RSS

Category Archives: Brands

A Few Of My Favourite Things

The hubby and I have been in America for over six weeks now and I’m slowly becoming accustomed to my new home. To be honest we’ve both been busy with all the usual hectic stuff that goes with a move abroad i.e. renting a flat; buying a car; settling into a new job; getting to know people; finding the best place to get a take away curry etc. etc.

I’m very excited about coming to America and all the opportunities it presents. From the time I was a teenager, I had a feeling that I’d one day end up living abroad. And now I’ve done just that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get homesick and miss England and everyone and everything in it terribly because I do. So I always take comfort in anything that reminds me of home… and some of these things even have a connection to my childhood!

BOOT’S PRODUCTS

IMG_20160224_172451_hdr

I remember when I was last in Oregon a few years back, Target had started stocking  up Boot’s products which I was very excited about. And I’d totally forgotten about it until we went into our local Target last week and found a small section of the store – and I do mean small – dedicated to Boot’s cosmetics and skin care products. That really did cheer me up – to see a little piece of home.

I’m not familiar with many of the brands available in the States although I will inevitably get round to trying them out – but right now its great to see a brand I know and trust.

JELLY

IMG_20160224_164236_hdr

Or jello as its called over here. OK, I know – jelly is such a kid’s dessert. No one with a sophisticated palate would even consider a bowlful of the wibbly-wobbly stuff and most adults will probably only touch it if you add alcohol and serve them up in little plastic shot glasses at parties.

But then I’ve never really been one for following the crowd and I’ve always loved jelly. It stems from childhood when a bowlful of jelly was an amazing treat – how easily pleased we were – and even now, when I’m feeling homesick or a bit low for any reason, jelly hits the spot every time. And if there’s any ice- cream or squirty cream to go with it, so much the better!

Funnily enough, most American adults I know have no interest in jello – unless we’re talking jello shots – but yet there’s such a fantastic array of flavours unlike the UK where we’re pretty much limited to five flavours. So far I’ve come across peach, melon, cherry, blueberry, apricot, grape, fruit punch, cola, pineapple, mango… and those are just the ones I can remember!

While the Americans beat us on flavours, the thing I love about jelly in Britain is that you can get them in the form of squidgy gelatine squares whereas over here in America it’s always in crystal form. How I love those jelly squares! Whenever my mum used to make jelly for us, you could be sure I’d pop a couple of squares in my gob. In fact, I’ve even been known to scoff a whole packet like sweets!

EGGO WAFFLES

IMG_20160224_164533_hdr

In Britain, waffles are either Belgian or potato which are both fab but I remember my aunt making a different type of waffle when i used to go round to her house which seemed to be made from batter. I have no idea what brand it was but when I was much older I used to look for them in the frozen aisles but could never find them so they’d obviously been discontinued long ago.

Eggo waffles are the ones that come closest to my childhood memory and they are a firm favourite in our household.

SARA LEE DESSERTS

IMG_20160224_164447_hdr

Who remembers those Sara Lee television ads of the eighties where we were advised that “If at first you don’t succeed – cheat!” I’m quite sure that Sara Lee gateaus would have been all the rage at dinner parties back in the day but this brand is another thing that seems to have disappeared over the years in Britain. It was only when I used to visit Oregon a few years back that I ran into this brand at the supermarket like a long- lost friend… and those Sara Lee fruit pies soon became a freezer staple.

These days I’m addicted to Sara Lee’s pound cake. Delicious!

 

gingham-apron-pie-lady2.jpg

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Brands

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Video

OXO Christmas Ad

I love the TV ads of years gone by. This Christmas advert for OXO brings back so many memories…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Brands, Commercials/Adverts, Products

 
Video

Not So Rosey On Quality Street

images0AT8WX5K

 

Christmas is over, the decorations have long been taken down, and we’re all heaving a sigh of relief that we won’t have to look at another turkey until the end of the year. However not all traces of Christmas have completely disappeared as we’re still surrounded by a huge mountain of chocolate that we couldn’t manage to get through during the festive season – even though we had been dutifully stuffing our faces with the stuff!

