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?
And this is why I’ve been MIA last week: I FOUND MY WALDORF-ASTORIA!! My roommate and I scored the most amazing apartment after a month of hunting and 3 rejected applications (sucks being a jobless student sometimes – the landlords can’t help but think you’re a financial liability). Here’s a sneak preview of our new digs! I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the bedrooms to show because an empty room is an empty room lol. The building was completed a little over two months ago so we’re going to be one of the first few to move in. Our apartment’s on the 13th floor and omg look at that incredible view! I can’t wait to see what the city transforms into at night ;D My best friend’s like, “OMG WHEN CAN I MOVE IN BB?” Dream on, honey ;p
Apart from the view, I’m really all about my new kitchen. It’s been domestically pimped out to a level that would make Nigella proud. Restaurant-grade stainless steel finish (k I made that up), a gas stove, a dishwasher (!) and a huge ass oven (!!). OH and what do we have hiding in that corner thar – A REGULAR FRIDGE! I know it seems silly to get excited over kitchen appliances but try living in crap student lodging with a sad bar fridge for two years while fighting strange insect infestations, druggies shooting up in your laundry room and you’d be feverishly thrilled to be elsewhere. Of course, my new apartment isn’t just some place else – it’s home now.
I’ll be busy with the big move these two weeks so this blog is going to be a lil’ quiet. Don’t worry though, I still plan on launching Storm in a Teacup in a day or two Catch you all soon!
Just a little preview for a new project I’m working on for this blog! I’m so excited for this I can’t even. type. in proper sentences. Anyway, I know the image probably doesn’t tell you anything about what’s coming up other than the fact that I had a pretty damn good cup of coffee with a friend lol, but stay tuned and it’ll be up soon enough!
Anyone want to make a guess what it’s all about? Winner gets a prize ;p
tea noir is now on hiatus! I have about 3 weeks to finish up my 4 essays and a 3000 word short fiction piece and I can’t afford to be distracted That isn’t going to be a problem tbh. Since I’ve busted my internet cap for this month, everything is loading at a crawling speed right now ._. For a country richer than most others, Australia is seriously lacking in some awesome internets. I don’t understand how most of Asia has unlimited broadband internet while Australians suffer with crap 256kbps internet. IKR 256kbps UNHEARD OF IN THIS DAY AND AGE WTF. To my ISP: how are you guys able to sleep peacefully at night when you charge customers $60 a month for a sad 20GB of internet?! There is only one phrase back home that best describes this situation: WAH LAU EH.
Yes, it kills me not to have iOS5.
*cough* Anyway, yes back to the point: tea noir will be on hiatus until mid November. See you guys then! x
Ahh I would have gotten this entry up earlier if it hadn’t been raining so much in Melbourne! The weather’s been perfect for personal slumber parties in my room; I’ve been curling up in bed while watching fashion documentaries like Valentino: The Last Emperor. That, by the way, is an incredible film! It was pretty amazing spotting all the dresses I took photos of in my Valentino: A Retrospective entries (part 1 and part 2) and if you loved The September Issue, you’re going to love the Valentino film too ;D
I met Ana for brunch the other day at a new patisserie and boulangarie called Chez Dre in South Melbourne. Her photo’s up there, just so you know I don’t go to all these places by myself k. She’s one of my more recent readers and get this: she discovered my blog by googling for the reasons behind ridiculous, expensive Malay weddings and found herself agreeing to everything I’ve said in this particular entry (which I remember writing while under the influence of sugar) Just how cool is that lol? Anyway, since the Malay community in Melbourne is extremely small, it turns out we’ve actually met before at a mutual friend’s house for last year’s Eid! We’ve been proper friends for about a month now and it’s been beautiful.
