Murine Eye Mist (preservative free) – a review

I often receive products for review. Let’s call it a perk of blogger-dom. Still, I only write about the ones that I love and believe are worth sharing. In other words, not every product makes the “being fifty-something” cut.

This one did.

When the folk at Murine sent me a sample of their preservative-free eye mist, I hoped it would be a winner.

murine eye mist review, product review, dry eye relief, being fifty-something, midlife, boomers, tired eyes

I regularly use eye drops to relieve my tired eyes. Long hours working at a computer screen mean I often have what I call “googly eyes” … tired, dry, heavy eyes that beg for a break (not always possible when I’m on deadline).

I’m not alone. Murine tells me that more than two million Australians suffer from dry eyes, including 75 per cent of people over sixty-five.

Common symptoms include:

  • a scratchy or gritty sensation in the eyes
  • excessive tearing
  • blurred vision
  • easily irritated by dry indoor environments
  • pain and redness of the eye
  • heavy eyelids
  • uncomfortable contact lenses.

Causes (along with extended computer work) include air-conditioned or windy environments, wearing contact lenses, long distance travel, medication and … ageing. Bugger. It’s no wonder popping eye drops is common.

And it’s no wonder I was happy to give this eye mist a whirl.

What’s different about Murine Eye Mist, is that it’s a spray. You don’t spray it directly onto your eyeballs, you spray it over your closed eyelids. Somehow, it’s absorbed down through your eyelashes to where it’s needed. Like magic.

I find it immediately refreshing and cooling. And the mist does give lasting relief to my “googly eye” feeling.

Remarkably, you can spray the mist over your eye makeup, and it doesn’t run. Truly. I wouldn’t have believed that unless I’d tried it for myself. Being make-up friendly means I can use it two or three times through the day if I’m putting in a long stint at the computer. Or even when I’m out and about between client meetings.

There’s no need for those awkward contortionist eye-dropping moves, no need to sneak up on yourself so you don’t blink at the wrong time and no overflow product running down your face. I find the eye mist application easy and fast, wherever I am. Hell, you don’t even need a mirror or a tissue for wiping up the overflow.

If you suffer from dry eye (for any reason) think about giving this a shot.


Murine Eye Mist

preservative  free | suitable for use with contact lenses | liposomes 300mg/mL

RRP AUD$16.95




***This post is NOT sponsored. Murine did provide product for review. All opinions are my own.








Three-day mini-break in Hobart, Tasmania

Anticipation is a remarkable thing. Sometimes it’s rewarded. Sometimes it’s not. Like when I’d spent a lifetime (OK, half a lifetime) waiting to visit Stone Henge. When I did, I was underwhelmed. Totally. (I mean, it’s quite  … well, small. Isn’t it?)

So it was that I approached our recent mini-break to Tasmania’s capital with a sense of restraint. If Hobart could live up to all its press (foodie capital, art mecca, whisky destination, brewery hub, heritage central), then there was plenty to be excited about. Surely it couldn’t be THAT good?

As I was soon to discover … YES, it could. Maybe even better.

Tassie has been on our must-do list for some time. We hope to get back there later in the year in our little campervan that could for some serious road touring, but for now we could manage a mid-week visit, which seems a great fit for the urban offerings of Hobart. We have cheap air tickets, three glorious days and three targets in our crosshairs: MONA (Museum of New and Old Art), Lark Distillery and Cascade Brewery.

This is how it unfolds. (Costings at the end for those who care.)

Day One.

We (Mr P and I) arrive, early morning, at Hobart International Airport after an hour’s flight from Melbourne. Beyond the frenzy of Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport, Hobart is a walk in the park … chilled, no-fuss, super-friendly.

We can’t miss spotting our transport … the Mona Roma bus.

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We board and enjoy a thirty-minute drive into central Hobart where we’re given half an hour to wander around the famous harbour precinct before re-boarding for the twenty-minute trip to MONA.

