Words by Amanda Horlington

While there are many things that could be considered as one of life’s little irritations, for me the school run cannot be underestimated for its sheer soul-flattening tedium. The morning ritual of preparing two young children for the school run, like Groundhog Day, involves breakfast and getting dressed every morning but without Bill Murray or pithy dialogue.

However, supermarket shopping with young children also ranks high on the Richter Scale of vein throbbing, blood-pressure raising activities.  The slow build of angst which begins with the journey there, continues with the hunt for a parking space.

The weave and bob amongst other reluctants who, on occasion, can be found bottlenecking the dairy aisle, transfixed and bewildered by the sheer acreage devoted to yoghurt and yoghurty things.

I have not as yet found an app that can assist with the school run grind but I can recommend supermarket home delivery apps. It was a game changer for me, a time and sanity-saving miracle that will have you doing your weekly shop in under ten minutes. Easy.

So easy in fact that I do the weekly shop on my iPhone whilst going hell for leather on an exercise bike at the gym.  Such is the joy of completing this task with such ease that I am bursting with smug glee; hoorah, I have swerved the horrific act of supermarketing!  Indeed I feel almost compelled to mention this to the puce grunty guy on the adjacent bike but I fear this may not be regarded as standard issue gym chat.

I regularly use two apps from different ends of the spectrum, the jolly green giant, ASDA and the rather refined Ocado, essentially they offer very similar features.  Once downloaded to your mobile you set up your account much the same as any other shopping app.

The first shop is always the most painful as you need to search for every item individually and this can take a while, but the app builds up a memory. Shopping after that first time is much easier; the lazy way is to look at last week’s order and just re-order the items again with the odd tweak or two if you’re a creature of habit.

Once you have selected your items they are saved in your pending orders, you book your one or two hour delivery slot and it’s done, just sit back and wait for that doorbell to ring.

Over time the apps compile bigger list of your favourite items under the handily named ‘favourites‘ option and you just select from these.

“Yes, OK” I hear you say, “but what about fine local and organic produce that your fancy-pants app won’t have heard of, let alone deliver?  What about the spontaneous purchase of something exotic that catches your eye in the Mediterranean section?”  Good points both.

However, whilst I would love to shop like a French countess, a languid daily meander, basket in hand, prodding and sniffing artistically arranged, pantone-perfect vegetables, this is not the stuff of reality.  Other than the occasional farmers’ market I don’t shop like a Gallic gal as alas I don’t have the time required to peruse the market stalls for that particularly fine herby salt made by monks.

As far as I can see, the pros of supermarket apps far outweigh the cons. On the plus side they are hugely convenient and if you’re on a budget you can compare prices easily and stick to what you intended to spend. Clicking on a product gives you an array of dietary information too, so no clogging up an aisle to check on the Bifidus Regularis content.

On the minus, occasionally deliveries may be a little late and you may find that your lust for broad beans cannot be satiated by the pouty sugar snaps that have been substituted in their place.  However, no problems I have encountered with my chosen supermarket app would ever make me go back to the bad old days, time is too precious.

My advice to save time, money and good humour is let an app buy the everyday humdrum items, freeing you to tilt your hat at a becoming angle and go do the farmers markets for the sheer joie de vivre.


Amanda Horlington is founder of web design and internet marketing company Fusion Marketing.  Contact Amanda at