Posted on

Thirst-busters and munchies from yesterday-years

BACK in the day, one of my favourite drinks was Cocopina – a coconut and pineapple flavoured fizzy drink with a bright toxic colour, packed with sugar, artificial colours and flavourings … it tasted great! I also enjoyed chomping on a marathon bar to stave off hunger whilst out cycling on my cheap version of the Raleigh Grifter. Those were the days when a friend knocked on the front door and asked if I was ‘playing out’. Below are a few drinkies and munchies you may remember from those playing out days …





In a nutshell: Mixed fruit soft drink with high tech advertising.

Strapline: ‘It’s a miracle but we’ve made it’.

Decade: Short lived – only a few years during the 80s.



The Corona drinks range

Corona 2

In a nutshell: Not the Mexican lager drunk with a wedge of lime but a range of popular soft drinks. Many of the drinks were sold in glass bottles. Popular flavours were Cherryade, Limeade, Cream Soda and Orangeade.

Strapline: ‘Every bubble’s passed its fizzical.’

Decade: Began in the 1880s and was popular thought the 60s, 70s and 80s. Sadly no longer with us.





In a nutshell: Hugely popular chocolate bar packed with peanuts. Now called Snickers but many people still called them Marathon.

Strapline: ‘Comes up peanuts slice after slice’.

Decade: 30s through to the 90s.


Opal Fruits

opal fruits

In a nutshell: Soft chewy sweets now called Starburst. Flavours were Lemon, Orange, Lime and Strawberry.

Strapline: ‘Made to make your mouth water’.

Decade: 60s through to the 90s





In a nutshell: Gosh I seriously miss this bar! Made-up of five parts – milk chocolate, light crispy rice, caramel, fondant and wafer.

Strapline: ‘5 bars – 5 treats’.

Decade: Like Quatro, short lived – 80s.



Any other favourites? Let us know.


Check out all the YouTube ads here:




Open Fruits




Posted on

The Rubik’s Cube remembered

Rubik's cube 2


I’M not the sharpest tool in the box. What little sharpness I have is disappearing faster than a greyhound out the traps. To put things into context, I recently struggled to change chain on my bike even though I’ve changed bike chains a number of times over the years. After accidently smashing a chain connector tool and spending a number of hours trying to link the chain together, I eventually managed to fit it. I was proud of my achievement but my sense of achievement nose-dived when I put the bike to the test during a Saturday morning ride – where was that loud rubbing sound coming from?  I decided to bring the bike to experts at the local bike shop. The diagnosis was swift – I’d fed the chain through the wrong loops! ‘Schoolboy error’ was the comment from the smiling bike mechanic.


My lack of sharpness showed its embarrassing face during the 80s when it seemed like almost everyone was doing the Rubik’s Cube. I watched some of the guys at school twist, study and twist again before shouting  ‘Done it!’ or ‘Skill’ when all the colours matched-up on each side. The Rubik’s Cube craze was massive – homes, schools, public transport, workplaces – that unmistakable twisting of the cube sound was everywhere – the Rubik’s Cube gripped the nation!


In an attempt to join the clever crew (who were able to complete the whole cube), I began practicing at home. After twisting, studying and twisting again, my greatest achievement was completing one side of the cryptic cube. I began hating everything to do with the Rubik’s Cube – the clever people who’d effortlessly complete the whole cube, a completed cube innocently sitting on a desk (I saw this as a sign of boasting) and even the company who’d developed the cryptic cube – I hated them all! The 3×3 cube was one of the earliest benchmark highlighting my need for sharpening-up.

The Rubik’s cube proved to be too easy for many so the makers decided to develop the Rubik’s Revenge – the 4×4 version. It comes as no surprise that I didn’t even attempt this!


Rubik's revenge



These days I love the look of the Rubik’s Cube – I love the nostalgic memories and the decoration it provides when sitting on a coffee table or mantelpiece. I’m considering buying one – it will be a decorative feature (to go with the typewriter and 70s cassette player) – I’m sure I’ll have the urge to twist, study and twist again – and cement my position as a blunt tool at the bottom of the toolbox!


