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May 2017

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Summer Holiday Inspiration Guide 2017

Summer’s within touching distance and after all your long, tiring shifts, you’re probably more than ready for a holiday.

If you’ve got a cheeky week or two’s worth of holidays just sat there waiting to be used, now’s the time to book yourself a fabulous summer holiday.

Not sure where to go? To give you some inspiration, we’ve picked our favourite destinations for every type of holiday, so all you have to do is relax and pick out a new swimsuit.

Favourite holiday for… Beaches

Dubai

Dubai

The lure of the Arabian Gulf’s crystal clear waters and white sand beaches attracts holiday-makers in their thousands every year. Head to Sunset Beach to soak up the sun and see the iconic Burj Al Arab. Hit the trendy JBR Beach which runs along The Walk promenade and stop at one of its many delicious eateries for some lunch. If you’re looking for a party, head to one of the many glamourous Beach Clubs.

If you get start to get a bit tired of beach life, then the luxury shopping, fountain shows, ultramodern architecture, and buzzing nightlife are sure to keep you occupied.

Favourite holiday for… Adventure

Bali

Bali

For adventure and something a bit different this summer, choose Bali. Dubbed the ‘Island of the Gods’, Bali’s popularity as a holiday destination has soared in recent years. If you’re in search of paradise – tropical weather, rich culture, long white sand beaches, volcanos, mountains, temples and much more – Bali is the answer.

Favourite holiday for… Romance

Santorini

Santorini

Whisk your partner off their feet with a summer holiday to the Greek island of Santorini – the perfect place for romance. Rising high above the Agean Sea, Santorini is probably most famous for its blue rooftops and white-washed walls that create a picturesque setting for love. Enjoy a candlelit dinner overlooking a volcano; visit the hot springs and take a mud bath; go to an open-air cinema; or cosy up to watch the incredible Santorini sunset.

Favourite holiday for… Sightseeing

Barcelona

Barcalona

Barcelona is a magical city with something exciting and beautiful on every corner. Take a stroll down Las Ramblas to check out the street performers and take in the vibrant atmosphere. Marvel at some of Antonio Gaudi’s most famous work: the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and La Pedrera. Hop on a cable car for panoramic views of the city, before finishing your evening off at the enchanting Magic Fountains of Montjuic.

Favourite holiday for… History

Malta

Malta

Sitting 50 miles south of Sicily, this stunning Mediterranean island is will blow you away. Malta is a small island steeped in history and tradition. The Maltese are English-speaking and extremely welcoming (not to mention, amazing cooks!)

Admire the stunning architecture in the walled capital, Valetta, and ‘The Silent City’ of Medieval Mdina. Explore some of the 365 Roman Catholic Churches, making sure you visit St. John’s Co Cathedral which was built in the 16th century by the knights of Malta. Jump on a traditional island boat across to the breath-taking island of Gozo, where Game of Thrones has been filmed, to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon.

Favourite holiday for… Nightlife

Ibiza

Ibiza

For decades, Ibiza has held the ultimate party island crown and 2017 is no different. The ‘White Isle’ hosts some of the biggest clubs and best DJs in the world, beautiful beaches, sun and plenty of fun.

If you like the sound of chilling out with a cocktail through the day at Bora Bora beach, followed by a crazy night out at the likes of Amnesia, Es Paradis, Space and DC10, then Ibiza is the place to be this summer.

Favourite holiday for… Family fun

Costa Del Sol

Costa del sol

For a perfect, fun family holiday, Costa Del Sol is the destination for you. Sun, sea and plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied while you enjoy some well-earned chill time.

Have a splash at one of the water parks in Torremolinos or Mijas. Take a trip to Benalmedena to visit the aquarium or see the beautiful Butterfly Park. Take the kids to one of the seven beaches in Fuengirola and teach them how to snorkel.

Favourite holiday for… Bit of everything

Majorca

Majorca

If you’re looking for a place that has a bit of everything, then Majorca has got to be up there. The largest of the Balearic Islands is packed with exciting activities, sightseeing, nightlife, golden beaches and much more.

Explore the beautiful capital, Palma, to enjoy plenty of shopping, tapas, cafes, or explore the Gothic Cathedral. Take in some local tradition and visit a winery in the centre of the island.