I think Chez Dre (which I’m assuming is French) is fairly new to the Melbourne brunch scene and the place they’re located at used to be a warehouse before it was turned into this fine eating establishment. I love that breakfast is served all day in Chez Dre and you don’t have to go anywhere else for dessert because damn it, you can see they’ve got that covered. Different varieties of eclairs and strips of mousse cakes decorated with house-made macarons and gold leaf, I had trouble settling for one. I don’t know how we did it but Ana and I actually shared dessert wtf. We tried the salted caramel eclair which was filled walnuts and a buttery cream slightly reminiscent of smooth cake batter, it was SO GOOD (this coming from a person who’s indifferent to walnuts). I’m so impressed, I’m heading there again tomorrow and sry2say I am not going to share my dessert with anyone 8D
One of the best things about blogging at tea noir is meeting and getting to know, not just other bloggers, but the people who regularly put up with my sparse updates/nonsense: you. It’s wonderful hearing what people think about my blog in person, over a cup of coffee. That way, I can be sure I hear only the good stuff – anything bad and that cup of coffee is going home as a stain on someone’s top just sayin’ girllll. HAHAHAHA nah, I am completely open to -ahem- constructive criticism but so far, people seem to have the same complaint: that I should update more. I hear ya, I hear ya!
Just two days ago, I also met up with my sole stewardess friend, Hid, who was in Melbourne for a day! We regularly stalk each other’s blogs, except she hasn’t blogged in ages *cough* Honestly, I was expecting it to be a little awkward because it’s been two years since we last saw each other and like a man, I tend to get slightly nervous around exceptionally beautiful girls rofl (shut up Hid, you’re beautiful okay!) But again, I had a smashing time – we ended up talking for hours over the most random things: how horrid Ibiza really is, the Singapore education system, photography and how much she disliked Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman (I know right, I told her she was crazy). Thank you so much for the great company, Hid! Hid also has a blogshop, Nyla, and hopefully if our schedules don’t clash, I’ll have a stint as a guest photographer for Nyla! ;D
Anyway, I am completely digressing from my main point here. I would really love to meet my readers in person because I firmly believe any girl (or guy) who enjoys reading this space would probably be great to hang out with so I’m proposing a massive tea noir meet-up in Singapore when I head back! That way I can meet you guys and you guys can meet each other! I have no idea how I’m going to organize it yet but I just wanted to get this idea out and see what you would think of it. So, who’s interested? ;p
285-287 Coventry Street
Back story: A month ago, a mole I have on my elbow began itching terribly but after asking my mother about it (she works in the medical industry), she told me there wasn’t anything to worry about so I left it at that. But last week, I noticed the same mole had a layer of scab over it and there was a lot of redness surrounding the area. I googled this up like any techy young adult would do and Dr Google diagnosed my symptoms as that of melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Ensue crazy panic attacks and general freaking out.
My puzzling skin condition has been solved after leaving two doctors bewildered by my irrational mole (yes, I did just call it that – irrational). I was referred to the Skin Cancer Foundation for a thorough diagnosis, and what they actually mean by ‘thorough’ is a 5 minute chat with the doctor about the mole on my elbow and some careful prodding with that weird magnifying glass you often spy on a doctor’s desk. I was expecting to see more complex equipment to be frank: glasses with an endless number of magnifying lenses that you can slide in and out, one that would allow you to see the party of ruptured cells on my elbow. Maybe the magnifying glass dermatologists get are 10x more powerful than the standard issue.
The doctor tells me he doesn’t think it’s melanoma since my ethnicity, medical history and staggering ability to stay out of the sun makes it nearly damn impossible otherwise. I’m feeling kinda relieved at this point but mostly I am thinking, “Damn doctor, you’re pretty cute”. Kayz Ilyana, keep your hormones in check.
We decide together that it’s probably a layer of eczema* that’s just happened to cover my mole, no more but wicked chance. My doctor gives the head of the clinic a call, a Professor Robin Marks, and I’m thankful another woman would be in the consulting room because I need a distraction from Le Smoking Hot Asian Doctor. Of course, Professor Robin Marks turns out to be an eccentric old man who walks with a slight limp and carries an actual Sherlock Holmes type magnifying glass wherever he goes. I didn’t know what to think. He whips out his magnifying glass and holds them over my hands – “My goodness you have gold on your nails!”
I like him already.
