by Tilly Smith Dix

Two topics seem of enormous relevance in my world at present. Okay, three. Rising crime, dating in our mature years, and raising children to be resilient.

Why are we talking about children? Well, if we are lucky, we have grandchildren by the time we reach our sixties, or, we are lucky enough to get to embrace life as if we were grandparents by spending time and embracing our family’s pixies.

I think most parents today are mostly on auto pilot. Working, sometimes even studying further once the kids are at school, playing taxi, paying bills, and trying to be good parents by spending quality time with the brood when possible, and energy permitting!

As we age, which is one of the many privileges of life, we tend to have more time to think, reminisce about our own youth, what we needed to fix that somehow broke during childhood, how we managed to heal ourselves, and, finally, accepting ourselves, and realising our worth as important components in the greater scheme of things.

We tend to judge too quickly when we see a child being indulged too often or being allowed to get away with bad behaviour. We connect the dots, not always perfectly but often logically, when we look at rising crime around the globe, including our own backyard, or, often, in our own neighbourhood, and we end up with more questions than answers.

Then we contemplate how to prepare children to be balanced, well-adjusted human beings without depriving them of the importance of simply being children.

How do we provide them with the tools to deal with all life’s hurdles that lie ahead?

Life is never perfect, but we should never forget to dream, and to encourage children to dream big too. I totally agree with those who suggest all schools should include life-skill classes so children could learn how to deal with disappointments without giving up their dreams.

Teaching resilience is key as society has turned our kids into entitled brats, mostly. This also could lead to crime. It starts with small, petty crimes. They get away with it. Then it escalates… and sadly, for some, they are never made to see the error of their ways, as, too often, their parents don’t know any better! A travesty, a vicious circle.

I recently observed such discussions, whereby it was suggested there were not enough teachers, not to mention teachers who were equipped with the skills to assist troubled children at school, available to guide students in dealing with life’s realities. So, they claim, it is a job for parents.

Sadly, I disagree as many parents don’t have the knowledge, and often not the ability, to teach their children by example.

I recently had to communicate with someone who was brought up by parents who certainly did not teach their children about common decency, how to address others graciously, nor having respect for their community. How could this person know better?

When this person was confronted by the legalities of their behaviour, their question was, “but what if my friends do something bad to that person, would I still be held responsible?”

So, not only does this person live by what they’ve been shown, through example of their parents’ bad behaviour and ongoing attention from the police, but they have also chosen to surround themselves with bad company. Birds of a feather.

Does anyone remember the good old days, when crime was addressed assertively in New York and cleaning up a city that was fast getting a reputation of being run by gangsters?

Those were the days when the then 107th Mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001, Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer, and United States Associate Attorney General from 1981 to 1983, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1989, had his head on straight.

He vowed to clean up crime in that city that never sleeps. He succeeded to an enormous degree and how? By addressing all crime, big or small as he believed small crimes lead to bigger crimes. The more people get away with, the bolder they become. Where do most criminals cut their gangster teeth? In their youth, it seems!  

Yes, in recent years Giuliani seems to have deviated from his original path of logic, which saddens me as I enjoyed reading his autobiography. However, he did a great job of cleaning up that city back in the day. I recall him also being involved in arranging for successful, law-abiding black citizens to donate their time to set an example for children being raised by criminal parents by engaging with these kids at their schools.

This was a smart way of teaching children of all race groups that it did not matter where you came from, you had a choice. Learn to be a decent human being, get educated, learn by osmosis, and be resilient and the best person you can be.

Does anyone know if such initiatives are still in place and if so, where? Most of us are keen to save the planet by teaching children to respect Mother Earth and all her bounty. I’d say if we also taught children emotional intelligence, good manners, and respect for their fellow man, not forgetting good table manners, it’s a good start to further save this planet.

As for dating in our dotage, okay, let’s speak for ourselves, I see myself as a forty-something-year-old trapped in an ageing body and at times, a mind that prefers peace and quiet to senseless chatter, and I know I’m not alone in this zone. This will be a saga, so, I’ll save that for the next blog, as time is of the essence… speaking of which…

Time in Melbourne

Whether we are living in the city or on the outskirts, such as the Mornington Peninsula, we have choices galore when it comes to world-class entertainment.

