Health and diet
If you're putting yourself through a fitness grind alone, this virtual back-patter will help spur you on. It tracks all your runs, walks and rides, then does the maths to tell you (and the entire world via social media) how many calories you've burnt, how far you've gone and generally how heroic you've been over the past week or so. The in-app purchase model keeps it all nice and tidy too, so even in the basic free format it's a very neat app to use.
If you’ve piled on the flab, it can nonetheless be a drag working up the enthusiasm to slog along local streets in trainers that have seen better days. But you can spice up running/jogging/hobbling (depending on your competence) with Zombies, Run!
It’s more or less a post-apocalyptic Walking Dead-style scenario smashed into Runkeeper, sending you out on vital missions that rather suspiciously always involve running. Periodically, zombies will show up, and unless you up your pace, they’ll tear your face off – a handy motivator. Want more structure? Take a look at the built-in training plans.
You might already be familiar with Buzzfeed’s Tasty website, which marries lip-smacking recipes and super-fast videos. Tasty brings all that to your Android device, but in a stripped-back no-fuss interface that’s a joy to use.
Scroll through the recipes, and tap the look of whatever you fancy. You’ll then be able to watch it being made in a matter of seconds. Below that there’s the usual ingredients list and step-by-step guide. A version of the latter adds relevant video snippets, too, so you can make sure you’re on the road to foodie delight rather than culinary disaster.
Google Play’s littered with apps designed to help you relax. The tiny snag is most of them also send the heart racing with wallet-punching subscription charges. Smiling Mind does mindfulness in a not-for-profit fashion, though, so your bank account isn’t emptied as you chill.
It’s perhaps a touch bewildering at first, due to the sheer range of courses on offer – everything from workplace mindfulness to courses for seven-year-olds. But there’s a quick intro, tracking, and favourites flagging; most importantly, the sessions really do help you to de-stress.
When everything’s getting a bit much, TaoMix 2 takes you to a calm place by filling your ears with meditative noise. But this isn’t some noodly new-age app – the interface is all neon minimalism.
It’s nicely tactile, too: you drag sound discs to adjust your mix, long-press and drag to change their prominence, and then flick a ring-shaped playhead to create a constantly evolving soundscape.
For free, there are timers and alarms, and a basic set of sounds. Splurge on IAP for extra sets, serenading your ears with additional aural bliss – or terrifying them by adding a dozen sounds and pinging the playback ring around at high speed.