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April 30, 2016

Current favourite books

Being stuck in a good book is one of my favourite things in life. I enjoy lots of the books I read, but there's a difference between a book you have a fun fling with and a book that fulfils you emotionally (yeah I just compared reading to romantic interaction because there is zero amount of the latter in my life). My "favourite books" were the Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables and Sherlock Holmes series up until the last few years, but I feel like I've outgrown them. The three below are the current reigning champions; stumbling across books like these is why I read.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. One of those books that almost put me off, but I'm glad I continued with. It's set in 1800s gold rush New Zealand; the setting is bleak and wild. At first it feels like there are too many characters and too little plot movement, but when I pushed on I got sucked in. It's got mystery, violence, and a bit of magic, with the threads all tied up at the end (maybe left a little frayed). The book is beautifully written and structured and something you read for the experience of reading.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I saw this book mentioned around the blogosphere a lot, but it sounded a bit wanky. All the same, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I love the setting and imagery that was created in this book - the isolated, insulated college atmosphere, and friendships made strained by a terrible secret. It's a sad story, but enjoyable to read.

Don't Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier. This is a compilation of short stories, rather than a novel. I think the only reason I bought this was that it had a fun green cover; I'm glad I did. I would include all of Du Maurier's short story compilations in my favourite books to read, actually. I've read some of her novels, out of which the only one I've really enjoyed is Rebecca. I think her writing style is best suited for the short story form - quite dramatic in style and plot, which makes for really suspenseful shorts but makes longer stories feel overdone. My favourites are Don't Look Now, Monte Verita, and The Doll, all of which gave me goosebumps.

April 27, 2016

Everything that's bad for me

What I've eaten in the past few weeks: a photodump.

April 25, 2016

20th Biennale: Mortuary Station

This building is a few hundred metres down the tracks from Central Station. When I was little and my family would drive into the city, I would always see it on the way and wonder what it was. I found out that it was Mortuary Station, part of the old Rookwood Cemetery line, and I've had a fascination with it since. Between 1869 and 1938, this was the station where funeral trains carrying the coffins and mourners departed from. It's currently housing a Biennale exhibition.

April 23, 2016


UNIQLO t-shirt / Mango pants / Bass loafers. // H&M t-shirt / UNIQLO jeans / Dune boots / Daniel Wellington watch*.
UNIQLO sweatshirt / Glassons pants / Bass loafers / Daniel Wellington watch*. // Zara top, Cotton On pants, Dune boots.

Armed with a new lens, this shadowy corner of my room is now okay for outfit photos. Headless because the field of view isn't wide enough - but that means I don't have to try so hard to get a photo with an acceptable expression. If only I'd done all stripes this week, for consistency!

April 20, 2016

Reading slump

I've been in a reading slump since I got back to Sydney. Over travelling this summer, I'd mainly been re-reading YA books which are easy to concentrate on when I'm on a plane, train, or waiting around. After I got back, I tried to read heavier stuff but I couldn't get into it - I put down a couple of books without finishing them. I think there are good arguments on both sides for whether you should stop a book you're not enjoying or keep going with it, but generally reading before bed is my favourite time of day and I just wasn't looking forward to doing that with those books. But here are three I've managed to finish.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It's a psychological thriller, in the same vein as Gone Girl. A woman, who is (to put it lightly) a hot mess after her divorce, becomes involved in the disappearance of another woman who lives on the same street as her ex-husband and his current wife. It's gripping enough, but I picked up on what the twist was going to be maybe halfway through the book, and some of the events are kind of unrealistic. The atmosphere was generally uncomfortable, which I guess is a good thing because it managed to draw me in that much. They're making a movie based on this, apparently.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I kept saying that I mean to read more Agatha Christie, so when Nina mentioned Death on the Nile in my Nile post, I decided to give that one a go. I like detective novels (huge fan of a certain series by Arthur Conan Doyle), but I wasn't really feeling this one. I've read one other Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None, and I felt that same about that as well. All the characters confused me, and I'm just not a fan of the style.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I enjoyed this one. It's a gothic sort of story-within-a-story, but written in a more modern way. It's about a woman who's been asked by one of the country's most famous writers to write her biography (which is as twisted as you expect in a gothic story), while she confronts her own issues from the past. The twist makes you do a bit of a double take (and is also a bit unrealistic), and then you realise that there have been clues all along. It's a fun and satisfying read, would recommend it.

