Erotic Short Story Prize + I'm Autistic + Turning 26 + Lessons in Chemistry Review 🔬

Hello! I bring you a jumbo newsletter today to make up for recent (quiet) weeks. Next year I might make this a go-by-feeeel Friday Newsletter. To put the emphasis on quality work, content and recipes! Rather than feeling like I need to stick to a strict fortnightly plan - when I don't have much to share.

November's been a biggy. My parents were in the UK for all of it - so it flew by in a flurry of my own buzy-ness, being more present for my grandmother (while all other relatives are overseas) and just a general increase in responsibilities. I had my autism assessment, turned 26, saw three British Film Festival films, baked and wrote a lot for Frankie Magazine. They sent me their 2024 calendar and diary as a thank you for all my work for them this year - and it feels so nice to be valued like that!


My autism assessment has been and gone and I was deemed with high diagnostic confidence that I am Autistic. Yay! I don’t have any strong feelings about it. I might make a cake with congratulations you’re autistic on it hehe and pop out a bottle of alcohol free champagne (is that any good?). I guess I’d 98% processed it and was just waiting on confirmation.

The assessment was pretty straightforward. It was bizarre and really validating to have someone know what you were talking about before you did. My assessor had the biggest brain, I wish I could have talked to her for hours. The only thing I’m bummed about is that I showed very strong signs for ADHD as well and need to follow that up. So my answer seeking is not done yet and I have more questions then I went in with. But I’m just going to push that to the side for now - I feel like I need a brain-analysis break!

Telling people (timidly, I admit) has been a bit weird. Some ‘awkward silence’ or ‘changing the topic’, trying to quantifying it (like ‘you’re only mild’, ‘where on the spectrum do you sit’, ‘well you’re not like those annoying autistic boys’) or the classic - ‘half the population is now’ and ‘well we’re all on the spectrum’ - which are not problematic in of themselves, just come from a tiresome mis-informed place.

SUGGESTED PREFERRED RESPONSE... anything positive or understanding of its significance! Like congratulations, that's awesome! Or I’m so proud of you, you must have been through a lot to get to this point! Finding out your neurotype is a big vulnerable deal so I’d also urge you to expect the person to take a (life-)long time to process and grow into it - from what you see (aka feel comfortable enough to unmask around you and implement strategies/behaviours that help them cope).

Current food faves recently have been self-serve açai (dream), vegan ham & cheese salad sandwiches (nostalgic), anything tofu/rice related (see this week's recipe) and royal mints (because 'tis the season, they're incidentally vegan and the perfect lil' dessert with a cup of tea!).

Pictured on the right is some Christmas bunting my other grandmother (in QLD) made for my birthday. The work involved is quite overwhelming, I'm so touched and... wait it's December 1st today... can't wait to hang it very soon!


Funny thing... the erotic short story I wrote a couple of months back got a Highly Commended in the Stringybark Erotic Short Story Competition! I find this to be such a giggle, but also perhaps just the tonic in these heavy times. I'm equally mortified and proud of it. It's a trauma-informed, sex worker involving, gender-blurring story. If you're brave enough to read it (lol) you can buy the anthology of this year's awarded stories for around $2.75 AUD with the discount code UV53U.

An essay I wrote about Australian composer Matthew Webster's biographical orchestral album about living with mental illness, This Too Shall Pass, is now up on my website! The niche-ness of this piece made it too hard to get published so I've self-published it instead. Matt's album came out yesterday! It's truly something special and if you're into soundtracks or the intersection between mental health & creative work I highly recommend you give it a read!


I have more Plantasia cookbooks !! They're all bookshop rejects because of very slight spine dents or cover knicks that they were worried about. Because of which, they're nicely discounted!

Remember to order by December 18th in time for Christmas delivery.


I've been making tiramisus, lots of sausage rolls, cupcakes and cookies recently!

I bought some edible flowers because mine were all infested with bugs because of the muggy weather we've been having (grr!), but no regrets really because Pansies on cupcakes are too darn sweet.

My last flash sale will be on Sunday December 10th (if I don't fall sick or something!). Amongst other things it will include Christmas sausage rolls, Swedish sandwich cake, apple crumble lamingtons with custard and pistachio tiramisu!


Lessons In Chemistry | For such a slick, high budget, enjoyable miniseries - I thought there just wasn’t enough of it! If you’ve read the book (no spoilers) you know there are many, many concurrent storylines. The series includes most of them, but so many are just hinted at - giving a nod too - only to never be heard from again. Other’s take place in such efficient scene-succession you wonder if you’re only keeping up because you read the book.

I was honestly bat-shit bored by Brie Larson’s acting (or lack of) in the first episode, until I realised (in the second episode) that that’s what makes her the perfect person for the part. As the characters' traumas have made her thick skinned and reserved to keep herself safe in the world. I read a review of this that said it’s perfect ‘light’ viewing. I don’t know what she was watching (maybe just the first ep) but noooo, trigger warning for suicide, rape and sexual assault (if I’m not forgetting something). I really enjoyed it, but wished there were another two episodes to do the book justice.

These are the films I saw this month as part of the British Film Festival. One Life and Wicked Little Letters were seriously good and based on almost unbelievable real-life stories. Northern Comfort was just a bit too weird for me, the humour not to my taste.

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I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage, By Clementine Ford | This is Clementine’s latest sociological, cultural look-in - this time into the world of marriage. Through personal-experiences and extensive social/historical research she makes a pretty convincing case for how f*cked up it really is. I definitely recommend this to people who are on that path so they can make a truly conscious choice. Ford’s writing felt completely at ease - like this book couldn’t be more in her element. So if her last one about love didn’t grab you as much as Boys Will Be Boys & Fight Like A Girl, I think you’ll enjoy this.

What You’re Looking For Is In The Library, By Michiko Aoyama | I’m trying to make peace with (I think) my super autistic attitude to fiction. Some novels I absolutely adore! But they’re so hard to find and just dipping into any ficticious world requires so much effort to try something different and nudge my imagination into the world of the book.

Anyway, this cosy Japanese book is really sweet - about different (interlocking) characters who find comfort and assistance from their varyingly-aged crisis at the local community library. The librarian responsible is painted a real-life genie – able to read the minds of those who seek her. I most appreciated the lack of neat happy endings. Instead we follow each character from a stuck-point in life to where they’re full of hope and optimism for the future - a much more realistic place to end on I think!

*not new reeeeads exactly, but these are two cookbooks I got for my Birthday !!


This week's recipe is for Spiced Tofu & Cauliflower w Spinach Rice & Raita. I was inspired to try and recreate my fave Soulara meal and stOp the CloCK, this is even better. It's in the class of gently spiced food that tastes like baby-food (like a really good Saag, you know?). Super comforting and far more than the sum of its parts.

Thank you for reading & supporting my work,

Phoebe (they/them) x