By Tilly Smith Dix
I’ve noticed how several ageing celebrities are advising their younger followers on social media not to be defined by their looks. Dame Emma Thompson, British actress and screenwriter, always refreshingly candid and delightful, cautioned her fans to harness their brain and personality as looks fade.
I could not agree more. I did, however, notice that several of her followers from the less enlightened tribe were pretty scathing as, after all, Emma is still a good-looking woman, and, when she started out on her career as a young, pretty and cute actress, she was probably more successful than her plainer contemporaries.
No, everyone cannot be beautiful. However, by looking our best, getting up, cleaning up, dressing up and putting on our best attitude, plenty will be accomplished. I’m not going to name anyone successful who is not exactly physically appealing. It’s in the eye of the beholder, after all.
However, this does not mean we should trash people who are lucky enough to be born with good looks. Yes, a certain reality tv, now celebrity, family has spent enough dollars on altering its appearances to buy small countries. We’re not talking about them.
I could not resist responding to the news post about Emma, though, and my penny’s worth response was: “As a young woman, I wanted to be recognised for being smart and independent, and not just for being pretty. However, pretty opened doors, where I could work hard and prove I was not just a pretty face.
“Now, at sixty-plus, I welcome compliments about my appearance and I will often tell my loved ones and strangers how good they look! It brightens their day. If people underestimate anyone because of their looks, it’s their bad.
“As long as we know our worth, that’s what matters. I believe kindness and empathy make us lovelier as we get older too. That is inner beauty, and worth so much more than skin deep.”
I’d also like to add that I would never blame anyone for improving their appearance, as long as it is within reason and not an obsession to look like some famous person they admire – or to resemble their favourite animal! Yes, remember that extremely rich, sad woman in the US wanting to look like a tiger? Her therapist obviously was no help at all and was only there for the money, a snollygoster, I’d say. Okay, I checked on that word, it means a shrewd unprincipled git!
Attractive people are often more successful. Celebrate it if you are lucky enough to be one of the beautiful people of this world. However, never underestimate anyone who is not in that league. Being smart, charming, caring, and authentic, will score plenty in our fast-moving, fickle world.
Sadly, this is also a topic on which those pesky trolls collide and one can only hope they all end up dining on the same extra hot samosa, where they all end up with devilish heartburn.
A movie starring several top, ageing female actresses, is on promotion in cinemas now and I could not help notice the snide remark from an obviously depressed soul, saying, “too many facelifts in this move, no thanks, I’ll skip this one.”
Seriously? I decided to check out this person on social media and noticed she had nothing positive to say about anyone, especially other women! A serial malapert – okay, I had to check if I was indeed using the right noun. In my old country, it might be directly translated to malperd (mad horse), but let’s never be rude about horses!
I guess there is no hope for trolls taking a perverse pleasure in dissing celebrities, or anyone, for that matter. That is, after all, why the fodder press make money.
How sad. As someone blithely responded on one of this woman’s biting remarks, “sounds like you need a lot of hugs!” I really giggled about this and what popped into my head? What would one of my favourite journalists and authors say to this? I’m referring to Bill Bryson, who’s common response, apparently, would be, “are you shittin’ me?”
Precisely! By the way, in my sofa binge list below, see my take on the movie about his long walk. He is hilarious! Superb cast, including Emma Thompson.
Up the creek
Beauty abounds here on the Mornington Peninsula and this month I’ll try to skip the beautiful beaches, okay, perhaps just one or two shots. I’d not walked along the scenic Kananook Creek for several months and it was a delight, as always, and a refreshing way to catch up with a darling friend.
This easy trail is ideal for photography and dog walking, through woodland, along the waterway, with the beach never far off.
Pictured above: Life on Kananook Creek, delightful homes are wedged between the serpentine creek and the idyllic beaches from Frankston to Seaford. Melbourne is visible on the horizon.
Vinnies Pizza Boys, Mt Eliza
I’ve reviewed this authentic eatery before and I’m working my way through the menu. No frills. Just friendly, efficient service, delicious Italian food, and although it offers a good selection of wine and a nifty cocktail menu, you can bring your own, at a mere $9 corkage fee.
During my recent dinner, I indulged in the spaghetti marinara and it was scrumptious. Plenty fresh salmon, meaty prawns, scallops, and fresh herbs, with plenty olive oil. I’ll be back, again!
Pictured above: Spaghetti marinara, lobster and prawn ravioli, and affogato at Vinnies Pizza Boys.
My friend loved the lobster and prawn ravioli, declaring it a triumph. It certainly looked delightful.
The affogato, comprisingvanilla ice cream, espresso and frangelico, was a sweet ending to a perfect pasta dinner.
Foxeys Morning Sun Vineyard, Main Ridge
A perfect lunch on a chilly autumn day overlooking the picturesque vineyards.
