A blast from as far back in my past as I can actually remember. As an adult, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a McDonald’s (and usually then as a matter of necessity over choice), but as a kid, I was obsessed with the toys that came with Happy Meals, and the cut & fold boxes that used to transform into playsets. Few were more dear to me, however, than these – which I found in my mum’s loft on a recent trip back home.

Constituting one of my very first memories, I recall that we went to the cinema to see The Little Mermaid and then to McDonald’s afterwards where Ariel herself was the toy of the week in the Happy Meals. For the next month, I insisted that we go back at every opportunity to see when the next one was available, until I’d finally collected the whole set of bath toys. Ursula appears to have been lost to the sands (or seas) of time, though Eric is still kicking around somewhere in his little yellow boat. How fitting, regardless, that one of the earliest moments my brain began to crystallise experiences into memories occurred during – what remains to this day – one of my favourite films of all time. I think I might just have a bath tonight for old time’s sake! 🐚

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