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:

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 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 – 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…

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