Mat Brown of The Orchard Home and Gifts

Mat Brown, co-founder of The Orchard Home and Gifts, shares some favourites.

The Orchard specialises in vintage inspired furniture, home accessories and gifts, that stand out from the crowd. The emphasis is on British made furniture, whilst many of the home accessories and gifts are made from reclaimed woods or sourced from Fair Trade suppliers.

Here co-founder, Mat Brown shares some favourite apps...

Fantasy Premier League - I’m a lifelong football player and fan but now my playing days are all but behind me I get my fix playing Fantasy Football each year. Although my partner and some friends (only those who don’t also play) will say I devote way too much time to picking my team on a weekly basis, I firmly believe this game stops me fully immersing myself in an all consuming game like Football Manager. If I played that I would lose my partner and business for sure!!! The Fantasy Premier League app is just about socially acceptable and allows me to manage my team wherever I am. I’d go as far to say its essential when a last minute injury crisis hits your squad whilst you are out and about!

Hipstamatic - I’ve always considered myself to have a great eye for a photograph but I’ve never really owned a great camera. Hipstamatic helped convince me I really was a world class photographer,…..or at least a world class phone phone-camera photographer! Long before Instagram swept the world Hipstamatic was a really great functional app that transformed your regular phone cam into something incredibly hip and clever. You can choose a whole host of different lens, film types and even flashes, all to achieve different looks. It makes you feel far more creative than just applying a default filter type. In essence it’s really all you are doing but with way more flexibility and it just looks so cool and is fun to play with. You can collect a bunch of different lens etc over time with new ones being released all the time which keeps it fresh.

There is also a great little sister app, the Incredibooth. It works like an old school photo booth. Again you can apply a few different lens types, you get the four or five auto shots and then you get the strip of pics digitally printed out. Lots of fun at a party.

Vivino - My partner Laura discovered this one and it was a great find. For years we would eat out at home or when on holiday and come across a great wine. The line “…oh we must remember this wine for future…” would be trotted out but inevitably we never did. Even if we were sufficiently sober to write it down at the time! With the dawn of better phones, we started to write labels down in “lists” and then came the camera phones and we were shooting the label. I can’t however recall a single wine we recorded. That was until we discovered Vivino. Now you can photograph the label and instantly read reviews, ratings and average prices from a wine drinking community of some 12 million. You can also scan the wine list and get instant reviews and ratings which saves invaluable socialising time otherwise wasted mulling over the list. As most good apps also do, it tracks your history and builds up a profile of what you consume and favour. It even chronological charts it which is a bit nerdy but you can trace your year in wine which can prompt some great memories.

Pocket - Without doubt the most practical choice on my list. The reincarnation of Read It Later, Pocket enables you to save and store an article you see on the web, Twitter, a news feed, etc to read at a later date, perhaps when you are back on wifi or more likely when you have more time to read. Now whenever I get a spare five minutes I dip back into my archive and have a wealth of articles to read, pre-approved by myself as something worthwhile reading.

Starbucks - Bit of a silly one in the now super smart digital age in which we live. I remember however, and it wasn’t too long ago, being blown away by first seeing someone in a Starbucks in the US, walk up to the barista, scan their phone and walk off with coffee in hand and no money or words physically exchanged. Back then I actually thought that besides paying and collecting reward points the app somehow indicated to the barista your order. Turns out that was just a vision of the future and the barista actually only knew the guys order as he was a regular! I recently learnt however you can now pre-order and pay via the app, walk into the store, skip the queue and collect at the pick-up counter in some branches in London. How slick this actually is in reality I don’t yet know.

April 2016