Visiting the larger-than-life art installation by the artist known as Rone, Tyrone Wright, based in Melbourne and born in Geelong 43 years ago in 1980, is something to behold.

Imagine a large abandoned ballroom, library, fashion sewing room, post office, typing pool, switchboard, and artist’s studio, complete with the main recreated clock of Flinders Street Station in the abandoned top floor of this iconic bustling station in Melbourne.

Now hear a blackout siren, experience the blackout, complete with the drone of a war plane flying overhead, and a train rumbling in.

These are just some of the many layers to be found in this powerful installation at 273 Flinders Street, which is the entrance to that nostalgic, atmospheric space above the station, which is now home to mostly magnificent art exhibitions.

The attention to detail, from creating spider webs, dust, lint, broken windows, invasive creepers, and a realistic image of a bygone era, left behind in Time, is astounding. I’d call it Abandoned in Time.

Pictured above, Time, by Rone, in the abandoned ballroom of the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. How small one feels in the face of such enormous talent, and dear friend Rika contemplates the beauty of his work and the hauntingly beautiful music.

A street artist by origin, Rone explores beauty and decay with sensitivity and a deep understanding. His paintings of delicate, expressive, beautiful faces, in his own words of, “fragile women’s faces to balance the aggressive masculinity in street art,” left me in awe of his talent.

This nostalgic love letter to the past is further enhanced by hauntingly beautiful music composed and recorded by Nick Batterham. Creating further authenticity to this enormous art installation, each room, which represents a location of significance in time, is complemented by music that will withstand the test of time and become evergreen classics, from Flinders Street Waltz to The Stitching Line, to Under the Clocks, to Hallway Train.

Experiencing this mastery was one of the shortest hours of my life.

Dinner and a show

Bjorn Again at the Frankston Arts Centre, what a show! With stage names such as Agnetha Falstart, Frida Longstokin, Benny Anderwear, and Bjorn Volvo-us, I was expecting a farcical night of fun. Turns out this group not only sports superb musicians and vocalists, but also some hardcore rock talent!

Critically acclaimed, endorsed by ABBA, praised by some of the world’s biggest rock stars and adored by fans worldwide, Bjorn Again was established in Melbourne, Australia in 1988 by John Tyrrell and Rod Stephen, and the group has performed over 7,000 concerts in over 120 countries worldwide.

Having played at the world’s most prestigious venues, including The Royal Albert Hall in London, The Sydney Opera House, The Point in Dublin, and Wembley Stadium in London, the band has also played at rock festivals such as Glastonbury, Roskilde, and Reading in the UK, and The Big Red Bash in Australia.

Top international celebrities have booked Bjorn Again for private shows! Said Benny Andersson of ABBA, after meeting with the group in Sweden in 1992, “Fans had better make the most out of Bjorn Again because that’s the closest they are going to get to seeing ABBA, which will never reform.”

Dining Out

Doppiozero in Mt Eliza, just off Moorooduc Highway at The Coolstores, serves the best pizza I’ve had in years. Thin crust, authentic toppings, not drowned in fatty cheese, the Napoletana, topped with tomato salsa, mozzarella fior di latte, white anchovies, black olives, oregano, capers, and basil, oozed authentic flavours of Italy.

Add the rocket, pear, and parmigiano salad, finish it with a vanilla bean panna cotta with raspberry coulis and strawberries, and you’ve got a winner. Oh, and don’t forget a glass, or two, of N.V. Sparkling White Foxeys Hangout Red Hill bubbles. Perfecto!

Pictured above, Napoletana pizza, pear and rocket salad, and berry panna cotta at Doppiozero in Mt Eliza.

Breakfast is always a good idea and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere at Ad Hoc in Mt Eliza ticks all the brekkie and brunch boxes. My favourite when I’ve got a long working day ahead? The golden-brown halloumi, crispy bacon strips, avocado and poached eggs on fresh sourdough toast. The juice is delicious too if you’re not up for a frothy cappuccino.

Pictured above, city slicking on Degraves Lane, delicious calamari and a limoncello spritz at Cafe Andiamo in Melbourne.

Melbourne’s wearing a party frock again and she is aglow with local and international tourists once again after those dark, dismal days of lockdown, when businesses and restaurants were shut down.

