6 things we REALLY miss from growing up in the Nineties

21st Nov 18 | Lifestyle

Prudence Wade takes a nostalgic look back at the era that brought us the Spice Girls and dial-up Internet tone.

Animals Crufts/Internet

Even though many of us can remember the dodgy eyebrows and spaghetti straps like it was yesterday, in reality, the beginning of the 1990s was nearly 20 years ago.

And while some Nineties fashion trends have well and truly made a comeback – like chokers and tiny sunglasses – there’s a whole lot from the decade that has been banished to the past. Frankly, we miss quite a lot of them.

If you were a Nineties kid in Ireland, your childhood was likely shaped by the same things…

The TV shows…

Gladiators… ready! (PA)

Unlike kids growing up now, back in the 1990s we didn’t have YouTube or Netflix in our pocket, ready to watch at any time. People had to survive on the scheduled TV shows – and likely a set amount of permitted TV time, depending on the strictness of your family.

Instead of watching limitless shows whenever you wanted, you had to wait for a specific slot. It seems almost Stone Age now, but looking back there was something quite sweet about knowing all your friends would be watching the same thing at the same time, and all coming into school the next day to discuss Gladiators or Crystal Maze.

If you were feeling extra fancy and knew how to work the VHS machine, you could even record your favourite shows onto one of those unwieldy tapes.

And on a side note – nothing will be as pure or calming as Art Attack. Nothing.

The shops…

Pic ‘n’ mix time… (John Stillwell/PA)

We wouldn’t change the ease or speed of online shopping for anything – click and collect seriously is a godsend. However, we can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia when we think of what the high street looked like back in the Nineties.

You could spend hours in video rental store Blockbuster, but if we’re really being honest, what we miss the most is definitely the pick ‘n’ mix from Woolworths.

The technology…

Dog on old school computer
We’re nostalgic for the dial up tone (David Jones/PA)

Sometimes you want to throw your phone out the window. It feels like we’re almost too connected, adding a whole lot more pressure to talk to your friends or look like that influencer you follow on Instagram.

Sure, on the surface, things might be much easier now, but we’re pretty sure our anxiety levels were a lot better before Instagram and WhatsApp took over our lives. Sometimes we feel a bit misty-eyed thinking about the ear-splitting dial-up tone and the interminable length of time it took to connect to the Internet. It was annoying then, but sounds more like a welcome break now.

The music…

The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls formed in 1994 (David Kendall/PA)

The 1990s truly was the golden era of boy and girlbands, from Backstreet Boys to the Spice Girls. It might have seemed cringe when you got a bit older, but few things are as delightful as a catchy pop tune sung along to a perfectly- in-sync dance routine. Sure, the Spice Girls might be reforming this year, but it’s really just not the same without Posh, is it?

This was also the epoch of mix tapes – who needs Spotify when you could painstakingly put a well-curated playlist onto a cassette? Now that really is how to show someone you care.

The fashion…

Tie dye tshirt
Tie-dye was popular in the Nineties (Thinkstock/PA)

Grown-up fashion in the 1990s was deeply problematic, what with its obsession with so-called ‘heroin chic’, but if you were a kid it was pretty brilliant.

You’d spend hours tie-dying white T-shirts so they were funky multi-colours, because what else would go so perfectly with your scrunchie and bum bag?

The food…

Potato smiles
Freezer foods were a Nineties winner (Thinkstock/PA)

No matter what decade you grew up in, chances are you feel like your childhood food was definitely the best. Well, we’re here to tell you the unequivocal winner: The 1990s.

Parties were a goldmine of sugary snacks which in retrospect were terrible, but at the time were amazing. Iced Gems and Rainbow Drops might have tasted more like cardboard than anything else, yet all we wanted to do was eat fistfuls of them at a time.

It’s probably because we were children, but food was a whole lot more fun back then – you could play with it more (hello, Cheesestrings) and it looked a whole lot cuter (ahem, Cadbury Animal Biscuits).

Sure, we could probably get our hands on some potato smiles today, but that would feel a bit like sacrilege – they’re too precious a relic of our childhood.

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