Monday, May 29, 2023

#Tuesday10: The Best Free Apps to Help Maintain Your Independence…

We’re still celebrating a month of independence here at SPICE, which is what got us to thinking about how free we are from all life’s little problems, what with the age of all things smartphone and the dawn of the ‘app.’

Yes, those that have access to a relatively sophisticated mobile – a prerequisite of the stylish, these days – and the internet (as well as the guts to delete selfies in order to retrieve the necessary storage space) can make the most of not having to rely on those around them to get through the everyday ‘situations’ life throws at you. Shopping for a new lipstick with no clue what colour suits your complexion, or managing your accounts without a head for numbers are all problems of the past, answered in 2014 by the  simple download of an app.

Below are some of the best we’ve found for the jet-set, high flyers amongst you – free apps that are best downloaded for a bit of independence, if you’re one to live your life in style and detest relying on the help of others…

1. Accounting Apps

Need an Accountant? Try an app first – they’re way less expensive (and less judgmental about your perfectly rational spending habits)…


SPICE Loves: MoneyWise – for iOS and Android

MoneyWise is an app designed to help you balance your budget, track expenses, generate reports and bank on the go, through a ‘find ATM’ option and the use of mobile banking – all the things one needs, whether one’s embarked on their own business or are simply trying to get a grip on spending habits.

The app’s home screen is very straightforward and easily handled, with buttons that navigate you to a budget overview, the ability to add expenses, track savings, review your expenses, view reports, use mobile banking and even to find yourself a nearby ATM – for those moments when stumbling across one of those brilliant boutique stores or markets, that unfortunately don’t take payment card (happens to the best of us).

Everything in the Moneywise app is efficient and straightforward — especially the section pertaining to expenses where handily, you can see all of your spending by category, which for us includes: Work Shoes, Party Shoes, Wednesday’s Shoes, Birthday Shoes and Shoes That Life Can’t Go On Without.

Download this app and forget taking money out of your shopping budget to help pay for a real life accountant, who’ll probably just waste time advising you against doing any more shopping, anyway…

2. Translator Apps

Travelling (across Africa for the upcoming Fashion Weeks or to a fabulous overseas wedding) and worried about the language barrier? Well, don’t worry about relying on your better-travelled friend’s translations during your trip – instead, download your own personal language translator, who also won’t judge if you ask for translations for things like “which filter should I use for my Insta-selfie?”


SPICE Loves: Google Translate for iOS, Android & Windows

When it comes to all things net and know-how, do you or do you not look to Google first? So it’s highly understandable that when looking for a fast and accurate language translator (who isn’t going to ignore you while making doe-eyed jokes in a foreign language with the hot waitor before responding to you), you’d look to Google Translate – one of the most-trusted translators on the web.

Rated as the best free translation tool around, this app is pretty difficult to overlook, even if it does struggle with longer, more complicated sentences… But, more than capable of handling quick phrase or word check requests, it beats all the other apps tested for accuracy, and besides – all the phrases you need for your stylish getaway will be simple: “How much for that pair of shoes please,” “You’ll find my name on the guest list,” and “sure, you may take a picture of my outfit.” Non?

3. Currency Converter Apps

Need help figuring out how much those unforgettable, foreign fashion finds will cost in your own currency? Well, dodge the currency exchange desk, ditch relying on the word of the vendor your purchasing from and simply download an app to get calculating. You’ll soon be the one to decide if you’ve unearthed a bargain or not! 


SPICE Loves: Currency Converter – for iOS, Android & Windows

Easily convert cash amounts in foreign currency to that of your home county’s (or vice-verse) with the explanatory-titled Currency Convertor app. We at SPICE have used this app without any bother, and owe many a problem-free splurge to it, with its ability to tell us in seconds what amounts we’re dealing with, with accurate conversion rates applied.

4. Travel Apps

Want to find out all the hotspots in the stylish city you’re visiting, or find out its history, without needing to ask questions or pay extortionate amounts like a total tourist? Well, simply find yourself a handy tour guide-style app that’ll teach you about your surroundings as you spy them, as well as navigate you to all the best things to see in the vaccinity – sans ridiculous fee and sans having to tread the generic touristic trail about town, either…


SPICE Loves: Street Lens – for iOS & Android 

With this genius app, your phone’s camera will be well used – and not just for all the selfies you’ll be taking of yourself on the trip. Street Lens will navigate you to all the best shops, restuarants, banks, bars and landmarks, amongst other points of interest – by having you simply snap away at the things you see.

The app allows you to find out more information about the venues you come across by simply tapping on the icons that spring up on screen as you walk around, providing you with reviews or phone numbers, in case you need to make a quick reservation, having just stumbled across somewhere frequented by celebs.

With the app giving you the freedom to get ‘lost’ in the city and find the real gems on your own, you’ll have soon got to know the city you’re staying in, all by yourself – no annoying tour guide or tour guide fee necessary.

5. Makeup Apps

Dying to try out that new hairstyle, or that new trend everyone seems to be flaunting, but worried that it may not suit you? Well, there’s no need to seek the advice of a professional when you can decide for your self at home, without the need to be daring either. Just download one of the many beautifying apps available online and get experimenting with your look before really going for it.


SPICE Loves: MakeUP – for iOS

The most popular beauty makeover app for iOS and Android devices, MakeUp features photo-realistic makeup and hair simulations, with over 50 different styles to ‘try out’ – including the much-loved winged eyeliner and face sculpting bronzer.

The app also boasts weekly-updated celebrity hairstyles, so one can try out Rih’s new weave or Solange’s new ‘fro shape, without having to head to the nearest hair salon or so much as leave the room. Gone are the days of trusting a hair or makeup stylist with your crowning glory, so you can be an independent beauty queen without anyone knowing who gave you the inspiration, advice or balls to really go for it with your looks.

