Equine Therapy + New Horizons + Black Forest Cheesecakes ✨

So good to be in your inboxes again Honeybunches! I hope you had a gentle holiday period and the new year has been kind to you so far. Apart from my grandmother loosing her bottom dentures on Christmas day (they still haven't turned up πŸ™ƒ) it was a welcomely quiet one - after the messy stress of last years. I got these Banana in Pyjamas PJs, made lots of yummy food and started applying for jobs and writing grants in the quiet week before 2024 (probably out of anxiety for the new year more than anything else).

My culinary highlight of Christmas Day was making a pistachio and white chocolate tiramisu. It wasn't too sweet and enjoyed by all. Recipe going in my next cookbook!

On the morning of January 1st, I drove up to Seville (Yarra Valley) to try equine therapy. It's been on my list of things to try for a while and I'm glad I made the effort (it's a bit of a drive). I loved the horse interaction components – giving them scratches, reading their body language and regulating each others nervous systems (no riding). However, the content was a little bit entry-level for me and didn't completely click. There was a lot of... so, be more like a horse. But a very sweet experience none the less. I am chuffed to say that all the horses liked me, including the ex-racer that doesn't like humans who they bought to help people work through rejection. Ha!

One concept I took away was that of the Good Will Bank. In that we might not always read an animal's body language right, we might accidentally step on their foot or knock their head on the fridge door but if 98% of the time we clearly have good intensions and are showing our love, care & affection, then they will accept the 2% of times we accidentally hinder rather than help. They'll also tolerate it when we ask them to do things they don't want to do (like go to the vet or, put on a harness or have medicine administered) because they know we mean well.

It all made me realised Merlin is very horse-like (in how bulky and physically clumsy he is), which can be especially frustrating for people who meet him , but is also part of what makes him so great.


As I mentioned, I've been applying and putting feelers out for things these last few weeks – in the search a new work/life balance which is more sustainable. It feels like there's a lot of things hanging in the air right now, but I'm trying to be optimistic and open to new opportunities coming along. Fingers crossed I'll have some good news in the next newsletter 🀞🏻


The new year has given me the gift of endless cooking inspiration! Maybe it's summer or not having the demands of the microbakery hanging over me, but I've been following what I fancy and making recipes I've had saved in my phone.

pictured: chopped watermelon & 'feta salad by @nourish_naturally, a zucchini seaweed snack rice bake by @cafemaddy and Deliciously Ella's nut butter chocolate chip cookies.

pictured: my favourite two-cheese avocado toastie with red onion, veggie nachos, a breakfast burrito toasted in my new air fryer, a yogo chocolate custard copy-cat (recipe in progress), festive sausage rolls and crΓͺpes from my new crΓͺpe pan!

I've also been on a Hetty McKinnon kick, which happens every summer! Her flavours are always so fresh and methods inviting for tired brains.

pictured: sweet & sour cauliflower over rice noodles, coriander pesto potato and fennel salad and thai green curry noodle soup.

more Hetty recipes: five spice tofu balls and five spice glass noodles with celery, asian greens and kimchi.


I had a lazy listen to The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes while completing a puzzle. I liked it more than I thought it would. Never the less none of the characters are likeable and even though I knoooow it's from the same universe as the Hunger Games I couldn't shake the feeling that it was fan-fiction or some HG knock off lol.

I was given the graphic novel, Eventually Everything Connects: Eight Essays on Uncertainty and oh my gosh this is the best graphic novel I think there is!! Aaaand it's set in so-called Australia, the author is a neurodivergent and is politically very relevant (it came out 2023)! I found it relatable, up-lifting, hilarious, cheeky and very validating.

A long-time friend of mine gave me My Brilliant Friend for Christmas. It's the first-part in a long, grazing series about two Italian girl's life-long friendship in 1950s Italy. It's not fast paced and I found keeping up with everyone's names really tricky. But overall I liked it's beautiful depiction of girlhood, childhood politics and friendships formed in the pressure cooker of your social/cultural/political climate.


I've only seen Next Goal Wins so far (regarding what's out right now) ~ it's very sweet, but definitely not Taika Waititi's best film. I think they could have cut it by 15 mins and ditched some of the easy jokes. But it had lush pacifica and trans representation and an unbelievable true story that leaves you feeling warm and smiley long after watching.

Oh my days, why did no one tell me VIGIL is THAT INTENSE!!! This is the most gripping series I have ever watched. If you love Suranne Jones, some highly implausible but ridiculously gripping (and claustrophobic) submarine espionage who-done-it thriller nonsense then watch it!!!! You'll be gripped from the first scene.

The latest season of British Bake Off has been the most silly, comforting, endearing watch. I was rooting for Saku, Tasha (first deaf contestant, woo!) and Rowan. But everyone seemed like genuinely lovely people, it made the competition component of it wonderfully irrelevant.


This week I'm sharing my Black Forest Cheesecake recipe from my 2019 cookbook, Straightforward. These are rich yet light, fresh yet decadent and the most lovely little dessert to bring a shin-dig anytime of year! I'm not usually a vegan cheesecake girlie, but these have long-been my exception. They taste like baked Yogo hm!

Thank you for reading & supporting my work,

Phoebe (they/them) x