qs1

Among the stash which is going to take us another year to finish – I won’t need to bother buying chocs this Christmas – is a plastic tub of Heroes which is now half full of miniature chocolates, which I don’t mind but I’m not over the top crazy about, so I’m contemplating turning them into a scrummy, yummy fondue or a brownie so that they’ll be fully appreciated and not sit lingering in the tub for the best part of a year.

r1

But despite consuming an amount of chocolate that would make an oompa loompa very happy (actually my brother often calls me an oompa loompa but we won’t talk about that!) what was missing this year was the mammoth tin of Roses or Quality Street we used to receive every year since we were knee-high to… an oompa loompa! To us, those tins of chocolate are as synonymous with Christmas as tinsel covered trees and nativity cribs – Christmas just isn’t Christmas without them!

I remember these!!! image from timeplan.com

I remember these!!! image from timeplan.com

 

One of the highlights of our Christmas involved working our way through a tin, tub or glass jar of either Roses or Quality Street (if we were extraordinarily lucky – both!) We couldn’t wait to take the lid off the tin and get stuck in. Even though Roses and Quality Street are available all year round in their standard box form, there’s something about seeing those beautifully wrapped sweets in bright jewel tones at Christmas that makes them very apt for that festive time of year. Opening a tin of Roses or Quality Street was like entering Aladdin’s cave; all those interesting colours, shapes, sizes and textures… no wonder it was such a huge hit with young children.

I still have one of these - minus the lid and label sadly. Image from ebay.com

I still have one of these – minus the lid and label sadly. Image from ebay.com

 

The chocolate tin was the equivalent of the Olympic gold medal in our house – it was regarded as something special that everyone wanted to get their hands on. And it was ideal, no, a necessity for Christmas telly viewing. All six of us would be gathered together in the living room. Dad would be sprawled out on the sofa, rummaging through the tin and gobbling up chocolate as though his life depended on it. Chocolate wrappers would be scattered on the floor much to Mum’s annoyance and our amusement. This would soon be followed by a surprised cry of “Oh! It’s all gone! Who finished it?” Er, you did, Dad but I suppose we should thank you for having the decency to finish the orange fondants and coffee creams. We may love our Roses and Quality Street but I seriously do not know anyone who actually likes these.

As Quality Street tubs appear today.

As Quality Street tubs appear today.

Now that I’m married, I wanted to continue the tradition. Buying a special Christmas edition tin of Roses or Quality Street that is, not having Dad scoff the lot. As Hubby is from the States, he’s never had either before, so he left it up to me to decide which one to get. As it was our first Christmas together in the UK, I thought I’d go all out and get both. However, I was soon left sorely disappointed.

First of all, they now come in a plastic tub not a lovely metal tin as in years gone by which was ideal for storing biscuits or if you’re like my mum – rice! Then I discovered that for both types of chocolate collections, many of my favourites had been discontinued. The selection of chocolates available were greatly reduced and if I’m being brutally honest, I didn’t like most of them. What have they done to my beloved Roses and Quality Street?

A quick look at reviews and forums indicate that I’m not alone. There have been many complaints regarding both quantity and quality of the chocolates. Many have noticed that the flavours have changed and that the chocolates tastes sickly sweet. Some have put the change down to takeovers by different companies while others believe that it’s due to having to be economical in times of financial crisis. But whatever the changes may be it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not the chocolate assortments that we once knew and loved.

And although it’s a more minor issue, I can’t say I’m too thrilled with the new look designs. Although they disappeared fourteen years ago, I wish that Nestle had not got rid of the image of the two characters Major Quality and Miss Sweetly – who incidentally were inspired by the knowledge that people in the 1930s craved nostalgia. And as for what’s supposed to be an abstract rose which features as part of the Roses design, well it just looks more like a child’s scribble. The design on my mum’s old tin has a beautiful design from either the late 70s or early 80s. I know things have to change as years go by but I thought change was supposed to be for the better.