A favourite spot for lunch is Café Andiamo in Degraves Street Mall, just off Flinders Street. I’ve always been gaga about their delicious pastas but this time I had the golden fried calamari, golden fries, and a green salad. A great outdoor dining area to observe the passing people parade too. Complemented by great company, and a limoncello spritz, which contained a dash of prosecco, of course, made the world seem quite alright.

Pictured above, lamb curry with a view of Mt Eliza beach at Ranelagh Club on the Mornington Peninsula.

Ranelagh Club in Mt Eliza overlooks the privately situated beach of this scenic village on our Mornington Peninsula, and on a mild day I opted for the lamb curry. A great choice, served with a fresh cucumber salad.

I believe the social club, complete with tennis courts overlooking the bay, has reached full membership capacity. However, it is available to host special events and one would be hard pressed to find a better seaside venue. So lucky I was invited by a sweet friend! These hidden dining gems abound in and around the city of plenty!

Pictured above, sundowners are always a good idea in Mornington.

Sofa binges

Logan Lucky on Netflix, starring Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Riley Keoch, (Elvis’ granddaughter), Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, and Hilary Swank, about changing your luck and lifestyle, is hilarious, with smart dialogue.  I’d call it hapless, hopeless, and street smarts with faux glow.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it’s non-stop fun! Again, Daniel Craig proves he is not just a Bond piece of prime beefsteak!

Faraway, also on Netflix, takes place on an island in Croatia. A woman inherits a bijou house with endless vistas of that magical coastline. Having visited parts of that spectacular country, I was into the story in a jiffy!

This is Shirley Valentine but without the local gigolo, okay, there was one, but he was not local, and even Shirley Valentine would have seen that one coming. Starring Naomi Krauss and Goran Bogdan, it’s a charming escape from today’s bizarre dating process reflected in so many movies now.

Free on Binge, Top Gun Maverick remains pure entertainment, and a soundtrack that will resonate with most of us who were around for Top Gun one! I always loved T-Rex, and Get It On just gets the feet tapping and the hips swaying…

Prime Video on Amazon is always a good idea and Shotgun Wedding is a romcom with some serious kick. A terrific cast, headed up by Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge and Lenny Kravitz. This is a wedding you’d have wanted to miss but if you were in it, you’d be happy to tell the story well into your dotage. Jennifer and Josh make an electric onscreen team, Jennifer Coolidge just knows how, and Lenny certainly makes a statement, ever the sexy Rockstar. Non-stop escapist fun!

Still on Binge, the travel documentary on The Cevennes in the South of France, tasting locally produced goats cheese, and witnessing the local silk production, this UNESCO heritage destination has soul. Wild horses, a griffin sanctuary, beavers, and exploring spectacular caves, proved supreme armchair travel in this natural, wild, mountainous terrain.

There is plenty hype around Amazon Prime’s Daisy Jones & The Six, again starring Riley Keogh. Mesmerising, not to mention Sam Claflin’s acting chops. Being transported back to the 70s is a good vibe, baby! Can’t wait for the next episode as it’s electric.

Speaking of which, if you have an enduring love and respect for the electric guitar, look no further than Kevin Bacon, actor, and musician, presenting the Electric Guitar in Turn It Up on Prime Video, featuring guitar wizards such as BB King and Slash, starting with its origins as the frying pan guitar of the 1930s to its magnificence of modern day. It is as sexy, if not more so, say some, as the saxophone. I love the piano but you can’t hug it. This is a party, so, pour a tipple, get the snacks, and put on your dancing shoes. Now turn it up…

Like vintage movies that just flow, and you can simply relax and have a giggle too? Pop over to The Art of Love on Binge, starring the now late James Garner, Dick van Dyke, Elke Sommer, and Angie Dickinson. Paris, art, and love, always a good idea!

Travel: Safari in South Africa or hire a villa in Italy

Autumn at Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve of South Africa, just over a four-hour drive from Johannesburg on good roads, is always a safari treat.

This is also the time when the visibility of game enthrals visitors even more, as the animals are less inclined to seek shade after the summer heat has subsided.

The five-star family-friendly lodge is enclosed within the malaria-free reserve, resulting in the humans being subtly fenced in, while game, including several crocodiles, roam free. The spectacular birdlife is world-renowned.

Autumn 2023 rates start from R11,620 per couple.

