Reflecting On The Gift Of Aging | Celebrating My 35th Birthday At Home

Last Wednesday on the 13th, on the first day of another nationwide lockdown, I had a mini-celebration of my birthday at home with Shah (and our four furbabies). And just like that, I turned 35 years old! Funny how a decade ago I thought 35-year-olds were such mature grown-up and had most of the answers — which means, in conclusion, my 25-year-old self had it all wrong back then. Lol-worthy, amirite? 

Despite not being able to celebrate the special day this year with my family back in my hometown as I always did, I was in relatively high spirits given the circumstances. I don't know how many times I've said this but, really, I am thankful. I am grateful. I consider myself lucky — so, so lucky. And certainly privileged. For me to be miserable over not getting to celebrate a birthday a certain way felt a teensy out-of-touch. 

The events of last year put things into perspective for me. When I was recounting the blessings of 2020, I couldn't help but think about the heartbreaking stories I read that resulted from the pandemic; a wife losing her husband after decades of being happily in love; a street-food seller who had to temporarily close down his stall during the lockdown and had to worry about how he was going to feed his family every single meal; a family forced to live in the car because they couldn't afford a place to live in, just after the wife had given birth; a young healthy man, who on paper didn't seem to belong in the high-risk category to suffer from the virus, died after battling Covid-19 for months, leaving behind his loving wife and their baby.

With the position I am in, there is no place to complain about something as mundane as celebrating a birthday. I'm speaking solely for me, as that's not to say it is not OK for anyone else to do so though, or to be sad and vent a little — we're human beings with real feelings, after all! — but at the end of the day, staying positive and hopeful in the midst of a pandemic is crucial for our mental health. Life goes on and it should go on in the best way that it can. To look at silver linings anywhere you can is to do yourself a service.

The way I see it, having a birthday, regardless of how I spend it, means that I have been given the gift to live another year. I am healthy — alhamdulillah, all praises to God. My family are all healthy. We all lived through 2020 more or so unscathed, and that is saying something! I pray that there will be many more years for us to live on this earth: happy, fulfilled and with continued good health.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ 

Now, about my at-home birthday celebration: of course I dressed up! I bought this gorgeous deep hot pink matching set last year with the intention to wear it for my anniversary (ended up in this other colourful matching set) but I'm glad I kept it away for this day instead. I wanted to feel festive and colourful so I paired it with a bright yellow mustard scarf and fun sunny-side-up-eggs socks.

Birthdays have always been about good food for me — is it the same for you? I woke up late as usual (yes hi a late-sleeper late-riser over here) and made these blueberry ricotta pancakes because ya gal felt rightfully fancy! I was too full to eat lunch so Shah fried some banana fritters for tea-time (love them with sambal kicap, yum) and he also prepared a special birthday dinner of wagyu steaks, roasted potatoes and veggies. One of the best parts of the day: Shah did all the cleaning-up. 
Yep, all in all, no complaints. 

I baked my own cake the day before, a simple vanilla sheet cake whose recipe I found online when I Googled "cake recipe without mixer" (spoiler: I have no mixer in this house), but I iced the cake with store-bought chocolate frosting (again, no mixer) and decorated it with sprinkles right before getting dressed up for these pics here.

Getting to Facetime my nephew and niece was also a highlight, as their rendition of "Happy Birthday" will always be precious to me. Other than that, I had a super chill day of watching my favourite shows on Netflix and playing with my furbabies.
Truth be told, as a homemaker, I just described a normal day for me, but it's not every day I get to have balloons and a birthday cake by my side!

Wearing: Mango pink blazer top with matching pants  |  Life Warehouse sunny-side-up-eggs socks

With 20 days into January, how has 2021 treated you so far? I'm hoping you're doing well and healthy, wherever you are. Don't forget to continue with the social-distancing, mask-wearing and sanitizing the hands!

Thank you so much for reading. Talk soon with another post 


  1. 🎈 Happy Birthday. You look amazing in this wonderful colour.
    Stay happy and healthy

    1. Thank you for the wish Tina!
      You too, stay safe, happy, and healthy!

  2. Oh my goodness! What a cutie pie you are, girl! You look so blessed and glowing and reading this post filled my heart with warmth. Plus, your outfit is such an energy-raiser. Your home too! Such a happy homestead you've got there. Bursting and bubbling with colors and personality, just like the fashion-forward homemaker that takes care of it. I'm happy to hear you and your family are in good health! That is something I'm grateful for as well just knowing the loved ones are doing okay. As for banana fritters, I'm a fan!! I do a healthy version with oats, sesame seeds, coconut flakes and bread crumbs. They're so yum! Lately I've taken to eating them with peanut butter. Hahah! I never thought of eating the fritters with kicap although with chilli sauce yes! Hope you and your furbabies are continually keeping healthy and happy :) Take good care <3

    1. Thank you for your sweet compliments Shanaz <3 <3 <3 I tried to make my house here vibrant because I find that it helps with my mood every day!

      OK, banana fritters with oats, sesame seeds, coconut flakes and bread crumbs? Consider me INTRIGUED. Won't it be something if you shared the recipe on your blog! Also, banana + peanut butter = winning combo. The pisang goreng + sambal kicap combo is very much a Johor staple, if I'm not mistaken. I first ate them here 2-3 years ago at a supposedly famous pisang goreng stall in Johor Bahru and I was hooked ever since.

      Hope you and your furbabies are keeping happy and healthy too babe! <3


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Hi, I'm Liyana

I'm a style & lifestyle blogger based in sunny (and ever humid) Malaysia. On The Good Weekender, you can find typed journals of my evolving modest personal style, travel adventures, skincare/beauty updates, home decor things, and stories of other bits and pieces of my everyday life. I hope you'll enjoy flipping through these pages of my virtual book!