Be nice – Tilly the Good Life

Be nice – Tilly the Good Life

By Tilly Smith Dix

It’s mind-blowing what some people will say on social media, in fact, in any media. There is so much toxic spill, one could not be surprised at the great divide of the world, seemingly more so than ever, caused by anger, ignorance, and hate.

I’ve realised it is not good for my psyche to see and hear the constant vitriol uttered about other people, mostly, and too often about strangers. A beloved friend of many years, now living back in Germany after spending most of her adult life in South Africa, messaged me with a thank-you note for my mostly positive posts and messages. “Why,” she said, “is the world fighting wars they don’t understand, using such foul language, taking pleasure in harm caused to others, and with zero tolerance or respect for anyone.” I could not agree more.

The role models we had and the respect our parents instilled in us for our fellow man, woman, animal and nature, graciousness, the ability to hear what others have to say, and those good manners we were lectured about since Pa fell off the bus… what happened?

I’m no prude and anyone who knows me well will attest, I can drop an f-bomb when properly riled up and mostly if I have an appreciative audience, (said with a side-eye spark). I also have a voice and when necessary, I can stand up and roar louder than the bully trying to intimidate me. I was taught to do that too! Being gracious does not mean we have to be pushovers.

My point is simply, where did it all go wrong. When did people become so irascible? I’ve had my share of trolls making nasty remarks on social media and I refuse to engage in such mudslinging as I no longer take it personally. They don’t know me!

I believe in second chances, so, a troll gets one more chance, but I’ll respond to that first jab with grace if it’s not too nasty, while silently putting them on notice… the next time a follower or so-called social media friend says something nasty, I block and unfriend them. Life is too short to waste on embittered, ignorant, and malicious fools. Our own mental health is key.

Being at this age where men apparently merely age and women are mostly believed to just get old, the never-ending topic has become tired – why fight about how we choose to age? Some people resign themselves to the fact they are over and that is their choice.

Others, like so many of my tribe around the world, have carved new careers for themselves, against many odds, not only to continue earning but to keep their minds occupied, and make the most of the years they have left on this earth.

I call it keeping the old person out and I’m privileged to know several incredible people who feel the same. Some lost the battle far too soon and were taken away by sudden illness, yet they left their mark and will not be forgotten.

Then, there are people fighting cancer, jumping through hoops, and enduring endless surgeries and treatments to stay in this world, where they know they still have plenty of value to offer, as well as lessons to learn.

I’d like to salute them, and their supportive partners, for being strong, determined, kind, caring, and fighting the good fight to stay relevant until that final bell tolls.

A dear friend was lamenting signs of a sagging neck and jawline a while back, to which her husband, not much older than her, quipped: “Nobody notices these signs of ageing on you until you draw attention to it. I see the whole picture of you, and I think you’re still hot!” Give that man a Bell’s… my late mom would have quipped, with her impish chuckle, “that mouth deserves jam,” and I could not agree more.

As for the trolls who enjoy bringing others down for no better reason than simply being toxic, I’m savouring my chats and outings with my positive pals, where we celebrate life and each other, laugh at ourselves and with each other, and embrace the privilege to still be alive and mobile. Life could change in a flash. Gratitude and a smile are free mood-enhancers. Try it!

Starting the day in the right frame of mind is my focus. I often put on some vintage Santana and dance while I do my hair, makeup and choose my outfit as music will set the mood, and secondly, the dancing will keep the joints oiled as goodness knows, all those supplements that make me rattle after breakfast are not enough, ha!

A yoga teacher once told our class to imagine a white protective shield around us and to extend that imaginary shield to protect our families too.

I disagree about bad things only happening to bad people. Sadly, life happens but even when we seek justice and fair play, we don’t need to do it with malice and arrogance as then we are as toxic as those who inflict it.

I see one of my favourite actors, Sir Michael Caine, is retiring from his illustrious career. His mantra of working with the difficulty to overcome tough times so resonates with me. So, don’t be like Alfie, be more like Michaellearn, grow, be better, and grow old any which way you want to, but just be nice! Now I could also imagine Sir Michael adding, “or sod off,” in his delightful Cockney accent.

Out and about

Between Us on Maling Road, Canterbury, remains a favourite and the lobster, prawn, avocado and egg on sourdough breakfast is still heavenly. However, as the eatery no longer serves champagne by the glass, my friends and I sauntered across the road after our meal and discovered the newly opened Lennox Wine bar/shop, where our respective cravings for bubbles and a hearty local chardonnay were met with a welcoming smile by the friendly proprietor.

Pictured above, calamari salad, and prawn lobster egg breakfast at Between Us, and Lennox Wine Bar Shop on charming Maling Road, Canterbury.

Attending my first Twilight Sunset Frankston Boardwalk Market here on the Mornington Peninsula was a thrill. Well-organised, scrumptious food freshly prepared in front of you, art, accessories, fashion, homewares, local produce, and delicious locally distilled alcoholic beverages sold in bottles or cans, proved a therapeutic outing between 5 and 9pm on a Friday.