Missed last weeks post? Catch it here: Nostalgic lagers, world cup football, VAR and personality types







Posted on

Nostalgic lagers, world cup football, VAR and personality types

WITH scotching temperatures and the football world cup, thousands of people keep cool by gulping down gallons of cold lager whilst screaming for a VAR check (for the non-followers of the world cup, VAR stands for Video Assistant Referee – use of video technology to supposedly make correct decisions).

Rewind to the 1982 football world cup when the likes of Shilton, Robson and Keegan were playing for England – lagers like Long Life and Skol ruled inside pubs and living rooms. Memories of gulping down one of these nostalgic lagers may fill us with delight or displeasure. Below we look at five nostalgic lagers and analyse the personalities of the drinkers.





Description: ‘Need to get away and relax’ lager.

Strapline: ‘Stay sharp to the bottom of the glass’.

Personality type: hates long term commitment, takes each day as it comes, introvert tendencies.

Reaction to incorrect VAR decision: Too much excitementcrawls into a corner and refuses to watch the rest of the game.



Long Life



Description: The’Steady Eddie’ beer

Strapline: ‘Specially brewed for the can’

Personality type: marriage material, sound judgement, keeps their garden lawn in tip-top condition and has a pension pot that’s not too shabby.

Reaction to incorrect VAR decision: Controlled and detailed – spends  an hour getting their point across to the neighbour on the other side of the garden fence.






Description: Lighthearted, fun, down the earth middle of the road lager

Strapline: ‘Horribly good lager’ and ‘You’re a Skolar’

Personality type: marriage material with lots of fun. Chilled out, funny, stand-up comedian.

Reaction to incorrect VAR decision: Finds the whole scenario hilarious – piss themselves laughing – reels off a number one-liners before gulping down another pint or two.





Description: Lager with a touch of class.

Straplines: ‘Pure Draughtmanship’ and ‘It’s a different world’

Personality typeattention to detail –  hosts of the most charming dinner parties.

Reaction to incorrect VAR decision: Details, facts, don’t let it happen againsends a 10-page document to the footballing governing body, FIFA, containing analytics highlighting their mistakes.


Special Brew



Description: Lager with a knockout punch.

Strapline: ‘The only thing better than a Carlsberg Special Brew is another Carlsberg Special Brew’

Personality typeHard as concrete and confident. Can sometimes come across as emotionless and blunt.

Reaction to incorrect VAR decision: Emotions out of controlno messing – smashes the TV with a hammer – punches anyone in sight – keen to find out where the referee lives.


The likes of Peroni, Stella and Fosters are most likely to be drunk during the 2018 world cup – enjoy drinking responsibly whilst fiercely debating VAR decisions – hopefully the supplies of carbon dioxide won’t get to critical levels and our lagers won’t be as flat as a trampled footballer in the penalty box!

Let us know your memories of these lagers, VAR and how we’d get round the carbon dioxide situation.

Secret lemonade drinker? Try R Whites Lemonade here: A short story of addiction – R Whites Lemonade


Want to keep up to date with the shenanigans at retrohen? Find us on Facebook and Twitter – just type in ‘Nostalgic Geeks’.


Posted on

Ready Brek – central heating for kids

IT’S wet, cold and dark when you send your kids off to school. Your kids beg for a lift in the car but you refuse and watch them trudge out the door into darkness. Your poor kids arrive at school shivering and sneezing. It takes them all morning to defrost and once the school day is over, they dash home to jump in a spot by the radiator. You look at your kids warming themselves by the radiator. A look of sadness, disappointment and despair on their faces. You keep looking at them and they stare back at you. You can see it in their eyes  – ‘It’s your fault we’ve been trying to get warm all day … It’s your fault we’re sneezing! You sent us out unprotected into arctic conditions without protection!’ You sheepishly walk away and hide in another room.