We cloak our backpacks (our no-frills air tickets allow us 7kg each of carry-on luggage) and descend the three levels into the “belly of the beast” which is MONA. The gallery is almost entirely underground … a capacious, cavernous space carved into a cliffside. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen.  Artworks and artefacts are truly honoured in huge spaces. It’s busy (apparently it’s always busy) but the scale of the complex means it doesn’t feel crowded. Intimate, cosy spaces contrast with inexplicably big gallery rooms, all revealing surprising pieces ranging from ancient relics, to contemporary video art and, yes, that notorious wall of vaginas (seventy-seven of them).

A vertical sandstone wall towers several levels high (taller than Stone Henge). Man and machine have sliced through the natural stone to expose a rich, textural plane that’s an artwork in itself. We find a bar (The Void) thoughtfully dovetailed at one end of the sandstone monolith and elect to pause for a whisky (as you do), slipping into vintage chairs perfectly positioned for taking in the splendour of this human-crafted cliff-face.

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething

We wind our way back up through the levels, marvelling at architecture enlivened with hefty rusted steel, concrete and glass. Everything is on a grand scale.

Hours later we emerge into the daylight and find our way to Moorilla Wine Bar (it’s on site) where we order the local vino (of course) and snacks, and relax within sight of the vine rows.

And we’ve barely sampled the catalogue of MONA experiences: The Source Restaurant, Wine Bar, Museum Cafe, Moorilla Winery + Tours + Tastings, Moo Brew Microbrewery + tours + tastings, Library (5,000 books on ancient and modern art, MONA Shop, The Pavilions (accommodation), CineMONA and Jam (live music performance, outdoors).

[MONA is a triumph of philanthropy; the story is worth discovering and serves to explain MONA’s unique culture and ethos. Seek it out.]

It’s hard to leave, but by 3pm we take the 99 steps down to the jetty and board the ferry that takes us back to central Hobart via the new Brooke Street Terminal.

Our hotel, Hadley’s Orient, is about ten minutes walk away. We settle in to our room and wander around the newly restored heritage style reception/foyer spaces.

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The hotel staff give us the headsup on where to eat. We end up at Customs House Hotel, housed in a deliciously old, heritage-listed building with a sandstone wall of its own and a chilled-out charm distilled right through to exemplary service. (I still drool when I think about my meal that night: Porcini Mushroom & Ricotta Tortellini. Mr P had the Seafood Basket, and swears the elements were fresh-caught that day.)

We wander slowly back to our hotel, through streetscapes brimming with heritage architecture.


Day Two:

… begins with buffet breakfast in one of the hotel’s magnificent rooms. Glorious (the food and the architectural features).

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething, hadleys hotel hobart

We saunter into the nearby shopping district and poke around for an hour or so before heading over (on foot) to Salamanca Place, site of the famous Salamanca Markets (Saturdays only). We’re surrounded by character filled heritage streetscapes and we quietly amble through, taking in the specialty shops, cafes, eateries. We come upon the Nant Whisky Bar – a tiny space showcasing the golden drams of the Nant Distillery located about 40 minutes north of the city. Behind the bar is Liam who guides us beautifully through a shared tasting of three Nant drams.

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething, nant whisky, single malt

It’s a delight. And we’d love to stay for more drams and info, but we must away.

We take the advice of a Taswegian friend (thanks Alex!) and climb Kelly’s Steps up to Battery Point, the oldest part of town where the buildings are even more fascinating. If that’s even possible.

There’s just enough time to hotfoot along to the Harbour Lights Cafe (on the waterfront) where Mr P orders a sumptuous Scallop Pie (a must-do Tassie tradition) while I work my way through the best-presented bowl of fruit salad and yoghurt I’ve ever devoured. (Foodie capital? Hell, yeah.)

We’re on a schedule. At 1.30pm we’re due at the Lark Distillery (less than ten minutes walk from our lunch spot) where we’ll join the half-day tour. This experience is such a treat, I’m giving it a blogpost all its own. (Watch this space.) Suffice to say, we had a splendid afternoon.