The Lime & Ginger Gin with Sparkling Apple by Eddie & Organic Bay of Red Hill & Bonbeach proved addictive! Glad I brought the second can home to savour on ice as the first one was my limit for driving home, I’m certain! I did sing a little louder in the car on the way home. Just blame vitamin sea and gin… and if any passers-by thought the woman in the car, bobbing her head and opening her mouth like a guppy was high, they’d be right! I’m high on being alive.

Pictured above, Frankston Sunset Twilight Boardwalk Market, where Kananook Creek runs into the bay, and dear well-informed local tourism friend Rika on a perfect spring evening.

The Boardwalk was abuzz with families and their beloved pets, not to mention the boating community sailing down Kananook Creek into the bay, some even rowing with their dogs on the bow, complete with pet safety jackets! I saw no pets stressed or harmed in the process.

On this mild spring evening, the beach was busy and the atmosphere bursting with bonhomie, further enhanced by some of the local musicians. I’m looking forward to the next event and congratulate the organisers on a job well done. I’m chuffed to call Frankston my local council.

As for delicious dining, I’ve featured The Rocks in Mornington before, and Waves on the Beach in Frankston, my two preferred seaside eateries. So, to avoid being accused of accepting kickbacks from these restaurants, I’ll not do a detailed review for now… but watch this space!

However, suffice to say, the Sunday evening paella to share at The Rocks, and the seafood linguini at Waves, are my obsessions as I just keep returning for more… add delicious local or French bubbles, and all is well with the world! More singing on the way home… but I do drink responsibly as life is precious!

Pictured above, twilight at The Rocks in Mornington.


Summer safari magic in South Africa

When summer unfolds its glorious sunshine, game born in spring is already sure-footed and confident, often peppered with some new-found attitude. Flora that flourish in summer, now attract migrating birds that follow the sun.

The African bush is bursting with wildlife, which is a magical time to visit five-star Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve, where conservation is key.

Sustainable, eco-friendly, with prolific wildlife, malaria-free, the Big Five, and all the smaller animals in-between, with some 27 major species roaming free in this natural habitat, the owners are safeguarding nature for future generations.

Then there is the birdlife. From regulars like grey and blue herons, kingfishers, fish-eagles, and the like, to migrating spur-winged geese, choose this haven bordering Botswana as their annual breeding home.

Ever seen an African wild dog and her young basking in the morning sun, or a lioness and her cubs lazily rolling in the savannah after feasting the previous night?

Fast-forward to lunchtime when guests are dining with a wide-angle view of the large waterhole. In the heat of the day, animals, like humans, must quench their thirst and all you need to do is dine on delicious food, sip your preferred summer mid-day tipple, and watch the pecking order at the waterhole…

Pictured above, summer safari magic at Tau Game Lodge, (images supplied).

All the chalets, including the standard chalets, offer sublime vistas of the waterhole. Join other equally enthusiastic guests on the hospitality decks, or choices of two swimming pools, all offering views of the entertaining Tau waterhole. You are bound to spot a crocodile creating some drama too…

Dinner is often served in a different location, depending on the weather. Be it on the Dining Deck, Restaurant or Boma, you are never far from the waterhole, where the wild sounds of the night will astound you.

Tau Game Lodge opened its 5-star safari doors in 1995 and offers 30 rooms, from updated Luxury Standard & Standard Chalets, to Family Suites. Family-friendly, with a Tau Cubz Club for children, the Tau Spa Oasis, and a Conference & Events Centre. Eco-friendly and

Ski and spa in the Dolomites

Located amid the heady heights of the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy, Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti is an idyllic ski and spa destination. This welcoming mountain resort offers a range of alpine activities that are steeped in tradition and the wild South Tyrolean landscapes. 
The daily complimentary sports activity programme, including guided hikes, e-biking, and Nordic walking, as well as yoga and fitness classes, will help you work off the delicious food, and backpacks, telescopic poles, and maps are provided free of charge. Snowshoeing, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing are available on request for an additional fee.
One of the main draws of this region is the incredible Dolomiti Superski, which boasts a variety of pistes, and 450 state-of-the-art ski lifts, with two located at the resort. You’ll also find the Ortisei Ski School, just a four-minute walk away, which is suitable for all ages and abilities. Child-friendly services include the Ski School Ortisei offering personal pick-up and drop-offs for children.

Pictured above, the Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti

If you visit between 15-16 December 2023 you’ll get to witness the world-renowned Ski World Cup Val Gardena, where the greatest ski champions compete in two breathtaking races.

Regular rail connections from Milan, Venice, and Munich, while the airports of Innsbruck and Vale are less than a two hour drive away, make for a luxe, convenient location –

Sofa spud


The World’s Massive Engineering Mistakes, starting with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I remember it being under renovation, with soil being pumped out and scaffolding keeping it together when I visited years ago. It was, after all, built on a swamp!

The series covers ancient and modern architectural mistakes, from biblical engineering required to protect Venice against tidal surges, to the Baltimore Road collapse in the US, Manhattan’s 601 on Lexington adjacent to St Peters Church, and London’s Millennium Bridge, which had been stabilised the last time I visited. Fascinating that even today, engineers make mistakes.

