Last weekend my parents came to visit and it always gets me a bit nostalgic. Reminiscing about being a child and family memories. Born in 1981 I was a child of the 80’s and 90’s and there are so many things I remember fondly about growing up then and growing up Up North too so I wanted to share some things I remember about growing up in the late 80's and 90's.
Now this was a serious treat and a brilliant one at that. I was never more excited than when we would rock up at the Beefeater Old Schoolhouse where I would promptly devour scampi and chips and a chocolate ice-cream sundae topped with nuts. Usually by the time I got to the end it was sooo sickly as it was pretty much just chocolate sauce and my mum would say “Are you flagging?” and then something along the lines of “Eyes bigger than your belly?”
The other place we loved to go was Smithills Coaching House which if you are from my neck of the woods you might know with its dark interior, red glass tealight holders and incredible salad bar. Sadly, this and the Old Schoolhouse have both been turned into flats now which is so sad. Plus I tell you what else, when we went out for dinner, we sat at the table and behaved. No legging it round the restaurant, a sight I see all too often now.
MacDonalds was also a rare but brilliant treat. If we were driving home from somewhere and we headed towards those golden arches or if my dad grabbed his car keys on a Saturday and went out to get us a happy meal I would literally be over the moon. We would eat it in in the living room in front of Baywatch and Gladiators on TV. Plus, the Happy Meal toys were sooooo much better. I had the whole Beauty and the Beast collection (first time round – showing my age now lol) and I sold them all to a lady in the newspaper. I dread to think how much they’d be worth now probably.
TV AND FILMS
Speaking of Saturday night tv, we always watched it as a family. Noels House party was a particular favourite and I’ll admit I was a HUGE Mr Blobby fan. I had a t-shirt, a blow-up Mr Blobby and even had a Mr Blobby cake and a blobby balloon that my dad wandered round Bury Market to find for my birthday. I miss those times of all sat round watching films together like Back To The Future and Indiana Jones, my eyes being covered by my mum with a cushion if bits were too scary for me to see. FYI I still can’t watch the scene when the guys face melts in Raiders of The Lost Ark. I loved heading down to Blockbuster video to help my dad choose out a movie too. Ahhh the days before Netflix.
My favourite films were Dirty dancing (of course), Supergirl (hence why I'm dressed as her down below) and The Goonies.
FASHION FAUX PAS
When I was growing up Primark was definitely not cool. Not like now with thousands of people watching Primark hauls online. Back then it had a very different reputation and I would despair when I had to wear it. But there were pieces of clothing that I still remember now. The jeans I tried to cut into shorts to wear to a school disco to wear with my mum’s leather jacket. Some failed attempt to look like Madonna I’m sure. My Eclipse jeans that I wore in my teens during my skater phase, my striped Kappa trackies which let’s be honest are bang on trend right now (everything comes back around) and the Global Hypercolour t-shirts that changed colour as you warmed up. I remember clothes from Tammy Girl, Clockhouse and C&A very clearly and I wore pretty much every 90’s trend at some point including combat trousers, Kickers shoes, mood rings and the classic skirt over trousers look. If you want to see some cringe photos of my fashion then do take a look at this post.
My thing when I was little was novelty slippers. My uncle worked for a shoe company and every Christmas I would receive the most outlandish, incredible and usually completely impractical slippers. I had huge fluffy dogs, bears, gorillas and even monster feet I think. These days I favour the fluffy Ugg style boots slippers but I am so tempted by a unicorn pair of slippers just to relive my childhood.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
Long before my food intolerances and my gluten free days I could eat all my favourite things. Some of them were Milk Roll, a soft round loaf that was soooo yummy for sandwiches and which I’m reliably informed you can still buy now, Fiendish Feet yoghurts and Squeeze it drinks. My mum made cakes all the time. Her yummy chocolate cake with buttercream was my favourite mixed up in her orange plastic mixing bowl, a bowl she still has and still uses now and the best bit was when I got to lick the spoon. My mum made recipes from magazines and tore out the pages and kept them tucked between the pages of her St Michael cookbook. One of my favourites was yoghurt surprise which was basically a mixture of yoghurt and cream which she would spoon into cut glass ice cream dishes with dark brown sugar sprinkled on top. Tooth decay in a glass but it was soooo yummy.
