Archive for nostalgia

Crossing the Oxo cube

Posted in DESIGN, HOME, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED with tags , , , , on February 3, 2010 by echostains

oxo cube an old friend

It’s been niggling  me for ages – in fact, every time I open up an oxo cube (which is often) – I wonder why they have changed the shape of them?  They are still cube shaped of course but the cube now forms a cross as in O X O.

sealed with an ...oxo


Apparently the notches help the crumble…….  This new design came out in September last year, and they seem to be sticking to it.  Quite a while ago I noticed that they’d changed the consistancy of the Oxo cube – to a more drier powdery substance.  Believe me, there’s nothing more sad than a soggy Oxo cube (except probably me wittering on about them).  But seriously, despite the foil wrappers on the old ones, moisture still managed to get into the wrappers and made them soggy.  That’s what comes of putting them in a cardboard box.  Yes, I know the old tin was impractical in this throwaway society – but I happen to love the old tins and have several of my own.

oxo tin example, I have several of these


Then there was the Oxo family,  people all sitting down to the same table and eating a meal together like a proper family – aw those were the days.  Er, here’s a new family (made me laugh anyway)

Well, that’s a bit different isn’t it….. 

 I still remember this one, like it was yesterday (1989 actually) and I’d better not mention the original ‘Katie’ and her husband Philip – they were quite a long time ago.

You can watch the original advert with Mary Holland as Katie  HERE along with other very old adverts.

Read all about the new cross HERE


‘Cut the mustard and get to the Ad!’

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by echostains

guinness Marmite, might even try this

I am  just watching Flog it  and the programme (may be a repeat) is coming from Burton on Trent, the home of wait for it…….The Marmite factory!  As you know I’ve recently wrote about that lovely brown sticky comestible – Marmite.  Comestible eh? what a locupletative word!  (Must get my poor now neglected word back into circulation again.) 

marmite cubes

I LOVE old packaging, I even have some of it.  Nothing like Robert Opie’s collection, of which I saw a few years ago when he had his museum at Gloucester docks.  On Flog it, I was amazed at the collection of Marmite pots he had – the earlier ones are an entirely different shape.  He even had Marmite cubes in a tin.  Each cube came in its own separate cardboard box.

colmans-mustard a tradition

So to continue with the old packaging theme – Colmans mustard!  This is my favorite mustard in the world – well nearly…… I quite like that mustard that you can see the mustard seeds in…oh and the one that has honey in it.  I have the tin sign over my stove at home.

Reassuring colmans mustard

There have been lots of advertising campaigns for this product which can trace its history back to 1814.  But mustard itself goes back to 46BC.  It is even mentioned in the bible by Jesus in the Parable of the mustard seed Luke (13.18. 19 among many others

colmans mustrad Lord Kitchener image with cooked meat by Peta O Brien

In November last year a new campaign was launched by Karmarama featuring the old 1914 recruitment  poster of the Lord Kitchener  – so was popular during  the war.  It was designed by Peta O’ Brien and is made completely from meat!  Amongst the 16 types of meats used, including Unilever’s pepperami are Chorizo, roast duck, beef skirt, chicken breast, sausages and Leg of lamb! 

HERE is the Colman’s Mustard website

Good Ephemera site HERE

Robet Opies London museum HERE

The Marmite cubes image came from THIS lovely blog

Spread em

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 20, 2010 by echostains

You big lovely pot you!

I’m one of those people who actually likes Marmite.  As everyone knows Marmite is made from yeast extract.  But what I didn’t know was that the jar has a picture of a ‘Marmite’ pot  on it.  A marmite (French Marmit) is an earthenware or metal  covered cooking pot.

marmit love it or hate it

Someone once told me that Marmite was made of what was left when ale had been brewed – the leftover yeast.  They said that some was kept and rest was sold on as marmite.  Don’t know if this is true though. 

Yes it is!  Just found it in Wikipedia. I think it’s good for you,  – well perhaps all the salt isn’t, but I like it spread on toast with cottage cheese over it.  Sounds bad eh? Each to his own.

Peanut butter not how I remember it - wrong colour

Another spread that I used to be mad about but now can’t eat now  because of the calorific content and the absolute MORISHNESS  of it – is peanut butter.  When my mother used to get it – I would rush to that cupboard to get a bit.  Alas,  = sometimes I was not quick enough and my sister had been there before me – and stirred, yes stirred sugar into it, what a revolting thing to do  yuck!  And this is coming from a person who loves Marmite…

Love it? Hate it? why not join the club?

