I wanted to share with you my thought process behind designing the products in my new stationery collection. They’ve been a long time in the planning but it was April 2020 when we all suddenly found ourselves at home for every meal and snack 7 days a week that the idea really came to life.
In a previous life I shopped for food every couple of days, usually on the way home from work so it was a bit of a shock to suddenly have to think a week ahead with food to limit our trips to the supermarket once a week.
I started writing lists and meal plans on scraps of paper, drawing out grids for the days and meals and dividing the shop into sections. It really worked well for me and that was the start of the idea.
Over the course of a couple of weeks I took my scribbles digital and began designing a weekly meal planner and shopping list using Adobe Illustrator, a piece of software I had tought myself to use in order to digitise my calligraphy. Here is a photo of that first design.
At the time I was pretty pleased with it but now looking at it I think it looks awful, I’m glad I developed the design further before putting it out there for you all to buy. Fast forward a year and after a few reversions you have the finished product and spring design.
Let me talk you through each product, although they are all pretty self explanatory.
A key design for the planner which was crucial for me was not to list the days. This seems a little odd for a weekly planner but I very rarely do my weekly shop on a Monday so I felt really strongly that I didn’t want to start the week on Monday. For you it might be Tuesday and someone else the weekend so the days are left blank for you to start on whatever day works for you.
I’ve stuck to the obvious 3 meal sections of the day but also included a notes section at the end so you can scribble important info such as ‘must eat the sausages by the 12th’, ‘take the soup out the freezer’ or recipes page numbers that you’ll need. This was born out of me getting really frustrated with throwing food out because I’d missed the use by date or forgetting to defrost something I needed for dinner that night. Hopefully you’ll find these little touches useful, treat it like extra storage for your brain!
For me this works hand in hand with the meal planner, once I've planned my meals I grab the shopping list and work through each meal and write down what I need if I don't already have it in. The shopping list is designed with sections for each area of the supermarket so you can mentally walk around the aisles as you go to make sure you don't miss a vital ingredient.
I still write a list in this order whether I’m doing it online or in person. I find it helps jog your memory of things you might need when you browse the aisles in your mind. I especially find it helpful in the supermarket now as I know I have everything I need in each section before moving on to the next. There is nothing worse than being in the freezer section near the tills and realising you’ve forgotten butter which is the opposite end in my local.
I plan EVERYTHING and from all the cooking I’ve done over the years the one thing I've realised is what actually makes you a good cook is getting your timings right. It doesn’t matter if you’ve cooked a dish in your life before, if you can read and write down timings I guarantee it will turn out brilliantly. That’s why you seen the contestants on MasterChef and Bake Off stressed out about timings they know it’s crucial in making or breaking their dish.
That’s the reason behind creating this cooking schedule, it’s simple, times down one side and action on the other. After you’ve read your recipe take 5 minutes to jot down every single action from turning the oven on to peeling and stirring each element so you can see what order you need to do everything to bring your dish together. I find this especially helpful for a roast dinner. Give it a go I promise your meal will turn out so much better.
I have a lot of cook books and I’m always on the look out for more however sometimes you know what you want to cook and just need a simple recipe for it, that’s where good old google comes in handy. I’m forever searching for quick sauce recipes or marinades just to make sure I have the quantities right. A few times I’ve found the perfect sauce but struggled to search for the exact one again. That’s where these recipe cards are perfect to make a note of a good recipe you’ve found online and keep it handy in your kitchen cupboard.
They are small so I find them perfect for a simple dish or sauce rather than a full on banquet. There is space for the ingredients and equipment on the front - handy so you know what to get out of the cupboard in advance. Then the method on the back. Again these cards act as a little extra brain space, no one has time to memorise the quantities of a pesto recipe, save those brain cells for trying to get your head around the next plot twist in Line of Duty!
I have a few other kitchen and cooking stationery related items up my sleeve ready to share with you all later this year. Make sure you’re signed up to my email list to be the first to hear about new product launches and promotions. Sign up here!