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Archive for November, 2008

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Favourite Packet Mix Pudding

Posted by Big Boo on November 29th, 2008

I wrote about Bird’s Instant Hot Crunch Pudding yesterday which reminded me of some of the great puddings and desserts that can be made by doing little more than “just adding hot water” (or possibly milk).  I dare say many of you won’t even remember Hot Crunch, but let us see how it fares in the popularity stakes against some other classic easy to make desserts.

What's your favourite 1980's packet mix pudding?
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Bird’s Instant Hot Crunch Puddings

Posted by Big Boo on November 28th, 2008

Before I begin, the image accompanying this post is most definitely not a bowl of Bird’s Instant Hot Crunch Pudding, but it’s the closest I could find so it will have to do.

Bird’s are best known for their instant custard powder (quite how a pink powder generates a yellow custard is a mystery to me!) but in the 1980’s they also made a wide range of other instant pudding mix products.  They still make the lovely Angel Delight today, and of course Trifle mixes, but back then they also had a range of packet mousses (if memory serves me right) and also these hot puddings.

The Hot Crunch Pudding came in a packet containing two sachets.  The first contained a powder which when mixed with hot water from the kettle became a gloopy custard like pudding.  Once this was decanted into individual bowls the second sachet came into play.  This contained a crunchy topping, a bit like biscuit crumbs or the top of an apple crumble, which could be sprinkled over the pudding to give it some added texture.

For an instant packet mix the Hot Crunch Pudding was actually quite tasty despite being so easy to make.  I believe it was available in three flavours, these being Banana (basically custard), Lemon (not a particularly zingy lemon if I remember right) and chocolate (my personal favourite).  I have no idea when it disappeared from our shops or why, so I guess the closest you’ll get to it today is to make some custard and smash a few digestives over the top…

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Fuzzy Felt

Posted by Big Boo on November 27th, 2008

I remember having loads of fun as a child with Fuzzy Felt sets.  They consisted of a board with a slightly rough flock surface, and a wide variety of shapes cut out from different colours of felt.  Pictures and scenes could then be constructed by laying the pieces of felt on the board where they would be held in place until you peeled them off to put them somewhere else.  It really was such a simple toy, yet it could keep me amused for hours!

The felt shapes in a set usually consisted of a mixture of simple geometric shapes such as squares and circles, various different sized curves and, depending on the theme of the Fuzzy Felt set in question, silhouettes of people, animals and other objects.  The shapes of people were often split into legs, bodies and legs so you could create people wearing different coloured clothes.

Between myself and my sister I think we must have had three or four different Fuzzy Felt sets, the simplest consisting of just a black coloured board and loads of different brightly coloured shapes which could be put together to make much larger pictures of just about anything.  I also remember having us having a farmyard set, with felt tractors, hens, lambs and the like.  I seem to recall this set may have had little round felt circles with different faces printed on to make the human characters a little more realistic.  I also had a Wild West set, full of cowboys and wigwams (Hmm, I wonder if kids still play Cowboys and Indians these days?).

Fuzzy Felt was not a product of the 1980’s however.  The first Fuzzy Felt set was created by Lois Allan in 1950, the inspiration for the toy apparently coming from cutting felt gaskets for tanks during World War II.  I’m not sure exactly which anniversary it is celebrating, but there is a wonderful bumper set of Fuzzy Felt available on Amazon for less than a tenner which contains around 500 different felt pieces for you to get creative with.

The official Fuzzy Felt Website is also worth a look, with a number of computerised Fuzzy Felt images for you to create and a more in depth discussion on the toys history and its creator.

Search for Fuzzy Felt items on

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Krypton Factor to Return

Posted by Big Boo on November 26th, 2008

I read today that one of the hardest and most exciting games shows from the 1980’s is set to make a comeback.  The Krypton Factor was great fun to watch and a real test for the contestants as it stretched them most mentally and physically.

Whether the new show will be as tough remains to be seen, but I certainly hope that today’s penchant for lowest common denominator television doesn’t tarnish the name of the show.  So long as they don’t do a “Celebrity” version we’ll probably be OK.

