To be honest I was a bit late in the day getting into the whole smart phone craze and pretty much everyone I knew owned one before I decided to take the plunge and get one. The truth is, I didn’t even know how to use a smartphone (I know, cringe!) until I bought my first iPhone back in 2014. I think that was just something I couldn’t be bothered with because I didn’t realise how much fun it is to play around with the various cool phone apps and have the internet on my phone everywhere I went. Well, they do say you won’t miss what you never had, so I stuck with my trusty old school Nokia. At the time I was working as a manager of a restaurant and bar and I had been given a work phone which was a nice Nokia but not a smartphone, just a bog standard call and texting with reminders and the rest. That was all I figured I needed my phone for. I could go on and on about the other reasons I hadn’t conformed to buying a smartphone, since I could have had a separate private phone, but I honestly felt I didn’t need it. I wrote an article about it a while ago here if you want to laugh about it, called “Phubbing, is this what the World has Come to??”
It wasn’t until I left that job and moved to a new place that I realised I was going to have to invest in a new phone. Basically, I still had a stone age Nokia that was the most basic and hideous looking brick phone to rely on. I had kept that old relic to store all my contacts and as a backup phone in case I ever needed it. It did the job and I hadn’t got around to buying a new one yet. In fact I kind of liked the attention it got when I took it out in public haha. It was like having a vintage heirloom, everyone would gasp and be like “oh my God I can’t believe they still exist”, and remarking how cool I was to not have smartphone and opt for an old school relic haha. You would think they were mocking me but actually now that I own a smartphone, I sometimes miss my old brick phone! It was a time when I was never really distracted by my phone and much more in tune with my surroundings. To be honest though, I really love my smartphone and couldn’t live without it! Arrghh I can’t believe I’m saying that because it sounds materialistic but I just am obsessed with my phone, lol.
I decided back then to go for an iPhone. My new boyfriend, who is now father of my two babies, had one and was always on it and saying how great it was with all the apps and showing me cool things it could do, like answer questions (Siri) and the like. I was mesmerised by how intelligent these phones were so I went and bought one and I have to admit, I loved the ease of use. Once I got into using it, I started trying out free apps that were recommended to me by friends. I can’t remember what the first ones were as I have had so many over the years but nowadays I’m always checking out new ones so I decided to dedicate a blog post to my faves and spread the word on the ones that I love using. Hope these are of some use or interest you.
This App has been so much fun to play with. Not that its a game, its just that it gives away one free paid app per day. So every day you can get a new and interesting app that will soon be no longer free to purchase. I have got quite a few, sometimes otherwise expensive apps, absolutely free. I think these apps like to get themselves recognised and rated somehow before launching as a paid app (my guess) and so they do a flash freebie through App of the Day. Its fun because you don’t know what will come up, plus they give you notifications once you go on it often and agree to be notified. That way you don’t miss out. There have been a couple of times when I didn’t check or get a notification for whatever reason and been disappointed after missing out on some cool app or another. Definitely worth downloading as it itself is absolutely free!
I happen to love meditation and I had never really tried it before until I read about this app in a magazine. It was saying how celebs and doctors among all walks of life were using this app and it basically exploded onto the scene, seemingly overnight! It just takes ten minutes of your day so I said I would simply have to see what all the fuss is about. I downloaded it and tried it that day. I have to say, it really made me feel great. I was so happy from listening to this guided meditation that was so incredibly relaxing and freeing. I did write about it in a previous blog post on here so I won’t go too much into it but if you are interested in reading that post here is the link “De-clutter your Life and Clear your Mind”.
Its free so if you want to try then I recommend it and if you love it, then you can pay to move on with it to the next level and so on. I personally love it.
If you follow my blog you will know that I’m all about chem-free living and natural skincare. I do believe that we should be making a conscious choice about what we put on our skin. At least if we are somewhat informed of the ingredients in our beauty products, we can decide if we are happy to use them regularly. This app is fantastic because you can just scan your beauty products barcode through the app or enter the description or name of your chosen cosmetic and once it has been listed in their huge database, it will give a rating of how the product fares in terms of harm to the body. Before you freak out and start scanning every product you own, it is merely a guide. I use it when I go shopping at the chemist of supermarket for beauty products. If its not listed in their database, you submit the barcode and it will eventually update to the system once they find the product ingredients. At least you can be free in the knowledge that you can make an informed decision of what you put on your skin. It takes the chore out of checking all the labels and remembering what to avoid. Thats a big one for me. I wrote an article dedicated to the issue here if you want to learn more. “Toxic Beauty Products in your Bathroom cupboard – Know what you are applying”
This app is relatively new so its still developing but so far I have found it to be very useful. Don’t be put off by the name!
I love this app since it is so simple to use. You can upload your photos via your phone, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and more. All you have to do is chose the photos you want printed and you can have them made into standard photo prints, canvases, cards, mugs, books, calendars and more, all through your phone. It really takes the hassle out of printing. I personally love having old school printed photos for my albums and frames at home. They have a great line of gifts too, so perfect as a sentimental present for any occasion.
Ever been on holiday in a foreign country and not been able to translate something? For me that is a regular occurrence since I live in France. My French its really not up to standard so this app is a real life-saver. All you have to do is take a photo of whatever it is, like instructions or a menu. It automatically translates the wording into your chosen language. It is actually really accurate and so simple to use. Its free too, unless you want the Pro version but I have only needed the free version and it does the job perfectly. I highly recommend this app for anyone going on holidays or ever stuck somewhere in need of translation. I love it!!
