A Very Late Realist’s New Year

2012 has been exceptional – 365 turns in the game of life, some of which were experienced in secret and many, with strangers and friends and Kaori, the girl who makes my coffee every other Melbournian afternoon. The dice has rolled many times in my favour, landing me on squares that allowed me to gain new friendships and giving me the cards to strengthen old ones.

I’ve been lucky – the only times I had my heart broken, the deceitful man in question would almost always be an accidental crushed macaron at the bottom of my bag. Other times, it was a dress or skirt gone out of stock on Asos.com. I didn’t fall in love last year but my best friend did and habitually, with someone who doesn’t love him back. This means long afternoons of pep talks, digital chocolate-giving & hugs, but since sadness, like all other loveborne diseases, is contagious, there are moments when I feel powerless.

First, the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff: he lives in the present and I live three hours into the future, which makes our friendship sound a lot like that Sandra Bullock movie. And there’s the Indian ocean, waiting to swallow anything that begins with ‘long distance’ as it’s done for so many others before me. It is the worst feeling, not being physically there for someone you care about, to talk things over tea and cake paid for by the gentleman. Aaron and I were never your orthodox best friends anyway, we’ve only met 7 times since the start of our friendship so we’re accustomed to being apart. But many instances this year, I find myself asking whether the words floating off my fingers would be enough to recreate my presence and help mend a beaten heart. I still don’t know the answer to that.

Inadvertently, but not surprisingly, Aaron thinks my inability to fall in love the past few years has turned me into a jaded cynic, which is only fair because I think he is a hopeless romantic, a dreamer, while I am every bit of a realist. It’s not that I have a loathing for the opposite sex; I just haven’t found a man worth loving. Observing Aaron’s pattern unrequitedness and the ways people sometimes change for the worse when paired with another, also puts me off the mood for love. But that’s what I admire about dreamers; they try, despite the risks and wounds. In 2013, I’d like to ditch 60% of my cynicism and replace that with some compassion. I’ll loosen the grip on my “I don’t need a man. I just need my closet” philosophy – still don’t need a man though, but clothes really are trivial next to the L word. It’s time to get my head out of my Lanvin fantasies because there is no need to replace love with clothes. I already am loved, by the most courageous and beautiful. I say courageous because it’s not easy to love me so for those who do, I will love you back more fiercely.

These are my favourite moments of my 2012, some of which, as I said earlier, were experienced in secret but many, with people that matter.


Hiding from the cold in one of the many cafes sprawled across my uni campus, I’ve only been here maybe twice in three years? Need to do something about that.


Was running late for class and Spring, just as tardy as I was, surprised me with the first blooms of the season. Very romantic, but it wasn’t enough to make me forget the long wintry nights spent hugging a mug of chai for warmth.


Spending time with Sher Reen, my reader turned friend, who goes to the same university as I do but graduated this year with a Masters in Architecture. Said goodbyes sweetened by Monsieur Truffe‘s expertly made hot chocolate in March and hellos again in December on a fair-weathered Malaysian Saturday. We have lunch and coffee – things we used to do in Melbourne – before she takes my friends and I to her architecture firm for a spur of the moment tour. Some of her colleagues are still working (on a weekend, good god!) so we try our best to be discreet but uh, you can see discretion isn’t one of our strongest points.


My cousins flew in for a holiday in June and one of them, Fatin (or Fats as we call her), spent a week with me exploring all the museums in the city and eating her way through my favourite brunch spots. After dark, we’d come home and talk for hours about the most banal of things really, but I loved every single minute of it.


My mornings in Melbourne start with a 15 minute walk to Carlton where I meet Amy who waits for me in her blue peacoat (no matter the weather) and we head to uni together, jaywalking, judging people on the length of their shorts, that sort of thing. These are my favourite 15 minutes of the day. We talk food, trade recipes by text, scribble on pages about what to eat for lunch instead of taking notes about how social networking sites were born. She’s the best, thank you for everything Amz!


Got to see Coldplay after finishing the last assignments of the year. Temper Trap was their opening act and oh my god they were fantastic. Coldplay? I want to see them live again before I die SO FORKING GOOD SORRY GAGA, YOU COULD NEVER. Also managed to catch the Metric gig in Melbourne where Amy and I found ourselves in the third row which gave us the best view of Emily’s amazing legs. How am I still straight after that gig?


Having weekly meals with my other best friend, LK. He’s very private and plays the part of the reclusive blogger almost too well so it’s rare that I get a photo of him looking at the camera BUT AHA! Got you, bb! ;p I am guilty of not speaking to him as often as I should when I’m away but I don’t know, whenever we spend time together in Singapore, it feels nothing has changed and I love that about us.


I LOST 10 KILOS WHAT UP! Photo on the left was taken in April and the one on the right was taken in December. I suppose it is time to rewrite the old diet entry.


