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  • Writer's pictureKatie Brown

Being a teenager in 1999

Let’s start this post with a little bit of information about me, I’m turning 33 very soon, I’m getting married very soon, I own a home with my fiancé and I drive a white SUV, I favour flat shoes to heels and rarely eat pick’n’mix.

The reason I’m telling you that is when I was 14 I never imagined any of this would apply, I was stuck in my blue sky world, with my Nokia 5110 and my Just Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines. My skin was prone to breakouts, I would binge on more sweets than is recommended for anyone, (trust me – I’ve paid a lot to my local Dentist) and I had no real direction.

Whilst cassettes where part of my early childhood, CD’s had become the rage, long before the days of Spotify and Itunes. I remember cruising around the house with my cumbersome portable CD player, which was always drinking AA batteries. Whilst being competitive and keeping in line with everyone else is still hugely valid these days, rather than an iPhone 8 and smartwatch, you had a CD collection. These were brought from HMV or if you could get away with it, you’d sneak a CD in the trolley at Tesco whilst shopping with Mum (sorry Mum).

My Nokia 5110 was one of the most exciting things to happen to me, with that chunky, simple phone, which appeared to have an everlasting battery, came freedom. I was grown up, to me, this phone gave me status, in my small, lonely world, I fondly remember its sparkling silver case and black and yellow screen.

One of the better things about being 14 was the lack of social media, I had no comprehension of future trends or makeup. There was a world before high highlighting, HD brows, gel nails and filters, I used to save my money for Collection 2000. Oh, and it was almost never the correct shade, I was often a patchy hue of orange.  Forget MAC, my teenage favourite was ‘Rimmel – Heather Shimmer‘, that lipstick was the staple piece of every girls make up collection.

Hell, I’m not even sure that Nike Air Max were back in favour at that point, I always wore bootcut jeans and it was cool to shop in ‘Miss Selfridge’. When I was only 13 my Grandparents took me to Oxford Street, London, to go shopping with my birthday money. From memory, I bought some PVC hotpants and a gold sequinned dress. I’m confident that both pieces would world at ‘London Fashion Week 2018’ on the other hand, next time I see my Mum I’m going to ask her why she didn’t remove such atrocious pieces from my wardrobe. I do remember not being allowed out in them, maybe I’ve answered my own question? 

Why did I buy PVC Hotpants?

Because I wanted to become a Spice Girl, everyone wanted to become a Spice Girl. 

I even had ‘Calvin Klein’ underwear the first time around. Yes, if you’re very young – I hate to break it to you, It’s not a new thing. For your reference, *see above ‘Nike Air Max’ and the same applies to rucksacks, bodysuits and Adidas Joggers.

My weekends were spent watching TV, eating endless junk food, lazing in bed and playing Tomb Raider on the PC. There was internet too, the joys of dial-up and my parents screaming at me to disconnect as they needed to use the phone.

Can you imagine, you had to plug a cable into your PC from the phone line to get online? However, we coped, it was more the fact of ‘WiFi, what is WiFi?’

One of the best parts of my youth was music, I grew up listening to  ‘The Red Hot Chilli Peppers‘, ‘Destinys Child’, ‘Five’ and ‘The Backstreet Boys‘ – Dam I used to be part of fan clubs and spend weeks anticipating my updates arriving in the post. I cannot find the worlds to explain how exciting it was to tear into letters addressed to me, oh the joy! These day’s I avoid my letters until Graeme forces me to open and deal with them.

I spent my summer holiday folding letters and misfiling at my Dad’s office, I earned the princely sum of one pound an hour, yes ONE POUND AN HOUR. I spent my first paycheck on ugly high heels *see above my Spice Girl obsession. I liked going to Woolworths and buying lots of Pick’n’mix, I had my ear pierced at the top, which my Mum removed as I didn’t ask her permission.

Whilst I love the modern world, social media and how my life has evolved – Hand on heart, being 14 in 1999 was bloody brilliant.




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