Still on Binge, Great Canal Journeys with veteran actress Sheila Hancock and former UK MP and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, and Prunella Scales and Timothy West traversing the waterways of London and further through Britain and Europe on narrow boats. Informative and funny, I can’t wait to see more!

Fancy old-fashioned romcoms? I loved The Thrill of it All, starring the late great Doris Day and James Garner. They just don’t make them like that anymore …

The House of Maxwell, an eye-opening documentary, also on Binge, explains plenty about Ghislaine Maxwell, a daddy’s girl, who worshipped he who should not be named and is no longer with us after his sudden death in jail. Robert Maxwell, who also died under mysterious circumstances, was obsessed with being more powerful than Rupert Murdoch. I recall reading about such megalomaniacal characters in Jeffrey Archer’s book The Fourth Estate and having worked in publishing for many years, not much surprised me. However, I was shocked by plenty other revelations in this documentary. Riveting.


Love is in the Air, starring Delta Goodrem, is a light-hearted and well-produced current movie and proved a sweet diversion after a trying day! Our Delta recently performed with Kiss at the AFL Grand Final 2023 and they were all sensational! Those guys still rock and were a pleasure to watch being Interviewed on Seven pre-AFL.

Who Killed Jill Dando is a documentary produced in 2023 about the mysterious murder of TV personality and public UK darling Jill Dando. I recall meeting with editors in London not long after this murder and they were reeling from the shock, urging me not to walk in the street, even in Fulham, Chelsea, and Battersea Gardens, after dark!

The Couch Trip, another oldie from 1988, starring Dan Aykroyd and Walter Matthau, is still hilarious! I remember seeing it back then in a cinema and watching it again brought back happy memories. Walter Matthau did not even need to speak to get me giggling – that face! I’m sure he has the angels in stitches up There.


Tuscan Wedding is about a Dutch wedding in Italy. I loved listening to my grandmother’s language, which she taught me before I turned five. I also recall enjoying Egyptian food and beer in Amsterdam, which is the only time I tried to speak Dutch since I was a little girl! As for Tuscany, always a good idea. Scenic, beautiful people, and often hilarious, I recommend this movie for unwinding with a glass of delicious…

The Lives of Saints, filmed in 2004, based on the novel by Nino Ricci, stars Sophia Loren, Nick Mancuso, Jessica Pare, and Fab Filippo. A film about silver linings and second chances. Superb.

SBS on Demand:

The 1988 movie Without a Clue, starring Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, and Peter Cooke, is a hilarious spoof on Sherlock Holmes and our dear Watson, the latter being the actual brain of the duo! Damn Moriarty, ha!

Apple TV:

Morning Wars Season 3 is hot! Watch out for Mr Mad Men John Hamm and Jennifer Anniston in episode 6 – electric chemistry! As for Billy Crudup, this is his gig, he owns plenty of this show. Can’t wait for Friday…

Style it up with colour and nautical vibes

My preference for nautical stripes has never diminished. Enter the Charter Stripe Stud-neck top @fella_hamilton and I’m back on the Riviera in spirit!

I bang on about versatile fashion but seriously, it’s amazing how one well-chosen item could liven up many old wardrobe items. Do I hear panache, confidence, and charisma? Heck yes, when we feel good, we own it!

Speaking of stripes, I’ve also always had a penchant for striped shirts. They are often regarded as a masculine look, however, when we are in touch with our inner diva, we make it our own! One could always wear a silky camisole or floral scarf to emphasise our feminine vibes, right?

Wearing vertical stripes will mostly create a slimmer silhouette, but I’m not bashing horizontal lines, especially if they are on the parts of our bodies which we know are slimmer than the rest. Going stripy all the way? Then I’d suggest the thinner stripes are worn on our bits which we wish to minimise, with the wide stripes emphasising the rest. Not sure? Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous as confidence will outshine any of our body flaws!

Pictured above, from top left: the versatile nautical charter Stripe Stud Neck Top in pic 1 and 2 from Fella Hamilton; the big striped shirt; styling with my old pink silk shirt and coated linen jacket, from matching hue in current blush pink pants to the hot chocolate top and skirt from Decjuba, which works well with any colour, even the vintage soft orange pashmina; going green, mixing it up, old with new pistachio green cargo pants and matching knit top at Witchery Fashion; adding some glitz with a vintage camisole and bustier, changing an outfit from lunch to dinner effortlessly with some shimmer heels. Spot the same items on repeat, changing the mood and look.

October is cancer awareness month and whilst I regard every month in that light, the pink for cancer drive by Australian designer Fella Hamilton is very dear to my heart. A percentage of October sales of the Breton Squash & Wash Hat and the KE Design microfibre tea towel by @kedesignau goes to the Cancer Council and the Breast Cancer Network Australia – the month is not over yet, so let’s support the good fight!

Pictured above, pull-on pink jeans, Breton squash and wash hat, hot pink T-shirt, soft floral scarf, and micro-fibre tea towel, all from Fella Hamilton, for cancer research.

Cheers to the goodlife… let’s be nice to ourselves and to others…

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