Why my nails looked so frickin’ amazing yesterday:
Chanel Varnish in Peridot. THE NEBULA IN A BOTTLE! Twas a birthday present from Catherine, she spoils me so much omg THANKS DARLING <3
Anyway, Professor Marks touched my mole for 3 seconds and said, “This is just plain eczema, can’t you feel it?” in this singsong ~~ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON!~~ manner. Hot Asian Doctor was looking at us both sheepishly, prolly feeling guilty for calling the Prof away from his office awww :3
And then the worst happened: The Prof told me to strip so the both of them could examine my back. KILL. ME. NOW. The contents of last night’s dinner swirled in my head like a tragic bowl of punch: sweet chilli tofu, grilled chicken, some carrots, a mountain of rice and half a chocolate muffin. DAMN IT THAT CHOCOLATE MUFFIN. So while I was putting on my sad strip show, Hot Asian Doctor had a little chat with the Professor about some other patient business in an effort to keep things less awkward for me. I really appreciated that omg ;__; In Singapore, if you had to strip for the doctor – he’ll barely give you two minutes to get your shiz together before saying, “HELLO, READY OR NOT?” True story, k.
The two doctors gave my back a quick glance and satisfied by the lack of melanoma symptoms it showed, they thanked me for my time and walked me out to the reception (so nice and polite omg SINGAPORE Y U NO HAVE GENTLEMEN?!)
So yay, I’m cancer-free guys! I’m so thankful it was just a false alarm but er I am a little scarred that Hot Asian Doctor had to see my love handles .__. I’ll get over it eventually but I still cry in the shower thinking about my strip show HAHAHAH ok no.
But in all seriousness, skin cancer is not to be trifled with. If you have a mole that’s been bothering you for a while, I urge you to have it checked out! Remember to wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun. Thanks to everyone who was panicking along with me on Twitter and in real life LOL, I appreciate all the love and well wishes <3 <3 <3
Note: I suffer from contact dermatitis – I’m allergic to nickel, which sadly is what most costume jewellery is made of. Whenever I wear my rings or any other non-silver/gold jewellery for long periods of time, I eventually get eczema as an allergic reaction. To put it simply: I suffer for fashion. The good thing is if and when I get married in the future and I shop for jewellery with my husband, I can say, “Honey, it’s not my fault I have expensive taste, I WAS BORN THIS WAY!” 8D
The ninth month of the Muslim year.
Perseverance triumphs the callous sun
that bruises thirst
in throats pained by sea’s amnesia.
“It was written down upon you
as it was upon those before you.”
You shall not eat nor drink in the day.
We have our first meal balancing on threads
of after dark and before dawn.
But it is true dusk that awakens the hollow’s pulse.
The mosque clambers to prepare for Iftar
where the people, penniless or rich, feast together.
Honor the poor:
Pick the flesh off a Medjool date,
and dine on porridge.
We are equals.
Again, we rise to wed hunger with faith,
charting the bones of humility
for thirty nights, in thriving modesty
breaking the stasis with rapture’s Eid.
- For my late grandmother.
Poetry Final Collection of 10 poems, 22.04.2011
Man, I’ve waited for a long time to publish this ;p Patience is not one of my greatest strengths but imma try this holy month to be less of a chocolate cake abuser and more of a warm cup of milk + a Medjool date sort of girl.
But who am I kidding? I’ve already got next week’s dinners planned out in my moleskine: Beef lasagne topped with the ultra french bechamel sauce, creamy artichoke and shrimp linguine when Yumi hangs out at my apartment next week (WB SOCIAL LIFE!), honey braised chicken – just to name a few. Of course while I still plan on indulging in my habitual greedy affair with food, I will try to get rid of some bad habits and maybe birth some good ones. In any case, I’m thrilled Ramadhan is here again. This is the best time to do some soul cleansing and grey area detoxin’ (if you get my drift). Ramadhan Mubarak to all my Muslim readers!
And the winner is my beautiful friend, Diana! Congratulations, girl!! Diana’s personal blog is friends-only sadly so I’m sorry you guys can’t read her entries. It’s such a wonderful mix of fashion and her hilarious experiences BUT I hear she has a secret project coming soon so maybe she’ll have a new blog then Meanwhile, check out her travel blog: Daisy Diana in Paradise. Gorgeousss!
