Monthly Archives

April 2017

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Top Tips on How to Style Your Home for Less

We all want the designer interior without the designer price tag. So, how do you style your home with a fresh look without breaking the bank?

Flicking through glossy mags, filled with the most stylish and luxurious homes, we often find ourselves envious of the elegance and sophistication of the interiors design of where the rich and famous reside.

And it doesn’t end there, our Instagram and Pinterest feeds are packed with perfectly furnished living rooms and glamourous bedrooms that have us itching to give our own homes a makeover, but where do you start?

And more importantly, how do you make your dream home fit your budget?

Well, now’s the time to stop fantasying about what you would do if you won the lottery. We’ve got some top tips to help you style your home and give your digs that much needed update it’s been screaming out for, at a purse-friendly cost.

Faux finishes

Dreaming of marble worktops and hard-wood flooring? Of course, we all are… But these glam finishes are some of the priciest materials out there. Try imitation pieces at a fraction of the cost compared to the real deal. B&Q and Wickes have a range of marble and granite imitation worktops as well as real hardwood-effect laminate.

Marble kitchen

These imitation materials and pieces look so good no one will ever know you’ve got an imposter!

Accenting appliances

You don’t have to splash out on a whole new refurb to give your kitchen a trendy new look, accenting accessories and appliances can transform the look and feel of a room without having to do any of the hard work.

Small kitchen appliances such as your kettle, toaster and coffee machine, or even just your pots and pans, can update your kitchen and going for bold colours can give it some life.

Style your home

Looking for something a bit more than an update? Try renewing your refrigerator or oven, or even try integrating your appliances for a sleeker appearance.

Remember, there’s plenty of offers to save you dosh on all your electricals and appliances, including save £30 at ao.com and an extra 15% off at Hotpoint.

Clashing patterns  

Say goodbye to matchy-matchy interiors and try mixing up your patterns and prints. Make your interior stand out with bold colours and prominent patterns. Choose bedding, throws, cushions and curtains of distinctive designs that clash to give a modern twist to your boudoir or living space.

Check out OKA and Soak&Sleep for stylish bedding and accessories you can mix up. Plus, don’t forget that all important discount!

Stylish bedroom

To finish your look off, choose a rug that brings your design together. Kukoon.com have a wide range of rugs, in every shape, size and colour – plus, an exclusive 15% off with Health Service Discounts.

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Best Beach Holiday Destinations for Your Summer Holiday

Summer is approaching and we’re already dreaming of sunning ourselves…

Shorter flights times, less expense and somewhat familiar territory can help make Europe the continent of choice for Brits when choosing a destination for a holiday abroad.

But where do you choose to spend your well-deserved week or two in the sun?

Jet2holidays have come to the rescue with their pick of the best beach holiday destinations for this summer.

Plus, don’t forget you can save £100pp off bookings as well as an extra £25 NHS discount with Jet2holidays here >

1. Majorca

The Balearic island of Majorca is number one on the best beach holiday destinations list, and for good reason.

Majorca beach

It’s quieter than its partying sister Ibiza but livelier than neighbouring Menorca, giving it the perfect balance for a family holiday as well as a short break with friends.

At under 3 hours’ flight duration from UK airports, this destination is easy to travel to and once you arrive, there’s quite a pick of accommodation…

Jet2holidays have over 200 hotels and apartments to choose from in Majorca, including family-friendly as well as Adults-only, all in fabulous resorts.

While you can relax by the pool or on the pristine beachs, there’s also tonnes of activities for the more adventurous traveller, including theme parks, waterparks and cycling routes.

2. The Algarve, Portugal

Sophisticated, serene and suitably indulging, the Algarve is not to be missed…

The Algarve

Travelling with kids can be a nightmare, especially on a long flight, that’s why this quick-trip to Portugal rather than a long-haul slog can be very-much welcomed. And with no time zone change, you’ll be able to get your holiday started with ease.

If you’re looking for some quiet, relaxing down-time, The Algarve is the place for you. Golden beaches stretched on the southern coastline of Portugal, friendly locals and the option for a spot of golf or sight-seeing if you fancy makes The Algarve the perfect setting for your well-earned break.

3. Tenerife

We couldn’t miss off the Canaries, could we? The glorious island of Tenerife had to be on the list of this year’s best beach holiday destinations!

Tenerife

Much like Majorca, in Tenerife you will find a mix of nightlife and child-friendly activities. Never-ending coasts of some of the most stunning beaches mean that you can soak up the sun in the most beautiful of surroundings.

