By Tilly Smith Dix
The year 2019 was an interesting, and often challenging year and I’d like to think of it as a time to deal with karmic issues, mostly relating to past lives. For those who do not believe in reincarnation and completing lessons from a previous life, simply see it as an uphill struggle.
I have to admit, I was keen to see the back of it and am embracing every sweet moment of 2020. Yes, the farewell to the past was bittersweet, ending with an emotional rollercoaster of the worst kind. To top that, this beautiful country was burning in the worst possible way, with human lives, properties, livelihoods, homes, animals, wildlife habitat and everything to sustain their worlds lost in raging fires.
So many people have come together, uniting in offering assistance in any way, big or small, to people and animals in distress during this time. I was thrilled to hear that DSassi, a gorgeous boutique in Maling Road, was donating proceeds of their sales to the cause. I love the versatile white Italian linen shirt-dress I acquired from them on my birthday, which is proving a hit on my fashion Instagram page @Sixty_is_the_new_40…
I have covered some of the devastation on my Facebook page, so, for now, I wish to focus on the good and not the ugly as so many of my loyal followers have told me how much they look forward to my uplifting news and stories. I’ll try not to disappoint this time but had to mention the sadness and I wish for this country, its people and its animals to rise from the ashes and be stronger, resilient and more united than ever before.
Needless to say, the end of a year should come with a warning sign, “do not over-indulge,” as it is the time for good folks to get together to break bread and raise a glass of elixir – or too many.
Caption: from top left, clockwise: Cameron, Ashton and Olivia telling Santa they’ve been good; my birthday gift from Country Road; Aunty Tilly’s ‘famous’ pavlova.
My birthday proved a feast of three days, lucky me. Wonderful friends, who are like family as we chose to love each other, took me for lunch at BetweenUs on the historically charming Maling Road off Canterbury Road. It was a treat spending time with them and their two smart, gorgeous and entertaining kids.
The ambience was festive and sophisticated, the service stellar and the cuisine a triumph. My Italian-themed chicken schnitzel, with parmesan, a green salad and mustard potatoes, was succulently more-ish.
The following day, Sunday, my little Melbourne family took me for lunch at Meletos in the Yarra Valley, which I have reviewed on my blog before and it did not disappoint. Those designer pizzas are sinfully delicious and I love the thin crust – you feel less guilty about being naughty with those carbs.
Caption, lunch with the gorgeous South African tribe in Melbourne at The George; and the image top right is a famous landmark in Sassafras.
The next day my lovely friend Rika drove from Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula to meet me in Sassafras, where the hearty breakfast menu at Ripe was perhaps too hearty but I finished every morsel anyway. Ever tried pulled pork (slow roasted) on potato rosti and poached egg with hollandaise? It hits the spot, no contest.
The run-up to year-end is also about Christmas parties and I must admit, I’ve missed those gatherings with clients and friends, which I took for granted for so many years, now living in another country.
In early December, the fabulous South African women in Melbourne Facebook group gathered at The George. The gathering of the tribe was arranged by the lovely Ashley, who has lived in Melbourne since her late teens and is reminiscing her roots by mixing with all of us newbies.
The venue is stunning, the service smooth and the food ticked my every discerning box to perfection. I polished off my perfectly grilled Asian-spiced steak and used a second glass of bubbles as the excuse to help my digestive system deal with such a big chunk of meat.
Conversation, as always, was effervescent and brimmed with comradery. Such a joy, having bonded with these beautiful souls. We all agree, we did not move to another country to launch a new South African colony. However, it is heart-warming to spend time with women who just understand each other and accept each other without judgement. Sisters unite.
Ten days before my birthday in December, I had cataract surgery and was given the all-clear to drive after a post-op eye test on my birthday morning. I was so thrilled and not surprised as the surgery was successful. I HIGHLY recommend the Yarra Ranges Health Services.
