A Recipe For Treasure by Lena McDonald

A Recipe For Treasure by Lena MacDonald

A Recipe For Treasure by Lena McDonald - Flash in list for a recipe for capturing memories simple items binding generations of women together a story to celebrate International Women's Day

Words for International Women’s Day 2021

A Recipe For Treasure


  • One old mug, with a chipped rim and a faded image of The Gummi Bears on the front
  • One tea bag, fresh, preferably green
  • One bag of pear drops
  • One box of tissues
  • One cardboard box, dented at the corners
  • One old stuffed toy, well-loved
  • One old photograph of yourself as a child with Mum and Nan, in front of Ogmore Castle
  • One pale pink and white baby blanket, hand-knitted
  • Two old candles
  • One box of matches


  1. Boil 250ml of water and pour into the old mug. Add the fresh tea bag and allow to steep for one minute. Remove the tea bag from the cup. Put the used tea bag in the bin.
  2. Take your tea into the living room, collecting a large box of tissues and a bag of pear drops on the way.
  3. Sit cross-legged on the floor in front of a large cardboard box, retrieved from the attic earlier this morning.
  4. Take a sip of tea, swearing because it’s too bloody hot.
  5. Open the box and remove the stuffed toy, photograph, baby blanket and candles.
  6. Get back up, making a noise that suggests you are several decades older than you are.
  7. Find a box of matches in the drawer of lost things.
  8. Sit back down, light the candles and take another sip of tea. Blow on it first this time.
  9. Suck a pear drop. You’ve never liked them but they were your Nan’s favourite.
  10. Unfurl the baby blanket and place it over your knees. Get a faint whiff of mothballs.
  11. Pick up the stuffed toy and cuddle firmly. Recall the time you dropped it in a puddle and Mum put it in the washing machine.
  12. Grab a tissue and wipe the tears as the memory of your five year old self crying at the sight of Lambie hanging on the washing line by its ears (you were worried that Lambie’s ears would hurt) comes flooding back.
  13. Take another sip of tea, holding the pear drop in your cheek as if you were a hamster.
  14. Blow your nose, sniff the air and realise that the candles are rose scented. They remind you of the hand soap your Nan used to have.
  15. Look at the old photograph and remember that day when, aged six, you fell in the river next to the castle because the stepping stones were wet and your confidence was greater than the length of your stride.
  16. Laugh lots. Cry more, wishing your Nan was still alive. Ignore tissues.
  17. Hug Lambie again. Promise him he won’t go back in the box.
  18. Alternate between drinking tea and wiping face until your heart and stomach are both full.
  19. Phone your Mum. She’ll know what to say to make you feel better.
  20. Treasure both old and new memories forever.

About Lena
Lena MacDonald is a writer of flash fiction, slightly inappropriate poetry and (hopefully soon!) a novel currently living in Gloucester, UK. She grew up in South Wales as an avid reader and writer, particularly of murder mysteries and adventure stories. Having only discovered flash fiction in the summer of 2020, she will shortly be publishing work in Go Havok magazine. Lena can be found on twitter @helenmacwrites

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