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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Goodbye 2013 – You’ve Been Awesome!

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Christmas is over and we are about to embark on a new year which holds promise, endless possibilities and adventure. Or another 365 days just chilling out! Either way is fine by me!

It’s been a blissful Christmas and the break is not over for me and Hubby as we have taken extra time off to relax before we get caught up in our hectic schedules again. And we have had the most relaxing time. I almost feel guilty that we didn’t make better use of our time and head off somewhere but hey, we’ve got the whole of next year to go gallivanting if time (and work!) will allow.

It’s given me time to catch up with blogging as I’ve been quite neglectful in the run up to Christmas. Oh and I’ve taken to watching early episodes of Neighbours partly because I’ve been feeling especially nostalgic and think that the old stuff is so much better than the show is now (sorry, Neighbours!) but also because I was very young when Neighbours first hit our screens and don’t remember the earlier episodes very well. In fact when Neighbours was first shown in the UK it used to be on at around 9am while I was at school so there was no chance of me watching it (it was before they started repeating it at 5:30pm.) Anyway, I’ve come across a whole bunch of characters and storylines I never knew about – so stay tuned for further blog posts about that.

What a year 2013 has been. To say it’s been eventful is something of an understatement. Let’s take a look at the year we’re about to say goodbye to:

MAJOR EVENTS:

  • Sad passing of Nelson Mandela
  • Pope Benedict XVI steps down as pope due to failing health
  • Pope Francis becomes the 266th pope; the first pope from South America and the first Jesuit pope.
  • Building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh leaves 1,129 people dead.
  • Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.
  • Syrian civil war
  • Typhoon Yolanda hits the Philippines
  • Lostprophets’ lead singer Ian Watkins is convicted of some of the worst crimes against children
  • Stuart Hall is jailed
  • Zara Phillips announces that she is expecting…
  • …as does Gwen Stefani.

BIRTHS:

  • Prince George of Cambridge, future king of England
  • Controversially named North West – the most talked about baby since Prince George!
  • Kate Winslet’s baby Bear!
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt’s daughter Autumn
  • Holly Valance had a little girl called Luka
  • Parker Bridge, son of Wayne Bridge and Frankie Sandford
  • Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez had the obviously gorgeous Maceo
  • Azura, Alesha Dixon’s baby girl
  • Michael Buble’s son, Noah
  • Jessica Simpson’s son, Ace Knute
  • Peaches Geldof’s son Phaedra
  • Josh Duhamel and Black Eye Peas’ Fergie had a son named Axl
  • Alec Baldwin became a dad for the second time to Carmen
  • Baby girl Everly was born to two very gorgeous parents – Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum
  • Marvin and Rochelle Humes’ daughter Alaia-May
  • Jamie Cullam and Sophie Dahl’s baby Margot – a great-granddaughter for the late Roald Dahl
  • Edith Bowman had a son Spike
  • Ferane Cotton’s son Rex
  • Bryan Adams’ daughter, the exotically named Lula Roseylea!
  • We didn’t think it would happen but Hugh Grant became dad to son, Felix
  • Shakira’s baby boy, Milan
  • Elton John’s second son, Elijah
  • Lily Allen’s daughter Marnie

DEATHS:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Larry Hagman
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Bernie Nolan
  • Anna Wing
  • David Frost
  • Alan Wicker
  • Michael Winner
  • Mel Smith
  • Paul Shane
  • David Coleman
  • Ronnie Biggs
  • Peter O’Toole
  • Lewis Collins
  • Paul Walker
  • Lou Reed
  • Nigel Davenport
  • Sean Edwards
  • Ray Dolby
  • Tom Clancy
  • Ken Norton
  • Davis Jacobs
  • Christian Benitez
  • Cory Monteith
  • Louis the Chimpanzee
  • James Gandolfini
  • Bill Pertwee
  • Richard Thorp
  • Bryan Forbes
  • Sir Robert Edwards
  • Richard Griffiths
  • Richard Briers

May they rest in peace.

