Growing up in the 90’s

Is it just me that looks at kids now and thinks about how damn fashionable they all are?

Growing up in the 90’s we felt the absolute height of fashion in our Spice Girls t-shirts and leopard print velvet leggings (yes, I was all about that life), soon taken over by parachute trousers, tattoo chokers and butterfly clips in our wonderfully crimped hair.

My brothers and I love nostalgically looking back at our childhoods, reminiscing about all the fun 90’s things we remember (though as I was born in 1992, I was only 8 at the turn of the millennium so excuse me if some of the things I’ve listed creep into the noughties as well!). Between my siblings, colleagues and friends, we become so animated when thinking about growing up in the 90’s, and love to wrack our brains thinking of all the cool stuff we used to love. So much in, fact that, I’ve had to sub-categorise everything we came up with as I wanted to include it all!

I’ve been reliably informed that kids currently aren’t really that different (this is through the eyes of my boss’ 9 year old daughter) and after the Sainsbury’s lego card fiasco, fidget spinners, and buying all the coolest shiny milkshake scented stationary from Smiggle, though we didn’t grow up with the technology they have now, and made do with 5 channels on TV for most of our childhoods, kids are still kids and there are so many similarities.

Therefore, to take you back if you grew up in the 90’s, hopefully here’s a trip down memory lane…


  • Programs for little ones like Rosie and Jim, Playdays, Tots TV, Come Outside and Oakie Doke
  • Cartoons such as Arthur, Recess, The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats
  • Zzzap and Art Attack teaching you all the mad skills
  • All the best drama from The Queens Nose, The Worst Witch, Byker Grove and Grange Hill
  • Gameshows like Get your own back, 50:50 and Jungle Run
  • Sunday night telly involving Robot Wars and Scrap Heap Challenge
  • Newsround with Lizo
  • Blue Peter – presented by Richard Bacon, Konnie Huq, Stuart Miles and Katy Hill originally, and was then followed by Liz Barker, Matt Baker, Zoe Salmon and Simon Thomas
  • The Comedies – Chucklevision, Bodger and Badger, Keenan and Kel
  • The of course, catching up on films by renting new tapes from Blockbuster


Games and Technology

We used to just have a PS1 so inevitably played a lot of Worms, Crash Badicoot, Spiro, and Super Mario and then Dance Mat, when that was the height of fun!

On the computer, when we weren’t trying to access the internet through the dial up (and subsequently irritating Mum no end as it blocked the phone line), we’d be playing mostly tomb rader and the SIMs.

However, for homework, when we weren’t looking up everything we needed to know if our encyclopedia or DK Factfinder, we’d check on the CD ROM Encarta. For any software help, the Microsoft Word paper clip was a handy little fellow and to make things extra jazzy, you could always rely on your clip art extension packs. But of course, you’d also be saving everything onto a floppy disk as back up!



I will admit, I was not the most fashionable of kids. Then again, were any of us in the 90s?!

I could be seen rocking some great parachute trousers, or pedal pushers, as well as anything tie dye I could get my hands on. Like those fun stripy inside out looking tops, or those tiny crumpled tops that expanded when you put them on. Anyone know what I mean?!

I was always a huge fan of rainbow too, my highlight being an amazing pair of rainbow, tie dye, corduroy flares….yep!

If you were lucky, on a Saturday your mum would let you browse through Tammy Girl, picking out which double denim you’d like to buy, or choosing a matching friendship heart necklace, or maybe a yin-yang one, so edgy!

However, the real jackpot was getting a new GAP hoody from your grandma at Christmas. Best. Present. Ever.



Growing up in the 90’s cannot pass by without mentioning some really great hairstyles. Now sorry boys, I mostly go into female detail because that’s all I can remember really.

When you weren’t crimping it, you’d be filling it with butterfly clips, scrunchies in the colours of your primary school, or pushing it back with a velvet Alice band with your name on it. If you were lucky enough, on holiday you’d be allowed a braid, which you’d keep in and wear until it was halfway down your scalp and your mum would cut it off. They definitely didn’t fit with the trend of those crazily painful spikey full circle hair grips, a braid caught in one of them was quite literally hell on earth!



I could list all my favourite 90’s artists here, but a few will have to do. amongst the Spice Girls, we all loved the sickly pop bands – B*Witched, S Club 7 and Steps were my favourites, along with Atomic Kitten. All the best music for birthday parties, first listened to on tape and then, much excitement, on a CD Walkman!

Music in the 90’s is very much summed up by The Macarena, anything featured on Top of the Pops or “Popstars” and the latest lineup on the “Now” CDs. That, and of course the soundtrack to your classmates playing the theme tune to the rugrats on the piano.



I’ve always loved reading, and some of my favourite books ever were discovered in the 90’s. There were books that were read to us, like Slinki Malkini and Owl Babies, and then the books everyone always got first from the travelling library – Jacqueline Wilson, Goosebumps, The Indian in the Cupboard, Home Farm Twins and Michael Morpurgo. Then of course Harry Potter arrived and smashed it out the park, having a chapter a night read to us and always begging for more (whilst our parents sneakily read on as they couldn’t put it down!)

It was probably later than the 90’s that young teenage magazines such as Sugar, Mizz and Bliss came onto the scene, but I devoured them too. EDIT: Sophie also reminded me of the joys of Girl Talk too!



As children in the 90’s, toys were a huge thing, and everyone often ended up having the same things. Either that was the traditional Etch-a-sketch, Hungry Hippos or Scalextric, Marble run or Hot Wheels, there were also loads of others.

We were never allowed the noisy things such as Tamagotchis or Furbies, instead always having lots of yo-yos, a skip-it ball on a rope, or plastic animals from Animal Hospital with little cuts you could rub and they’d disappear. I was also a bit of a geek and loved my Funfax – did anyone else have one of these?!

It’s sad that gone are the days when you’d fight with your siblings over toys in cereal packets, whose turn it was on the inflatable chair or who’s aliens would have a baby first after being stuck back to back in the fridge.



One of the very best things about growing up in the 90’s was the shear number of collectable items you simply had to have! Pouring over the latest Argos catalogue circling everything you wanted for Christmas. Mostly it was all about how many Beanie Babies you could cram in your bed, being warned to protect the labels so you could one day be rich beyond your wildest dreams!

The best currency across all classrooms were Gel pens, especially if they were smelly ones. In fact, pens in general were always a big thing- there were the ones with multiple colours where you slid down the nib you wanted, blow pens where you basically spat ink all over the page, spider pens…the list goes on…

Then in the world of all collectables the holy grail was found in a handful of shiny Pokemon Cards, either that or pogs!


There you have it. Growing up in the UK in the 90’s was actually bloody brilliant. I hope you’re suitably nostalgic right now and busy googling to your hearts content watching the trailors to all the programs you used to know and love. It’s certainly made me relive things I’d buried deep into my memory somewhere. Then the cycle will continue, and in 2035, those who are ten year olds now will look lovingly at their Smiggle pencil case they’ve dug out from under their childhood bed and be awash with memories of their first iPhone 7, Hatchimals and whatever other childhood crazes are currently happening around us! 

What have I missed out from my list that you remember?


***I was sent the Smiggle products to review, but all content and thoughts are my own***