Friday, 8 July 2011

Back To Basics

While I was painting my nails 'double decker red' last night, I was pondering on the post I mentioned yesterday, Maximum Glamour. Now I don't often comment on blog posts, but I did on this one, to thank Fleur, and also to voice the thought that the things she suggests are things that I know already, but need to be reminded to do. Sometimes things are so basic, I find I think I know them, so kind of slip out of doing them. Does that make sense?

Not just with glamorous things like nail painting and hair flowers either, but with housekeeping and the like. For years and years I used to sit down religiously, every week, and write out a menu plan from scratch, then produce a shopping list and take it to the shops. After a few years I started shopping online, but always with menu plan and list in hand. Then I stopped. I think one week I was getting really stressed about not having enough time to do it in, and dear Carl suggested we just wing it, buy some things, see how it goes. And I did. And still haven't gone back to menu planning. The thing is, what first started to feel like a treat actually now tires me out. I have been fed up with not having a proper routine and plans for a while now, but the ennui has made it hard to get back into the very thing that I know I really need to be doing.

Also, I realise that it is much more expensive in terms of money and time and sheer effort to buy on the day every day. Popping in on a lunch hour to pick up sandwich filling and milk, or popping to the shop on the way home for something for dinner. So knowing that we will need to be watching the pennies, and finally thinking, no more of this, I know better, I sat down the other day and made a menu plan. Time ran away and I didn't quite convert it to a shopping list, but I have just signed up for Ocado deliveries and shopped from that plan. And it feels so, so good! Even better, I signed up for a one off payment each month that means we don't have to pay for deliveries. As I am planning a weekly delivery that worked out pounds cheaper. Then my shopping came in at about £65 (truly terrifying really, when I first started shopping, £40 would have been more than enough!) and I found a voucher for £15 off if you spend £ I got some extra freezable staples for less money!

I know that Waitrose and Ocado are seen as luxury and high end, and I have no doubt that you could spend a fortune with them, but their branded products are price matched to Tesco (who we grew to hate) and their essentials range is really good value. Plus, we are only eating meat once or twice a week, so it really isn't so expensive after all. Definitely a habit I wish to continue, although I will report back after our first delivery to see if it matches up to my expectations (what is nice is that their delivery slots are hourly, rather than two hourly, and even shopping today I could choose 8.30 Sunday morning!).

I am definitely going to find time to sit down and really enjoy the menu planning process. I like the idea of having different styles of dish for different Monday Soup night, Tuesday pasta night... and I am also really looking forward to trying out some new recipes. This week on the menu are sweet potato and smoked mackerel fish cakes from Attic24, and then I am going to use the remainder of the sweet potato to make rolling pin ravioli later in the week.

Thank you so much for your kind words everybody, I am trying not to be too glum on here, but being able to share how I really feel and receive such kindness back really helps. Now the only other favour I need is...if you need a PA, do let me know!


1 comment:

midorigreen said...

I think you have to keep changing routines. Everything that once felt fresh, freeing and exciting then feels stale. It's only by doing it another way and then coming back that it started to feel wonderful again. A bit like swapping clothes over summer and winter or having a variety of handbags you switch between.

Menu planning can be made easier by having certain dishes on certain days. For ages I always made sou op and bread on Sundays. Served the leftovers on Monday and then did a big chilli or casserole/stew to be eaten over two nights on Tuesday. So you can menu plan to remind yourself to use up ingredients but don't have to dream up the menu from scratch.