Posts tagged ‘Instagram’

January 27, 2014

Best iPhone Apps.

As someone who is trying to approach a more minimalist lifestyle, I’m trying to cull many the things that I don’t really need and make better use of those that I do.

This week’s plan is to apply that logic to my iPhone. When I initially took possession of my 64gb phone, my initial response was to put everything on it. All the apps in the world. Because I could. Apps I’d never heard of got installed just in case I ever found the time to try them or the energy to use them. The problem now is that my phone is a jumbled mess of folders, apps and tools. I need to streamline it. There’s no point in having every productivity and list-making app in the known universe, if I never actually use any of them!  Despite a plethora of such productivity tools, I’m more than likely to be found with a notebook and pen in hand, writing lists, than I am using Evernote. You just can’t beat a Moleskine…

Apps I use:

The big ones: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram: These are so obvious, I wasn’t even going to list them, but they form the backdrop to my social life, so they probably should be at the top!

Springpad: I initially used this for keeping track of lots of plans and lists, but now it’s used for two things only: keeping a list of cultural events I’ve attended and keeping a list of books I’ve read or plan to read. I love it for that, because it adds images of book covers to the list so it’s really clear to see what’s on there.

Shazam: Not a productivity app, but one that listens to music and identifies it, so I can spend too much money buying music in iTunes.

IMDb: For deciding whether we should watch a film or not. But mostly for ending arguments about which actor was in which film, what that character was called, and if we’ve actually seen that film or not…

Vimeo: Like YouTube, but more attractive. With Kinfolk.

Afterlight, VSCOcam, A Beautiful Mess, Pro HDR, Snapseed. All photography apps, because at the moment I don’t have a camera and so iPhone photography is the only way for me. 

Duolingo and Mindsnacks French: Fun French study.

WordPress: For last minute blog posts alterations and on-the-go blogging.

Booking.com and Airbnb: We use these for microadventures and last minute hotel bookings.

As you can see, I’m only using a handful of Apps, and big, well-known ones at that. So I could do with your help.

Are there any iPhone apps that you love? What should I be keeping or adding to my phone, when I get rid of all my clutter? And is there a productivity App that is better than a Moleskine notebook and pen?

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July 31, 2013

Three Good Things: Week Three

It’s already week three of Three Good Things, and I’m really enjoying taking some time out of my busy day to think about what I am grateful for. I’ve been so overwhelmed that other people want to join in with this series of posts too. It’s been such a wonderful, unexpected result.

So, here are this week’s Three Good Things!

One: Angelmaker.

The first of my three things this week is a novel. It’s been a while since I read a book so wonderful that it absorbed me from the very first page. Nick Harkaway’s ‘Angelmaker’ is such a book. I’ve been re-reading sentences just for the pure pleasure of wrapping the language around my brain and sneaking off to quiet corners  to dip into it whenever I get the chance.

It’s the story of Joshua Joseph Spork, a clock repairer who tries to live a quiet life in London and keep himself removed from his father’s crooked legacy , and of Edie Banister, a retired super-spy. A mysterious automaton is brought back to life and the end of the world is threatened. Cue lots of intriguing narrative, hidden, mysterious places in London, movements between time periods and lots of well-developed, sympathetic and fascinating characters. It’s fun, thrilling, and something of a rollercoaster ride. I’m only half-way through so don’t give me any spoilers, but right at this point, I’m utterly loving it.

What I really love about great fiction is that it completely reduces my mind to the present. There is no planning, no anxiety, no over-thinking. Just the words spilling from the page in front of me.  And, no matter what problems I’m facing in the real world, there usually is a fictional character who is having a worse day than I am, which is something of a comfort!

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Angelmaker, shown here with a few other things that make me happy!

Two: Instagram fun.

I’ve been really enjoying using Instagram recently. Joining in with Fat Mum Slim’s photo-a-day challenge has changed the way I use the app quite a lot and I’ve discovered lots of new people to follow and be inspired by. Having to think more about the subject that I’m photographing (to fit with the day’s prompt) is making me view my surroundings more carefully, with a new, more appreciative eye. I’ve also been trying really hard to learn about composition, even when just using my iphone to take photographs. Suzannah Conway is hosting August Break on her blog and via IG soon too, and I hope to be able to join in with the daily photo prompt there, even though I doubt I’ll be able to add them all to my blog! Using photo-a-day challenges is a great way for me to stretch my photography learning, find new people to follow on Instagram and feel really positive about how I use the app.

One of my Photo A Day entries for the prompt 'Number'.

One of my Photo A Day entries for the prompt ‘Number’.

Three: Whistles linen top.

My last thing of the week is a new piece of clothing. I rarely buy new clothes, and each piece has to be quite well considered before I part with cash. In the recent sunshine we’ve been having, I’ve struggled with my wardrobe, as I seem to dress mainly for winter! So, I took the plunge and invested in a navy and white striped linen top from Whistles. It has a loose fit, boat neckline and bracelet length sleeves and I’ve been living in it. Chances are if you see me this summer, this is what I’ll be wearing…

Shameless self-portrait. If you see me this summer, I’ll be wearing this!

So, those are the things that have brought me joy this week.

Why don’t you visit A Hell of a Woman and Nyssapod, to discover what they’ve chosen this week.

What are your Three Good Things?