Later, head out to one of the many cool bars or clubs in Palma, Santa Catalina district, or head to the infamous Magaluf strip for a night you won’t forget.

See how much you can save on your summer holiday with our full list of travel discounts for healthcare staff.

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The Hottest UK Holiday Hotspots of 2017

The popularity of UK holidays continues to soar as many Brits choose to enjoy the best of what our country has to offer, rather than tackle busy airports and long-haul flights.

There are so many amazing places to go on holiday in the UK. A nation spoilt for choice with stunning countryside, National Parks, must-see historic sights, top-class restaurants and bars, and even plenty of beautiful beaches (yes, beaches!) It very quickly starts to sound appealing, doesn’t it?

Planning a holiday is always a tough job, so we thought we would give you a helping hand to choose where to go. These are the most popular UK holiday locations of 2017, provided by our partners Hoseasons:

Yorkshire

UK Holiday Yorkshire

Famous for its Yorkshire puds, teabags and Emmerdale farm; there are so many beautiful places to visit and things to do in Yorkshire. Take your pick from the outstanding scenery and cultural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales, the tranquil and picturesque North York Moors, the fishing villages and rocky cliffs on the coast, to action-packed cities like Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Bradford.

Things to do:

  • National Railway Museum (York)
  • Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden (Ripon)
  • The Shambles (York)
  • York Minster (York)
  • Whitby Seaside (Whitby)

Norfolk

UK Holiday Norfolk

Norfolk is jam-packed with fun things to do for all ages. Combine that with miles of stunning coastline, beaches, wildlife and a county soaked in history – a holiday in Norfolk ticks a lot of boxes.

Things to do:

  • Norwich Cathedral (Norwich)
  • Gorleston Beach (Gorleston-on-Sea)
  • Time and Tide Museum (Great Yarmouth)
  • BeWILDerwood (Hoveton)
  • Banham Zoo (Banham)

Northumberland

UK Holiday Northumberland

Northumberland is a very popular UK holiday destination. Home to Hadrian’s Wall, Kielder Water & Forest Park, the North Pennines and some vibrant villages, towns and cities. Northumberland has been called the ‘Shangri-La for families’ and it’s easy to understand why.

Things to do:

  • Farne Islands
  • Alnwick Castle (Alnwick)
  • The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Seahouses)
  • Falconry Days (Hexham)
  • Cragside House and Gardens (Rothbury)

Devon

UK Holiday Devon

Devon is the home of two National Parks and five official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – so it’s quite easy to see the attraction. This south-west county gets plenty of nice weather, is littered with stunning coastlines and beaches, countryside, adventure parks, award-winning places to eat, and exciting activities all year round.

Things to do:

  • Woolacombe Beach (Woolacombe)
  • Roadford Lake (Okehampton and Launceston)
  • National Parks (Exmoor and Dartmoor)
  • The BIG Sheep (Bideford)
  • Exeter Cathedral (Exeter)

Dorset

UK Holiday Dorset

Dorset has everything that families and couples need to have an amazing holiday in the UK. Fun, sun, beautiful landscape and amazing coastlines. There’s something for all ages, whether you’re looking for an active holiday, a family adventure, or you just want to chill out with your partner. You can’t go wrong with Dorset.

Things to do:

  • Bournemouth Beach (Bournemouth)
  • Monkey World (Wareham)
  • Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park (Poole)
  • The Tank Museum (Bovington)
  • Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door (West Lulworth)

Save on your UK holiday

UK holidays don’t have to break the bank either. Members of Health Service Discounts can choose from a huge selection of NHS discounts on UK breaks and hotels, including: Hoseasons, Forest Holidays, Cottages.com, Butlins, Superbreak, Hotels.com, Haven, Sykes Cottages and more.

Take a look at the full list of current UK Holiday NHS discounts and start planning your summer of fun right now!

UK Holiday Discount List

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What Did Your Midwife Mean to You?

International Day of the Midwife is 5th May and to celebrate the fantastic job midwives do, we’re sharing 3 different experiences from 3 very different points of view…

The expectant mum – Danielle, 26, 6 months pregnant

As a first-time mother, I always feel like I’ve got a thousand questions to ask but my midwife is always willing to listen and answer every question.

