We spend so much time staring at our computer screens that we can be guilty of living out our online lives more than our real ones. I know that I’m more prone to forget people, places and experiences because I’m often caught up answering emails or spending a lot of time in social media land.
Journals and photos help us to be more more mindful of everything that happens in a busy year, and smartphone apps are now replacing traditional photo albums and paper diaries for recording life events. You can use them on the go and mix text with photos and videos, and many apps give you the option of collating the digital memories into hard copies, such as books, at the end of the year.
Here’s a list of 5 fun and clever smartphone apps to help you document (and remember) your life in 2016:
This app describes itself as a “time machine for your child’s life” and that’s exactly what it feels like. I love the cool layout and the easy to use features. The best thing about this app is that it allows you to import existing photos from Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox. The app creates a built-in timeline based on your child’s birthdate and labels each photo according to years, months and days. It’s tons of fun scrolling through the timeline and seeing in a glance how much your child has grown. You can add a caption to each photo and share these with family and friends. This saves you a lot of time from having to attach photos to emails, especially to long-distance grandparents.
You can also have your timeline printed to a book and since Lifecake is a Canon company, you can be sure that your photos will be optimised to the best quality for printing.
Paper 53 is a notebook-like app that allows you to easily jot down notes and sketches. The description may sound really basic but you need to download the app to understand. When you open the app, you are instantly greeted with two beautiful journals. One is labeled “Sketches” and the other “Ideas”.
This isn’t the Microsoft Paint you grew up with. What I love about it is that it comes in a notebook layout which allows me to scan through my notes really quickly. It also comes with a lot of customisable options that let you change what kind of pen you want to write with.
Once you fill out a notebook, you have the option to have it printed into a moleskine journal that is specially crafted to match the size and layout of the iPad screen so your sketches don’t get distorted.
Three words: offline travel journal. Everyone knows that exuberant data costs can dampen anyone’s vacation but journi allows you to take photos and write notes about your trip even when you’re not connected to the Internet. The layout makes the app instinctive and easy to use which is important because you don’t want to be spending more time away from your vacation than you should. Making journal entries is quick and painless and the app presents all your entries in timeline mode so it’s easy to keep track of all your adventures. You can invite friends to follow and leave comments on your journey and vice versa. But what I love most about this app is the world map feature which marks all the places you’ve already been to!
True or false: You have a list of all the restaurants you want to try in the “Notes” app of your phone. Well Matchbook takes that list to a whole new level. This app allows you to create a list of your go-to restaurants and bars as well as a list of all the restaurants you want to try. What’s really good about this app is the map feature which tells you exactly where the restaurant is, what time it opens, and what number to call for bookings. After each meal, you can leave a note about each place and upload photos of your favourite dishes!
Do you ever feel dissatisfied when shooting videos on your smartphone? I know I do. It never feels like what I'm shooting will be of any aesthetic or sentimental value which is a shame because the smartphone is the fastest and most convenient way to capture video footage. All that has changed since I discovered the VHS Camcorder app.
The premise is simple: this app lets you shoot videos that look like those recordings your parents used to make in the 80s and 90s. I love the way the app filters the videos without making them look over-filtered, plus you get the added bonus of having the date and time superimposed on your video to help you remember when and what time it happened without having to take ages to find the video information.