5 things that have drastically improved since I was a teenager

A few years ago, Dave’s gran turned 100 and whilst celebrating with her and admiring her card from Liz, we started talking about all the things that must have changed in her lifetime. It feels like lots of things, technology in particular are continuing to change and evolve at a rapid rate. I often find myself thinking, ‘if 15-year-old me could see this now her mind would be blown’. So I thought I’d highlight the 5 things that have drastically improved since I was a teenager, and not only changed, but changed for the better.

Gel nails


Steph laughed when I told her about this post and that one of the first things that sprang to mind was gel nails. As if that’s what I think the most important thing to have improved since I was 15 is how long my nail varnish stays on. She might have been right in hindsight. Every time I get my nails done (by my brilliant nail gal Becca) I marvel and how much better it is that the crappy bubble gum colours I used to get at the Green Market in Newcastle. Ten years ago, when Dave and I went to New York and I got accustomed to getting manicures over there because it was dirt cheap. This was just ordinary polish, but I loved how nice my nails looked that I tried to keep up the habit when we got home. I was forking out £10 a week to not be able to touch anything for two hours then have it scrape off the second you opened a car door. £40 a month for that?! Crazy. So, scoff you may Steph, but gel manicures are revolutionary!

Online banking

I still have the same current account I had when I was 21 (it was Alliance and Leicester back then; Santander now) and online banking was only just starting to become a thing. I seem to remember it took a lifetime to set up, you had to register online, then wait for a security code to come in the post and even then, all you could really do was check your balance or set up a direct debit. You had to rely on someone else also having online banking to be able to transfer any money and even then, it took 5 working days to clear as if you’d written a cheque. These days all my banking needs are catered for online, and even the mobile apps are upping their game; being able to do most things on your phone now too. What a time to be alive!

Hair straighteners

Before hair straighteners existed, my hair looked like this:

I know, tragic isn’t it. Not that early hair straighteners would have been much good on that disaster though, they gave off as much heat as an energy saving lightbulb so at the very most might smooth down a few kisscurls but the second any humidity hit my bonce every strand of hair on my head would try and move as far away from my scalp as possible. THANK GOD for GHDs which revolutionised the hair straightening world and very soon other brands like Babyliss and Remington were producing wands that were more affordable and a reasonable alternative if you couldn’t afford top whack for the posh ones. Because no one should have ever had to leave the house looking like that.

Broadband internet

Getting the internet at all was quite a big deal in my house (Freeserve was our first provider I seem to remember) and I was more enamoured playing with the Encarta cd that came free with it than actually looking for anything on the internet. Once I did discover the wonders of the internet superhighway I was straight to the Backstreet Boys chat rooms where I could chat for hours with equally like minded sad and pathetic teenagers just like me. Of course, anyone who had to endure dial up internet will be well aware of it’s limitations; the dial up tone that took FOREVER, and every time the phone rang it cut you off were rage inducing. I remember my brother explaining Broadband internet to me and I physically couldn’t understand the concept; so, you just open internet explorer and the internet is just there? Get out of town with your voodoo! Nowadays it’s all about getting the best value for money in terms of speed so I’m always interested in internet options in my area to make sure I’m getting the best deal.

Streaming services

Talking of the internet and its previous limitations, how difficult was getting music back in the 90s! I remember having Napster for a while in all it’s peer to peer sharing glory until all the legal stuff happened. Then it was on to other P2P websites like Bearshare and Limewire which took a week to down load a 3 minute song. If you wanted a full album you could forget it. I’m completely addicted to Spotify, and bar a couple of really obscure boyband songs from the 90s. They have pretty much everything on there. TV has also come on leaps and bounds. We always had Sky TV as a child, which we were very fortunate to have. Seeing that grow into Sky Plus and being able to record, pause and rewind live TV and then now streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime where you can get a wealth of things to watch for a reasonably small amount of money is quite remarkable!


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