Jake died. You never really know…

Here is Jake. Jake is my work colleague. Sorry, I mean Jake WAS my work colleague. We’ll never see him again. Ever.

Everyone, where I work, will always say this about Jake, he was lovely, he was friendly, he never had a bad word to say about anybody, he smiled even though we knew he was struggling with the loss of his father, we thought he was brave. A brave boy.

Last month I took one of the last photos ever of Jake, the one above. If only I knew he was so fragile, everyone is thinking that now about the last time they talked to Jake. If only we knew, if only we could have reached out….

Out of respect for the family I’ve not shared this for the last couple of weeks, to be honest I’ve been too sad too, but I’ve been assured by colleagues that doing everything possible to help Jakes family is something we must now all do. Jakes Mum lost her husband just months ago and now she has lost her darling boy. Being a mother who loves her children more than anything else on earth, I know her heart must be truly broken.

Mental Health, and not knowing how to deal with your thoughts and feelings, KILLS. There, I’ve said it. We have to be vigilant, make sure we have conversations out loud to anyone who will listen in our workplaces, in the pubs, on birthdays, at Christmas, at funerals. We have to normalize this quiet taker of our children, our friends, our family, in the hope it may save just one precious life so people like Jake’s mum get to hug their child for another day.

The financial burden for this family is now immense. At work we’ve decided to do all we can to at least help financially, pay for the funeral and a bit more, at least we can try.

There are two things I am asking my readers, my friends, my old friends to do right now. Any of them will help. Both of them will help more.

a) Share this post to start a mental health conversation

b) Please, please, please go without your takeaway coffee today and instead donate that money to Jakes family.


For everyone who donates anything or shares this post, I’ll add your first name to Jakes wall, I think it would be nice to give this to his Mum to show her how many people thought of her son. And for anyone who donates £5 or more I will send you a Christmas postcard, to say thank you for your kindness wherever you are in the world.

This is an effort by all of us at work so please if you donate, drop me a message with your name (and address if you’d like me to send you a postcard in December).

I really didn’t know what I could do to raise money so I hope you don’t mind.

I thank you with all my heart,

C xxxxxx

Cheers Jake

PS: Filling up Jakes wall with the first names of all those who have shared blog or social posts or donated and I’m going to print it off and mount it for his Mum just so she can see how many people were thinking of him. Thank you once again all xxx

The Soldier

Please listen, Lest We Forget. C xxx

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

By Rupert Brooke, 1915

Thank you for your 8 million page views.

It blows my mind but also comforts me that there are many people out there who still remember and hold on strong to some of the values and sensibilities our parents, grandparents and great grandparents possessed. To know there ARE people remembering and in some ways reliving these values through education and re-creation makes me happy.

It is so hard to truly understand the times and conditions families had to endure, the uncertainty, the unknown, tragedy, sadness, joy, elation, the psychological anguish…. no we can’t really understand, not unless we have lived through it ourselves and that applies to our modern day lives too. We NEVER really know how someone else is feeling, how they are coping, how they are managing to get through their day. We need to be kind, we need to look out for our neighbour.

I digress…This hefty, old, creaking blog (much like myself) has enjoyed so many of your stories (9,500 comments), has 818 posts and nearly 200 recipes published, 1.8 million visitors and over 8 million views.

According to some friends, I own Google (well for wartime recipes and WW2 recipe searches). Google has referred people to my blog 1.7 million times from it’s search engine, Facebook 170,000 times and Pinterest 34,000 times. Sounds like I’m boasting ….probably am a bit.

Community means everything to me. I feel privileged to be able to glimpse into so many amazing lives and thoughts through your comments and interactions. Thank you for continuing to visit and for sharing your thoughts and expertise. I always look forward to reading your comments and discussions.

Wishing you all the best, C xxxxxx

Sage Lilleyman recreates a recipe from my blog

It was great to wake up and discover that Sage Lilleyman had given my hefty old blog a lovely shout out to her 147k subscribers. She did a great job on the recipe, I need to recreate and rephotograph it though. I was so broke at the time (10 years ago and newly single with 3 children) that the photos were taken with something that had cost me $5 (I was living in Canada at the time). You can tell but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Struggles shape us…

I digress, Sage is adorable, her aesthetic which is vintage 40s/50s is so interesting and she has chickens and eats 3 portions of cottage pie. You need to check out her complete series of recipes on her YouTube channel here and subscribe!

While you’re at it give me a subscribe too, my videos are terrible in comparison and all over the place (like my brain) but with only 740 subscribers it would be lovely to gain a few more. The 1940s Experiment on YouTube here.

Finally a thank you to Melanie Lester over on YouTube who let me know, I appreciate that and thank you once again to Sage, a huge compliment!


Sage Lilleyman on Instagram

Sage Lilleyman on YouTube

C xxxxxx

Parsnip Pudding – Recipe No. 196

So when I saw this recipe for a strange wartime pudding made out of parsnips (no fat, no flour) I immediately thought of the fun and games I had creating mock banana sandwiches made out of parsnips. Knowing that I had 4 gnarly parsnips hiding under limp romaine lettuce in my salad drawer of the fridge, there was no doubt in my mind that now was the time to give it a go and of course taste test!

As I write this I’m waiting for the puddings to finish baking so will share my verdict right at the end. My thoughts are it won’t be unpleasant but it will likely be a strange taste and texture. The sort of dish that if you offered to unwitting friends or family members, they might comment “ooo this is unusual, it reminds me of something but I can’t quite put my finger on it”. I would of course reply, “ahh yes that will be because it’s fat free” and they would then add another spoonful to their bowl.

HONEST FINAL VERDICT: It tasted strange, I definitely wouldn’t give this to visitors unless I didn’t want them to come back again. At first a hard hit of parsnip quickly knocked on the head with chocolate and sweetness. It didn’t rise as I expected and with hindsight I put this down to not enough bicarbonate of soda and too much milk. The mixture was too sloppy. You can see from the photos and video what I mean. A spectacular aesthetic fail! Well a field full of cow pats complete and utter fail really! The things I do for Queen and country!

Here is the recipe!


  • 2 medium or 3 large peeled, chopped, well cooked, cold, mashed parsnips
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • up to 1/2 pint of warm milk
  • sugar, sweetener or golden syrup


Peel, chop, steam or boil the parsnips until well cooked and nice and soft.

Drain and run under cold water to hasten the cooling process

Mash the parsnips well then add in the cocoa (to you own taste but be warned it will taste bitter until you add in the sugar or syrup) and pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

Add in the syrup or sugar or sweetener to your own taste (which is when the cocoa no longer tastes too bitter and the parsnip isn’t overwhelming!). Mix well.

Add the warm milk bit by bit and mix well inbetween. Add enough so the mixture is smooth. (I used about 1/3rd of a pint of plant based milk and it was quite runny but from my final results I would say 1/4 of a pint would be better)

Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 180C

Serves 4.

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