Five excellent apps for beginners

April 1, 2017

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

While I am pretty nifty around the back end of this website, I freely admit I am useless with my mobile phone. I am a late developer. Although I’ve got the hang of making phone calls, sending texts and using a couple of basic apps, that is as far as I have ventured into the world of ubiquitous handheld digital devices.

However, I have noticed that almost all my friends are becoming very adept at using their mobiles. Obviously not quite as adept as their children who all seem to be able to simultaneously watch a TV programme, eat a slice of buttered toast, groom their Groucho brows AND text 1000 wpm without even looking at the diminutive keyboard.

If I ask Son to help me, I don’t get very far. He seems to think I am a complete idiot. Although he is charming in every other respect, he hasn’t the patience to show me how to do something. He just whips my mobile out of my hand, there is a whirring blur of fingers, and hey presto my phone is returned to me with some new app on it (usually something I have absolutely no interest in using!)


Another issue is that there are so many phone apps to choose from. As of June 2016, there were 2.2m of them. You only have to look around you to see the enormous number of people who are glued to their mobiles. Seems we are using our phones for everything these days. And it’s not just our kids, the older age groups are catching up fast.

So, to narrow down the enormous choice, I have been asking MFFs (mobile-friendly female friends) what their fave apps are. That’s apart from the obvious ones that even app-Luddites like me know and tolerate – such as Twitter, FB and the increasingly popular, Instagram. These four are absolutely free to download. Just click on App Store on your phone’s home page, search for the app name and click GET. Hey presto! It only takes a trice to appear on your mobile’s screen as a colourful icon begging to be clicked on.



When Annabel fractured her shoulder and was unable to drive for 14 weeks, she had to rely on home deliveries. She could have asked her husband to do the food shopping but, even with a minutely detailed list, he manages to go ‘off piste’. She has used Ocado on and off for many years but only when her arm was out of action did she have the incentive and time to download it onto her iPhone and investigate. This is what she has to say “Honestly it is so easy to use and if you suddenly remember an item you have forgotten it takes 10 seconds to add it to your shop using the app. Ocado has the best selection of products and I have never been disappointed with anything, even the fruit and veg which can, on other online supermarkets, be a little hit and miss.”


Smart Sugar

Although I try and cook our meals from scratch, sometimes I just don’t have the energy or inclination. So this little app comes in very handy when I’m in the supermarket trying to look incognito in the Ready Prepared Meals aisle. You point your phone at a product’s barcode and you will be shown the number of sugar cubes in that product. Helps you make more sensible decisions.


Tiny Scanner

This clever little app allows you to scan documents, receipts and so on while you are out and about. Just tap the app to start, click to take a photo, save and share. Easy, fast and good quality scans.



When I am, for example, on a train journey, I like to exercise my brain cells and, apart from online Scrabble, this is my favourite way to give them a work out. Marvellous-Mother-In-Law has this app on her iPad and she kept asking me to help her solve the puzzles, which is how I got hooked. It looks deceptively easy but, believe me, it frequently has you stumped. Did I mention it is pretty addictive?



This is CountryWife Ellie’s favourite app and one she uses every day. As a restaurant owner she’s always looking for new music to play and the Shazam App is the perfect way to find it. Wherever she is, if she hears a decent tune she can Shazam it. The App identifies the music within about 5 seconds and you can then transfer the title to your Spotify or mobile phone playlist. Genius. One of the world’s most popular apps, it is used by more than 100 million people each month to identify music, get song lyrics, and now to discover the music that artists discover themselves.

What are YOUR fave apps?  Would love to hear from you…

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