post-viral slog + frankie photoshoot + cheesy kimchi rice

Hi friends, I hope this finds you well & happy as a clam! I've found myself in post-viral land. Since getting sick at the start of April and never FULLY recovering from that, I became really unwell 4 weeks ago with fatigue, aches and the feeling that a bowling ball was on my chest. It's been very slowly up & down since then. I think I'm heading in the right direction, it's just such a gradual healing process. I've never experienced anything like it.

I'm trying to be realistic about how long it could take to fully recover and just take it day by day, but yep it's shit and scary at times. Would not recommend. I've been re-listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks to keep my brain from spiralling (spiralling about the HP universe instead lol) and making my world really small. Dog walk, eating and rest are the day's main objectives, while also cat sitting for a couple of weeks. It's been stressful having to cancel some work things and make educated guesses about whether I'll be well enough to do future commitments. But I'm trying to juggle not thinking too far ahead with letting people know in advance. What else can ya do?!

Here's what I've been up to...


I'm in the new Frankie 'Feel-Good' Issue volume. 4 (available in newsagents & online) – a special mental wellbeing themed issue they do every year to support readers in the depths of the winter. I was interviewed for a story on people's comfort zones (mine being my bedroom). I also wrote a piece about my love of the "off-peak". Very proud of my contributions to this issue and to be mentioning things like masking and meltdowns in such a prominent mag!

Frankie's 20th Birthday Special Issue is also currently out and I have a piece in the Ode to Childhood Heroes section... about the actor Andrew Scott!


I haven't been cooking much recently & am grateful for a box of Soulara plant-based meals arriving today to give me a break from the mental load of feeding myself. Most of these eats are from the start of June.

Created some Miso, Ginger & Spinach Noodles which hide a butt-tonne of spinach and taste like take-out. I attempted some Afghan Balls (made with eggplant, potato, tomato) after seeing the already vegan recipe in a library cookbook. They somewhat fell apart and were a bit too acidic for me but were still scruffy with The Loopy Whisk's gluten-free naan. A chocolate & hazelnut cake, which was unsurprisingly... dreamy!

Spinach Beans over Creamy Cheesy Polenta with YAY Feta (SO GOOD), Vietnamese-Style Lemongrass Veggie Mince Bowl and the most delicious plate of Tofu, Veggies & Rice (I twice cooked the parsnips and they were 12/10)!!

Arayes (spiced mince filled grilled pita) with Tzatziki and Garlic Parmesan Tofu Tenders (which were the most ludicrously good grub I've shoved in my mouth).

Tried some edible Cookie-Dough (a pass from me), a Weetbix Slice (big tick!) and the Caramelised Biscuit Fancy Plants Protein Pud (a no from me). I thought the flavour would be reminiscent of Biscoff – but it just tasted like weak chai gloop.

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Austin is a new series starring Australia's beloved Love on the Spectrum cast member Michael Theo. I had such low expectations but the budget, cast and script were beyond decent (a co-production between Australia & the UK). It's very chill, low-stakes viewing. I keep trying to decide what I think about the autism representation though and I guess...

Like everybody else, I watched Bridgerton Season 3. I found it both irritating and enjoyable in equal measure? Not the biggest fan of the main two characters, I liked Kate Bridgeton, the original Lady Bridgerton & John Stirling (Earl of Kilmartin) most this season.


Burn, by Melanie Saward, was required reading for the Toolkits fiction course I'm currently taking part in. It's a story about a young Indigenous teenager who lights fires as a coping mechanism for the neglect and difficulties he's faced in his life. It's complex, has a very real writing style (which I love) and keeps you in suspense to the very end. We had a private Q&A with Melanie (after this streamed event) and she was SO generous with her time - she really filled my creative cup with her answers. I will be reading her new book Love Unleashed which comes out August 6th – a romance about working at a doggy daycare in NYC (based on Melanie's time living in New York).

Joshua Fletcher's And how does that make you feel? caught my eye in the new-release section of the library. I swear this genre of therapists writing about their work/personal life as if you were in the room with them is my reality-TV addiction equivalent. So gripping! Anyway, Joshua Fletcher is a UK psychotherapist specialising in anxiety. I didn't exactly warm to him, he's quite robotic in his answers and takes a "cool-therapist" attitude at times – but the journey he & his clients go on was touching and insightful enough to keep me reading.

Taking Off The Mask by Dr Hannah Belcher is a short and sweet, evidence based compendium (from a UK Autistic researcher of masking & camouflaging) of ways to counteract the effects of minimising one's Autistic traits around non-Autistic people. The exercises & techniques draw from adapted-CBT, DBT skills and compassion focused therapy and address common comorbidities like depression, anxiety and having a well-honed (!) critical inner-voice. I liked it, some good takeaways and exercises written by someone who understands what it's like.

She and her Pretty Friend: the hidden history of Australian women who love women is by a lovely person (Dani) in the writing course I'm currently doing (I know, how cool!). I found reading this so inspiring and impressive. I've read a fair few Indigenous & Queer-themed Australian history books – but none exploring Australia's lesbian history. It was fascinating and deeply accessible. How Dani went about synthesising everything, while effortlessly inserting their POV at times was so skilfully done. Go pick up a copy & learn something new !


This Cheesy Kimchi, Tofu & Carrot Rice has been my repeat-meal for months now! It's simple, warming, comforting, gentle on the stomach and comes together in 10 minutes (perfect for wintery lunches). Kimchi + "cheese" is a warm-hug combination you need to try (it makes kimchi taste even better)! This recipe only requires some leftover rice and a bunch of fridge/staple ingredients. Please go make it!


I feel like I need to compensate for this light-on newsletter! So here's an in-season joke you are more than welcome to pass around the playground at snack time lol...

Q what's it called when you get a really good Mandarin?
(meaning easy to peel, few pips, nice & sweet etc.)

A a Mandarwin : )

Thank you for reading & supporting my work!

Phoebe (they/them) x