Further south than Portugal and the Balearics, Tenerife is a popular choice for Brits and why shouldn’t it be? Fantastic nightlife, superb resorts, as well as swanky shops and fine restaurants make Tenerife an all-rounder – perfect for large groups with mixed tastes or couples who want a bit of everything.

So, time to make your decision and get booking!

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A Non-Runners Guide to Get into Running

If you’ve been thinking about taking up running, now’s the perfect time get out there and do it.

Running is a fantastic sport – it’s free, has loads of health benefits and you can get going straight away.

Working out in sweaty gyms isn’t for everyone. The open road and crisp, fresh air can be far more appealing to many people.

Road running

If you want to shed a few pounds before your summer holiday, are looking to improve your general health, reduce your risk of serious illnesses, or you just want to pick up a new hobby – running ticks all the boxes, and then some!

You might be wondering how to get started? What equipment do you really need? How often should you run? There’s a lot of information and running jargon out there and it can be quite confusing.

So, if you’re ready to start pounding the pavements and sculpting a new and improved you, keep reading – this is our ‘Non-Runners Guide to Get into Running’. 

Benefits of running

  • Reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Helps to relieve stress.
  • Reduces risk of chronic illnesses
  • Keep you in shape
  • Strengthens your bones
  • Increases energy levels
  • Adds years to your life
  • Increases joint strength and stability
  • Improves confidence 

Choose the right running shoes

You need to pick the right pair of running shoes, otherwise you risk picking up all sorts of nasty injuries.

Spend accordingly. If you’re going to be pounding the pavements two or three times a week, then it’s worth investing in a good brand that will stand the test of time. A good pair of shoes will usually last between 300 – 500 miles of running before you need to buy new ones, so it’s worth the extra money.

Under Armour Running

Image Source

Make sure you choose the right fit, don’t just go for the best-looking ones.

Go to a local sports store where they will do a ‘Gait Test’ to see what shoe type you need. They analyse your running form you on a treadmill to see how your feet land when you run. They can then recommend the type of shoe that will suit you best.

Before you buy your new shoes, don’t forget to check for deals online. As a member of Health Service Discounts, you can get a 10% NHS Discount at Under Armour, who do some fantastic and very popular running shoes.

Adidas also have a sale on at the moment and you can pick up some high-quality running shoes for a bargain. 

‘All the gear, no idea!’

You don’t need to buy the most expensive clothes and gadgets to kick off your running journey. And you don’t want to be THAT person who looks like a sports shop has thrown up all over them!

Here’s the basics:

  • Shorts or Tights – not ridiculously short shorts and don’t wear them on top of tights, you will look silly. One or the other.
  • T-shirt – choose a polyester t-shirt or a performance top to wick away sweat. Cotton retains the moisture and sits heavy when it’s wet.
  • Running socks – choose a few decent pairs of running socks which will support your foot and allow them to breath.
  • Phone carrying case or belt – get one that you can strap to your arm or a belt that goes around your waist.

That’s it. Seriously.

Again, check out Adidas and Under Armour and make use of our NHS discount to pick up some great deals. 

Protein and supplements for runners

A common misconception is that taking supplements and eating more protein will turn you into the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that’s certainly not the case.

Your muscles need protein to rebuild and become stronger, reducing the risk of injury. You also need to keep your energy levels up so you’re not walking into work every morning like a zombie.

Protein for Runners

It’s important to eat the right foods to fuel the increased workload that you’re putting your body through. This means getting the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats into your body every day.

Getting this right can be pretty difficult, especially if you don’t know a great deal about nutrition and diet.

Adding supplements into your diet is a great way to increase your daily intake of all the vital nutrients that you need. It’s very easy to get carried away buying supplements and you end up with a shelf full of powders, tablets and gels that you will never use. Go for a high-quality whey protein or a blended mix which has carbohydrates in it too. These shakes are a quick and effective way to refuel your muscles after a workout.

As one of our members, you can make some great savings on supplements with these deals at MyProtein.

Hitting the road

No more excuses, it’s time to get out there and do the business.

If you schedule your runs into your calendar it will help you stick to your plan. Eventually it will become part of your routine, rather than a chore.

Ease yourself into it, don’t push it too far, too soon. You don’t pick up any unnecessary injuries, or get sick of running before you’ve really got going.

Warm up before your run with some jogging on the spot and some dynamic stretching.

Start your run slow and build up the pace as your muscles warm up. This will also prevent any lactic acid building up in your muscles early on, making you feel like your legs are going to fall off.

After your run, make sure you do a short cool down and stretch-off.

Most importantly, listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop and rest for a few days. 