6. Shopping Apps

Tired of waiting for your driver to carry you to the shops or collect your parcels for you? Well, rely on him no more with a shopping app from the best brands and stores around, which will let you browse, buy, sit back and wait for your goods to come to you! 


SPICE Loves: Asos – for iOS

Brilliantly-stocked and bursting with some of the best highstreet and designer brands, Asos is a girl’s go-to for the latest in fashion, with something to satisfy all tastes. And, with its rad app allowing you to browse more than 850 brands while on the go – searching by size, type, brand and colour, as well as via the company’s edits and style guides – finding your new must-have can be way more convenient than relying on a driver to pick you up and take you to the shops (that requires you actually moving, for starters)…

The app’s new credit card scanner allows for an even quicker purchase, and not only can you share news of your recent splurges online straight from the platform, but you can also request sale alerts for when the items you’ve been coveting are finally willing to come down to your budget level!

Asos delivers to over 242 countries including some across the African continent and there’s  free delivery on orders over £15 – like they know somehow you’re a sucker for quick and easy shopping…

7. Organiser Apps

Are you such a fashion high-flyer that you’ve so much to do, you rely on the help of an assistant to keep you on track day-to-day? Well, not anymore, thanks to the help of the many personal organiser apps available – these days, you can manage your endless to-do lists, reminders and overwhelming schedules all alone! Goodbye additional monthly expense and hello new monthly pair of shoes….


On female struggles and feminism: “There’s a saying in Africa, if you give a woman empowerment, you empower a community, you empower men, you empower man. When women become empowered and live in their strength it’s beneficiary to others, and I think as young women today we sometimes forget that we are standing on the struggle of other women. Those women had to stand up to make a change, and they were not popular, and now we’re making them unpopular again.”

SPICE Loves: SpeakToIt – for iOS

The Speaktoit app provides users with a virtual assistant that will add efficiency to even the most hectic of lives. Like every good assistant it’s ready and awaiting your every command – answering your questions, performing tasks, notifying you about important upcoming events and making your daily routine easier all round.

Using natural language technology to respond to queries, find information, launch other apps and connect you with various web services, your new assistant learns about your favourite places, services and preferences quickly overtime (just not how you like your coffee, unfortunately), and takes into account your current environment and schedule in order to provide the best suggestions, customised to your needs.

Also on its CV – as if you haven’t already decided to hire it – is the fact that it’s multilingual and available in English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Brazilian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Cantonese, and it’s currently being trained in many other languages that will launch soon.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t get so smart, it tries to take your job…

8. Safety Alarm Apps

Are you a worried parent, sibling, partner or friend, reluctant to let your loved ones out of your sight, for fear they may go missing? Are your constant phone calls and “check-ins” hindering the independence of your nearest and dearest? Well, with the many safety alarm apps out there you can restore your peace of mind and give your favourite people back a little of their freedom – because, safe in the hands of technology, you’ll know immediately in the event that they really need your help…


SPICE Loves: SOS Stay Safe – for iOS & Android 

This independence-giving alarm app is activated by the simple shaking of your phone a fixed number of times – do it and your nearest and dearest are alerted to your troubles.

The SOS Stay Safe will do all the distress calling for you, sending an SMS and an email to your parents (or whomever you choose), detailing your location at regular intervals till deactivated. Your phone’s battery level is also sent, so that in the case of extreme “I don’t have my charger” days, your chosen hero or heroine will know how long before your battery dies completely and how long they have to come to its rescue.

In all seriousness though, this is a seriously good app for giving worriers some peace of mind. Download it and give yourself some independence from the burden of being so utterly loved and perhaps slightly protected…

9. Fitness Apps

Looking to limber up before all the weddings and festive feasts on the way, but don’t want to rely on a personal trainer? Well, with a whole heap of fitness apps ready for download, you don’t have to – you can simply take your health into your own hands and whip yourself into shape…


SPICE Loves: Workout Trainer – for iOS & Android 

This figure-aiding app allows you to take control of your own fitness training, offering an enormous range of workout routines that vary in length and intensity, and that can be targeted to a specific area of the body (hello, thighs).

Most of the routines it offers are explained by pictures that’ll guide you through each step of the workout, and a digital personal trainer will also talk you through it – which is a blessing and a curse, depending on how determined you are and unwilling to switch it off and quit when you’ve “had enough.”

Should an app for dedication to a work out ever become available, we will for sure let you know about that too…

10. Sleep Apps

Struggling to sleep and relying the size of your eye-bags in the morning to tell you how exhausted you’ll be during the day ahead? Well, there are lots of apps to help with that – not by reading you bedtime stories for a better night’s sleep (though we’re sure there’s an app for that too), but by providing you with a review of your sleep behaviour. Download one and you might just get to the route of your sleepless woes and put the nightmare of being tired all day to bed…


SPICE Loves: Sleep Time – for iOS & Android 

This dreamy app, developed by Azumio Inc, tracks the number of hours you’ve slept as well as how that ultimately affects your efficiency.

All you need to do is to set an alarm and keep your phone face down next to your pillow – your smartphone will then stay up all night, tallying the number of times you toss and turn in your sleep, which will help it figure out when you were in deep sleep mode and when you were in a light sleep and practically ready to wake.

In the morning, look over the app’s findings by simply clicking on the ‘Sleep Lab’ tab and a graph will show you just how well you slept (meaning you don’t need to rely on estimations arrived at by the look of your early morning face) as well as how efficient you’ll be as a result. #Nifty.

The only niggling thing is this app will eat away at your battery power overnight, therefore you might want to plug it in so it’s not asleep when you wake. That wouldn’t be very efficient now would it…

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