Some time after 6pm we mosey back to our hotel and opt for a nanna nap. We’re about done. Amazing what a mircrosleep can do – we rally and walk the fifteen minutes to The Fluke and Bruce where we hunker down on local beers and delectable dinners (Bean Burrito for me).

We take the long way back to our hotel, and swing by Joe’s Garage for a beer. It’s like your best mate’s man cave on steroids. So much fun.

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething, joe's garage
We even find some street art.

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething

Now we are REALLY done.


Day Three.

We dally over another excellent hotel buffet breakfast while we plan our final day in beautiful Hobart.

We’ve calculated we can catch the 12.10pm bus from the city to the Cascade Brewery (we’re booked for the 2.30pm tour), giving us 2-3 hours to explore the Maritime Museum of Tasmania this morning, which, like almost everything, is just a short walk away.

We drop into the Hobart Town Hall on the way and the receptionist invites us to take the stunning old staircase up to view the ballroom. We’re glad she did.

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething, hadleys hotel hobart

The maritime museum is a revelation of intriguing artefacts and fascinating stories well-told. We could spend hours more here, chatting to the generous-of-spirit volunteers and hearing more of those “old salty” tales.

But we must away.

The bus takes us south east of the city on a fifteen-minute journey that culminates in an around-the-corner reveal of the iconic Cascade Brewery building … you know, the one that appears on the beer cans. It’s nestled in a ferny bushland setting and looks brilliant, yet weirdly familiar.

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We check in for our tour, collect our beer tasting tokens and find a cafe table in the expansive gardens of the visitor centre. It’s an inspiring environment and we busily taste our way through some house brews and to-die-for lunches (a giant angus beef burger for he; beetroot tart for me).

The copper tap pipes in the visitor centre bar are stunning, no?

mona hobart, visit tasmania, travel australia, midlife travel, being fiftysomething, hadleys hotel hobart, cascade brewery

The tour guide decks us out in high-vis vests and safety goggles before we join our party for an hour-and-half guided brewery tour. It’s a fully working plant, so we can’t get up close to the actual workings but the guide does share some interestign info. No photography allowed.

We’re pleased to get back to the bar and enjoy a brew or two with some fellow tourists we’ve befriended.

Just after 4pm, the bus and us start winding our way back to the city. We’ve organised the Airport Shuttle Bus to collect us from the hotel just after 6pm so we retire to the bar, order a local wine and some dinner snacks and settle in. Beside us, some old diggers are having a reunion and the soft tinklings of a piano player filter in from an adjacent room.

It’s quite lovely.

But it must come to an end.

We collect our backpacks from reception, bid farewell to the staff and clamber aboard our bus, then our aircraft. By 11pm, we’re back amidst the frenzy of Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport’s long-term parking lot, stowing our bags into the boot and wondering whether the cat’s missed us.

It’s been a break brimming with all our favourite things, and more. Hobart is a gorgeous city that thrums with a personality all its own. We found the welcome and the service faultless, wherever we went. There’s a chilled-out vibe unexpectedly paired with a devotion to excellent product and service, whether that’s a story-filled tourism experience, a fabulous meal or a like-gold single malt whisky.

We’ll be back. And next time I’ll let my anticipation run wild.


The bucks (for those who care).

Flights (Jetstar MEL-HOB, HOB-MEL): $99 ea return  (no checked baggage, 7kg carry-on, no frills)

Hadley’s Orient Hotel: $129 per night (for two, including welcome wine, continental buffet breakfasts)

Mona Roma Bus: Airport to MONA $20 ea

MONA admission: $20 ea (FREE for Tasmanians)

MONA Ferry (MONA to Hobart): $20 ea

Nant Whisky Tasting: $35 for three drams

Lark Distillery Tour: $75 ea for half-day tour + tastings

Cascade Brewery Tour: $25 ea including 3 x beer tastings

Maritime Museum of Tasmania: $9 ea
















Arcadia—sound of the sea … a memory-kindling photographic exhibition

Being fifty-something means that at least part of your teenage years occupied the seventies.