With Major Quality and Miss Sweetly

With Major Quality and Miss Sweetly

Roses and Quality Street appeared in the 1930s; a time when boxed chocolates could only be afforded by the wealthy. These assortments were reasonably priced and nicely presented, low-cost packaging thus making it available to most working people. And over the years it has been a massive hit. Christmas aside, we knew we were in for a real treat if someone gave us a box of Roses or Quality Street as we were growing up. I also bought into the slogan “Say ‘Thank You’ with Cadbury’s Roses” and it would always be my go-to box of chocolates if I ever wanted to give a small token of appreciation.

Sadly, it’s not something I would do now. And unless the quality of these chocolates improve, I think it’s safe to say that it will be another tub of Heroes again this Christmas.

gingham-apron-pie-lady2.jpg

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taylor Made For Modelling

Supermodels and the fashion industry were a bit of an obsession for me when I was in my early teens. I was on the brink of becoming a young woman and suddenly clothes, make-up and looking super hot in order to bag the boys was all that mattered in life! It’s no wonder I looked to the supermodels for inspiration (weird considering I’m as far removed from ‘supermodel as you can get – but still no harm in trying!) I still find it hard to decide who my fave supermodel was but American model, Niki Taylor was most definitely in the top ten.  So naturally, I was thrilled to see an article featuring Supermodel of the nineties, Niki Taylor in the British press yesterday as the cover girl and mum of four made an appearance at Badgley Mischka runway show during Mercedes-Benz  Fashion Week.

Despite having the Cindy-style mole, Niki Taylor didn’t have the same level of Cindy-style fame in the UK and was probably one of the least known of the supers on this side of the Atlantic despite having started modelling at the age of thirteen and going on to grace the covers of Seventeen and Vogue. However, along with her late sister, Krissy Taylor, Niki was definitely one of my favourite models. One of the things I liked about Niki was that even though she was stunningly beautiful, she still had this earthy naturalness about her. She was beautiful but she could have been any girl on the beach or on the street (though obviously the girl who’d be attracting the most attention!) Although she was as equally beautiful as the other 90s supermodels – incidentally a term Cindy Crawford is quoted as saying she hated – she didn’t overdo the glam factor as many of her modelling contemporaries did. But then again, she didn’t have to do so; she had this unique girl-next-door beauty that was all her own. Niki looked at home sashaying down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week as she did rollerblading down the sun-drenched streets of her Florida home.

In Britain, Niki is best remembered as being the first spokesmodel for Cover Girl Cosmetics – a brand that was very short-lived over here although it is still going strong in the States. As a young girl entering her early teenage years and beginning to develop an interest in make-up, my favourite supermodel’s association with Cover Girl is partly the reason why I favoured their products. Furthermore, after it was revealed that Niki swore by Beverly Hills Toothpaste to keep her pearly whites glowing, guess who started using the same brand of toothpaste? I used it religiously for years, and still use it occasionally today.

I also remember Niki’s role as a fashion/style advisor in Looks magazine – a magazine I purchased every month religiously. Readers would write in with their fashion and beauty dilemmas and Niki would solve them. After a few years, this role was then passed on to another model (Caprice, I think) but it just wasn’t the same and I missed Niki.

Although her career has constantly been on the rise, the model’s personal life has been a series of highs and lows (but then, who’s hasn’t!) She surprised everyone back in 1993, when a few months after graduating from high school, a nineteen year old Niki married  former Miami Hooters line-backer, Matt Martinez, after a whirlwind romance. The pair eloped to Las Vegas although they did eventually have a more traditional ceremony in 1994. Niki was already pregnant by then and when on to have twin sons, Jake and Hunter.

 

Unfortunately the marriage didn’t last, and along with the collapse of her relation with Martinez, some low points in Niki’s  life included a near-fatal car crash, and more tragically, the sad passing of her younger sister Krissy.

But life today for Niki gives her good reason to flash that megawatt smile. Now married to NASCAR driver, Burney Lamar, Niki is also mum to four year old daughter Ciel and toddler Rex, as well as Jake and Hunter who are now big strapping lads of nineteen. It’s hard to believe as Niki has lost none of her teen model looks!

I’m so glad that there’s still interest in Niki even though she likes to keep a fairly low-profile. The nineties supers always bring back very happy memories of flicking thorough fashion mags; experimenting with hair and make-up and shopping trips with my friends. And I have Niki and co. to thank for that.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Walnut Whips: A Childhood Classic!