The verdict is conclusive …  you’re guilty of sending your kids out into the cold without adequate protection. Guilty of selfishness and neglect. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!


Ready Brek


Well this does not need to be the case. Avoid getting yourself into a position where your kids slam down the imaginary hammer and declare you guilty. Make sure they head out with adequate protection – protection that will put a glow on em – protection that will glow in the morning darkness. Get your kids fuelled up with bowl of Ready Brek!


Ready Brek 2



Once the hot oat cereal is gobbled up, your kids will head out the door with a spring in their step. They will display a visual glow of warmth and have no chilly bones, sneezing or shivering.  They will arrive at school warm and ready to go! Whilst the non-Ready Brekkers are defrosting whilst sat at their desks, the Ready Brekkers are in full flow absorbing every detail being taught as their pens go into overdrive. These kids are on fire and are still displaying the visual glow as they crack on through the morning session. The teachers know the pupils who’ve had a hot bowl of Ready Brek – apart from the visual glow, they notice that these pupils are alert, have blood flowing to their cheeks and  their facial expressions are free moving (not locked in one position).


Ready brek 3



At the end of your working day you return home to happy, content, frost-free kids. Home has a happy vibe to it with no hostility. There’s no one hogging the spot by the radiator as you stroll around free from guilt. You’ll be chuffed that you fed your kids Ready Brek in the morning and you feel like a responsible parent once again. You watch your kids laughing, enjoying themselves, dashing around the house as if it’s the start of the Summer holidays. Ready  Brek really is Central Heating for Kids. You’ve discovered the secret to guilt free parenthood and never again will you be dragged through the imaginary courtroom.

Need some more Ready Brek to keep the glow in tack? More on Ready Brek in The Great British Blog Book for Nostalgic Geeks available from here: Nostalgic Geek Shop


Posted on

Nostalgic note cards – spreading happiness through the letterbox

THE way we communicate with each other has changed. The days of  pigeon post has gone. Sitting down and writing a letter is slowly disappearing. FaceTime, text messages and Skype have encouraged us to ditch the pen and paper.


We now prefer to bash out an email instead of writing a letter – it’s quicker and no dashing to the post office for a stamp! Our email accounts get packed with stuff we ignore (with a bit of spam sneaking in). The types of post we get shoved through our letterboxes are takeaway leaflets, leaflets from estate agents and the dreaded bills that land of the hallway floor with a thud – not much fun coming through our letterboxes.

How about sending some fun and happiness through someones letterbox? Ditch the emails and text messages and show that you’ve been thinking of them. Show them that they’re worth much more than a 30 second text message riddled with predictive text errors. Pick up your pen and send the gift of nostalgia to someone today with one of our ‘Living in the Past’ themed note cards.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Design 1 straplineJust a suggestion … there’s ample cash under the mattress for a modern television.

Yes some people did keep their hard earned cash under the mattress! Keeping cash under the mattress ensured instant, easy access. With saving interest rates scraping the barrel, the mattress maybe a good alternative (just make sure the home security is top-notch).

The four-buttoned TV that weighed a ton! BBC1, BBC2 and ITV were the only available channels back in the day.

Luckily banks are a pretty safe bet for our money these days (even if the interest rates are dire) and we have the luxury of sleek flat screen TV’s – no need for Fort Knox style home security or manually tuning in TV stations!

Suggestion for kicking off your note: ‘Do you remember the one we had? Thanks for the gift’.

Design 2 strapline: Is taping top 40 songs off the radio even legal these days?

Sunday evenings was a time when we’d listen to the top 40 and simultaneously hit the play and record button on the cassette player. We’d then have our favourite tunes recorded on a C60 or C90. You’d be labeled a thief if you did this today. Recording off the radio is considered ‘fair use’ so grab those tapes and get taping!

Suggestion for kicking off your note: ‘Cheers for the tunes and beer mate – I know you still have a few tapes knocking around …’

Design 3 strapline: I’m not fibbing – on my car I can adjust the wing mirror without winding down the window!