Special thanks to Yumi who befriended a super hot SA at Lush who gave us discounts for our purchases ;p Yumi was giving me suggestions on the different products in Lush I should get for the giveaway winner and the first thing she picked out was Lovely Jubblies which is essentially a cream for breasts LOL. I have such great friends, srsly XD
Speaking of great friends, I know I’m not supposed to be biased but hello best giveaway entry ever??
HAHAHA Aaron was almost furious when he found out he didn’t win, aww my poor bff lol. This is what he said to me when he told me he was going to participate in the giveaway:
Isn’t he the best?? Anyway, I had a ton of fun reading all your entries – I apologise for announcing the results a little late, I just wanted to make sure I replied to each and every entry before making my announcement. So participants, please check the giveaway entry again to read my replies and thank you so much for taking part! I’m sorry I don’t have more prizes to give away (my sad student allowance can only afford so much D:) but I appreciate the suggestions and comments about what you’d like to see more on this blog!
BEAUTY ENTRY COMING UP NEXT LADIES! x
To thank all my old and new readers for being patient with my sometimes ridiculous disappearances and posting schedules (blame it on my university!)..IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME AGAIN!
And as promised, the items at stake are of the very lush sort..
My favourite things from Lush: Quite possibly the last bottle of It’s Raining Men on this planet (read my review of it here), Sweetie Pie and my first Lush product ever: Their famous Tea Tree toner!
Mmkay so my giveaway is probably geared towards my AZN readers who have no access to a Lush store but if you DO have a Lush store in your city, you might want to join just so you can get your hands on this bottle of It’s Raining Men. I know I would lol, I’m clinging onto it like a baby and it feels like my happy honey-scented shower fantasies are doomed to end like the Harry Potter series as I sacrifice my bottle of this epic shower gel for the sake of this giveaway. But it’s k. The sweet toffee scent that has made my showers so welcoming on chilly Melbourne mornings will forever be imprinted in my memories.
But of course, if you’re not into yummy shower gels…
This is all I have to say:
LOL I KID, I KID! Then, can I tempt you with this gorgeous ring I found the other day?
So with so much at stake and with me due to fly back to Melbourne in a week or so, I can’t ask so much from you guys like my last complicated giveaway lol.
All you guys have to do in this giveaway is 1) tell me a little bit about yourself, 2) how you discovered tea noir and 3) what you’d like to see more on the blog!
Easy eh? Leave a comment (with your name and email obviously) and a winner will be chosen at random! The giveaway is open worldwide and will end on Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 10.00pm Singapore Time.
p.s Anyone else watched Harry Potter yet? SNAPE OMFG MY HEART JUST CRUMBLES T___T
PHOAWR I didn’t think this photo of me would be THIS ginormous. I’m hoping the colossal photo of me makes up for the lack of “me” pictures in my entries the past 3 months. I’m rubbish at taking photos of myself and when a friend offers to take one of me, my camera’s at home hah! Yeah, you guessed it – this photo was taken with my humble iPhone erk.
Anyway, I have to keep things short today. It’s been a hectic week for me: My cousin flew in from Singapore and yet again, I find myself playing tour guide/host/chef. I’m having the time of my life though, she’s here to celebrate my birthday too (I turn 23 on the 27th!) and I cannot express how ecstatic I am that I get to spend my birthday with my cousin! We’ve going out of the city for a couple of days, exploring forests and the Great Ocean Road. This means I probably won’t have time to update the blog so tea noir will be on a short break until next week! Take care, guys and I will be back soon! Meanwhile, you can follow me on twitter or on Facebook for updates.
p.s I’d like to thank all my friends who threw me an early birthday dinner tonight (this was where the above photo was taken lol) Thank you Simone, Brian, Amy, Felix, Binny, Jono and Puiee for being such wonderful friends, I had a smashing time today and I love, love, loveeee the Lush gift set you guys got me, including all the other extras. And Amy – dude your mom must love me a lot huh since she turned up for our dinner affair?? ;p Thank you Aunty Jessie, you’re a star! Felix, have a safe flight to London tomorrow you lucky duck! Don’t forget to buy me tea from Harrods!! x