See more at:

Pictured above, Tau Game Lodge in South Africa, embraces a waterhole, where the big five, plentiful game, African wild dogs, and spectacular birdlife offer non-stop entertainment in their natural habitat.

One could always opt for a delicious bite of la dolce vita in bella Italy! Want to go with friends or family and make it a home-from-home adventure, but so much better, with all the hospitality bells and whistles?

Centrally located for visits to Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra and Lucca, the villa sports 2 kitchens, sleeps 13 guests, has 7 bedrooms, 4 double beds, 3 singles, 9 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, and a swimming pool See more at www.villasaletta.comciao!

Pictured above, Villa Vale in Italy.

 Smart Retirement

Ageing cannot be prevented but how we age matters. Keeping our minds and bodies healthy, if we are lucky enough to have the choice, will result in living our best life as we are as old as we feel! I found this guide helpful:

About books

This South African travel writer and inspirational author is attracting plenty good reviews and I think her latest online sensation, Flow, is most entertaining, inspiring and witty. A guide to navigating better relationships, and reigning supreme. Go to – her books are available from Amazon.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, American author, journalist, and musician. He also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie, which I loved reading and saw the movie years ago.

This is an oldie and I’m so enjoying reading it again after many years. A refreshing take on life after death, inspired by Albom’s uncle. The book remained on the New York Times Best Seller List for 95 weeks when published in 2003!

No, I’m not ready to pass on but if I was, this novel would make the final journey of waiting for God so much more interesting.

Style at any age

Some time ago, someone commented they were surprised to discover I was a writer as they thought I was just a social media influencer. Just. Influencer. Social. The younger me would have rambled off a list of things I had mastered but this older, wiser me, simply smiled and responded with, “like most people, I have many layers and I enjoy them all to the fullest, like Sybil.”

The meaning of that name, a movie from long ago, clearly went right over the person’s head and I let it go. Suffice to say I don’t have multiple personalities like Sybil, well, not to my knowledge anyway, but my one dark layer of grit imagined some nasty things happening to their kitchen blender next time they used it, such as the lid being left off… hie!

So, on this note, I must admit, when I’m blogging and working on writing assignments, I don’t always have the time nor the inclination to pop to the beach for a stroll as that would just put me in a holiday mood, which means no writing will be done that day, only photographing the ocean!

No, I grab some wardrobe therapy, add music, depending on the mood, ranging from classical to jazz to soul to even soul rock, and I’m transported. Here, I, like many of my fellow Instagram style sisters, escape the stresses of reality. In my case, often the ping pong between the dictionary, the thesaurus, the creative mind, and the storylines I focus on. They clear out the moment I start engaging with fashion. Magical.

What is individual fashion? Style that never quits. It is authentic, evergreen, uplifting, fun, classic, bold, it is everything we wish it to be. Mostly, it is unique. Creating our own style is fun and so much kinder to the budget than blindly following current fashion trends. Personal style is presenting a picture to the world of who we are. It’s also creative, as it expresses how we see the world, and ourselves.

Settling for versatile items, imagining what one accessory, dress, pair of pants, shirt, jacket, coat, or hat could do to enhance our existing wardrobe is a smart way to design our own slow-fashion style, or a capsule wardrobe. Of course, we need to update certain items seasonally, breathing new life into something old.

The trick, for me, is to ascertain what styles I don’t ever wish to wear again. This is a great way to create longevity and introducing modern items to style up a slow-fashion wardrobe, whilst recycling unwanted items to my fast-growing pixies, or the Opshops, (opportunity/charity stores).

The current styles conjured up in my wardrobe are ideal for spring as well as autumn. I do love changing seasons as dressing becomes more fun when we layer. If people judge us because of our stylish appearance, it’s at their peril. There is so much more to us than just our appearance…

Pictured above: Simple basics, on repeat, with some creative accessorising and a dash of colour when we are in the mood will change a look in an instant. Many of my vintage items, collected on visits to Italy and London, styled with timeless items from Witchery, Country Road, Zara, Seed Heritage, Valleygirl, MinnieandMaxxie, Sea of Love Mt Eliza, and Wittner Shoes. Full credits appear on the Instagram fashion page @Sixty_is_the_new_40

Cheers to the goodlife… choose happy, stay honest, and never forget that gorgeous smile! It will brighten somebody’s day.

2 thoughts on “Teach our children well

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