It All Comes Full Circle …

Why Everything Old Is New Again 

Isn't it funny how it seems that everything comes around again? Fashion and music, of course, are constantly 'borrowing' from the past and reworking it. And one era in particular - the Seventies – seems to provide inspiration more than any other. So why is it that boot-cuts and flares are our favourite jeans? That flowing tunics are what we throw on when we want to feel comfy? That maxi dresses and Birkenstocks and wedge heels are 'on-trend'? I'm not so sure that it's because they're our most comfortable choices, nor necessarily that they look the best on us. But they do make us feel good. Not least because they were the clothes our mums and aunties and the stars we saw on television wore when we were children. 

But this is more than mere nostalgia. Because all of those fashions have been adjusted to suit modern sensibilities. They've been improved, hopefully, to avoid the mistakes of the past so that in 30 years time we won't cringe quite as much as our mothers did when looking back at old photographs. 

And this 1970s and early '80s revival seems to be seeping into every aspect of our lives. You only have to watch the news channels to see that. I mean there's little more retro than an economic crisis, now is there? Or a Royal Wedding for that matter. After all my childhood seemed to be constantly affected by strikes. Power cuts in the 1970s meant no telly and sitting in the dark illuminated only by candles and nighlights which my Mum would sit in a saucer of water on my bedside table. Yes, I know, but we didn't have health and safety back them. We had the miners' strike in the 1980s and, throughout my secondary school career at least one teachers' union or other would be out on strike at least once a year. And what are we threatened with this summer? Why mass industrial action of course, it's a full-on retro party out there!

Joking aside, I can't help thinking that the current global economic instability is, in some way, responsible for this surge in retro thinking. Rising food costs well, the rising cost of everything, has made many people look at practical ways of saving money. Growing some of our fruit and vegetables, of course, is more popular than it has been for years. And taking holidays at home – the so-called 'staycation' – is something many people are choosing.

But there are other things of our childhood that have come back into focus. When I was younger there was that whole aerobics craze. Leotards, footless tights and legwarmers were everywhere – even when people weren't exercising. We loved it! Well, actually, I didn't. Not the aerobics part at least. The legwarmers were fun – I still have mine … lovely purple and cream hooped ones – but the aerobics? Well, the music was okay, but really? Forty-five minutes of someone yelling out instructions and numbers at you while you stamped, jumped, bounced, stretched and sweated is not my kind of fun. And while aerobics is obviously still popular, in the intervening years it seems to have dropped out of view. But now a newcomer is with us – Zumba. If you haven't heard about it yet, the chances are you soon will. This Latin and World music-based fitness 'party' is truly great fun. Really! Even I love it. And, while you will sweat and work very, very hard, you'll enjoy yourself because Zumba is dance based exercise and, before you worry about being uncoordinated, as long as you do things safely, and get your body moving with enthusiasm (not hard to do with sounds like salsa, samba, calypso, flamenco, bellydance and even hip-hop and reggaeton) no-one is going to mind. You'll burn off plenty of calories, tone your entire body and have a great time. You see - another thing from the 1980s that's been brought right up-to-date. I have to admit, I've only done mine in the safety of my own home, using a set of DVDs, but that way it really doesn't matter if I look a nit.

Remember Tupperware? Well, nowadays there's a new and, believe me, much improved product known as Lock & Lock.  Seriously addictive too – once you start you'll want to store everything in one. And think back to the days when healthy types wanted to make their own yoghurt. They had those awkward heated makers with little glass jars and an end product that was, frankly, nothing like yoghurt. Now we have Easiyo - a wonderful fresh, healthy and simple way of making a high quality, scrummy yoghurt in large quantities with little more effort than opening a sachet and boiling a kettle. 

But I am overjoyed that one of the highlights of my childhood – SodaStream – is back in a big way. Aficionados will no doubt tell me that it never went away but with new machines and a whole new marketing campaign I'm glad to see it back in our lives. So much so, in fact, that I've even ordered one of my own. I remember, as a kid, the treat of going to friends' homes and having freshly-made fizzy pop in whatever flavour I fancied. And these days, the SodaStream people have hooked in to an entirely contemporary mindset. Firstly, once you've offset the initial outlay, you can save a lot of money. I mean have you seen how much a litre of sparkling water runs at these days? But SodaStream is kinder to the environment. Because you can re-use the same bottle for 3 years. And think how many plastic bottles you'll have recycled, or thrown away, in that time.  And so we get to be modern and nostalgic all at once. And you can't beat that!