Hopefully these ones have launched me out of the slump! Anyone got any recommendations?

April 18, 2016

Click these & forgetfulness

Going for run at dusk along the beach, which I've been driving past on the way home from placement every day. Except this was a really painful run, as I'd forgotten earphones and gosh time goes so slowly when you can't listen to music. Because I'm a genius with a clear and organised mind, I'd forgotten a hair elastic too and couldn't find a rubber band or any kind of material to be used as a hair tie anywhere, so I deconstructed a latex glove as an alternative (and ended up having to cut it out of my hair).

In other news, I turned 23 last Thursday. Two years away from being a leftover woman, as I've been taking great delight in mentioning. For the record, I'm Chinese and my parents were originally from China but they've never mentioned anything about urgently wanting me to get married (although my dad has been telling me to at least talk to some boys).

Click these
  • Fantastic Beasts trailer - look I thought I was over it but when the Harry Potter theme song came on I almost cried with excitedment. Too bad, as a lot of people have been pointing out, there seems to be an odd lack of POC for a movie set in New York.
  • I feel like this year I've been bombarded with pictures of sakura in Japan... kind of wanting to go now. Pencilled in for the next time in my life I get a holiday in April.
  • I had the day off today so this morning I finally got around to making Rachel's eggy bread, i.e. savoury french toast. The tomatoes are so good with it, don't skip that part.
  • Two more breakfasts from Michelle for my next lazy morning.
Lately on Deluminators
  • In case you missed any of them, my posts about Spain when I was there last January: Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Ronda, Seville.
  • My travel index page is now up to date. I feel like the photos are still a bit overwhelmingly large, so I'm probably still going to tweak it a bit.

April 16, 2016


The last of Spain!

Seville was our last stop in Spain before we went onto Portugal. Probably one of the most well known Spanish cities, but somehow I just wasn't feeling it. I don't know why, because it has all the ingredients of a city I should like - I was probably just getting jaded.

April 15, 2016


If you're getting sick of my Spain posts, at least click into this one.

Nope, I had never heard of Ronda until Wai Lam insisted we add it to our Spain itinerary. Apparently she had seen pictures of this small Andalusian town on Pinterest (social media travel generation indeed). After she showed me the photos, I agreed that we had to go.

April 14, 2016

Granada ii

Continuation of my Granada post from yesterday.

April 13, 2016

Granada i

The Spain posts from my time there in January roll on...

Before I visited Spain, I didn't know much Spanish history and I only vaguely knew about its Moorish influences. The Moors, originally from north Africa, were actually in Spain for several centuries and left a lot of cultural legacy. The architecture in southern Spain in particular is quite influenced by Islamic architecture, which is why it's so different to the rest of Western Europe. It took the Christians hundreds of years to "reconquest" Spain, beginning from the north, and Granada was the last Moorish stronghold. It's a smaller city, but very touristy due to the main attraction - the Alhambra.

April 12, 2016


For the rest of this week, I'm going to be posting the photos from Spain from my January travels daily - cause if I don't get these over with I'll be writing about this trip for the rest of my life.

Madrid was our second stop in Spain after Barcelona, so it was easy to compare the two. Madrid has more of a big city vibe, and there's loads to see and do. In my opinion, though, Barcelona is more charming - kind of like how Melbourne is a bit more atmospheric than Sydney (and I say this as a proud Sydneysider). Nevertheless, I still enjoyed Madrid.

April 11, 2016


For the rest of this week, I'm going to be posting the photos from Spain from my January travels daily - cause if I don't get these over with I'll be writing about this trip for the rest of my life.