WEDDINGS:

  • Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne
  • Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace
  • Keira Knightly and James Righton
  • Theo Walcott and Melanie Slade
  • Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez
  • Coronation Street’s Helen Worth to Trevor Dawson
  • Dawn French and Mark Bignell
  • Example and Erin McNaught
  • Jessica Ennis and Andy Hill
  • Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom
  • George Lucas and Mellody Hobson
  • Tina Turner and Erwin Bach
  • Elle MacPherson and Jeffrey Soffer
  • Kate Bosworth and Michael Polish
  • Victoria Pendleton and Scott Gardner
  • Patrick Stewart and Sunny Ozell
  • John Legend and Christine Teigen
  • Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
  • Rose McGowan and Davey Detail
  • Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
  • Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen
  • Jonny Wilkinson and Shelley Jenkins
  • Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego
  • Sally Lindsay and Steve White
  • Leslie Phillips and Zara Carr
  • Kaley Cuoco and Ryan sweeting
  • Lacey Chabert and David Nehdar

So it’s been quite a year with so much going on. Some of it memorable and some of it things we’d rather forget! I wonder if I’ll be talking of the events of 2013 in years to come – if Nostalgia pie is still around of course.

2013 has been quite a year for me in terms of blogging. I’ve been working on several blogs this year but it’s Nostalgia Pie that is very special to me because it was my very first attempt at blogging. I started the blog back in 2012 but began posting on a serious level at the beginning of this year. At first it was a little bit like shouting in an empty room but slowly but surely the likes started… followed by the comments… and then the follows. All the feedback I received has been extremely positive and it gave me the encouragement to keep going. It’s great to share memories and have people know what you’re talking about. And I remember the two blog posts that caused everything to skyrocket: Top Twenty Childhood Sweet Treats and Baked Alaska. That’s when I knew people were actually reading my blog!

And of course I got to know some awesome fellow bloggers and without Nostalgia Pie this would not have been possible. And being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award pretty much made my year! Of course I plan to keep blogging in 2014 and bringing that wave of nostalgia back into everyone’s lives.

I’d like to wish all my fellow bloggers and everyone out there a very happy new year. Best wishes for 2014.

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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Still Open All Hours: Nostalgia At It’s Best!

BBC viewers were treated to a mini trip down memory lane on Boxing Day this year in the form of a special one-off episode of Still Open All Hours based on the popular sit-com of the 70s and 80s Open All Hours. The original series starred the late Ronnie Barker and David Jason as the uncle and nephew team running a grocery store in Doncaster.

Over the years in our household, Open All Hours was hardly ever off the box. Even when the show ended in 1985, we would watch an endless stream of reruns and we even bought Dad the DVD collection one Christmas. It was definitely one of his favourite comedy programs and to this day he still laughs his head off as though he’s watching it for the first time. In fact my siblings used to joke that Dad was an awful lot like Arkwright, Ronnie Barker’s character – but a lot more generous!

Open All Hours was a relatively slow moving sit-com but that just reflected the pace of life in the sleepy Yorkshire suburbs and the fact the most of the customers who frequent the shop are old-fashioned, homely characters of a ‘certain age’. I didn’t always get the jokes due to being so young but I knew the show wasn’t low on humour.

Writer Roy Clarke who penned the original series has now brought the show into the twenty-first century with Granville, played by Jason, stepping into Arkwright’s overalls after having inherited the shop from his late uncle, and he is now assisted by his son, Leroy (James Baxter.)

Although Still Open All Hours is set in 2013, it could well be back in the 70s as nothing seems to have changed at all. Very little is different about the shop which is still called Arkwright’s; I’m sure the overall’s Granville’s wearing could very well be the same ones Arkwright wore; the clapped out old bike along with the cash register which is in danger of guillotining your fingertips are still there. Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, Mavis and Mrs. Featherstone are still regulars, and the put-upon errand boy still exists but it’s now Leroy instead of Granville – with the former finding a novel way to make deliveries thus avoiding the dodgy bike!

 

I’m glad that this new episode didn’t stray too far from the original formula which is what sometimes happens when a show returns after a hiatus of several years. The show’s distinctive theme tune, “Alice, Where Art Thou?” appears to have remained unchanged and not revamped for the twenty-first century (thank goodness!) And not only was it great to see some of the old regulars but I’m thrilled that they were played by the permanent cast members from the original series: Lynda Baron (Nurse Gladys) Stephanie Cole (Mrs. Featherstone and Maggie Ollerenshaw (Mavis.) It would have been lovely, however, to have seen the return of the milk woman, with whom Granville had once had a romantic liaison. Mrs. Blewett’s absence was also noted but Kathy Staff, the actress who played her had sadly passed away back in 2008. It just wouldn’t have been the same to see another actress step into her shoes.

