1) Family organiser App: Cozi
This free iPhone app (which is also available for Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Tablet) lets me keep track of all the family’s appointments, school days off, birthdays and events. You can create shopping lists and To-Do lists all in one place. There’s also a journal feature if you want to keep track of days out, parties etc. and upload pictures. Family members can all access the same app, which is very handy and you can set reminders similar to Google calendar. The app also syncs with desktop and you can send emails to family and friends. This app is free for the basic features and you can upgrade for premium features at a cost of around €27 for a yearly subscription. I find the free features work fine for what I need.
2) Sleep Apps: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock and Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
One of my biggest problems last year was definitely not getting enough sleep. The kids are at an age now that they are sleeping through the night but I have a bad habit of staying up late and then struggling to jolt my brain into action before 9am the next morning. So, this year I am aiming to go to bed earlier when possible but also to have a better quality sleep for the late nights. These two sleep apps are my favourite. I have had the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock now for a while and although I questioned it’s effectiveness at first I do think it improves your overall sleep. It wakes you at your lightest sleep time with soothing tones. You need to put your iPhone under the sheet on your bed and you just click sleep just before you nod off. This costs around .99c in the app store and is also available for android.
The other app is one I would recommend for helping to get asleep and have a deeper sleep overall. It’s the Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson app. Johnson is a highly acclaimed hypnotherapist and app helps you sleep through guided meditation. It really helps to clear your mind before sleep. It costs €2.99 in the app store and is also available for android.
3) Money Manager App: Goodbudget
To be honest I haven’t yet found a budget app that I really love yet. I’ve tried out a few but they just feel like hard work but this one is about the closest to one that I can say I like. It’s nicely designed and easy to use. It’s based on the envelope budgeting system advocated by money experts. You put your expense allocation for each category into a virtual envelope, like mortgage, travel, eating out etc. and Goodbudget helps you to stick to each allocation. There’s a website and available free on iPhone and android. I’ll keep going with this one for a while longer anyway!
4) Health and Fitness App: myFitnessPal
I’ve tried a couple of health and fitness apps over the years but I find I always keep coming back to this one, especially at times of the year like New Year when I’m more focused on trying to eat healthier. MyFitnessPal is a free app (& website) that helps me to keep track of the food I consume, calorie intakes and exercise. They have a huge database of food making it easy to search for branded and generic food products and ingredients. You can save the most frequently inputted foods making it easier to quickly input daily foods, which I do approximately three times a day. I find that It’s a great way to motivate yourself to eat more healthy and also to keep an eye on balancing my diet, with progress reports and nutritional reports easily generated. It also syncs automatically with the iPhone 5’s internal M7 motion coprocessor chip which feeds in the data on steps taken throughout the day which is handy when going out on walks.
5) Cooking App: AllRecipes Dinner Spinner
I’ve tried lots of cooking apps, free and paid for and I have to say I use the AllRecipes more than any others. There’s such a huge community of others who use this app that the reviews are so helpful in deciding what to make and they also offer suggestions and tweaks to posted recipes that are great. It’s a really well designed app that is nice to use, search function for recipes is quick, there are links to video demos for some and you can add whole recipes straight to your shopping list. I love this one! It’s free through the app store and available on android too.