Saturday, September 18, 2010

I got love for you, if you were born in the eighties ...

I had an amazing experience the other day ... I got to go on the Freefall!!! For those of you who don’t know what that is (bloody shame on you) it’s the huge vertical slide that those magical places like the Fun Factory and Bam Bam’s had. Despite the fact that it definitely seemed bigger back in the day when I was a mere four feet tall, it was still a major childhood flashback, and it made me think about other things that were very specific to my childhood, a lot of which have been overtaken by new fancy things (jaysus I sound like an auld one).

Enid Blyton
Dear god, for a long period of time her books were literally the only books I would read. I absolutely tore through them, and not just certain ones; all of them. The Secret Seven, the Famous Five, the Adventurous Four ... and then there was the series about the Five Find-Outers, which was one of my absolute favourites, and the ‘Adventure of ...’ series, about two sets of siblings who ended up living together, and the ‘Secret of ...’ series, about the group of siblings that ran away to live on a secret island. Not to mention the ‘Mallory Towers’ and ‘Twins at St Clare’s’ books (tell me I’m not the only one who was dying to go to boarding school ...?!) Following this obsession, the three ‘Circus’ books made me realise me ultimate goal in life was to run away and join a circus. My mother was soo happy ...

Super Ted tablets
This was an odd one, because I never actually watched Super Ted that much, I just remember being given a Super Ted iron tablet every single day and treating it like it was a sweet. Seriously, I wanted these things; I must have been the only kid I know who would have happily eaten a whole tube of these little Ted-shaped tablets.

Magic key shoes
Getting a new pair of shoes as a kid was such a big deal. You had to get your foot measured in that foot measurer contraption (which actually scared me, I was convinced my foot would get stuck), and then there was all this, “now walk to the end of the room for me”, and pressing the tip of the shoe to see where the toe was. And then I got magic shoes from Clarks, that had a key hidden inside them! Amazing ... I used to lie about my shoes being too small so I could get a new pair and another key ... my poor mother.

Ahh Bosco. Subject of many a debate over whether a tiny puppet that invited children to come and play in his box was actually really creepy. I thought he was amazing; I lived for this show, so much so that I made my poor mother record every episode so I could watch him and his magic door and his annoying, shrill voice over, and over, and over, and over (how has my mum not kicked me out of the house?!)

Penny sweets actually costing a penny
None of this two cent per sweet nonsense. And then there was the dip daps, the fizzy cola lollies, Frostie sweets, TK lolly pops, Wham! bars, Fizzy Dan bars, refresher bars, drumstick lolly pops, blackjacks and fruit salads, and Loveheart sweets. Each of which was likely twenty pence or less, I might add. Uh-may-zing.

Art Attack!
I was big into making things and being all artistic as a kid, and this show was like my televised Bible. I had a go at just about everything, and while some things weren’t half bad, if I do say so myself, other creations were a massive ball of paint, paper, and ‘PVA glue’. Once again ... my poor, poor mother.

Getting a prize in your cereal!
Why did they get rid of this?! Me and a friend of mine were talking about it a while back, and her little sister thought it was totally ludicrous to get a toy in a box of cereal. Dudes, it made me feel very old. But seriously, it was such a novelty, I absolutely loved getting those crappy little plastic pieces of junk. My mother hated them; understandably so, as there would inevitably be piles of cheap, broken toys floating around the house for her to stand on/trip over.

Get Set...!
Following on from ‘Art Attack’, ‘Get Set ...!’ was a creative company that made all sorts of do it yourself kits; the chocolate making one was my absolute favourite. I also had the stained glass set, the potter making set, the candle one, the jewellery one, the mosaic one, and the soap one. I went through an almighty phase of home making all my own presents, and presented many a weary family member with some atrocious piece of jewellery, or mouldy soap, or wonky candle. I totally thought I was the business. Ah bless them.
Oh jesus. I don’t think I even knew how to properly play with pogs, I just collected them. Cos they were awesome. As were stickers.

Dolls ...
That were interesting and different, and didn’t have names like ‘Kloe’ and ‘Bryanna’, and weren’t obsessed with fashion, despite being for kids under ten. Like Sky Dancers; fairy dolls that did actually whizz up into the air for a few seconds when you launched them off their launch pad. I drover my poor mother demented flinging these things all around the place. Then there were those dolls that you kind of squish up into the shape of a cupcake! And if I recall correctly, each one had a different smell ... and of course, back in the day Polly Pocket lived in a simple little box/thing, that actually fitted in your pocket, and did not have giant swimming pools and several storey houses. 

Here are a few others that might spark a happy memory ... spirograph, etch-a-sketch, magnadoodle, Tamagotchi, Furby, trolls, Play-Doh ... I could go on, I really could. Feel totally free to add your own, I’m sure I’ve forgotten a hundred things.


  1. Oh my god, magic key shoes!!! I actually remember that ad, the one where the girl gets the key and becomes a princess ... ahh, you just made my day with that memory :-)

  2. I had a pair of magic key shoes too! They were soo cool at the time. I'd like to add Sylvanian Families and Babysitters club books to the mix as well... good times.

  3. Oh my days. Sky Dancers were thee coolest. thing. ever.

  4. aaaah!!magic key shoes! i totally forgot all about those! i remember getting a poster of the girl in the ad with my shoes - god i so wanted to be her. i used to walk past old houses and wonder if the key in my shoe would open a magical gate in their garden. i remember showing them off in the playground - i was the COOLEST!!awwh.

  5. I was born in 1990, but you've basically described my entire childhood, especially the Get Set! kits, I LOVED those!

    I remember destroying the tiled floor in our utility room with homemade plaster from the mosaic kit. I never did finish that roman-esque scene...

    The chocolate kit was my favourite, though my family hated the year where I decided I was going to make the easter eggs!

  6. Liz - glad to brighten up your day :-)

    Sarah - ahh Sylvanian Families! How on earth did I forget those! I absolutely loved those things, I even had a big Rosie and Jim style barge boat that the Otter family lived on!

    Elle - glad someone else knows what I'm talking about, not many people seem to know what sky dancers were! I had loads of them; my favourite thing to do was see how many I could set off at once ... needless to say my mother did not share the same passion ...

    Skinni - I used to shove that key in every lock, I was convinced it would work in something! I had a poster too, it remained on my wall for quite some time after my last pair of key shoes!

    Polkadot - Oh I'd forgotten about making easter eggs! Ha my family weren't too keen on that either, for one thing I made my mum buy me a ridiculous amount of chocolate for them all, and the moulds were tiny compared to normal easter eggs! Then getting the two halves to stick together was a nightmare, and on top of all the chocolate, I insisted she buy smarties aswell to put inside them! God bless her for gritting her teeth and not stifling my 'creativity' ...!

  7. I loved Enid Blyton books-especiall the Faraway tree one's and of course Mallory Towers. I was dying to go to a posh boarding school in England, were I would get up to all sorts of high jinks :-)
    I had loads of Get Set sets too-I was such an arty crafty child.
    Your post brings back lovely memories.
    Sky dancers were soooo much better than any Barbie. I used to have a few Cindy dolls too.

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