Still Open All Hours saw Granville unsuccessfully trying to shift copious amounts of anchovy paste (“They’re staunch potted meat round here, ” declared Nurse Gladys) and eventually managing to sell a couple of tins by claiming that they had aphrodisiac properties. This echoes Arkwright’s ginger cake situation which many viewers remembered (not me, so I’m going to have to watch Open All Hours Again!) And whereas Granville had to grow up dealing with an absent father, history repeats itself slightly with Leroy having to deal with an absent mother after having been abandoned by her as a child. And of course, shop closing time just before the credits still exists with the voice over that begins “It’s been a funny old day…” Classic!

However, the presence of new characters prevented the old format from becoming tired and stale. Granville now has a grown-up son Leroy, who helps run the grocery store with him. But unlike his father, he has more success with the ladies. There are also ethnic characters – something that was missing from the original series – which reflects the cultural diversity in Yorkshire. ‘Wet’ Eric provided some of the biggest laughs in this episode, and we also met Mrs. Agnew, Granville’s potential new love interest and the tea salesman among a whole host of characters.

Fans of the original show didn’t have time to miss Arkwright because although he sadly wasn’t physically present, writers made sure he was very much there in spirit. His overalls are still in use; there is a photo of him hanging up at the back of the shop which shows him looking almost demonic as he watches over his beloved shop; Granville’s impersonation of his late uncle’s stammer was spot on, and then there are the constant references to Arkwright by Granville, Nurse Gladys and Mrs. Featherstone. In addition to all this, it seems that as well as inheriting Arkwright’s shop and overalls, Granville seems to have morphed into his late uncle. He’s become as penny-pinching and desperate to make a sale as Arkwright. He also harps on about the merits of the old cash register and bike to Leroy in an attempt to get him to use them – but won’t go near them himself! As Nurse Gladys declared, “You’re an old tightwad like your uncle… he trained you well.” The transformation of Granville’s character is understandable on many levels. However, it means that while a great job was done to ensure that we didn’t feel Arkwright’s absence – I did miss Granville; the old Granville who was somewhat bumbling and a bit of a dreamer.

There were a few things that I found strange. Granville says to Nurse Gladys that in time Arkwright would have married her but I’m almost certain that Arkwright did marry Gladys. I remember an absolutely hilarious episode where Arkwright and Gladys got married – while Arkwright wore Gladys’s trousers! Furthermore, the character Cyril who was originally played by Tom Mennard is now played by Kulvinder Ghir!

But there was still so much to like about Still Open All Hours: the array of famous faces including Ghir, Nina Wadia, Sally Lindsay, Brigit Forsyth and Johnny Vegas who played ‘Wet’ Eric; the ‘aah’ factor came in the form of a dog who was sent on a shopping errand and Mrs. Featherstone taking Granvile by surprise with an unexpected snog was hilarious. Admittedly, there wasn’t much of a strong storyline; it was more of an introduction to the characters and a summary of the events that had occurred in Granville’s life but then what more could be done in a thirty minute slot? David Jason is adamant that Still Open All Hours is a one-off – there will not be a series following. However according to Wikipedia “If viewer reaction is favourable, the programme may return for a full series in 2014.”            

We’ll have to wait and see who’s right. Reviews have been fairly mixed but for the most part it seems to have been very well received and many viewers have said that they thoroughly enjoyed it; it was a great piece of nostalgia; and Ronnie Barker would have been proud. I agree with all of the above and feel it was definitely the best thing on TV during the festive season. How would I feel about an entire series? I have mixed feelings about it having seen numerous comebacks and spin-offs being ill-recived but given the success of the one episode, it could work. Roy Clarke apparently wrote the script for Still Open All Hours in two weeks – and it’s been brilliant. He has done a fantastic job – I always did say the old comedies are the best.

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Comedy Shows

 

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Merry Christmas Nostalgia Addicts!

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Christmas has descended upon us a lot sooner than I’d hoped and I still have tons to do. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve! Remember when you were a kid and it seemed to take Santa forever to make an appearance? Well now no sooner have you finished unwrapping your last gift and Christmas again… and still no Santa!