The original host of the show, Gordon Burns, will not be returning.  Instead taking his place is Ben Shephard (pictured), one of the presenters on GMTV Today and host of the BBC’s Lottery tie-in show 1 vs. 100.  The new show is apparently set to appear on our screens in January, so it won’t be long to see what the new version will be like.

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Posted by Big Boo on November 26th, 2008

There aren’t many videogames that are based on normal everyday jobs, unless you happen to be a space marine of course.  One of the few is was Atari’s 1984 hit Paperboy, where unsurprisingly it was your task to deliver newspapers to houses.

The game had a clean fresh look that distinguished it from many other arcade games of the time, featuring a forced isometric 3D viewpoint with the game scrolling diagonally as you pedalled your bike along the road.

Your job was to deliver copies of The Daily Sun to houses by throwing them to land in mailboxes or at the front door.  The houses you had to deliver to were always drawn in bright colours, whilst the non-subscribers were very dark in colour, so it was easy to know which houses to deliver to, and which to try and vandalise my throwing papers at windows or garden ornaments.  After reaching the end of the road you entered a BMX track where additional points could be earned by jumping gaps and throwing newspapers at targets.

Read more…

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Great Eighties Themed Gifts

Posted by Big Boo on November 25th, 2008

With Christmas Day being just a month away I thought it might be nice to give you some gift ideas for the 1980’s fan in your life (or even for yourself!).  When writing your letter to Father Christmas then, why not consider the following items.  You can even save yourself a bit of cash on the items from Firebox by clicking the banner in the right hand column of this very site, which will let you claim a free £5 money off voucher!

The Michael Fish Fridge Magnet Set from Firebox allows you to recreate the old weather forecasts in all their glory in the comfort of your own kitchen.  Little clouds, snow flakes and lightning bolts are included to give your fridge it’s own “cold front”.

Sticking with Firebox we have the My Own Morph kit that lets you make your very own version of Morph. Apparently new recruits at Aardman Animation have to make a Morph as part of their induction, so why not get a head start if you fancy a job there?

I wrote about this just the other day, but I really like the D&G Medicine Man Watch for its cool retro looks. Show it to kids these days and they’ll probably laugh at you when you explain test cards used to be shown when there were no programmes on TV! Available from Goldsmiths.

Seven Again have a great range of 1980’s (and 1970’s for that matter) themed giftboxes in both male and female versions. Typical contents include a DVD of some relevant children’s TV, some sweets and a few little pocket money toys from the era.

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Disney’s Gummi Bears

Posted by Big Boo on November 24th, 2008

I was always a little confused by the naming of Disney’s Gummi Bears, since it always brought to mind those little jelly teddy bear penny sweets.  Apart from being bears I couldn’t understand why this cartoon was named after the sweets yet the bears didn’t seem to have much in common with their tasty namesakes.

The Gummi Bears in the the TV show were the remnants of a once great civilisation of bears gifted with magical powers, who were forced out of their native habitat by humans who were jealous of their abilities.

The cartoon centres around the six remaining Gummi Bears, who are Gruffi (the rather grumpy but very practical unofficial leader), Zummi (the eldest who dabbles in magic but is a bit forgetful),  Grammi (the motherly bear who makes their secret potion), Tummi (there always has to be a portly one, doesn’t there?), Sunni (the rebellious teenager) and Cubbi (the young headstrong knight in training).  In later series they were joined by Gusto, an artist who had been living on a desert island for many years.  Whether these bears were actually family members is not clear, but they seem to be keen on names ending in the letter “I”.

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Most Wanted Feature of KITT

Posted by Big Boo on November 22nd, 2008

As regular readers of this site may be aware, Knight Rider is one of my all time favourite TV shows, and whilst the cars of today are getting closer to the features offered by the Knight Industries Two Thousand they aren’t quite there yet.  With this in mind, here’s this weeks survey…

Which one feature from KITT would you most like in your car?
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