Love is all around us – Tilly the Good Life

Love is all around us – Tilly the Good Life

By Tilly Smith Dix

We all know about curiosity killing the cat but honestly, I’m beginning to think too much honesty could be to blame for murdering relationships.

Finding the balance between honesty, kindness and respect could be tricky, and the older one gets, the more one looks behind the veil, trying to understand the reason for people’s behaviour, so we could proceed wisely.

Someone recently told me of a friend criticising them every time they met up for lunch. The so-called friend claims to ‘just being honest’ when she delivers the unsolicited jabs to our friend. Usually, my friend tells me, she has shrugged it off and never retaliated with what she really thought of her ‘honest’ friend’s style, or manners.

However, we all have bad days from time to time, when we put our best foot forward, apply our prettiest lipstick (if we are women as this is not customary for chaps, ha), wear our special outfit to elevate the mood, and fix our best smile to face the world. One of the ‘honest’ remarks about my friend’s appearance did hit a soft spot at some point and she could feel her confidence slipping after yet another careless remark.

This is just one of the examples of folks claiming to be honest. Interestingly, the moment anyone dishes out the same honesty to them, it might not be what they wish to hear, which could lead to a war of thorny roses!

One of the many wonderful words I’ve acquired reaching this wiser age, is: NO! (Uttered with a bumper-sized exclamation mark.) When someone continuously says hurtful things or betrays our trust, we need to know when to say, “no, stop!” By putting our cards on the table before our hurt escalates into angry resentment, we are being kind to ourselves and the friendship. Should that friend choose to become belligerent about our asking them to curb their thoughtlessness, we need to take a break from them, or walk away. Time out will tell as a repressive friendship is simply taboo. Life really is too short for this s.h.i.t.

On this Valentine’s Day, and February being the month in which love is celebrated in most corners of our planet, I believe it essential to care enough about ourselves to know our worth in any situation, be it in a romantic relationship, friendship, family matters, or in the workplace. By setting boundaries, we show respect and love for ourselves.

What, no Valentine? Mourning a loved one, recovering from a breakup, or just feeling lonely? I see the 14th as a day to not only celebrate a partner and our love for them but also our love for our besties.

There are many stories about the history of Valentine’s Day. Years ago, when I was a special features editor, I spent many hours in the library researching the history of this celebratory day of love. Yes, back then there was no internet, just like there was no Wi-Fi when the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary recorded the honouring of the Feast of Saint Valentine on February 14. That day became associated with romantic love by the 14th century, when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the lovebirds of early spring!

I enjoyed spending time in that old Victorian library back in the early 1990s (can’t remember what I did in the14th century, although an ex may have some thoughts involving black pointy hats, cats and broomsticks, ha)!

During my research, some of the stories depicted how young men would leave tokens of their love at the doors of young women they fancied, with some also serenading the objects of their affection. Other stories presented Valentine’s as the day to celebrate friendships between young women, when they’d send a special card to their besties to thank them for their loyalty, friendship, and love.

So, what do I suggest we do even when we have a partner? Send a message to our dearest sisters from other misters, assuring them of our appreciation and love, and if we are lucky enough to have a true friend of the opposite sex, to show them the same love too.

As for being alone on Valentine’s? Wear something pretty, wear your most alluring perfume, stock up on snacks and a preferred tipple, and settle for a celebratory evening watching a good show on the box. Okay, I know some of my male readers are not partial to wearing perfume, so, I suggest you shave and shampoo, wear something nice, tap into your most romantic self and show the women in your life some love, which should include best girlfriends, mothers, and sisters. I think sweet gestures and thoughtful tokens far outweigh lavish gifts… but I know of no woman who would turn down a ruby and diamond ring…

Oh, and don’t forget to hug yourself for being fabulous! It’s so much better being alone in a happy space than sharing it with a hostile partner. Cheers to peace and love, it really is all around us, we must simply see it. Oh, and don’t forget to hug the cat or dog either. Their love is unconditional. Cliche? Who cares, watch Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally, or Valentine’s Day (avoid Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre though, it’s a real downer, well, so was Capone, who was believed to have ordered that bloodbath) …

Glorious food

Waves on the Beach Frankston: the seafood linguini, laden with succulent white fish, salmon, prawns, scallops, and mussels, washed down with Varichon et Clerc NV Blanc de Blanc Cufee from Savoie, France, again, did not disappoint. Add one of my favourite beach views of a magnificent sunset, and all is well with the world.

Pictured above:seafood linguini at Waves on the Beach, with a view of Frankston Beach before sunset.

Vinnies in Mt Eliza: I’ve tried several dishes on the authentic Italian menu and the linguini carbonara did not disappoint. Rich and laden with bacon, the delicious mix of pecorino, black pepper, and plenty cured pork, accompanied by my choice of sundowner, an Aperol spritz, ticked all the comfort-food boxes.

Capt. Jack’s at Somerville Cove: the generous serving of grilled tiger prawn linguini was served with capers on a sweet potato and herb puree. A creative, flavoursome dish. I’ll be back – again!

Pictured above: from top left clockwise, prawn linguini and the interior of Captn. Jack’s in Somerville Cove; linguini carbonara at Vinnies in Mt Eliza; braised lamb shank and mash at the Royal Hotel Mornington.

Royal Hotel Mornington: the braised lamb shank, prepared with tomato sugo, peas, mash, and gremolata, was scrumptious and ideal on a cool summer evening. Naturally, one could not resist a quick drive to the nearby Mornington Pier for a perfect, hues of blue sunset.

Pictured above: the rustic old Mornington Pier, left, and an early morning walk on Frankston Beach.

Sofa binges

Netflix: Hotel Mumbai, released in 2018, based on true events of the terror attack and the heroic staff at the Hotel Taj on 26 November 2008. Starring Dev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, and (the now disgraced) Armie Hammer. Gripping.

Still on Netflix, the documentary The Greatest Night in Pop, narrated by Lionel Richie, is about that epic one night only about the rehearsal and recording of iconic pop stars singing We are the World in 1985. The song was written by Lionel Richie and the now late Michael Jackson, produced by Quincy Jones as part of the USA for Africa initiative to save starving children. A glorious trip down memory lane for me, and with so many musical egos in one room, Lionel Richie’s note at the entrance was priceless: Check your ego at the door!

Also on Netflix, Griselda, a limited 2024 series about the true story of Griselda Blanco, Colombian drug boss, who was the only ‘man’ apparently feared by Pablo Escobar! Sofia Vergara is unrecognisable and frighteningly believable in the title role. Drug dealing is a dangerous business!

Apple TV: Masters of the Air is a 2023 limited series and a Spielberg/Hanks production, starring Austin Butler. Great WWII viewing for anyone who loves making a hole in the sky.

Seven, free to air: The 2024 Grammy Awards hosted for the fourth consecutive year by the hilarious, classy, and proudly South African Trevor Noah. Highlights for me? Tracey Chapman accompanied by Luke Combs, and Grammy winner Miley Cyrus performing. I loved Miley’s take on this, her first Grammy, in which she described her chasing awards like the little boy trying to catch butterflies with his net. When he stops and surrenders, a butterfly thanks him by sitting on his nose.

Prime/BritBox: Poirot, the award-winning Agatha Christie series starring David Suchet and Hugh Fraser. Elegant, eloquent, witty, and clever. Got to love Monsieur Poirot’s perfectly waxed moustache, obsessive need for facial symmetry, and constantly reminding everyone around him to engage their “leetle grey cells!” The humour remains cuttingly wry, with phrases such as, “did not know you have gone into politics,” when someone wears a clown suit, had me in stitches. Hastings, who is so easily duped by pretty women, remains an endearing character too. Highly addictive watching and the charming locations in the UK add to the romance and mystery, n’est ce pas, mon amie?

Still on Prime, The Trial of American Traitor Axis Sally, alias Ms Mildred Gillars, who collaborated with the Nazis on her radio broadcasts from Germany for American women back home. Starring Al Pacino and Meadow Williams, Joseph Goebbels’ control of Axis was a frightening reminder of the sadistic, evil monster he was.

Still on Prime, a limited series produced in 2017, The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book adaptation, is riveting. Starring Kelsey Grammer, Matt Bomer, Rosemarie De Witt, Lily Collins, and Dominique McElliott, I was transported to those halcyon days of Hollywood. Glamour, mystery, greed, egos, and many rotten apples…

Still on Prime, another limited series released in 2023, Stonehouse is based on the true story of disgraced British MP John Stonehouse, who faked his own death. He ended up being caught by clever police in Melbourne, Australia! Starring Matthew McFadyen, I was mesmerised by the story and his performance.

Easter safari

Autumn in the bush is a magical time, when the hues and landscape change to warmer colours before winter sets in. Hot toddies and much conviviality abound on luxe, unpretentious safaris at Tau Game Lodge.

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 in the Madikwe Game Reserve, which is situated in the North-West corner of South Africa, bordering the wilds of Botswana.