Due to the busy demands of day to day life especially in the run- up to Christmas, I wasn’t able to write as much as I would have liked in the last few weeks. A great shame as I had many Christmas themed posts in mind. Still there’s always next year…

Anyway, as I look forward to Jesus’s birthday more than my own ( I age, he doesn’t!) I would like to which all my fellow bloggers and followers of Nostalgia Pie a merry Christmas. I hope you spend the holidays with your nearest and dearest, and have great time.

Merry Christmas everyone xx

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Bored Of Board Games? Never!

Christmas is about to descend on us very soon and for me nothing screams Christmas more than… board games! Or any sort of indoor games that can be played at the dining table actually. Why? Because until I reached my late teens, I was guaranteed at least one board game every Christmas. In fact one year I got nothing but board games – and some of them had been duplicated as well (that wasn’t a good year!) but my aunts and uncles knew I enjoyed playing such games with my siblings and it was the cause of many great bonding moments between me and my immediate family – and at times such as family gatherings, with my extended family too.

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Kids today are still very much into games. But today’s games are often electrically-powered and need to be played via a screen of some kind while pressing a multitude of buttons. I’ve been told by those who consider themselves experts that it’s great fun. Maybe it is but I still prefer games that were ‘made in the days before electricity’ as my younger brother – and computer game addict- would say. Not only were those games thoroughly enjoyable but they had a social element which I feel that today’s games don’t have. Nothing beats having your family gathered around the table all shouting, screaming and laughing – and those are the ones who aren’t even playing!

Image from guardian.com

Image from guardian.com

Opening the box to a new board game was always an exciting moment. We loved checking out the board; looking the pieces; familiarising ourselves with the rules before trying it out for the first time. However, you can forget about the game being in a playable state a year later: most of the pieces would be missing and one of my younger siblings would have scribbled all over the board! Maybe that’s why we got so many of the same board games over the years…

So here’s a list of traditional games I have received, played and loved during Christmases past. Which reminds me, I really need to build up my board games collection again… even if I am the only one playing them!

1. SNAKES AND LADDERS.

Who hasn’t played a game of Snakes and Ladders? This was probably our most-received board game and let’s face it – you can’t go wrong with Snakes and Ladders! It might be simple enough in concept (roll the dice; make your move; drop down if you land on a snake; move up if you land on ladder) but it’s great fun and the game can continue for quite a long time.

I had this exact same board!

I had this exact same board!

My favourite version of this game which originated in India, is one that had a moral element to it. The design on the board focuses on children learning the moral consequences of their actions. The ladders represent good virtues such as hard work, generosity and kindness while the snakes represent vices like carelessness, extravagance and vanity. The top of the ladder or bottom of the snake show the consequences of such virtues or vices with the final square showing a child enjoying a reward. Not only is it fun but also educational (I personally feel there are a few people who could benefit from playing this!)

2. LUDO

Another game we’ve played a million times and boredom (or boardom even) has still not set in! Like Snakes and Ladders, Ludo originated in India and is based on a game called Pachisi. Unlike Snakes and Ladders which can have an unlimited number of players, Ludo is game played between 2-4 people although we tended to divide the people who wanted to play into four teams rather than individual players.

Ludo

Ludo

Each player (or team) is assigned a different colour and is given four counters. The objective of the game is to move all four of your counters around the board before making it ‘home’. The first person to get all four of their counters around the board is the winner.

As I have three siblings, this was the perfect game for us – and sometimes Mum joined in too. In fact I’m sure it was Mum who taught us how to play. We always had great fun playing  Ludo – until all the pieces started to go missing one by one…

3. GUESS WHO?

I probably played Guess Who? for the first time when I was about 7 – and I loved it. I think we must have received this game four times or more which is just as well considering we were forever losing the cards! A two-player game, you have to use your powers of deduction and memory, to find out who the mystery character on your opponent’s card is. You can ask questions only of the yes/no variety as part of the elimination process.

Guess Who? as I remember the game.

Guess Who? as I remember the game.

The game still exists but over the years it has undergone a bit of a revamp and characters now include pets as well as people. Furthermore you can also go online to download more characters. So glad that a new generation of players can still play Guess Who?

4. CLUEDO

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The Waddington’s murder-mystery themed board game known as Clue in North America was a huge hit in our household. We received two of these board games on two separate occasions and I remember around that time in the early 1990s, there was also a television series based on this popular board game, starring Jerry Hall as Miss Scarlett which we always used to watch. It was a very interesting and intriguing game which once again used powers of deduction and elimination.