‘The Sweetness of Youth’

Posted in LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , on January 12, 2010 by echostains

flying saucers making an appearence

When I was out shopping the other day, I was surprised to see a woman put a bag of ‘flying saucers’ into her basket.  I didn’t know that they still made these sweets. ‘Flying Saucers’  were hollow and filled with a sherbet surprise when you bit into them.  They came in different shades of pastel  ‘sherbety’ colours.

yellow Kali crystals

When I was growing up, the most exciting sweets were those which tended to leave a  mark of some kind.  Kali – sticky, sickly yellow crystals which made the fingers turn yellow was a firm favorite of mine.  If you didn’t have a liquorice stick you dipped your finger into a bag of this – and sucked (yuck!).  Another sweet I used to like, made your tongue go black.  ‘Black Jacks’ where something like 4 for a penny, very liqourice and morish. ‘Fruit Salad’ which had never even seen a fruit was also a jaw tingler – and you got 4 for a penny.

amazing what you used to be able to get for a penny

A lot of these ‘penny chews’ are making a come back,  Some didn’t really disappear.  None cost a penny now, and the ones I am now going to mention, never did.  When you are young you will eat anything sweet (the more sickly the better).

But where these sweets good for us?  A lot of them, besides rotting your teeth were a bit dangerous.  This doesn’t matter so much these days, as the retro sweet is now a bit of a treat to be taken from time to time.  But not so long ago, we were eating these sugary sweets every day of our lives and  handing our hot little pennies over the sweet counter.

sweet tobacco

Sweet tobacco, shredded to look like real tobacco was I think probably made of coconut.  Did it encourage  children to chew tobacco though – probably not, as you didn’t see people doing this in real life or on the TV, apart from the Wild West in a cowboy film, and even then it was usually an old-timer (not a cool image to aspire to when you’re young).  Chocolate cigarettes though, that looked very realistic were another matter though as smoking was everywhere and considered ‘cool’.  It was nothing to see children with these in their mouths, mimicking the adults.


Chocolate liqueurs, the ones in little chocolate bottles could also be bought by children. My sister used to love these – they had real liqueur in them too and are still seen in the shops.  Smarties which every child loved have had to withdraw some of their colours  – the blue ones in particular because  they have been linked with hyperactivity.  More colours being axed include Brilliant Blue (E133); Quinoline Yellow (E104); Sunset Yellow (E110); Ponceau 4R (E124); and Carmoisine (E122).  Read more about the Smartie colours HERE:  Vegetarians were also offended by the red ones, as the dye was found to come from crushed beetles.


A lot of these sweets are still made.  For a trip down Retro Lane, you can’t take a wrong turn if you go to this smashing website

liquorice pipes still made HERE and chocolate cigerettes are still available HERE

Step back in time – Flying saucers and other retro sweets HERE and HERE

Fancy some sweet tobacco, just for old times sake? they still make it! HERE

‘Twenty Tenty – birth of a decade’

Posted in DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, WATCHED, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by echostains

tomorrows world 70s and 80s

The first proper post not going on about Christmas OR New Year (sort of).  The first proper post of the ‘Twenty Tentys’ as this decade is now being called.  It doesn’t sound very space age does it?  I’m sure by now we should be  astral travelling at the speed of light and eating a good square compressed astronaut meals (according to the old programme ‘Tomorrows World’.  And what happened to the car that parked itself?  as seen on the clip.  Another promise that failed to deliver.

We’ve had the ‘Roaring Twenties’ – the jazz age filled with art , jazz and the bob haired ‘flapper’ girls dancing wildly to the gramophone.  Women’s suffrage and fabulous Art Deco – what a brave new world, full of colour sound and optimism.  Freedom for women!  These women danced, drank and smoked – tied themselves to railings, starved themselves to bring future women the right to Vote – a victory hard-won (1928)

the glamorous flapper look of the 20s

The ‘Dirty Thirties; (the Great Depression), fear and hunger.   The er, well just forties but probably too depressed to name the decade that contained the Second World War .  Important one, none the less as millions lost and gave their lives.

50s housewife - it was all mod cons

The Fifties, colourful ads, consumerism and frozen peas.  Watch with Mother, This is your life – we really started to get into watching the box and it’s been a friend, enemy and a force for propaganda ever since.   But I do love this era probably the best, though I don’t remember much of it – that’s nostalgia for you: always looking back through rose-coloured specs.  The Sixties –  famous for the Mini skirt, hot pants, the Twist  a veritable design revolution going on.  The Vietnam War, Martin Luther King – the ‘Summer of Love’…. a lot happened in that decade

bryan ferry solo album 'these foolish things' everyone had this in the 70s

All I remember about the Seventies is the strikes and having to walk home from work every night because the buses weren’t running.  Having to put make up on by candle light because of the power cuts and hardly anything worth listening to on the juke box.

Romantic 80s Icon Adam Ant

  The Eighties? a lot a good stuff happened to me in that romantic decade, even the bands are now having reunions!  The ‘Nineties (abysmal decade for me, but was it ‘all that?’ then the Noughties, which turned out a lot better than I thought.  But did we really laugh all the way through them?  I just can’t be bothered to write about them all in detail.  I don’t actually remember quite a few of them!. But looking at them laid out, I do think I’ve seen rather  too many! But You’re a long time dead, so they say (the dead probably)….So BRING it on and I will try to embrace it. 