For 29 years Tau has hosted visitors from around the world. Guest reports have mostly been along the lines of their having visited many safari lodges, some even more swish, but the welcoming team and comforting hospitality, paired with sublime game viewing and a waterhole visible from every room and hospitality deck, even from the two swimming pools, will beckon them to return to this eco-conscious lodge time and again.

Listening to the sounds of game trumpeting, roaring, tweeting, and barking their nocturnal supremacy, is pure safari bliss. This is Tau, the place of the lion.

The Tau rangers are celebrated for their respect for nature and passion for the local flora and fauna. The lodge now has a ranger who is also a professional photographer to teach wildlife photography to guests using cameras and not only their phones – on request. He would take photographs of guests to further enhance and personalise their magical safari memories by arrangement.

Pictured above, a safari at Tau never disappoints.

Tau is pure, understated 5-star luxury and family-friendly, offering a Cubz Club, baby-sitting services, and special safaris and education for youngsters, affording the adults some quality safari, leisure, and spa time. Memorable weddings have been hosted here over the years too.

The Tau Easter 2024 packages start from R 30.500. – per couple, including:

  • Accommodation for 2 nights in a Luxury Standard Chalet
  • 3 meals per day
  • 2 game drives per day
  • Drinks and snacks on safari drives
  • Tau Spa Oasis African Foot Ritual (30 minutes) per adult: Allow your feet to be pampered by our therapists in a soothing footbath to drain away fatigue. Next your feet are cleansed and massaged with an aroma-therapeutic based scrub, followed by a true African warming foot massage.

Park Entrance fees, Rhino Conservation Levy, Tourism Levy, Bar, Mini Bar, Laundry and all extras.

  • Easter egg hunt for kids applicable for families in Deluxe and Family Suites – please contact the lodge for these family rates.

To book this special package, please quote: TAU EASTER 2024

See more at www.taugamelodge.co.za – and get hooked on the live webcam at http://taugamelodge.co.za/main-lodge/live-webcam/

Good reads

Get ready to reign supreme with the Water Queen’s dating advice. To celebrate Valentine’s Day and Leap Year 2024, author Caroline Hurry has made the eBook available for just 99c! Elevate your dating game at any age and enjoy a few hearty laughs along the way! Grab it here: https://mybook.to/53kwsPl

Pictured above, dating tips and giggles, just another of Caroline Hurry’s many great reads.

Cool linen style, just add romance, pearls and lace

How many ways could I wax lyrical about wearing breathable, sustainable linen during the warmer months? A friend recently commented she adored linen too, but it did crease so easily. My response? It remains effortless, nonchalant style.

Picture the handsome, well-dressed men and women, wearing linen in those romantically mysterious Agatha Christie movies… they look cool in an English summer as well as in the heat of those exotic destinations so often featured. Remember Murder Under the Sun, filmed on location in Majorca, Spain… or Death on the Nile, depicting the desert heat of Morocco and Egypt?

My point is linen is a cool, sustainable fabric to wear and by picking a few basic items, such as pants, skirts, dresses, and tops, mixing and matching will take looking and feeling cool to a whole new level.

Of course, how could one ignore the month of romance and dressing for Valentine’s Day? Whilst red is always the colour of passion, it is not a colour that suits or appeals to everyone. So, if we wish to play it safe, I’d say wear black or white, and add a pop of red – shoes, a belt, a red rose, and most importantly, delicious red lipstick! Want to enhance the look further, add a touch of lace, preferably black, and bold pearl accessories.

It’s about feeling fabulous, so, have fun with that existing wardrobe and give some old items a new lease on life. Creating a mood with an outfit does wonders for the build-up to any celebratory event. This is also classic me-time, which is something all women need. We should never forget to celebrate our femininity by looking good and most of all, feeling sensational at any age!

Pictured above, styling with linen, denim, pearls and lace… versatile wardrobe choices. Light knitted sets and toppers are always a good idea when the temperature drops in summer and they roll up easily for suitcase travelling too. Mix and match linen tops and pants, and never underestimate the power of a good scarf or jacket to elevate a look. Lace tights will add intrigue to any little black dress. Skirt and top separates add to the versatile slow-fashion blend, whilst adding a belt to a linen dress, or by wearing a linen shirt-dress over pants we make our own style rules, NO rules! Wearing mostly old items from my closet, most of old and current styles are Australian designed from labels including: Country Road, Witchery, Seed Heritage, and Decjuba. For daily style tips, see my fashion page on IG: Sixty_is_the_new_40

Cheers to living the good life – we owe it to ourselves to choose happy – and to be content as our own Valentine first…


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