In my seventies teenage world, where our little house in the suburbs was a 30-minute drive from world-class surf beaches, the cool kids were the surfer boys … the guys who somehow disappeared each weekend, made their way to the coast and reappeared sometime mid-morning Monday in their subtly cooler version of the school uniform. They drove VW beetles or kombi vans, or hitchhiked with their boards and sleeping bags. They were typically chilled, bronzed, dreamy and sporting sun-bleached beach hair (their earthy interpretation of the seventies big hair trend).

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A snap of one of John Witzig’s images.

The other guys wanted to be like them. The girls wanted to be with them. But the surfer boys knew what they wanted … superb surf breaks, relaxation and the cool surfie chicks who also managed to make their way to the coast (not us).

The surfer boys were part of a sub-culture that was yet to be commercialised. They seemed to share a “natural” view of the world, a sense of freedom and a pared back philosophy that out-cooled the hippies of the sixties.

For me, Arcadia—sound of the sea, a photographic exhibition currently on at Geelong Gallery until 22 February, captures the seventies surfer boy spirit brilliantly. Most of the images are the work of John Witzig, co-founder of Tracks, a renowned surf magazine that explored the physical and political world of the surfer culture of the time.

From the Geelong Gallery flyer: “Imbued with a romantic conception of the awesome and spiritually restorative force of the sea, Arcadia—sound of the sea expresses the free-spirited, revolutionary character of a group of young and perfectly-formed (sic) Australian surfers in the early 1970s.”

The surfer boys were undoubtedly the “beautiful people” of my teenage years and I love how these images transported me back to a time when I coveted being part of their world … it’s a richly textured window into the cool kids’ cosmos.

Who were the cool kids in your teenage corner of the world?


Arcadia—sound of the sea

until February 22

Geelong Gallery
Little Malop Street, Geelong
Ph: 03 5229 3645

Open daily 10am – 5pm

FREE Admission


Thank you to the Goddess of Book Clubs (for surely she is a she)

Thank you to the Goddess of Book Clubs (for surely she is a she).

Only a female could pluck 12 unrelated women from my local community, throw us together in a swish wine bar and decree that we should read shared books and meet monthly to discuss.

And only a goddess could have created such an open, respectful, tolerant and honest space for us.

Just over a year on from our first meeting, our book club “The Timemakers” is thriving.

book club, book discussion, community, fifty-something, boomers, midlife

We’ve come a long way since that awkward initial gathering where we introduced ourselves and wondered how we’d all get along, this disparate bunch of thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, fifty-somethings and sixty-somethings, all from different backgrounds.

It was far more daunting than any boardroom of suited men I’d faced up to.

I shouldn’t have worried. We bonded fast through our love of reading and, as the months rolled through, it was our differences that enriched our discussions.

Each book had its devotees and its detractors, each character its admirers and critics.

We shared special stories of connection: those who’d visited the book’s exotic setting, read the author’s earlier works or knew a snippet of trivia worth telling.

Often we played “who would you cast as the lead character in the movie” or wondered “what if” about a plot twist.

We took turns “hosting” … organising questions to spark discussion. And spark they did: robust, lively and heartfelt discussion that ranged from the use of literary devices to our personal emotional reactions, and everything in between.

Tonight, we meet again to kick off another year of “The Timemakers” and I couldn’t be more grateful to the goddess who included me in this bevy of fabulous, intelligent, warm, candid and easy-laughing women. I feel a special connection and a sense of trust and friendship with each of them.

I used to wonder why my sister K attended two book clubs each month. Now I get it. It’s about much more than the reading.

We meet at Strasse Bar, just a twenty minute walk from home. Those who can come early and share a meal and social chitchat (OK, and a glass of wine) before the serious discussion gets underway at seven.

I hear that other groups have trouble staying on task and devolve into chatter about the mundane (you know: work, family, sport, holidays). Not us. We’ve vowed to keep our dialogue related to the book and we rarely digress.

We’ve now got our own secret Facebook group where we can catch up between meetings and there’ve been the odd excursions to see movies/shows related to the books we’re reading.