I was shocked when a friend revealed that she’d never before  heard of a Walnut Whip! She’s definitely old enough to remember them but even when I described them to her she still didn’t know what I was talking about. Oh dear girl, where have you been all these years????

Nestlé's Walnut Whip

Nestlé’s Walnut Whip

True, they’re not as common as they once were and from checking out the  forums, I can see that it is a common misconception among Nestlé’s Walnut Whip fans that they no longer exist and have found a place in choccy heaven. Thankfully, this isn’t so as they do still exist but admittedly they are unfortunately not as readily available as they once were. It’s a question of hunting for them – but they can be found. Supermarkets tend to stock up on Nestlé’s Walnut whips around Christmas time where they can be bought in packs of six. If you can’t wait until Christmas – and who could blame you – that other great British institution Marks and Spencer’s have their own brand of Walnut whips which are readily available throughout the year. In fact this year celebrates fifty years since M&S launched the walnut whips in their stores.

ww1

Walnut whips were definitely a childhood treat when we were growing up in the 1980s and they bring back memories. As business owners, my parents had access to wholesale suppliers and were able to buy Walnut Whips at trade cost – which meant that our fridge was packed full of chocolaty goodness! I really don’t think Mum had space for much else. I dread to think how many my sister and I used to get through each day. You’d think we’d be sick of them by now seeing as we’d had enough to last us a lifetime.

ww2

Originally launched in 1910 by Duncan’s of Edinburgh, Walnut Whip is now produced by Nestle. It consists of hollow whirl-shaped milk chocolate cone filled with a delicious soft, marshmallow-like, whipped, vanilla fondant cream filling, topped with… a walnut! I’m clearly not as old as I thought I was because apparently there also used to be a walnut actually inside the cone. Eventually the walnut piece inside the chocolate was removed, leaving the one nut that topped the cone – which is the only walnut piece I remember!

 

Marks and Spencer's Walnut Whip

Marks and Spencer’s Walnut Whip

 

The Whip has undergone a few transformations over the years including the ridging on the surface of the cone; and the texture of the filling which was supposed to have been more dense, and I think I vaguely remember this. Another thing I recall is that the packaging – even though it was still blue – wasn’t the same shiny, metallic wrapper we see today. Furthermore, I’m sure it was a darker shade of blue too. I also remember that the Whip used to be perched on a thin card base inside the blue wrapper – and for reasons I cannot understand why, I was quite taken with the card base! I was a very strange child…

 

Could this be the Walnut Whip wrapper from my childhood?

Could this be the Walnut Whip wrapper from my childhood?

 

Over the years, Nestle  have produced a few different flavoured fondant fillings but it is the vanilla one which still prevails today. As part of their fiftieth anniversary celebrations, Marks and Spencer’s have also brought out other flavours such as  mint and an assorted box containing one toffee pecan, one double chocolate and an original flavour. However I really don’t think that anything can ever be as good as the original vanilla flavour… although I do look forward to testing out my theory!

 

ww4

 

In our house, Christmas is not complete unless we had a few boxes of Nestlé’s Walnut Whips in the cupboard. And it had to be Nestlé’s because of the distinctive blue packaging. Anything else just wouldn’t be the same.

Roll on Christmas!

gingham-apron-pie-lady2.jpg

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Greengages Are Back!

Greengages

Greengages

 

I recently wrote a post about greengages and gooseberries; two delicious types of fruit we used to grow in our garden when I was a child. The mere mention of either fruit brings back many happy memories of childhood summers spent playing in the garden; outdoor family get-togethers during the sunny season, and gathering bowlfuls of scrumptious fruit. Sadly, both greengages and gooseberries are so scarce that some people have never even heard of them let alone tried them.

 

m&S

 

So imagine my surprise when on a recent jaunt to Marks and Spencer’s, I came across stacks of yummy looking greengages. I didn’t hesitate to snap up a pack – I would have snapped up more but wanted to try them first to see if they were exactly as I remembered them to be. And they were! the greengages were deliciously sweet with that distinctive, delicate flavour I remembered so well.

The only problem was that they were so scrummy that I scoffed the lot before I could even consider attempting the recipes that were featured in the post!