Useful Running Apps

Running Apps

If you’re a beginner, a training app like Couch to 5K is a great place to start. This is perfect for building up your stamina and get you used to running. You begin by alternating running and walking. As you progress you cut down your walking time and gradually increase your running time. Before you know it, a 5k run will be a walk in the park.

Alternatively, you can keep track of your progress using an app like Nike+ Running, Strava, Endomondo, or Runkeeper. These running apps track your run by GPS, showing you the distance, time, pace and calories from your runs. These are a great way to keep motivated. 

Have fun!

The most important thing about running is to have fun. It can be hard at times to stay motivated, especially if it’s blowing a hooley outside.

Enjoy your running, push yourself, find a friend to run with if you need to, or join a running class – whatever you do, have fun with it!

Do you have any tips and advice for someone who wants to take up running? Let us know in the comments. 

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Top 5 boring things you need to be looking at. Loans, insurance, utilities, etc. (yawn…)

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you could be saving if you made a simple change to your outgoings? 

Let me guess… You keep meaning to? Well there’s no better time like the present.

You can start to save money on boring things in life, like bills and utilities, giving you more money to spend on exciting things!

As a member of Health Service Discounts, not only do you have access to the best discounts on the market, but you also have exclusive access to some of the best finance products and offers on the market today.

We’re committed to saving you money and while insurance and broadband may be boring subjects, you could be missing out on hundreds of pounds’ worth of savings.

To help you get the most out of your membership and make those hard-earned pounds stretch a bit further, we’ve given you a quick run-down of what you need to be looking at and how you could save money on boring things that life throws at us.

Save money on boring things

1. The NHS Energy Switch

Thousands of our members have already taken advantage of this scheme and are saving money every year – make sure you join them. Our switching partner compares energy tariffs from over 25 suppliers to find you the best match and a cheaper deal. Start comparing today >

2. Loans

A loan can help you in many ways, whether it’s a big new purchase, home improvements, or perhaps it’s something to help you get your finances in order. Big or small, when it comes to a personal loan you want to ensure you’re getting the best deal on the market. An easy online application, instant decision and low-rate from Hitachi can help make this process a lot simpler.

3. Insurance

From home and travel to motoring and life, make sure you’re covered. We’ve got a whole host of insurance products from the most trusted brands for you to ensure your assets, loved ones, and not forgetting, yourself, are protected. Take a look what’s on offer >

4. Broadband & TV

It’s easy to get comfortable and forget about your broadband and TV package, but if you’ve had yours for a while it’s worth shopping around for a new deal, and as a member of Health Service Discounts you have access to some of the best offers from Sky, BT, Virgin and TalkTalk.

5. Savings

Make your money work harder for you. Be sure your savings are being kept in the right place with some expert help from Nutmeg. They can offer expert advice and management of your finances, and what’s even better is you can get 3 months portfolio management free with Health Service Discounts.

Have you got any other tips to help other people save some money on the boring things in life? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Produce Stunning Photo Books from Your Phone with Printastic

There’s something a bit special about keeping your favourite photographs in a photo book.

Flicking through snapshots of your life, your family, your adventures, your memories – it can be heart-warming, magical and inspiring.

We all love taking photos on our phone, capturing our exciting little lives through a lens. But many of the photos that we take are forgotten about and some don’t even make it off our phones.

Creating a photo book can take time – choosing the right photographs, editing, printing and fiddling about trying to get them into the sleeves. It can end up being a chore that you won’t bother doing again.

A new app by Printastic has taken all this hassle away. It’s now easy to get your favourite photos from your phone and transform them into a stunning photo book. You can also get a fantastic Printastic Photo Book discount code, exclusively for NHS staff!

Printastic Photo Books

Easy-to-use Printastic App

Printastic’s app makes it quicker and easier to make beautiful photo books directly from your smartphone and delivered to your door. The Printastic app is free to download and you can get started straight away.

Some of the best features include:

  • Upload photos from camera roll, Facebook, Instagram or Dropbox.
  • Choose and edit the page layouts, cover photo and add captions.
  • Photos are auto-populated once selected.
  • Select different colour themes.
  • Move and swap images easily.
  • Preview your Printastic photo book before you buy.
  • Save your work and come back to it later.

Printastic Discount Code

Printastic Photo Book Discount Code

Prices start at £16.99 for a 24-page photo book and you can add extra pages for 50p each.

If you work in the NHS, you can get a whopping 50% off with the discount code: HSD50

First you need to download the app from your App Store. Once you’ve created your photo book, enter the HSD50 discount code at the checkout.