Years ago, wing mirrors had to adjusted manually – we’d wind down the window, twist and pull until we achieved the optimum angle. It was a tad annoying having to this whilst the rain pelted down and soaked your arm! Luckily, with modern cars, wing mirrors can be adjusted from the inside – yippee!

Suggestion for kicking off your note: ‘I think this will jog your memory … our first family car!’.

Design 4 strapline: Yes indeed … a front-loading machine also spins clothes!

The good old twin-tub washing machine. The washer occupied one side of the machine whilst the spinner occupied the other. Manually lift the clothes out of the washer into the spinner (using wooden tongs). The whole process of using one of these twin-tubs would sometimes have us sweating like a marathon runner. Luckily the modern front-loading washing machines washes and spins in one drum. The result … sweat-free washdays!

Suggestion for kicking off your note: ‘I’m glad we don’t have to use these anymore! We enjoyed our stay and being free from the usual household chores’.

Design 5 strapline:  Just saying … an electric kettle also boils water to 100 degrees centigrade!

The whistling kettle still has a place in some kitchens around the country. Hearing the whilstling kettle, dashing into the steam engulfed kitchen and turning off the gas burner was usual practice many years ago – we knew the water was well and truly boiled! Today the electric kettle is more likely to be seen in our kitchens – it boils water without whistling … and no sprinting needed to rescue it from the hob!

Suggestion for kicking off your note: ‘Thanks for the coffee – looking forward to catching up soon …’

Buy your Living in the Past  note cards  using the links below (the links will not take you to any dodgy sites … you’ll stay on the current retrohen site so don’t panic) 

Nostalgic box of 5 cards in nostalgic green here: Living in the Past greeting cards – Box of 5

Nostalgic box of 12 cards in nostalgic turquoise here: Living in the Past Greeting cards – 12 boxed cards

A bit more info

5 x A6 sized boxed cards (one of each design) in nostalgic green.

12 x A6 sized boxed cards (3 x design 2,3,4 and 5) in nostalgic turquoise

The cards are blank inside for your own nostalgic/retro greeting or message.

Final small detail: Currently we can only dispatch to customers in the UK. We are working hard to rectify and shift out of the yester-years into 2018!

Posted on

Grange Hill: Here come the girls


As Grange Hill celebrates 40 years since first being broadcast, memories of our favourite characters come flooding back. Many hardcore GH fans loved the recent Pointless celebrities special that featured some of the cast members (Todd Carty, Alison Bettles, Paula Ann Bland, Lee MacDonald, Erkan Mustafa, Michelle Gayle, Francesca Martinez and Stuart Organ). Even though the gates of GH have been closed since 2008, the characters, a memorable theme tune and that sausage on a fork is still deeply rooted in our memory bank.



There were so many memorable females that appeared in GH – here are a few whom are fondly remembered:

1. Trish Yates. Let’s face it, you won’t see Trish with a smile on her face – chances are that you’ll hear her rebuking Tucker. Trish will stand up for herself and she’ll stand up for you when you’re on her side. Troops and allies are what you need to survive at Grange Hill. With her rapid fire verbal defence, you’ll have an ally in Trish Yates.




2. Imelda Davis. I say avoid but it really depends on the career path you want to take. If survival to you means getting good O Level grades, being the teachers pet whilst being a goodie goodie, then avoid Imelda! If you plan to leave Grange Hill with a reputation of dishing out slaps, punches and kicks and pursue a career in the underworld, then Imelda is your girl. Remember … if you make your bed, you must lie in it!




3. Mrs McClusky. She may come across as the soft headteacher but tread with caution. If you get dragged to her office and think you’ll be able to explain the reasons for your wrongdoings, think again! Mrs McClusky will give you that look  – ‘Really? … Yeah right … You’re a liar!’ If you don’t want to spend the majority of the term in detention, then best avoid being marched to McClusky’s office.