The characters

The characters

The aim of the game is for six players to assume the identity of one of the game’s six colourfully named characters including Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum and move around the board, representing the rooms of a mansion. They have to collect clues in order to deduce not only who murdered the victim, Dr. Black, but with which weapon and in what room.

The TV show

The TV show

Cluedo was great fun but if I’m honest we loved the show a little bit more because it had that much more drama!

5. SCRABBLE

A universal classic, who couldn’t love Scrabble? I was an avid bookworm who loved to write, create stories and learn new words, so my family knew that Scrabble was the game for me. Which explains why I received this board game many, many times. One year I received it three times, including the magnetic, travel version which I did use on a flight. Of course it was just as well that I was given so many sets of the same game as, you’ve guessed it, I kept losing the pieces!

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The objective of the game is for players to score points by placing tiles, bearing a single letter, onto a game board which is divided into a grid of squares. The tiles must form words – which must be defined in a standard dictionary –  which must flow from left to right in rows or downwards in columns.

This was without a doubt one of my favourite games and one which brought out my competitive streak and I have to say I’ve very rarely been beaten – but put me against a Scrabble champion and it might be a different story!

6. COMPENDIUM

We’ve received a compendium of games, again on more than one occasion. Anyone who thought of doing this was extremely clever because they were in fact buying us fifty games for the price of one! A compendium of games contained many well-loved, popular games including:

  • Chess
  • Ludo
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Draughts
  • Backgammon
  • Bingo
  • Dominoes
  • Noughts and Crosses
  • Solitaire
  • Tiddlywinks
  • Four-In-A-Row
  • Card games…

… and more! We had hours of fun but to be honest probably played about five out of the fifty games!

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7. BLOCKBUSTERS

“I’ll have a P, please Bob!”

Blockbusters. the ITV quiz show. Image from www.ukquizshows.com

Blockbusters. the ITV quiz show. Image from http://www.ukquizshows.com

Based on the well-known ITV quiz show hosted by the legendary Bob Holness, I was given the board game version of Blockbusters one Christmas. I had – and still have – a head for trivia so it was a great gift idea for me. I used to watch the long-running quiz show with my granddad and knew how the game worked in which contestants had to complete a line across a board of hexagons after successfully answering questions. I actually opened the box expecting to find an electric board with flashing lights (I was just a kid!) so naturally I was a bit disappointed that there was just a regular board with plastic pieces used to for a line.

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t a game that my siblings – or anyone else for that matter – wanted to play (probably too intellectual for them!) So I had to settle for answering the questions on the cards provided by myself!

8. CONNECT FOUR

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This game was a massive hit with my family, my dad in particular. Any Connect Four game we played was destined to be extremely loud and would go on for hours. We often got this game out at family parties and most people were only too willing to have a go.

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It’s a two-player game and the aim of the game is for each player to drop a disc into a vertically suspended grid and the first person to complete a row of four discs was the winner. Simple concept but huge amounts of fun – and noise!

9. DREAM PHONE

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This was a game my sister received one year which I was pleased about because I’d always wanted to play Dream Phone. It was similar to Guess Who? in that you had to use deduction and the process of elimination to figure out who the secret admirer is using clues obtained from the phone’s handset.

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The game looked great when it was being advertised on television and being a real girly-girl, it seemed perfect for me. But when I finally got to play it, it didn’t really live up to my expectations. I think it might have been more enjoyable had I been slightly younger and into make-believe – or slightly older and into boys! Though I’d still recommend Dream Phone as a great game to bring out girly get-togethers, sleepovers etc.

10. PERFECTION

I must have been really young when I received Perfection (the game sadly not the quality!) because I only vaguely remember playing this. The game consists of different shaped pieces which have to be pushed down into the correctly shaped holes on the board before the time limit runs out. When time runs out, the board springs up, causing many, if not all, of the pieces to fly out.

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I was a right slow coach as a kid which might explain why I remember pieces flying everywhere!

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Many of these games are still available having been revamped and given a new look for the twenty-first century. Even though an old fuddy-duddy like me wishes that they had left the original intact (it was fine as it was!) I’m glad that they are still around for a new generation of kids to experience. If only they’d leave that Wii alone!

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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Toys and Games

 

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