10 essential apps for busy mums

Is your smart phone saving you time or adding to your workload? Are you getting the best from your hand-held helper or is it bursting with apps you never use? In a guest post for Still You, technology blogger Sarah Bennett tells us how to use the technology to your advantage.

Whether your phone is Android, iPhone or Windows, having the right apps at your fingertips can enhance your lifestyle. This isn’t an attempt to make you download crap that you’ll look at once or to get you hooked on the latest version of Angry Birds; it’s about using technology to add to your Mum armoury.

Technology doesn’t have to be a drag. Grab your smart phone or tablet, ditch the crap apps that you don’t use and download these beauties…

1. Stylect (IOS – only available for iPhone and iPad – FREE)

Stylect

Are you UK’s answer to Imelda Marcos? Looking for an easy-to-use app to further your shoe escapades? The Stylect app enables you to search for shoes, across a large range of retailers and budgets, all in the comfort of your own home. You can create wish lists, share with friends and even buy the shoes online with a handy feature that will only show you items that are in stock.

Once you’ve set your filters (type, price and colour) then you’re presented with a gallery of shoes. Swipe left to reject or right to like and away you go. Get that credit card ready! When you’re done, check-out your wish list then buy.

>> Get on IOS (iPad and iPhone)


2. Houzz (IOS or Android – FREE)

Houzz 1

If you’re starting a new home project or just looking for inspiration then Houzz is a fantastic app. From nosing at other houses to designing your own project, the app is easy to use. You can also look at idea books, ask for advice from the community and purchase products that you’ve seen.

With the ability to filter based on room, budget and style, this app will save you time if you’re looking for inspiration. Plus, if you’re up for a bit of property porn, this is app is perfect!

>> Get on IOS (iPhone and iPad)

>> Get on Android 


3. Open Table (IOS and Android – iPhones and Android models – FREE)

Open Table

Need a restaurant reservation in a hurry? Don’t want to spend another date night in your generic local restaurant? Try the Open Table app. Enter a location, number of diners and a time. The app will show you what’s available.

Once the results are shown you can then scope-out the restaurants. You’ll get the menu, price, contact details, dress code and a description of the restaurant. You’ll also find reviews. Once you’ve made a decision, reserve your table. One thing I like about this app is that you don’t have to sign-up; you can reserve a table as a guest.

>> Get on IOS (iPhone and iPad)

>> Get on Android 


4. Adobe Photoshop Express (IOS, Android and Windows – FREE)

adobe app

This is the best free photo-editing app. It’s simple to use, there are lots of features and you won’t waste hours trying to erase those bags from under your eyes. The auto-fix option is good and the blemish removal feature got rid of spots and a rogue stretchmark on one of my holiday photos. All hail Photoshop!

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Android

>> Get on Windows


5. Learn With Homer (IOS – FREE)

Learning WIth Homer

If you don’t hand over your smart phone or tablet to your kids to get 5 minute’s peace then you’re a rare breed. There’s a plethora of apps out there for kids including some absolutely crap ones. Your kids have more chance of seeing a unicorn than getting something tangible from some of them!

Learn with Homer (a pigeon, not Bart’s Dad) is the most popular app in our house. There are plenty of activities that are free, with the option of paying to download others (make sure you’ve disabled in-app purchases before you let your kids loose on this).

It looks great and is kid-friendly. From drawing, stories, songs, geography and tonnes of interactive features, you don’t need to sit with your kids when they’re using this app.The colours and characters are appealing and from a mum’s perspective, the educational content is spot-on too so this app is a guilt-free zone.

>> Get on IOS


6. National Geographic World Atlas (IOS and Windows – £1.49)

national geo

This luscious app isn’t just about high-quality maps. As you would expect from a brand such as National Geographic it oozes with quality.

If your geography’s on the shit side or you need to pull something out of the bag for someone’s homework, this app is for you. Yes, there are maps but you’ll also get facts and figures on every country and capital city in the world, up-to-date weather and a currency converter. You can even plan a trip away, using pins to highlight potential destinations.

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Windows


7. Etsy (IOS and Android – FREE)

Etsy 1

Do you yearn for kitsch, cutesy knick-knacks? Love a unique piece of jewellery or funky clothing? Download the Etsy app and you can fill your world with gorgeous, often kooky gifts. This worldwide online marketplace app is easy to use. You can search under categories or choose to see what’s selling well at the moment.

Create lists of your favourite items, message sellers directly(if you want to) and then purchase via the app.

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Android


8. News Republic (IOS, Android and Windows – FREE)

News

Tailor the news to you with this great app. Get breaking news coverage from over 1,000 worldwide, trusted sources and then personalise it to show the stories that really matter to you.

This app is user-friendly. The home page can be set-out just how you want it. It’s clever too. The app remembers the issues that you’re interested in and prioritises them in your news feed. You also see the full stories via the app, no re-directing to other news sites.

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Android


9. Momondo (IOS and Android – FREE)

momondo2

There are plenty of travel apps out there. This is one of the best. It pulls together all of the best deals from 100s of suppliers. Not only can you book hotels and flights worldwide, it’s easy to use and looks great too.

Choose a town or city and you’ll be given a list of available accommodation, all featured on an interactive map. The graphics are crystal clear. The app isn’t overly complicated.

Flights are stress-free too. Choose where you want to go and when and you’ll be taken to an easy to navigate screen, showing your options.

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Android


10. A Beautiful Mess (IOS and Android – £0.69)

a beautiful mess

Create fun, unique images using your existing photos – add doodles, write text, create collages – and share them on social media or save them just for you. With custom filters and fun fonts, this enjoyable app can make your everyday photos stunning. Great if you like sharing photos on Instagram.

>> Get on IOS

>> Get on Android


Have we missed your favourite app out? Let us know the app that you can’t live without!

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