My husband and I wanted to do something extra special during our pregnancy so we decided to donate the cord blood to Cancer Research using the Anthony Nolan trust. Not everyone is aware of this charity and even less know that you’re doing something so incredible like saving a life by giving birth to one.

My midwife had never heard of this as only four hospitals in the UK are specially trained but she got right on the case and found out all the information we needed to know. She helped us to apply to the Anthony Nolan trust and was fully supportive all the way.

My midwife has being a very valuable and important part of our pregnancy, she’s making it relaxing and enjoyable and always makes me feel at ease.

Midwives helping woman in labour

The “pro” ­– Gill, 40, 3 children

I always looked forward to my antenatal appointments to receive updates on how my pregnancy was developing.  The midwives were informative and reassuring, and even for my third pregnancy I still needed this.

The birth of my first daughter was a full day job, I remember the midwife offering me lots of encouragement and urging me to get pushing, telling me she’d soon be here and then we’d be able to watch Corrie… we missed it!

My second birth was a much faster affair. On arriving at hospital, we abandoned the car with a note saying ‘in labour’ stuck to the window. We got into the delivery room and met the midwife but security soon buzzed to say the car had to be moved, so my husband left to take care of this. I was examined and told not to push or my husband would miss it. Fifteen minutes after arriving at hospital our daughter was born. The midwife said we had the “holiest” birth as my choice of phrase during contractions was ‘holy mary!’

Even at the birth of my third daughter, I said to the midwife that I felt I wasn’t “qualified” to be doing this. She laughed and reassured me ‘come on you’re a pro’.  My husband had been sent home as we were told the birth would be hours away. However, things quickly turned around and I suddenly had the urge to push with my midwife as my only birthing partner. She was certainly more qualified than my husband and with calm direction and reassurance, she guided me through the birth. My husband turned up fifteen minutes later…

The first-time dad ­– ­Neil, 32, 1 child

We had a team of midwives in the delivery suite at the hospital throughout the birth, all providing great support throughout the ordeal… sorry, profound experience.  We had a relatively uncomplicated water birth to start, so it was a matter of chatting and keeping me topped up with a brew to be honest.  My partner it would appear, has a very high pain threshold and was very calm for the most part.

As soon as it became clear she would need some help to get over the finish line, they were quick and clear about what was happening. I can remember feeling relaxed, that they were in complete control and soon enough I was meeting my baby daughter. The home visits we got were also great. I particularly found the matter of fact nature of our midwife, allayed a lot of fears I had and gave us the information we desperately needed as first-time parents.

Midwives and new born baby

Whether you’ve had lots of children, it’s your first baby, you’ve not got children or you’re a midwife yourself, we can all agree that their role is vital and we appreciate the work they do every day. How does your midwife experience compare? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Canteen Politics: How to Survive your Lunch Break

NHS canteens and coffee rooms can be intimidating places sometimes, especially if you’re new to the place. They can often remind you of a scene from Mean Girls rather than somewhere to have lunch with your work colleagues.

If you start worrying about your lunch break, you might ask yourself questions like: ‘What if no one talks to me?’, ‘Who will I sit with?’ and ‘Should I just eat my sandwiches in the toilet?’

There’s a knack to surviving your lunch break and making it out with your self-esteem firmly intact. You just need to brush up on Canteen Politics.

Enter with style

We’re not talking about a grand entrance here, just don’t do something stupid when you first walk in, like tripping over and dropping your food on the floor! Be confident, smile and say hello to people…. if they don’t reply, that’s their problem.

Ditch the smelly food

Salmon sarnies are a no-go! You want people to sit with you, not run away from the fishy pong on your breath. Take a standard packed lunch to start with so that you avoid any clumsy microwave issues and you can figure out what other people are eating.

Don’t hide in the corner

It’s easy to retreat to the corner of the room and blend into the background. In the long run this isn’t going to get you anywhere, so take the plunge early and get in the mixer. Join in conversations where you can, even if you’re not entirely sure what they’re talking about.

Try to sit with a friend

Get an idea of where people sit in the canteen or coffee room early on. Once you start to get to know people, try to sit near to them on your lunch break so that you can strike up a conversation. If different departments are grouping together and don’t seem very friendly, sit somewhere else.

If all else fails….

Only joking!