The Lilydale day clinic, where the surgery was performed, has a superb team and I was in my element as they comprised Australians as well as a surgeon and staff from across the planet. I felt I had the best in the world tending to me and you could sense how much they cared and loved their jobs. I’m looking forward to my left eye being operated on by this team soon. Gosh, I just want to adopt them! Will check with my yoga coach if my third eye needs special care too.
Christmas was a comfort and a joy. I spent Christmas Eve with my sweet family and Jason and Helen prepared a veritable feast. I baked my now ‘famous,’ as per the children, pavlova and the children sang Christmas Carols. Little Ashton, just over two years old, was a fast learner, picking up clues from his gorgeous older sisters Cameron and Olivia. They were in top form to show Santa how good they were.
Ashton also gave his stamp of approval for my pavlova. He decided to try it first and like a true master chef, put on his serious face before dipping his spoon into the pav. His little face lit up and he declared this was “very yummy.” Too cute for school, that one.
Caption, from top left, clockwise: Juvenile king parrots seen through my kitchen window; loving my big white shirt birthday gift from Dsassi; golden deep fried crumbed egg, chorizo, spinach and haloumi on sour dough at Espresso Warriors; featuring some favourites from The Laluna Lifestyle Boutique and Country Road for my Sixty_is_the_new_40 fashion Instagram page.
I did not think I could ever eat again but on Christmas Day I went to friends in the Hills for lunch and again, it was a feast. I took a pavlova and as there was none left after lunch, I assume they enjoyed it. Again, the laughter, kindness and joy of good people and their kids made this another memorable day.
During the Holidays I had to pop to Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood for some supplies and treated myself to a delectable brunch. Have you ever had crumbed deep-fried eggs on chorizo, hollandaise, haloumi and spinach? I was blown away. Not only did it look designer but tasted heaven. The fresh watermelon juice proved a perfect complement to the rich textures of this dish at Espresso Warriors.
Of course, this is also the time of year when we dig out our bright Christmas colours to complement Santa and his trimmings. I got really lucky as I received birthday vouchers from two of my favourite brands, Witchery and Country Road, both forever fashion designs. My colours of choice? Vermillion and emerald green. I’m now sorted for several Christmases to come. I’ve always been a fan of summer knits in Italian yarn. Timeless and chic.
With all the eating and quaffing champagne, a girl has to take special care of her skin, of course and my treats arrived in November already from the fabulous Skincare Doctor Direct range in Australia. The Emepelle Serum is ideal during the day as it so light. I used the Circadia light day Sunscreen over that for extra protection in the summer heat and it paid off.
I highly recommend the Emepelle Night Serum. It is nourishing, restorative and lives up to its claim of being luxurious to the touch as my skin certainly feels silky soft. Featuring innovative MEP technology, powerful antioxidants, niacinamide, peptides and hyaluronic acid, it reawakens luminosity in ageing skin.
Twice I week I pamper my skin with the Aspect fruit enzyme mask, followed by the Aspect Hydrating Mask. You’d never know I had anaesthetic or over-indulged in bubbles. Oh, I have to also mention I’d had a bout of glandular fever prior to the Festive Season, so, those meds would also have ruined this mature complexion, normally.
Caption: rejuvenation for the skin from Skincare Doctor Direct in Australia, tried and tested and it gets ten out of ten from this ‘mature’ chook.
Another year-end event was an exhibition of the late great Robert Klippel’s work, titled Assembled, at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in the Yarra Valley. The man was a master and I’d say a forerunner in recycling materials, ranging from wood to metal – to plastic! Innovative, quirky, brilliant and art to withstand the test of time as well as tell many stories. Some of his work comprises components of original IBM computing. Brilliant.
I don’t travel as much as I used to as my budget no longer allows for it but as life is short and I enjoy the finer things in life, I embrace the myriad eateries and wineries I am surrounded by in this spectacular region and enjoy the train rides into the city for an occasional glam meet-up.
Cheers to the good life – may 2020 be a winner in every way for us all…