My mum’s birthday cakes were also legendary and I’ll never forget my horses head cake for my 7th birthday or my brothers cake made to look like beans on toast.
Fizzy pop was also a total treat and not something we got to drink every day. I remember fondly my Auntie Betty and Uncle Colin having a massive fridge in the garage and we would excitedly choose our can from the huge stock of Tizer and Dandelion and Burdock.
I had some pretty cool toys when I was younger including a Fisher price telescope, Fisher price teapot and treehouse, My Little Pony, Sweet Secrets and a super cool sweetshop with mini cans and comics. A Barbie camper van which my dad spent the whole of Christmas day putting together and sticking stickers on. My absolute favourite were my Wuzzles. A Disney/Hasbro toy that was a combo of two animals and came with a book too. I actually still have mine and hope to have them in my child’s room if we ever have kids.
My brother had this amazing truck toy called Big Track which you could program moves into and then press go. I was quite jealous I’ll be honest. The best day at school was the last day of term when you could bring a toy in and I would always take my Fabulous Fred a total 80’s electric toy I had handed down from my sister.
Also toys were to be found inside cereal which was just the best thing EVER! As a firm lover of Kelloggs Coco Pops I was always hunting down in the box for the toy including plastic multicolored reflectors you could clip on your bike wheels. There were so many good toys, too many to mention, the dancing coke can, the dancing flower that I ALWAYS wanted, Glowbugs, Spirograph. Plus some toys so good that they either remade them or still make them now like Mr Frosty the drinks maker that took you two hours of turning the tinniest plastic handle to make one small cup of slush and Trolls which have made a huge reappearance recently. I literally could go on and on.
PETS AT HOME.
I wanted a dog my whole childhood I used to cuddle any dog I could and did spend a large amount of time at my grandma's sitting in her dog Sally's bed with her. As both my folks worked full time it wasn’t possible, but I did manage to persuade them to let me have a hamster. I vividly remember my dad taking me to the pet shop and buying me all the stuff. A cage, a ball for her to roll around in and of course the little hamster itself which in a small box squawked oddly the whole way home and never let anyone but me hold her. I named her Matilda and I loved her so much. A year later after a problem with her eye she had to go to the vets and have it removed. So she became my little one eyed hamster and its only now I realise how much my dad must have spent at the vets because he knew how much I loved her. Sadly, the year after she died whilst I was on holiday and friends were looking after. We do joke now that there was no chance of them buying another hamster and passing it off as Matilda as there’s not many one eyed hamsters at the pet shop. I did go on to have another hamster later called Biscuit but I always dreamed about a dog and even tried to start my own dog walking business.
SWIMMING POOLS WERE COOL
Swimming baths were the coolest place ever when I was a kid and I loved anywhere with slides or a wave machine. The best place to go was The Water Place in Bolton where lines of kids would happily queue up a glass tower for the slides while passers-by could see us all in our bathers (yep my mum called them bathers, so so did I) and we didn't seem to care.
I loved swimming, a true Pisces at heart. I had swimming lessons and always remember the dive for a rubber brick in your pyjamas lesson which did serve me well years later when I would dive to the bottom of the pool on holiday to retrieve pesetas lost from other tourist’s pockets. I did in fact go for a date once to a swimming pool with a boy called James, but I was so nervous I made my other friend Andrew come too ha ha. I still do love a good swimming pool though I'm probably more likely to not want to get my hair wet than diving to the bottom.
Lastly music. I was brought up loving Dire Straits after my dad played them in the car on countless holidays driving to France but I still listened to the Top 40 and attempted to record it on my tape player, quickly pressing stop and then play and record trying to avoid the adverts. I was a big New Kids on The Block fan and I had a page pulled out from Smash Hits with all the words to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice which I promptly learnt off by heart. The first music I ever bought was a vinyl single by East 17 which I most likely got from Our Price and my youth club days were spent dancing to No Limit by 2 Unlimited and I loved Kriss Kross and their backwards trousers. And I must confess I wanted to be the scary looking one in Shakespeare's Sister and used to sing her solo from Stay all the time. To the day if I hear Ultrabeat's Mr Vain all I can think of is doing aerobics in gym class at high school.
I literally could have written soooo many more memories but I'd love to know yours from growing up and what your favourite toys or food was and if any of mine sound familiar too?
mr blobby image from The Mirror | Water Place image from the bolton news