Montserrat is about an hour by public transport from Barcelona, so I did this as a day trip while Wai Lam went to Figueres to see the Dali Museum (which I wish I had time to go to as well). Montserrat is the mountain, and on the mountain is a monastery, the Santa Maria de Montserrat.

April 10, 2016


For the rest of this week, I'm going to be posting the photos from Spain from my January travels daily - cause if I don't get these over with I'll be writing about this trip for the rest of my life.

After Egypt, I flew into Barcelona where Wai Lam, my travel buddy of Europe '13, was waiting for me at the baggage carousel. After a good sleep, we woke up to a city which was... very quiet, because it was a public holiday. To be honest, I didn't have many expectations of Barcelona. I thought it would be another overrated city... I was wrong. So wrong. This sounds nonspecific and vague, but it's just a lovely place to be. The city is beautiful, people are nice, it's very atmospheric but not pretentious, and super clean.

April 9, 2016

Fratelli Fresh

After a day in the sun traipsing around Cockatoo Island last Saturday, we were pretty hungry and headed to Fratelli Fresh to sort ourselves out.

Arancini balls. I love arancini balls. I don't know why I always agree to share them - next time I'm just going to get an entire plate for myself.

The mains that we shared. The fried polenta was so good, I'm not sharing this next time either. The lamb ragu was a bit too lamb-y for my taste, the creamy mushroom pasta was pretty nice, and the mozarella on tomato was as good as you can possibly expect mozarella on tomato to get.

I believe there are a few locations, but we went to the one on Bridge St, which has a big basement setup. Would definitely go back!

April 7, 2016


Hasn't been an outfit post on here in a while - I haven't sorted a remote for my new camera yet. In the meanwhile, here is a series of Awkward Outfit Selfies, and you guys can try to imagine how they actually looked in person.

H&M stripe tshirt / Cotton On pants / Saltwater sandals / Evolution tote.

Tommy Hilfiger shirt / Mango trousers / Dune chelsea boots / Daniel Wellington watch*.

ASOS baseball top / Glassons trousers / Bass loafers.

April 4, 2016

20th Biennale: Cockatoo Island

Another one already? The passage of time is terrifying. As the name suggests, the Biennale is an art festival held every two years, across various locations in Sydney. Cockatoo Island is one of them, and usually my favourite to visit - but this year it seems they've spread things out over the city a bit more, and there was less to see there.

April 1, 2016

Click these & back to reality

Some sneaky Messina after a catch up in Surry Hills today.

So the last four weeks have gone slow-quick - they dragged on somewhat, but at the same time I can't believe it's April now. I've more or less slipped back into regular life, and I'm currently halfway through my psychiatry term. I don't think I'm cut out for psychiatry, but the team was lovely and I always appreciate it when people take out the time to teach. I'd never had much clinical exposure to mental health before, and it's been pretty eye opening. I've got a week off now, and as usual I'll probably be trying to cram in everything that I've been meaning to do but haven't. Not even actual uni work. Like, there are a couple of dresses I need to handwash.

Click these
  • Book unhaul. My approach to books has been the total opposite to the one I take with clothes; I'll buy anything and hoard the ones I don't even like. Somehow I've justified it in that books are an intellectual investment but I literally can't fit any more onto my shelves right now.
  • Really regretting that I hadn't known about God's Own Junkyard when I was still in London - it's a collection of neon signs and it looks so sick!
  • I never made it to the seaside in the UK either, loving these Margate streetscape shots.
  • 30 ethical fashion brands. I've been thinking more about ethical fashion beyond minimising what I buy and taking care of my clothes properly. Unfortunately I wouldn't have the time to research the ethics of every single brand, so lists like these are quite helpful. Here's another good list, let me know if you've seen any others around!
Last month on Deluminators, because I think I made a record number of posts.
  • 3 months in a backpack review - how my packing ended up going for me (packing post here).
  • Egyptian Museum - I liked hearing everyone's opinions re: artefacts taken by other countries (unfortunately some of the comments have disappeared for me in last weeks weird Disqus/Blogger business).
  • Life lessons in travel was probably my wordiest post ever, so... please read it if you haven't?