Musings

What’s on my phone – apps that make life easier, happier or better

My initial idea for this blog post was to make it about apps I can’t live without. But I abandoned it as quickly as I came up with it, as I realised that writing about my great love for Google Maps would bore me to death, as well as put you to sleep halfway through the second paragraph. We all have apps we can’t live without (Ok, we technically can. Maybe…)  – for some it could be MyFitnessPal, which allows them to track their exercising and calorie intake, for others,  it’ll be Candy Crush, because it fills the otherwise aimless time spent commuting. But essentials are boring – just try to remember the last time you were excited about toothpaste (probably in primary school, when your mom finally bought you the cola flavoured one).

So instead of featuring a bunch of boring apps everyone has on their phone, I have gone through mine and chose apps that I’m either excited about for some reason, use regularly or simply think they’re worth showing you. All of those apps are free to download and don’t require any in-app purchases. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the (partial) contents of my iPhone!

Veleza

I will start with an office neighbour. Veleza is an app for beauty lovers. It’s a sort of everything in one – a beauty community, where you can post about anything beauty related, a place to ask questions, search for products and rate them. You can read and write reviews, discuss beauty issues with your fellow beauty junkies, post your newest make up creations, and earn diamonds for your contribution, which allow you to rank up (don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for such things). Veleza basically gives you the place to talk all things beauty without annoying your Facebook or Twitter friends who don’t give a toss about the newest Urban Decay palette, and instead creates a community of people who do. A great idea and really good execution.

Finimize

Finimize app is currently in the beta stage, and you can only get it if you’re a Finimize Insider (which you become if you refer 5 friends to the app), but it’s an app really worth writing about, especially as you can get the same benefit by subscribing to their email. The idea behind Finimize is really simple – they choose two most important financial stories of the day, and send them to you in a digestible form, highlighting what the news means and why you should care about it. It’s really easy to read, and each daily portion of news takes around 3 minutes to read. Finimize is great for developing commercial awareness (really hate this expression, I think it was invented to confuse students), and making sense of what’s going on in the world of finance. If you sign up with my link, you will get 3 months of weekly reviews free, on top of your daily emails. You can choose between a Global, European or American edition, so there’s something for everyone.

Bloglovin

I’ve had the Bloglovin app probably as long as I’ve had an iPhone. The reason is simple – it’s literally the easiest way to follow your favourite blogs, and if you follow as many as I do (which is definitely more than I actually read), you appreciate having them all in one place. You simply search for your favourite blogs, tap follow, and whenever they post something, it will appear in your Bloglovin feed. It’s so incredibly simple, and I just love having things organised for me. For some blogs, you will have to go to their site to actually read the full post, but for a good portion of them, you’ll be able to read in the app. You can also save posts and add them to categories you’ve created, so you can later come back to them.

Earthmiles

Earthmiles is a cool little creation. The app basically rewards you for walking, running, cycling, and doing yoga. So basically for doing things you do anyway (at least the walking part). Connect it to an activity-monitoring app (I simply use the Apple’s Health app that came with the phone), and you will get 1 earthmile for every kilometre you walk, 3 for every kilometre you cycle, 4 for every kilometre you run, and 5 for every yoga session. You can then exchange your earthmiles for discounts on food, sports clothing or exercise classes. For example, for 175em you get 40% of a yoga class at the Shard, and for 200em – 20% off ASICS shoes and clothes. If you use my referral code GABG6Y2L, you will get 50em extra when you sign up.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is pretty similar to Earthmiles as it rewards for walking, however, the difference is, it doesn’t reward you personally – it donates to charity. You simply power up the app, choose the charity you want to be walking/running/cycling for that day (loads to choose from), and off you go. Probably the easiest and cheapest way of donating to charity ever created.

Amazon

So, in case you didn’t know, Amazon has an app. It’s absolutely terrible if you’ve a bad habit of impulse buying random shit (guilty as charged *says she, looking at the set of nail art brushes that she’s never going to use*), but really good for quick shopping. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t allow you to buy Kindle books (at least on iPhone). It’s (too) easy to use, and looks basically the same as the web version, so if you often buy from Amazon, you will find it handy.

Podcasts

I think this app comes pre-installed on an iPhone, and if not, it’s a quick download. If you’ve never listened to podcasts, you’re really missing out, especially as they can be downloaded entirely legally and taken into the depths of the earth (a.k.a the underground). I don’t really listen to a lot, but they can be a godsend when you’ve got to be at the airport in the middle of the night, and need to stay awake, but are too tired to read or watch anything, or if you’re squashed like a little cute sardine on the central line in the morning rush hour. I listen to either TED Talks (a lot of great stuff), Freakonomics radio or, and this is the best one, My Dad Wrote a Porno. I find it hilarious to the point where half of the very gloomy looking passengers of the bus I was on looked at my giggling self as if I was some curious species they’ve never seen before. Given that it took place in London, it’s very possible that they indeed have never seen a person laughing on public transport.

FLIO

FLIO is another neighbour from the office and I haven’t really given it a proper spin yet, but I definitely do find it exciting. It’s an app for people who find themselves travelling via plane, a.k.a. people who visit airports. The idea is simple – you power up the app, connect to the airport wifi through it, get deals and discounts in the airport shops and restaurants, there’s a departure schedule and a map of the airport, as well as tips on transport to and from the airport, interesting facts, and other random things that might come in handy. Basically anything you might need at the airport when you’re waiting for your flight. My only problem so far has been that I forget I have it, and the last two times I have flown it has only detected I’m at the airport when I was boarding the plane. But definitely worth trying.

Cover photo by Aaron Burden

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