But mostly, it’s about our Tuesday night tradition. I love that these women are not connected to the rest of my life and that we come together without judgement and without baggage … just about whatever book the library throws at us for the month.

Thank you Goddess of Book Clubs for your divine work.


Life’s a beach … a mid-week sojourn to Rosebud

Being fifty-something, I know life’s many things: a bowl of cherries, a box of chocolates, what you make it. Even Google know’s life’s a ball, a happy song, an adventure and … a beach.

life's a beach, vacation, mini-break, rosebud, victoria, australia camping life, camper van


And so it was that we packed up our little campervan that could and headed to the other side of the bay for a mid-week beach-side adventure, shared with good great friends at Rosebud.

Around this time each year, we take the ferry across the bay for a day trip to invade our friends’ peaceful camping vacation visit some of our favourite people in the world. This year, we took the “other” scenic route around the bay and settled in for two nights and three glorious days with our friends.

life's a beach, vacation, mini-break, rosebud, victoria, australia camping life, camper van

With our little campervan nestled in the shade of towering gums, we set about updating each other on the year that was. Loosened by wine, our stories gave way easily … and long into the night.

The next day held:

  • a lingering, early morning amble along the beachfront
  • as the temperature nudged into the high thirty-somethings (Celsius), a slow wade out beyond the sandbar where we sank into the cool clear water and sat, with it lapping our chins, for what seemed hours)
  • a leisurely wander back to camp for lunch
  • as a summer storm brewed, a second trek beyond the sandbar from where we ogled the cool change thundering in across the bay while the gentle current swayed us back and forth, back and forth
  • a scrumptious roast dinner (thanks J), more conversation and giggles while Mother Nature filled our sky with a cracking light show.

life's a beach, vacation, mini-break, rosebud, victoria, australia camping life, camper van


2015-01-07 09.06.14

There’s nothing like time spent at the beach (especially with friends) for stripping back the layers, in all sorts of ways.




Reminding ourselves that life’s a beach.

life's a beach, vacation, mini-break, rosebud, victoria, australia camping life, camper van


life's a beach, vacation, mini-break, rosebud, victoria, australia camping life, camper van


Turning fifty in 2015? Read on …

Being fifty-something, I know that turning fifty is not a milestone most of us take lightly. If you’re due to clock up that landmark birthday in 2015, you might be interested in the online Review and Renew at 50 Program created by life coach, Patti Phillips.

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The Review and Renew at 50 program is the compilation of what Patti has learned about living authentically. She has sifted through, filtered and organised hundreds of books, articles, websites, and exercises into a one-year program that focuses on twelve essential Roots of Renewal.

“Review and Renew at 50, at its core, is about learning to make intentional choices to focus on personal awareness and move forward into the next stage of life with renewed energy. At 50, we are entering into unfamiliar territory as our bodies and brains feel like they are slowing down and we begin to fear we are experiencing more loss than gain. The program is intended to help you focus on all there is to celebrate in life, embrace your unique gifts, and branch out into new possibilities that you can create in your own life.”

Last year, Patti asked me to share my personal story and my experience of “being fifty” and I’m delighted to be included in the program as one of “12 Faces of 50″ stories – a monthly featured story from a mentor woman who is “on the other side of 50″.

Patti delivers the year-long program through weekly emails which include lessons, questions and actives designed to deepen learning and self awareness. There are life reflection assignments, a membership discussion area and a private Facebook group.

The 2015 program kicks off this week so pop over and take a look. Maybe it’s for you. Maybe it’s not. What I do know through my dealings with Patti is that she is positive, thoughtful and deeply passionate about women’s health and wellbeing. And she is currently offering “pay-what-you-please” pricing on Review and Renew at 50, because she understands how reluctant many women are to invest in themselves. “Pay-as-you-please” doesn’t mean “free” – just that you get space to size up the value you gain from the program.

I only wish this program had been available the year I turned fifty.