November 12, 2012

Time without Twitter

On Friday, after a great but exhausting day at the National Media Museum, I managed to leave my beloved Iphone on the top deck of a bus.  I didn’t even realise to start off with, but after searching the myriad of bags and pockets I had with me, it gradually dawned on me that my phone was continuing the bus journey alone. So, I spent the weekend frantically cancelling things, blocking accounts, changing passwords and assuming that all was lost. Amazingly, it was handed in and I managed to have it back in my hand again by Monday. Massive thanks to whoever was responsible for that.

Because I’d cancelled everything, it took a whole week for everything to get sorted out. So I had an accidental week without Twitter and Instagram. Every so often, I’d get the chance to go online and spent a little bit of time on Twitter, but it wasn’t the same as having it to hand all the time. Conversations were missed, blog posts went unread, news went unseen – I didn’t even know that Bradley Wiggins had been knocked off his bike, and he’s one of my great heroes.  Even that made me realise just how much of my news I get through Twitter.

There were upsides to all of this. I did a bit more of all of my ongoing projects than perhaps I might have done – a bit more knitting, a bit more bathroom woodwork sanding (which is truly the most horrible of all DIY jobs) and a bit more working on the allotment. Most telling of all was that I read a whole novel from cover to cover in only a handful of days. That used to be a regular habit until Twitter started sucking up all my time. I had far fewer headaches, suggesting that perhaps I spend too long staring at my tiny phone screen. I sat on the bus and looked aimlessly out of the window, instead of being head down looking at my phone each time I made a journey, and that was actually very pleasant. It’s easy to lose those precious moments of just being, if you’re constantly checking updates on various social media platforms.

But I missed it. I missed the laugh-out-loud-on-the-bus-home moments. I missed knowing the news, and opinion about the news, as it happened. I missed my friends –  especially the ones like Dave Graham (@dakegra) who is responsible for this blog post idea and who has a great blog of his own, Espresso Coco, which you should go and visit. He’s one of a large number of people with whom I have only an online friendship, but I don’t think that makes the relationships any less valid. I missed finding great blog posts to read, photos to see, and having my little place in the lives of all the people I met via Twitter.

I know there is a balance to be struck. One in which I spend a little less time online, leaving time for books, projects, gazing out of windows and, erm…’real life’ – but one that still allows me to spend enough time online to enjoy the great things about it. Apparently, all I need to do to make sure that happens is lose my phone every now and again…

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

It’s finally Halloween, though it feels as though we’ve been celebrating it here for about a fortnight already. The kids have been dressed up at every available opportunity and we’ve already celebrated at school, at the local sweet shop and on Primrose Valley with crafts from Wyke Beck Valley Pride, an environmental project happening locally.

But now is the day itself. Happily, we managed to grow a pumpkin to carve this year. It was supposed to be Atlantic Giant, the large orange ubiquitous pumpkin. Clearly, it is not orange. It’s not round either, but that might be because we rested it on something to keep it away from slug damage. I cannot decide if it looks like this because we did something wrong or if it was a rogue seed from a different pumpkin variety that found its way into the packet. Either way, it is suitably scary, and with a bit of imagination from my daughter and carving from my husband, it now looks like this…

I will be dressing as a Mexican sugar skull for our family party, so if you want to see what I look like,  follow my Instagram feed, because it’s sure to show up! I’m Margotbarbara on there too. If you’re celebrating Halloween, I hope you have a great time. If you’re not celebrating, I also wish you a lovely evening, and hope you’re not disturbed by pesky trick-or-treaters…

September 7, 2012

A Patch of Green

Last night, after tea, my husband announced that we should all go for a walk on the Valley. To a chorus of groans and calls for one more episode of Scooby Doo, he insisted. And, he was right. It was a glorious evening. We took our ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ football (a top quality piece of kit!), and walked through the grass paths of Primrose Valley to the playing fields where we ran about and played.

The photo I took at the end of our time there really does sum up how lovely it was, even though it’s somewhat rose-tinted through an Instagram filter.

When we think of the great outdoors, we may think of the National Parks, which for me means the Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors. We think of beautiful and protected landscapes. Those are the jewels in the crown of our national, natural environment. And rightly so. But I would argue that they are not the green spaces that make the most difference. What makes the most difference to people is green space on our doorstep, close enough to where we live for it to form part of our everyday lives and not just be part of a special occasion or to see en route to the coast. This, proven to have positive effects on both our physical and mental health, can be sadly lacking in less wealthy areas. People are too scared to use green spaces, or they’re just not used to the idea that time spent outdoors, just for the sake of a walk or run about in the fresh air, can be great.

When I posted my photo, people commented on how perfect it looked. I blame my use of Instagram for that. It’s not perfect. There is litter, people let their dogs use it as a toilet around the edges, and yes, there can be the odd bout of anti-social behaviour (and here isn’t the place for looking at the deeper causes of that).

But it’s also one of the reasons we wanted to live here. It’s a giant, often underused, patch of wild green space in the city. Thankfully it has a small committed band of volunteers working to keep it looking as good as it does. I love it here. And we’ll be back again after tea another day…

Where is your favourite patch of green space? Is there one close to where you live? I’d love to know…

April 16, 2012

Rome: Instagram images

I’ve got a few Rome-based posts lined up but first I thought I’d share some of my photos with you. As I don’t have a big DSLR, I’ve used my trusty iPhone to take a few Instagram pictures. I hope they’ll give you a nice overview of my trip – see how many of the places you recognise!