Nad and I have been spending so much time together this year, it still surprises me that we haven’t killed each other. She’s a proud feminist and naturally has strong views on how women should be treated; I like the flow of our conversations – we’ll be discussing marital rape one minute and somehow ease into talking about mascara the next. We disagree on so many things and drive each other crazy but she’s always honest with me and that’s why she’s special. I shot this photo on our last morning in Gold Coast, the sun was hurting our eyes so she takes out her sunnies from her bag. I ask if it was the $10 pair we both bought the day before and she snorts, puts these Ray-Bans on and looks away. SO BAD ASS.


Two of my readers turned friends (what a mouthful) got married and invited me to be part of their special day omg! Thank you so much, Ana and Diana – both of you looked so beautiful and I’m very blessed to count you both as my friends now.


What I really love about tea noir is meeting all sorts of people, no matter their ethnicity or beliefs, that are equally as fascinated by beautiful things, good conversations and CAKE as I am. Shafah is one of them and here, she’s taking me out for brunch and a tour around Tiong Bahru. Isn’t she stunning? These Arab chicks should just run the world. ’twas my first time to Tiong Bahru Bakery too and I can see why many like it so much, their kouign amann is glorious.


Aaron and his friend were in Singapore for a short trip in December and we had the most beautiful afternoon eating itty bitty cakes and coffee. Somewhere in between debates on love and stealing bites of each other’s cakes, he got his sketchbook out and drew me ;__; I don’t think I’m that skinny but thanks bb, your work has always been magnificent.


How did we get so lucky?


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16 Responses to “A Very Late Realist’s New Year”
  1. Aww. How lovely! Happy new year, Ily, dearest xx
    Binny Hendrix recently posted “Measuring a summer’s day / I only find it slips away to grey / The hours, they bring me pain /…”


    ilyana's reply:

    Binny, I miss you darling! Happy new year to you and your man xx


  2. Amy says:

    Such a beautiful post bb! Even though I’m still reluctant to let go of 2012….we shall toast to an amazing 2013 when you get back to Melbourne!

    Also, I might sneak into a few of your lectures so we can continue judging people and scribble lunch plans :)


    ilyana's reply:

    YES please come and save me from an hour of misery. It’s going to be hard to top 2012 (coldplay wtffff) but I think 2013 might have a few surprises for us. Stay safe, Amz.


  3. aaron says:

    All I have, I will give to you
    And at times when no one wants to
    I will give you me
    And we’ll be, us

    And there’s no one else.


    ilyana's reply:

    bb if we’re still single in 5 years, let’s make a pact and kill each other? ;p



  4. Catherine says:

    Happy New Year, dear! I’ll be honest, 2012 was rough for me, but despite my absence, I love you fiercely. ♥ Hope 2013 is an amazing year for you!
    Catherine recently posted Le Métier de Beauté Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope Eye Kit, D.C. Exclusive


    ilyana's reply:

    Aww I know it hasn’t been the best year for you but that’s why 2013 has so much promise! I love you too hon, you’re the sweetest Internet friend I’ve made and I hope we get to see each other soon xx


  5. Jen W says:

    Sounds like you have some amazing relationships. Travelling and distance can be such a burden but you’ve somehow maintained solid connections it seems.

    A timely reminder that I should stop being such a recluse here in Melbourne.
    Jen W recently posted Hair Romance 30 Braids in 30 Days E-book Giveaway x 2


    ilyana's reply:

    You’re so lucky to have your boyfriend with you in Australia, Jen! Also, we should meet when I fly back to Melbs! :) Have a beautiful 2013 x


  6. shafah says:


    Anyway babe, I’m so thrill we had hit it off right away. I foresee many more meet ups and conversations over cups of latte and CAKE. Your motivation to lose weight is absolutely inspiring, keep going towards your goal. Let’s gym/run together before you fly off to Melbourne again.


    ilyana's reply:

    HAHAHA because you’re too beautiful not to put up babe. And yes, to everything – the cake, complaining about boys, work, let me know when you’re free!


  7. Happy New Year, Ilyana! It’s always such a treat when I see a new post from you in my reader, and this one was marvelously long. I love your writing, your photography, and your sense of humor. I hope 2013 treats you well :) Also, I think my heart would also break over crushed macarons, those things are so pricey whyy
    Makeup Morsels recently posted Guerlain 2, Place Vendôme | Packaging Review & The Story of Our First Meeting


    ilyana's reply:

    Thank you hon!!! I’ve been so guilty of not commenting on my fave blogs too but I will do something about that this 2013 :D All the best for 2013 xx

    p.s. ikr, macarons are so expensive but so, so delicate :/


  8. Hey Ilyana :)
    What a beautiful post. I love Tiong Bahru bakery too.. I agree that the Kouign Amann is super nicee, yumyum :)


    ilyana's reply:

    Hey Meryl!! So sorry for this super late reply but thank you so much for both your comments, it was so good talking to you at the L’Oreal event, you’re lovely and down to earth. All of us beauty bloggers should go down to Tiong Bahru bakery to grab some goodies sometime ;)


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