Living in the Past: Chocs I have Loved (and Lost)

Posted in DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , on September 17, 2009 by echostains

Milk-Tray--Block-1950s version.  Gone but not forgotten

Milk-Tray--Block-1950s version. Gone but not forgotten

Someone told my daughter the other day that you used to be able to buy Cadbury’s Milk Tray in a block.  She didn’t believe them – until she asked me.   I used to spend my pocket money on those bars!   Apart from Cadbury’s being  the most fantastically, gorgeous tasting milk chocolate in the whole wide world, you also got extra chocolate that the individual chocolates were set in!  Yummy! great nibbling round those chocolates!

Old-Jamaica-1973 and don't ee knock it all back!

Old-Jamaica-1973 and don't ee knock it all back!

Another lost bar of chocolate was a rather alcoholic rum and raisin slab called Cadbury’s ‘Old Jamaica’.  This consisted of raisins seeped in old Jamaican rum sandwiched in Cadbury’s chocolate very grown up and absolutely gorgeous!  If I remember rightly, the advert featured  a Long John Silver character, a parrot that ranted ‘Pieces of eight, pieces of eight!’, a treasure chest and this advice from Long John;-

“and don’t ee knock it all back at once!” (er, as if we took any notice…lol!)

frys-five-boys-chocolate-desperation-pacification-expectation-acclamation-realisation (that it's gone! oh well, back to desperation...)

frys-five-boys-chocolate-desperation-pacification-expectation-acclamation-realisation (that it's gone! oh well, back to desperation...)

I wasn’t always loyal to Cadburys though.  Fry’s ‘Five Boys’ was pretty scrummy and also Fry’s fruit creams (a bar with a different fruit cream centre in every bite).  Terry’s also made some lovely dark hard chocolate like ‘Spartan’ …….. so many bars, all gone.  Even the taste for them has gone now – just the memory remains.

Some more lost Cadbury chocolate bars HERE

Nights (and days) on the Toon (Newcastle) Beamish Shops

Posted in Architecture, DESIGN, NIGHT AND DAYS ON THE TOON (NEWCASTLE TRIP), PAST PLACES with tags , , , on August 30, 2009 by echostains

You can go into all the old shops in Beamish.  Here’s a few pics;

Beamish chandeler's  shop


Beamish chandeler's shop

Even the prices were right!

Beamish At the Co Op

The assistant in the Co Op was a lovely German student, who spoke excellent English and was very informative!  All the food labels are printed from the original!

Beamish in the printers shop


Beamish in the printers shop

All the buildings are amazing, and the Print shop is no exception.  You can really get a sense of the past in these buildings!

Bygone ware some of these are still going strong


Bygone ware some of these are still going strong

There’s something quite charming about old packaging.  Although the colours are limited, it was still possible for the personalities of these items to shine and jostle with each other.  Some of these brands are still going strong too!

My previous posts about Beamish and the Newcastle trip

More pics from Beamish

Still Beaming about Beamish


Art at the Baltic: Sarah Sze ‘Tilting Planet’

St Nicholas Gothic Cathedral

Out and about

Bessie Surtees House


Beamish – More pics from the Open Air Museum!

Posted in Architecture, DESIGN, NIGHT AND DAYS ON THE TOON (NEWCASTLE TRIP) with tags , , , on August 29, 2009 by echostains

Beamish town

Beamish town

Still continuing with the pics from our Newcastle trip and more pictures of Beamish the open air museum set n the rolling countryside of County Durham.  We stopped off here on our way back to Manchester.  Although we spent most of the day there, we didn’t see half of the place, – it’s just vast and there wasn’t enough time.

Beamish kitchen range
Beamish kitchen range

The town part is amazing and you can go into all the buildings and shops.  There’s a bank, a printers, confectioners (who make home made sweets on the premises), unfortuately this was so packed out that we couldn’t get pictures.

 making firelighters
making firelighters

There’s a bank, a printers, a working pub, a Co Operative store.  There’s a garage and a tea rooms!  So much to see and not enough time to see it in.

Beamish typical Victorian Parlour
Beamish typical Victorian Parlour

As well as the town, there’s also Pockerly Manor.  I would have really liked to see that!  Also the colliery village, a home farm, a Waggonway, as well as a railway and museum!!!

Coming tomorrow – ‘Inside the shops of Beamish’

My previous posts about Beamish and the Newcastle trip

Still Beaming about Beamish


Art at the Baltic: Sarah Sze ‘Tilting Planet’

St Nicholas Gothic Cathedral

Out and about

Bessie Surtees House