4. Janet. She has a caring heart. Janet is persistent – she’s always trying to help outcast Roland. ‘Ro Land … Ro Land … Ro Land …’. Even though Roland has told her to get lost and leave him alone on many occasions, Janet just won’t give up. She’s a good egg who won’t crack after multiple rejections.




5. So many good lookers! A sure way to get  noticed was to spend time with one of the good lookers. Fay Lucas, Clare Scott, Rachel Burns, Fiona Wilson, Cally Donnington, Annette Firman … the list could go on and on.



Read how to survive a term at Grange Hill in the Great British Blog Book for Nostalgic Geeks:  Nostalgic Geek Shop





Posted on

Izal toilet tissue and the cubicle of pain



I WOULD dread it! The thought of heading into the grey chilly cubicle would make me tremble. I’d hold my breath and clench my buttocks hoping to hold out until home-time. It’s 2pm  – only an hour and a half to go but I’m bursting! Can I make it? No … yes … maybe …

Keep clenching, take slow deep breaths, don’t think about it – instead think about making it home and finding relief in the smallest room in the house.


It’s no good, I give into the sensation and my hand shoots up requesting permission to head to the Cubicle of Pain.

I enter the cubicle of pain like a boy heading into the headmasters office for six of the best. I enter and my enemy is there innocently hanging from the dispenser roll. I hesitantly lock the door behind me and drop my trousers before carefully placing my bum on the chilly black toilet seat.

Business completed and poo flushed away. I shiver as I know this is when the innocent looking enemy bursts into life and inflicts punishment that will torment me for hours. I reel-off a strip and my hand shakes like I’m receiving an electric shock. I wipe and cringe as the feeling of sandpaper runs on my bum. One strip is not enough and I reel off another strip … coarse grade sandpaper inflicting more pain on my innocent bum!




I exit the cubicle of pain walking like I’ve been shot in the bum. I get back to my desk and sit down gingerly. I can hear my torturer on the roll giggling away in the distance.

Where was the Andrex dog to save my bum?

Dr Izal you are wicked! You showed no remorse – the pain from your torture session lasted for hours! You should be banned from all school toilets and your toilet surgery shut down! Dr Izal – I’m glad I’ll never ever step foot in your cubicle of pain again!




Want some more school memories? Take a trip back to Grange Hill here: Re-opening of Grange Hill?

Posted on

Ever Ready batteries – nostalgic power



IT’S your birthday. You’ve made it to the grand age of 10. The party is in full swing. Your friends are dancing like drunken snakes as the party tunes pump out. The music stops and then it’s onto a game of pass the parcel. Once the parcel is finally unwrapped, it’s time for a break as everyone takes their seats on the table. The table is filled with delights – wobbling jelly, mountains of Ice cream and a bright coloured birthday cake.
After you’ve all stuffed your faces, it’s time for you to blow out the candles on your birthday cake. Close your eyes, make a wish, deep breath and blow!


You begin ripping open your pressies. You dig your fingers deep into the folds of the well wrapped presents and send the wrapping paper flying over your shoulder. Your wish has come true as a portable radio is revealed. Radio out the box, aerial up and hit the on switch. Your face is filled with confusion and frustration as nothing happens. You look up and notice your dad holding out a handful of batteries needed for your radio to work. These are no ordinary batteries – these batteries are better than the rest and guaranteed to give you loads of radio listening time. These batteries are Ever Ready batteries.




False economy. That’s what you’ll be getting if you buy cheap batteries. Your radio will be as flat as a tortilla within an hour if you go for an ordinary battery. Don’t be tight, get it right first time by investing in Ever Ready batteries. If the shopkeeper tries to convince you to buy the ‘never heard of’ brand, ignore them and demand Ever Ready.


Back in the day, Ever Ready was the battery to get your hands on. These were the days before the battery with the copper coloured top hit the top spot. When you brought a new radio, the chances were that you’d pop a few Ever Ready’s in. A new torch? A chunky Ever Ready would keep things bright.


