus operandi is impeccable and as I’m a stickler for honesty in ethos, we’ve been getting along just fine.

I loved the handwritten note which accompanied the handsome-size package with skincare products. Such small gestures make huge impressions.

The Aspect Hydrating Mask is pure magic. Sarah suggested, in that lovely note, that I could, “pop a serum on first, like the little Medik8 Hydra B5, which should be okay around the eyes first, followed by the mask to do its magic overnight. Just a thin layer of each. You will have new skin in the morning and use once or twice a week.”

Yes, I thought, right, ha. Well, I took a picture, no filter and in bright sunlight in my lounge to show the proof of the pudding, or rather, hydrating mask and serum that turned my skin into a dewy, soft, glowing baby’s bottom-like surface (without the rash), by morning.

The rest of the samples included the C25 Vitamin C Serum for daytime use, followed by a K Centric moisturiser broad spectrum SPF50. LOVE the results and have not hollered at the image in the mirror for at least two weeks.

The Hydra B5 if for extra moisture and ideal for AM and PM use on damp skin after cleansing and I find it light, yet super effective.

It is a known fact that we lose collagen as we age, sadly, and the Tensage antioxidant defence serum is superb. It differs from the C25 serum as it has a stronger Vit C content and includes growth factors. Sarah warned that growth factor products ARE expensive but amazing and she is right. Worth every dollar, I say.

I did find the Tensage defense serum a little rich, whereby I cut down my applications to twice a week only and that works beautifully for me. I guess I’m lucky with good genes from the beautiful parents, long gone to heaven and I thank them, as I often do, for many things I feel blessed with.

So, the eyes, oh dear, the eyes. The windows to the soul and a dead bloody giveaway of our age too. I spend a tiny fortune on good eye cream as I’m trying to fool myself and the world, especially on days I wake up feeling 19 until I look in the mirror and yell at the old chook in the mirror.

Well, the Tensage radiance eye cream, again with growth factors, is a freaking marvel! I could see the results after three days! How IS that even possible? Sarah tells me the range is massively popular in the USA with cosmetic surgeons and still new here in Australia. Well, I see that changing rapidly as it is a wonderful elixir for those crepe lines that creep up on us over the years. Laden with Vitamins C, A, B5 and E, I love the products.

I must also add, I am a stickler for supplements and as I take most of these vitamins orally, I reckon feeding the skin on the surface with the same goodness has to be advantageous.

The Glow oil from Medik8 is a delight, especially on days when you feel a tad prunish and is ideally used over serums under a day or night cream. Again, those lucky genes of mine, or perhaps the Champagne I so adore, proved this a tiny bit rich as I discovered a few spots like a teen but they were manageable. So, I reduced the use to twice a week only to give my skin a rocket up the proverbial when required and it took notice, big time.

Verdict? I’m now an uber fan of Skincare Doctor Direct in Australia. Send Sarah your questions and give your skin the magical boost it deserves before we bare all for summer – see more at

Ya-yas in the Yarra

Two lovely lasses who live closer to the big city paid me the honour of travelling to my neck of the woods of the Yarra Valley for lunch earlier this week.

A day of malarkey, yay! I booked a table at Meletos in Coldstream, which is a mere 13-minute drive from our little house against the hill and this enchanting café overlooking the verdant vineyards did not disappoint.

Pictured above, clockwise from the top: sunrise vista from our little home; Meletos and my lovely ya-ya friends, Dragana, centre, and Ashley, left.

The service was warm, friendly and efficient. The ambience was a delight and I could not help but notice how other diners were expressing their appreciation for the cuisine, vistas and atmosphere.

My confit duck was sublime, not to mention the side order of hand-cut chips sprinkled with parmesan – not a morsel left, in spite of all my chattering non-stop with the girls. They loved their gourmet pizzas and I quaffed some delicious local Domain Chandon brut, which is served by the glass.

I like that Meletos works closely with local producers as this, after all, is the valley of plenty, where cheese, wine, fruit, meat and other produce are plentiful. In my country of origin, there is a saying, ‘local is lekker,’ which means: ‘local is delicious.’ and I love that small producers in our valley collaborate so successfully. Spreading the love and the goodness. Come visit.

I believe Meletos was created by the same family who started Stones of the Yarra Valley and The Stables at Stones. I also see they offer 22 boutique guest room accommodation at The Farmhouse adjacent to Meletos. Now there’s a thought…watch this space!

Cheers to the good life – we deserve it…

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