Again, a handy one for anyone in need of voice translation. It has 54 languages for helping you to communicate wherever you go! I love the way it automatically communicates what you want to say in case you get stuck. This can be extremely handy for conversing in a foreign language with people who are unable to understand you. Just another handy app for holidays.
Ever left you car in the parking lot only to forget where you left it on return? Well I have done this too many times to remember. But not anymore! If I have to drop my car in a huge carpark or in an area I don’t know very well, I just click on my app and put a pin exactly where I’m parked. It immediately marks the spot on Googlemaps so that I don’t have to worry about it. Never get lost again with this great app. Too easy and also Free!
I was lucky enough to get this for free via App of the Day, mentioned above. However, its $9.99 now. It teaches you all the best yoga poses and shows you what body parts you are working. Being a complete yoga beginner, this app was really great. It was like having a teacher show you the poses and explain how your body and muscles are working during each pose. Easy to follow and well illustrated pics made this a great way to learn yoga. Perfect for me if I just want to do a few yoga poses, wherever I may be. Also handy for working on specific body areas.
Ever heard a song, yet can’t put a name to it? It has happened to me so many times when I hear a song but don’t catch the name of it on the radio. Or I hear a song I just know I know but can’t remember the name. Shazam is an app that identifies any song by the tune and or lyrics and lets you know. Handy to have for those annoying times!
Want to learn all the lyrics of your fave songs? Look no further, this app lets you sing and learn while having the best fun ever by singing karaoke. It has so many songs that it is unlikely that you won’t find what you’re looking for. A great fun app where even if you can’t sing, it really doesn’t matter, cos no-one else has to listen haha!
Love vintage clothing but don’t have time to scour the charity shops or eBay? This app is perfect for finding that one-off item or even swap your clothes! In need of a wardrobe clear-out or desperate to de-clutter? Then this is the app for you. Sell your wares or just check out the fab finds here. Some great second-hand designer handbags. One girls trash is another girls treasure!
Couldn’t go without mentioning this app. Im sure most people already have this one but if you don’t then you will be delighted with the messaging service. Transfer all your pics and videos to loved ones and text for free. Best part about it, call and text anyone anywhere in the world for free! No charges whatever! Defo one of my all-time faves.
Pronounced ‘ift’ and short for ‘If this, then that’, the app is just about the cleverest one on the market right now. It can integrate with over 500 other apps and is super-intelligent. I only recently discovered this – introduced by my man who is into all things tech. He is obsessed with gadgets, like most men. Latest being our new lighting and alarm system. Philips Hue is the lighting system and it is a special bulb that replaces your standard one. Then it hooks up to an app on the phone and he can control it in various ways such as by speaking, dimming and brightening, from another place, be turned on or off, up or down. For instance, if we go away, he wants to be able to turn the lights on and make it look as though someone is here. While we are away, wherever we are it can be controlled so is a great security feature. He also hooked up his phone to a camera system and alarm that can all be accessed from the phone. Other awesome features of the IFTT app include, central heating (have the house toasty and warm in time for your arrival), sharing photos to multiple areas such as Instagram, Twitter and Dropbox all in one go. There is a feature to call yourself to get out of an awkward situation, send money to a friend via Squarecash, add a grocery list or reminder, set fitness goals. All can be integrated with each other so for instance if you’re doing a workout at home and you hit your calorie burning goal, your light can flash different colours etc. It is so much fun. Right now my other half is at work and he’s dimming the lights in our living room cos he thinks its funny haha. Spooky! I can see this app really going places in the future so definitely worth the mention.
This app is actually so simple but so efficient and clever. Why has no one thought of this before?! Take the hassle out of shopping with a list by using this classic and easy to use app. It has a list of your standard essentials that you just click on to add to the list and anything not on there, just type manually. The list is created and then as you go through the supermarket or wherever you are shopping, just click the item and it removes from your list as you find them. Never forget anything on your shopping list again. Awesome.
Even though I rarely get a bus or train these days, this app would have been so useful for me when I was abroad as a backpacker or especially when I was a school girl. I was forever missing buses and waiting around in the cold with no idea how long I would be stranded. My best friend was always saying how great it would be to have something like this and now its here! This is worth having on your phone, especially if you’re using public transport or have a loved one or visitor using it. Ultra helpful for the ones waiting or deciding whether to call for a cab or a lift. It covers 800 cities and is updated regularly so handy to have for city breaks too. No more waiting around at train stations or bus stops. Perfect for students.
This has come in handy for me since I use my wireless mouse a lot! Therefore, the batteries often run out. Luckily, if I have no backup batteries handy, I have this app! It turns your phone into a wireless mouse! Great to have on hand, especially if you do presentations at work or anything like that. Also, I figure this can be used for your laptop/iPad as a remote if watching Netflix. Pretty handy in general and also free. I have lost my remote control so many times, I now have a dowloaded version of my tv remote app on my phone too! It seems there is an app for everything nowadays! It really makes life easier.
So those are my fave ones but I’m sure I will be adding more to the list soon. I will probably do another blog post in the future since I’m always discovering new ones. Do check them out and see what you think. Let me know what you reckon in the comments and please let me know if you have any other cool apps to try out. I don’t normally pay for them since there are so many free ones but if it is something really great, I would consider it!
Ps check out this other cool app I just discovered on this website the other day! Its for shopping local and finding better price comparisons in your area > Pointy