Good old M&S! Now all I need is for them to bring back gooseberries!

Check out this article in Mail Online going back to September 2011. It appears that Marks and Spencers have been trying to get us reacquainted with this retro fruit for a while. I especially love the comment from the reader who says it’s time to bring back gooseberries – I swear it isn’t me!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035777/Greengages-fight-way-flavour-outsell-apricots-25-cent.html

 

gingham-apron-pie-lady2.jpg

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sweet Music With Whistle Pops

Whoever came up with the idea for Whistle Pops took the concept of making sweet music a little too literally – not that we’re complaining!

Whistle Pops were hugely popular in the 1980s although I believe that they have been around since the mid 1970s. These take me right back to when I was a child. Sis and I couldn’t walk past a sweet shop without dragging in whoever it was who had the misfortune of taking us out for the day and making them buy us one of these ingenious lollipops that were moulded into the shape of a whistle. This differed greatly in shape to regular lollipops – and kids love anything that’s a bit of a novelty! They came in a range of fruit flavours as well as cola, and my favourite, chocolate and vanilla.

imagesCABTYAF3

However, it wasn’t just the shape that was clever. It was an actual instrument. OK, so you were never going to find music teachers listed in the Yellow Pages offering lessons in how to play a Whistle Pop. But instead of being a one note whistle, the lollies had a hollow straw for the stick and there was a thin, sliding plunger that enabled you to change the pitch of the whistle. Furthermore, the wrapper had sheet music on the inside so you could play something really simple like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Old MacDonald. Sadly though, manufacturers never thought to include the musical notation for Bohemian Rhapsody or Hotel California. Funny that!

w

Apparently they worked really well but for reasons I cannot understand, Sis and I were never able to complete a whole tune because we would always break our whistles! Other people remember the whistle effect naturally diminishing as the top of the lolly started to dissolve. Others remember how much saliva used to collect in the whistle. Lovely!

imagesCAC7XUO1
From what I understand, Whistle Pops are still being produced and sold in the UK although I cannot recall the last time I saw one of these. I know that they can be purchased over the internet but I can’t remember seeing them on shop shelves in recent times. I’m sure if they were as readily available as they were when I was a kid then I would have heard them even if I hadn’t seen them as there would definitely be a new generation of kids determined to drive as many adults up the wall as we tried to do with our ever so tuneful playing!

gingham-apron-pie-lady2

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
rock, metal and more

All about music and other entertainment

Murder Mystery Blog

Corporate Murder Mysteries

LHB Blog

A girl, a blog and a cactus named Pudding

Tangled Up In Music

Music Reviews (and other things)

Every number one

Journey through all the songs that topped the charts

YOU & HOME

Deco · Gastro · Style

vinnieh

Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

The Artisan Duck

Ramblings from my crafty corner.

Suburbiakid's Blog

Teen Ramblings from a suburban kid in the 1970's

My Eighties

Remembering what it was like to grow up in the '80s. Twitter: @MyEighties

Something Definitely Happened

A vintage fashion and style blog

Health News Library

Your On-Line Source for Alternative Health Care Solutions

My Berkeley Bowl

Making my way through the exotic fruits and vegetables of the Berkeley Bowl aisles, one delicious recipe at a time

Fitness on Toast

A Fitness Blog about Gym Training, Sport Fashion, Healthy Nutrition and Active Travel – By Faya Nilsson

Insidethelifeofmoi

An eccentric blogger with a pen and a thousand ideas

Cinema Parrot Disco

Musings on Mainly Movies from a Table 9 Mutant

Radical Departures

Infrequent blabbering about films, music, telly, beauty, Sheffield and other random stuff

goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

~~~ lovely buns ~~~

~simple, delicious, beautiful, scrumptious bits and bobs to eat~

The Nostalgia Blog

Your source for everything retro. 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond!

Charlotte Fox

Style, Beauty, Tips, Tricks & Travel

The Sconnoisseurs

Recipes and Recommendations

Midday With Mindy

Encouraging Words From A Young Wife :)

Enjoy by Paula

be happy, healthy & radiate positivity

%d bloggers like this: