When Ricola Original got in touch and asked whether I’d like to be a part of their 75th birthday celebrations, memories of my childhood starting flooding back. Whenever my brother or I got a cold, these little sweeties would pop up and soothe even the sorest of throats, so the packaging and smell of them (to this day) still brings a massive sense of comfort to me. When you’re poorly and feeling run down, everyone has those little things that they turn to in order to start feeling better – and for me, aged 8 onwards – these were one of these things. Plus, there was a massive bonus that they tasted amazing – and we felt slightly naughty eating ‘sweets’ throughout the day.
So I replied and told them that I’d like to put together a post focusing on my favourite childhood memories, with the mouthwatering little herbal sweets bringing back visions of being a kid again. I popped one into my mouth and as the flavours of peppermint, marshmallow and elder blossom started to spring through, so did these lovely recollections (which I’m sure one or two of you might be able to relate to!)
Oddly, childhood memories aren’t something I very often think of or reminisce about really. I was lucky that I had a really lovely, happy childhood. My parents divorced when I was 8 and although things weren’t always overly amicable, I think the whole experience made me a stronger, more determined person. I think because I was so young, it was something I was always aware of and used to, however I do appreciate it is difficult for children the older they are. I’m close with both my parents now and so cherish these photographs.
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Saying that however, I have many many fond memories of being young. To kids in 2016, these things probably seem pretty rubbish. To me however (and I’m sure lots of you 90’s kids) they seemed like the best thing in the world at the time…
- Being presented with a fresh, unopened packet of Pokemon cards. Even better if you found a shiny one inside. My brother and I used to have a packet each if we’d been ‘good’ that week – and I remember being able to pick the packet I wanted first on one particular occasion. As luck would have it, mine was full of ‘useless’ potions and Jedd’s contained the almighty shiny Charizard. Gutted was an understatement.
- Walking into school with a new pack of smelly gel pens. This, teamed with a brand new snazzy fluffy pencil case made you feel like an absolute God. Like you could conquer the world. We weren’t allowed to use them in our normal day-to-day schoolwork, but when an occasion presented itself, you could whip out these babies – much to the envy of your classmates. Some of these didn’t smell exactly like the packaging specified but who cares. SMELLY.GEL.PENS.
- Getting a new CD with the song lyrics in the cover. For me, my ultimate CD had to be the S Club Juniors Best Hit album, which I dedicated a good month of my life to learning the lyrics of. Nowadays, we have to Google the lyrics or SHOCK HORROR, try and work out (through the auto tuning) what they’re actually saying.
- Karaoke Parties. Roller Discos. Party Rings. Everything about kids parties back in the day were amazing. I would happily just attend for the food alone. Karaoke parties in particular I absolutely adored, until one fateful occasion which would live to haunt me forever. Spice Girls just happened to come up on the list and immediately, I knew it was my turn to take to the stage. I’d never felt more ready. I gave (what I thought) was the best rendition of my life, breaking into a few moves along the way, just to put on the ultimate show for my adoring fans (ahem, friends). When it finished, I was so chuffed with myself and slightly out of breath because of the effort I’d put in. I turned around to be met with 12 ten-year-olds looking absolutely aghast at me. Some actually had their mouths open. It turns out the backing track was quieter than I thought and I was belting it out at the top of my lungs (admittedly I’d never had the best singing voice). No one had the words to say anything, nor did we speak of it for the rest of the evening. I have never sung karaoke again.
- Your weekend was SORTED with a trip to Blockbuster. Did this not feel like the best thing ever, going to choose a film, sneaking a bag of popcorn (or three) into the basket and anticipating your ETA for home so that you could delve in and watch. Nowadays it’s all so instant, although Netflix is fab – there’s not quite the same excitement.
- Feeling deflated every time your tamagotchi died. And then forgetting to feed it again. I’m not sure what it was with these little things, but for something so tiny, they were so needy.
- Dick and Dom in the Bungalow. The highlight of my weekend – and the original creators of the incredible game that is BOGIES.
- Jungle Run. The anticipation as the contestants made it through the final Monkey Temple. On the edge of your seat as it was always revealed that if they didn’t make it out before the timer ended, the monkey’s mouth would close and they’d be locked in there forever. Making a mental note to NEVER go on Jungle Run. Did anyone ever win the final Monkey Temple challenge? Not sure.
- Secretly hoping you were the owner of the largest Beanie Baby collection among all of your friends, with an impressive selection of frogs, teddies and cats. And then visiting your friend Amy’s house who had an entire room dedicated to these little things.
- Doing everything you could to make sure that your squashy alien thing had a baby. It was rumoured it could happen – and so I was to employ every method in my power to ensure it did. If only Google had been around, we’d have been able to confirm in these rumours were indeed true. SPOILER: it wasn`t.
- Deleting spaces and words in your texts so you weren’t charged another 10p. So stingy but so important.
- Finding the perfect MSN Screen Name. This involved working out the perfect combination of MSN emoticons, weaving in your besties initials and leaving a mysterious quote at the end, which could possibly catch the attention of your crush and make him wonder whether it was about him. Just in case he hasn’t spotted it, I’ll just sign in and out of MSN to make sure I pop up! That should do it.
- Wishing you had a Bernard’s Watch. Oh the things we could achieve with that thing. Saying that, I’d still kind of love one now.
- Mr Blobby. Is it just me or looking back, is he not REALLY creepy. How we loved this guy as a kid I’m not sure. Didn’t he just break things and chuck cakes around? Nevertheless, I was clearly easily impressed as I was a massive fan.
- The Macarena. I may have not been the best singer or dancer (evidenced above) but when this little number came on at the school disco, I was ready to CONQUER it. The only issue was knowing which way to turn. Do you rock it out on your own or follow the crowd?
- Microsoft Paint. Stuff your Instagram, the only pictures we cared about perfecting and filtering was our Paint doodles – which usually consisted of filling up areas with a limited amount of colours. We were all future Picasso’s on this programme.
- Passing Notes. Sending a Snapchat or Whatsapp doesn`t quite have the same effect as the anticipation after passing a note through class. Folded within an inch of its life and clearly stating the intended recipient on the front, usually these ended up being read by far more than you’d hoped. So a little tip was to keep things clean. Or it could even be read out by the teacher. A VERY embarrassing moment.
I hope you enjoyed my look back on my favourite childhood memories – including the comforting Ricola sweet addition. If you have any more you’d like to share – I’d love to hear them!
Please note, this post was sponsored but all opinions (and ten year old memories) are my own.