I  have fond memories of popping in a couple of red Ever Ready’s into my portable radio. I remember the feeling reassured knowing that the batteries would not give up the ghost whilst listening to the charts on Sunday evening. The Ever Ready brand has gone but whether you chose Ever Ready blue or red, you were reassured that the heartbeat of your appliance kept beating well beyond expectations.




Ever Ready were used in cameras too but were not at fault for some poor photos. Take a look here:  The camera: rolls of film and rubbish photos

Posted on

The Old Routemaster Bus: risky nostalgic experience

THE Number 12 routemaster destined for Dulwich. As it pulled away from the bus stop, I’d run as if being chased by Freddy Krueger to catch it! Health and safety was non existent when it came to catching the bus.




Pole Dancing?

Catching the routemaster was a good way to get the heart racing. As you spotted your target slowly pulling away from the bus stop, you’d burst into a sprint, jump onto the rear platform of the bus and grab the safety pole. Your momentum usually spun you around the safety pole (a bit like pole dancing) until you steadied yourself. You’d then climb the stairs, take a seat and enjoy the ride.



Getting off

Getting off required a bit more skill and judgement.

Instructions for getting off a Routemaster travelling at < 20 mph:

1. Stand on the rear entry/exit platform with one hand on the safety pole.

2. Ensure that’s you have enough clearance (enough runway space for landing).

3. Leap off as if you’re about to break into a sprint.

4. Once you’ve landed, your heels will be in close proximity to the back of your neck due to your momentum. This is perfectly normal.

5. Once your momentum has steadied, stride normally to your destination.



Swing no more

The days sprinting, jumping and swinging around the safety pole whilst catching the open-back routemasters are over. The old routemasters have been replaced with modern ones where the door slams in your face! Health and safety now rules. A sprint and jump that ends with a perfectly timed leap of faith – the excitement of the old routemaster.

Posted on

Wrestling at 4pm – nostalgic television

IT’S Saturday and the clock is ticking. We’d dash around finishing the chores in order to hit the 4pm slot. It’s the calm before the storm as Dickie Davies introduced an hour of swinging fists, head butt’s and illegal blows. The dominant force of World of Sport, Wrestling, was about to begin.





Emotionally charged

Cheering, booing, chanting, shouting, swearing, fuming – the living room is now brimming with energy as emotions run riot. Inside in ring, the referee attempts to keep order between the good, bad, the pretty and the ugly. The wrestlers entered the ring to a chorus of cheers or boos.  The people’s favourite would stride into the ring to a chorus of cheers whilst the  ring walk of a villain was greeted with boo’s and verbal abuse. Wrestling was about crowd interaction, causing a stir, pulling viewers and filling the halls – skills inside the ring came second.




The female attraction

Wrestling was popular with the women. The wrestling halls were packed with women chanting, cheering and getting wound up. The female wrestler, Klondyke Kate, always got a mouthful of abuse from women in the audience. ‘She needs shooting because she’s dirty!’ was the response of an infuriated lady in the audience when asked about Klondyke Kate. Poor Klondyke Kate was only doing her job by playing the part in the wrestling pantomime.




Heavyweight status & decline

In its heyday, wrestling  would draw in TV audiences of up to 16 million! Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks were crowd pullers and facing each other smashed audience figures. Big Daddy weighed in at 23 Stone (146 kg) whilst Giant Haystacks was a whopping 40 Stone (254 kg).




Funnily enough, the decline of Wrestling on a Saturday afternoon was partly to attributed to the clash between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks in 1981. After the marathon build up, the bout between the two heavies lasted less than 3 minutes! Along with the aura of predictability and the shift towards a pantomime, ITV pulled the plug in 1988. The Saturday afternoon silence in our living rooms signalled the end to the golden age of wrestling.




10 memorable wrestlers from the golden age

  1. Kendo Nagasaki
  2. Jim Brakes
  3. Mick McManus
  4. Johnny Saint
  5. Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco
  6. Pat Roach
  7. Kung Fu
  8. The man from Paris
  9. Catweazle
  10. King Kong Kirk