My lunch companion and I opted for the fried parmesan polenta with aioli, Mt Martha (local) pickled mussels, zucchini and green chilli pizzetta, and Main Ridge Dairy cashmere goat curd with roasted capsicum. Paired with the Morning Sun sparkling white, it proved a delectable lunch. The fried polenta was the best I’ve ever tasted, and I always loved munching on it during winter visits to Italy!
Pictured above: perfectly fried parmesan polenta, pickled mussels, zucchini and green chilli pizzetta, Main Ridge Dairy cashmere goat curd, and a view of the golden autumn vines at Morning Sun Vineyard.
Prime Video: The Promise, starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Tom Hollander, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jean Reno.
This movie, based on true events during the Armenian persecution in Turkey towards the end of the Ottoman Empire rule, was an eyeopener and triggered my memories of such atrocities experienced by older members of my family. My beloved late aunt Nanette was French Armenian, and her family ended up in Kairo, where my uncle met and married her during WWII.
He was a pilot who got shot down and ended up in hospital in Egypt whilst helping the Allied forces. She was working for the Red Cross and it was love at first sight. A few months later they married and he took her back to his country, South Africa.
The small Armenian nation was outcast, murdered, hounded, and sent to Turkey, resulting in the first genocide recorded in the 20th Century, in 1915, when the Turks exterminated the Armenian minority. Just over a thousand Armenians were saved by a French sea captain, prompted by a US war reporter, taking them to Egypt, from where some managed to be shipped to the USA, and others were scattered around the world.
During this time, 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks in an effort to destroy the nation. To this day, the Turkish Government tries to suppress this atrocity. Why was this movie not promoted at the time of its release in 2016? Anyone with a social conscience should watch this film. Let us learn from the past…
Prime Video: A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. Two old friends, one being writer Bill Bryson, played by Redford, decide to walk the Appalachian Trail, stretching some 2,190 miles between Maine and Georgia. It is hilarious, and packed with adventure. Bryson was not going to write about this, often embarrassing, journey made by two ageing pals but he did. I, for one, am delighted and Redford did a fine job portraying the droll author. Happy to report, no Deliverance scenarios, given the region!
Prime Video: Air is about Nike and how the company came to hire Michael Jordan as its ambassador. Superb acting by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, and Phil Knight, who is the founder and Former CEO of Nike. Directed by Ben Affleck, this shows how tenacity and following one’s gut will get the job done. As for the always incredible Viola Davis as Michael Jordan’s mother and, as it turns out, business adviser, if I had those negotiating skills, I’d be sitting pretty in a house on Kananook Creek!
Netflix: The Mother, starring Jennifer Lopez as a mother that will not give up. Superb, with plenty action.
Netflix: Still on the subject of parenthood, I enjoyed Stillwater, starring Matt Damon and Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin, and Lolou Siauvaud. This US and French acting collaboration painted a harsh picture of the seedy side of Marseilles, which I skipped during my visit to the South of France some years ago. Watching this film, I realised I’d made the right choice.
The movie is gritty but it shows the lengths a father, who had messed up in the past, would go to in saving his daughter from a French prison.
Prime Video: Then Came You, starring Kathy Lee Gifford and Craig Ferguson, with a brief appearance by Elizabeth Hurley as the snooty London rich B. It is light, funny, and romantic, set in a dreamy historical home on Loch Fyne, Scotland. Filmed at Ardkinglas House, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, I wanted to pack a bag and go there immediately as I do adore Scotland!
The romantic comedy is about a lonely US widow, wishing to travel the world with her late husband’s ashes to places they’d loved in movies. Then fate takes over. A feel-good movie, with much hilarity, and a second chance at love for two people in their mature years.
Prime Video: George Harrison, All Things Pass, a documentary about my favourite Beatle. A quiet, intelligent man, who apparently did not suffer fools, without the mega ego of his former band members, his talent, to me, was majestic. Gone too soon.
Now if only I could stop hearing Here Comes the Sun, Let it Be, My Sweet Lord, Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Yesterday, and more… worse ways of going to sleep, right?
Apple TV: Liaison. This series had me pinned to the sofa and I cannot wait for Season 2, which I hope is in the making! Starring Eva Green, (former Bond girl, Casino Royale), and Vincent Cassel, (remember him as the baddie in Oceans 12 and 13?). Espionage, intrigue, EU style. I want more… throw in spies, lies, Russia, Syria, the UK, and France, and it’s a sophisticated melting pot of intrigue.
Italy: La Gemma Hotel in Florence
The newly opened five-star La Gemma Hotel is located in the heart of the stylish shopping streets of this gem of a city, on Via Calimala, and could not be more ideal for visitors wishing to experience the iconic and artistic landmarks of Florence, where I have spent some of my happiest travel times.