*** This is NOT a sponsored post, and I receive no payment for my (small) part in Patti’s program.


Reflecting on a year of buying nothing new

Being fifty-something, I’ve wised up to the fact that good living is not about “things”, it’s about experiences, and people … and relationships.

Twelve months ago I quietly embarked on a year of “buying nothing new” where I challenged myself to take a step back from consuming and, instead, to dance with the notion of restraint and mindful spending.

And dance I have. Merrily. Willingly. Enthusiastically. To the beat of a simpler, more meaningful drum.

Robyn Healey Portrait Collection, State Library of Victoria

Forgive me, for I have sinned three times. Yes, on three occasions, I purchased manufactured retail items. As I expected at the outset, the biggest challenge was not what I myself could do without but what I felt comfortable about imposing on others. Guilt is a powerful driver, is it not? All three “infringements” were gifts for young children. Despite the concession to mass-produced items, I did source them locally from small, independent retailers rather than big chain stores.

Not once have I personally felt deprived by my new regime. It helps that I have a pre-existing appreciation for vintage and pre-loved items and that I cherish fossicking in the dark recesses of an opportunity shop. With this challenge, I’ve dared myself to problem solve and seek out new ways of getting what I needed (or wanted). I’ve honed my thrifting skills (to laser sharpness) and turned intuition on (like a tap) to lead me to where I needed to be.

My house (and my life) are less cluttered and I’m richer. In many ways.

I value the things that have come into my world in this past year. I’ve earnt them. I’ve wanted them enough to search, to barter, to wait. And they’ve come with stories and conversations (rather than receipts and guilt).

When my ancient food processor and ageing blender succumbed (mostly to the rigours of chomping through raw food concoctions) within a few days of one another, I thought the game might be up. I reasoned it through and figured the ThermoMix craze could work in my favour. I was right, within ten days I had snagged a barely used Moulinex processor (with blender attachment, and every other attachment you can think of) for $25 from a woman at the trash and treasure market … she had upgraded to a ThermoMix.

When my bedside lamp malfunctioned (terminally) I “borrowed” one from the guest room and spent a couple of weeks looking for a replacement. I ended up with a matching pair of lovelies for $5 (the pair!), again at the trash and treasure market. They’re tall and elegant and lux, with black flocked shades and Coco Chanel-ish crystal-esque bases … like nothing I would normally buy. I adore them. For the first time ever, we have matching bedside lamps. It feels indulgent.

We’ve enjoyed growing more and more produce in our backyard veggie garden. I’ve got into the habit of harvesting a few salad greens as I need them. I’d never owned a salad spinner but realised one would be handy for washing and drying the salad greens. I added “salad spinner” to my thrifting list (yes, I have one). Over several weeks of purposeful searching, I failed to find a second-hand salad spinner in any of my thrifty haunts. Just before Christmas, my neighbour dropped off a Christmas gift … a salad spinner she’d found for a couple of dollars at the local opportunity shop. I love it! Most of all I love that my other neighbour heard the tale and shared with me that she uses her salad spinner to spin out her “delicates” rather than use the washing machine. Live and learn.

(By the way, my current thrifting list includes a beach tent, a plus-size tankini and a mid-sized cross-body travel bag. Let me know if you come across any in your travels.)

I spent less time (actually, NO time) browsing store catalogues, online shops and in-store sales. It feels like I’ve broken a nasty habit. Instead of reaching for my credit card, I’ve mostly hand-crafted gifts. I’ve mended and made-do with what I have. I’ve focussed on experiences and memories … not things.

My year of “buying nothing new” has rebooted my mindset to one of less (perhaps no?) consumerism and I like how that feels.

I’m on a roll, so, why not?

Bring on 2015, my second consecutive year of “buying nothing new”. Woohoot!

Now, of course, 2015 will be brimming with all sorts of other stuff. I have a slew of awesome convictions, giant goals and micro-aspirations to fire-up my thinking and my doing. I’m still getting my head around it all and working out how not to attach my commitment to the fleeting nature of NYE. Because, being fifty-something I’ve wised up to the fact that resolutions are not just for NYE. Like a Christmas puppy, they’re for life.