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

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:

Pictured above, safari bliss at Tau Game Lodge –

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

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

One thought on “The times, they are a changing

  1. Hi Tilly. I really enjoy reading your columns. Your descriptions of food dishes are amazing. And, the various fashions look really good on you. I’ve said this before, but I would love to meet you. Attached are some fun photos. The last one is my daughter, Kate, in my Porsche 911.

    Donald Parrot CEO CliniPlan, LLC 17648 Ponderosa Ave. Parker, CO 80134 720-933-9774


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