Formerly the residence of the Guild of Hoteliers, set within the 19th century Palazzo Paoletti, the hotel was designed by Tito Bellini. I am told this is the perfect escape for friends and couples seeking an exclusive gourmet stay.
Pictured above: Beautiful Florence and the newly launched La Gemma Hotel – hotel image provided by Arthouse PR, image of Florence provided by the Municipality of Florence, by Rolando Squillone.
See more on the re-invented hotel, inspired by the nearby city duomo (cathedral) colours, and offering luxurious modernity, at www.lagemmahotel.com
Staying a while? I recommend it as Tuscany is magical. Let the concierge arrange a day trip to the beautiful fortified old cities in the region, including Siena, San Gimignano, and Lucca. Dine on delicious pasta and fresh produce, unique to the region, and don’t forget to sample the Chianti, one of the three major wines in the region.
I’ve never forgotten the scrumptious yet simple pici alle briciole recommended to me by a waiter in Siena, where I looked onto the medieval Piazza del Campo, where the Palio horse race takes place twice a year. The wellbeing of the horses is the priority, whilst jockeys ride bareback!
Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve, bordering Botswana
Get involved with the tracking of the magnificent Mahiwa male lions, who cut a dashing sight in the savannah. Or perhaps cheetah is your preferred big cat. No, you’d prefer to see, the often illusive, leopard? This is where the big cat action is in perpetual motion for an unforgettable safari…
Tau, meaning the place of the lion, continues to live up to its native origins in the eco-friendly Madikwe Reserve of South Africa.
The Tau rangers offer a heartfelt passion for the bush, its diverse creatures, and the healing powers of the indigenous flora.
Madikwe Game Reserve boasts ideal year-round game viewing, ranging from the Big 5 to spotted and brown hyena, buffalo, leopard, zebra, and the endangered African wild dog. The large variety of antelope species includes impala, springbok, kudu, waterbuck, eland, blesbok, nyala, sable and wildebeest.
Giraffe, ostrich, and warthog, together with a plethora of smaller mammals, are amongst the magnificent animals that roam the reserve, whilst the Reserve is also populated with over 250 different bird species. This makes for a world-class, memorable safari.
Pictured above: the place of the lion, Tau, picture taken by Clint Austin; and the newly refurbished Standard Chalets at Tau, overlooking the verdant waterhole, where the creatures of the wild gather 24/7, in full view of the humans in constant awe of this safari carnival.
Tau management is constantly striving to reduce its carbon footprint and one of the most recent developments is to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles. Guests are provided with reusable water bottles on arrival, which can be refilled at various water stations situated around the guest chalets and the lodge.
Head over to the website at www.taugamelodge.co.za for current packages at this malaria-free, family-friendly lodge, and sofa binge on the addictive live Tau webcam:http://taugamelodge.co.za/main-lodge/live-webcam/
Here today, gone tomorrow. Never! This is where style will always rule over fashion as slow fashion remains a passion of mine, and more so in my mature years.
My advice to our younger style-loving sisters, don’t just buy what’s on trend. Consider what an item will do to enhance your existing wardrobe. Okay, so, you’re tired of a particular style, or, it indeed seems rather old hat now. If it’s of good quality, it will keep. Wrap it in tissue paper and add a little paper parcel of cloves to keep the bugs and moths away, and store it in a clean dry space. I keep all the moisture absorbing sachets from supplements and scatter them around the closet, especially leather goods. Rock salt in a paper back will work too.
You’ll thank me in a few years, when it’s back on trend and your item is of better quality than the current offerings, which might be vastly expensive the next time around.
Wearing timeless garments on repeat, styling such items with different accessories, make for fun outfit planning as one has to use your imagination to combine colours and textures. Think of it as therapy.
A safe bet is to stick to neutral colours for a monochrome look, and enhance the vibe with accessories, and a pop of colour when in the mood, and, my personal favourite, a hat!
As some people get a tad low during the winter months, check out current and some evergreen colours that will uplift the spirit… I mostly pick hues of pink, blue, and red, but green is big again for all seasons, and zesty yellow is a mood enhancer. I’m loving the bright greens as well as forest- and olive-green shades. Most of all, be you, whatever the season or trend. If you feel good, you glow…
Pictured above: worn on repeat, styling it differently, mixing textures, colour, and colour blocking. Be unique. Never too old for long boots, I say! The black suede ones have been in my closet for about 14 years, made in Italy, the taupe boots are current at Witchery Au. The ivory ankle boots are recent at Jo Mercer – check the current sales! Leather pants old, made by an Italian in South Africa, using the softest Napa leather. All old and new items are tagged on my fashion Instagram page @Sixty_is_the_new_40
Cheers to living our best life, the goodlife. It starts with us…