An innovative product
designed in Ireland by
a busy Mom of twins
A few years ago I made the most difficult decision of my life: I was going to embark on the journey of becoming a Solo Mom by Choice (SMBC). I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to my children even before they were born. I was hyper aware of the responsibility I was taking on and I wanted to be as prepared as possible to manage a family and home on my own. So I asked other parents where the crunch points were in their day as I wanted to see:
Was there any one thing I could do to minimise the work that went into running a home in order to maximise the free time I could spend with the children?
Every parent said 6-7pm was the most stressful time – what with getting home after work, trying to cook the dinner and give the kids attention at the same time. I needed to make this golden hour as automatic as possible and meal planning was key. While embarking on the long road of fertility treatment, I started getting all my go-to-recipes together and created my own meal planner. I summarised all the recipes on home-made magnetic cards, categorised them by colour to ensure good meal rotation and made a magnetic board to display them all and make meal planning easy.
Using the planner, saved me €200 per month as a single person, reduced food waste dramatically and gave me a few nights off cooking.
It made running the home so easy, meal planning became fun and I loved adding to my collection and expanding my own repertoire. As treatment went on – for longer than expected – I kept adding to the collection.
Others saw my meal planner and wanted one. So, I started making them for family and friends, then their extended family and friends wanted one. Soon, I was inundated with orders. And then…. very happily, I became pregnant with twins!!!
When the kids where nearly three, I took redundancy from my job in the financial sector to stay at home and mind them myself and to research and see if the Magneplan could be a viable business. The feedback from people already using it was great:
“It’s like having a playlist of our favourite dinners!”
“When I use the Magneplan – our week runs smoothly.”
“It’s too good not to share!”
Why we believe in Magneplan
The Magneplan is a meal planning tool that helps the user claw back time and money for themselves and their families to be reinvested in doing the things that give them joy and add value to other dimensions of their lives. Meal planning helps save on average 25% per month on the shopping bill.
Dinner is a “constant variable” in our lives, we all like to eat dinner every day but we’d like a bit of variety with it. Gone are the days where we have a set dinner for a given day of the week. The Magneplan collection increases the variety of meals you can pick from and helps you out of a rut and into a routine. With add-on packs available later, everyone creates their unique “playlist” of recipes that suit their lives.
Using the Magneplan takes the stress out of meal planning and gives the user confidence that they have a stockpile of their favourite go-to recipes at their fingertips. Confidence in the kitchen helps build confidence elsewhere in ones life.
Magneplan makes meal planning fun and is a great learning tool to teach partners, kids & teenagers essential life skills. We already know about the joys of cooking but there is also a joy just before that – in the planning. The cards themselves are very user friendly and show that cooking is almost child’s play.
Helping to create a more equal society starts in the home and more specifically in the kitchen at dinner time! Dinner time might be the only time everyone in the house is in the same place at the same time for the same reason! Magneplan provides a visual reminder of the work that goes into making a house a home. Kids love it because of the colours, magnets and choice but it teaches our children – both boys and girls – the skills of having consideration, creating, nurturing, communicating and sharing.
Cuts down on food waste. The average household in Ireland and the UK throw out 20-30% of food waste. Meal planning helps cuts down on food waste dramatically.
Research & Development
I went back to the “early adaptors” to get feedback – all positive, they just wanted more recipes. I carried out more research to find out what people were eating for dinner. I received support from business mentors and linked in with potential collaborators of future content. The 2nd product – the Magneplan Storage Box, complete with 100 additional recipe cards is already being developed.
Equality starts at home, in the kitchen at dinner time!
I wanted to ensure my children would experience equality at home and expect the same outside their front door. I was bringing them up in a very evolved Ireland where thankfully – both the boys and girls can help with all the chores within a home and can become the primary carer later if they choose to do so. The “short game” of the Magneplan had been achieved – it saved us time and money, but I could see that we could use it for the “long game” also – it provides great visual reminder of the work that goes into making a house a home and everyone must do their bit to help (watch out for the activities and chore packs!).
This is a very exciting time for us, but without my two amazing children, there would be no Magneplan! We use ours daily – it just makes life easier and as others have said – it is too good not to share! Taking on the responsibility of parenting helped me sharpen some essential life skills to claw back time, money and headspace for us to enjoy the now and create our own future.
I hope it does the same for you!