How to choose a ski helmet

Friday, March 15, 2019

I grew up playing in the snow during the long winters of Upstate New York and downhill skiing on the weekends.  It is one of the activities I truly love, and miss most since moving in London.  With my extreme travel insurance for Ultra X Jordan, winter sports were covered.  There was no way I was going to miss a chance to ski this year.  I was lucky enough to go skiing in both Italy and Switzerland this year and am already making plans for the next season.

Now that I work with brands, I tend to notice more what people are wearing in the lines at the lift.  This year, 99% of the people I saw were wearing helmets.  Bike helmets are something I feeling strongly about, and I feel the same about ski and snowboard helmets.  Think about how much time, effort, and money you put into your education.  Think about how lucky you are to be able to go skiing and not limited in your ability to move.  Wearing a helmet won't 100% protect you from injury or death, but it can reduce the risk of impact and/or injury should you have an accident.

James giving me his best Blue Steel while putting on Carv 700 and G540
James and I tried out the Wed'ze Carv 700 with MIPS (thanks Decathlon!) ski/snowboard helmet during our recent trip to Switzerland.  He has had his previous helmet since we lived in the USA and noticed that the polystyrene lining was starting to degrade.  The Wed'ze Carv 700 seems to have universal fit, as it fit me and our friend, Jamie, too.  All of our heads are different shapes, but the Carv 700 has a ratchet fitting that can adjust the tightness.  My helmet is a POC Bug and I have had it since 2010.  Although it doesn't show any signs of wear and tear, it has been checked as hold luggage more times than I can count.  I decided it couldn't hurt to replace my helmet as well.  I soon learned there are many helmets of various pricing and styles out there!  Hopefully this post will help you decide which ski helmet is best for you.

When you go to purchase a helmet, there are a few features to consider: the fit, the ventilation, how to store it, and when to replace it.  Hate to say that the color is the last thing to think about.  Let's break down each point.

Fit:  This is the most crucial bit for obvious reasons.  I asked Adam Summerfield, the SMITH UK brand manager at UltraSport, for advice on how to find the perfect helmet.  Summerfield says:

To get a good fit the first thing you will need to do is measure your head, take a soft tape measure and wrap it around your head about 1cm above your eyebrows and ears.  Once you have the measurement you should fit into one of the following sizes S (51cm-55cm), M (55cm-59cm), L (59cm-63cm), XL (63cm-67cm).  When choosing your helmet it should feel snug but not tight, if you feel your head is being squeezed it’s too small or if the helmet can move around freely on your head it’s too big.  A lot of helmets now come with fit systems which allow you to adjust the helmet to get the perfect size. 

Fit is the most important thing to consider (not color, sorry) as if the helmet doesn't fit properly, your head will not be protected.  Also check how your googles will fit on/with the helmet.  You will need ventilation to prevent the googles from fogging up and, of course, it needs to be comfortable when you have them on.  For example, James felt the Carv 700 pushed his goggles down his nose a little bit compared to his old helmet.  His goggles, Wed'ze G540, were also new (and a different design than his old ones) so he might just need to get used to the change.  The goggles didn't fog up though, so that was a good indication that the goggles and helmet were the right fit.

How goggles attach to the back of Carv 700
Does it have MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System)? This is a feature that is now becoming more and more popular in both cycling and snow sport helmets. it works by separating the shell of the helmet and the liner by a low friction layer.  In a crash, this allows the helmet to slide relative to the head reducing rotational force on the brain.  The SMITH Mission and CARV 700 both have this feature.

SMITH Mission
Another safety feature to look for is RECCO(R) search and rescue compatibility if you tend to be an advanced snow sport athlete.  Rescuers will send out a signal that is reflected by the sensor in the helmet, such as after an avalanche.  Of course, you need to check with the resort you are visiting to see if they use a RECCO(R) compatible system.  The Wed'ze Carv 700 has this feature (although thankfully we didn't have to try it out). 

Ventilation:  Personally, I am always cold and even wear a thin hat under my POC helmet.  However, I can removed pieces of the lining if I start to overheat (but I never have).  My husband, on the other hand, is always hot and prefers his ventilation fully open.  Consider how your body temperature runs and where you are likely to be skiing when you make your selection.  The Salomon Sight has a unique climate control system that includes 12 vents with six adjustable zone, an EPS4D internal airflow system, and quick drying fabric to help you regulate your body temperature while enjoying time on the slopes.

Salomon Sight helmet

Ear covers: 
Bern makes a multi-purpose helmet that works for skiing, snowboard, cycling, skateboarding.  Our friend, Jamie, has one.  This is a good choice if you are limited on space to store things.  However, it didn't have any ear covers, so Jamie's ears were cold this year at Verbier.

How to store it:  Summerfield recommends trying to find somewhere dry and not in direct sunlight as the UV rays can break down the materials of a helmet over time. When travelling, try to avoid checking the helmet in the hold and instead carry the helmet with you (If you are on EasyJet, I am sure you have seen people wear their helmets on board to save checking a bag).  Or you can invest in a hard case to protect your helmet when travelling or storing.

When to replace it:  The most obvious time would be after a crash but every three to five years is a good idea too. As James has observed, the polystyrene will start to degrade.  Storing the helmet in the proper climate (as mentioned above) and carrying it onto the plane (rather than checking) will help extend the life of your helmet too.

Hopefully, these tips will give you a few things to look out for the next time you have to invest in a snow sport helmet.  Leave a comment below and let me know what make and model you have and why you choose it.

Thanks to Decathlon for the gifted Carv 700 ski helmet and G540 goggles.  All opinions are honest and our own.

My Achilles heel, literally

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

While hobbling back from dog walk in the park today, I considered giving up. I am tired of Achilles pain and walking with a limp. I am tired of hustling to track, waking up early to do my physio at the gym, and trying to find the time to do tempo runs. Life would be much easier (and affordable) if I didn't want to complete the World Marathon Majors. . . . A large part of my identity and community revolves around running. Would I be motivated to run if I didn't have races to work towards? Would I just sit on my couch and watch TV while wrapped in a blanket? I tend to go when I am going and stop when I stop. Momentum is easily lost. There is no in between. . . . Does sport define you? I think when we are injured, we tend to contemplate what it is all for. Why do we do run? What if we couldn't run ever again? Would we survive? Could we survive? . . . I am being a little over-dramatic because I am only on the bench for 10 days. I just feel like I have been working on this goal for so long and at least once a year I have to stop because of my Achilles or plantar fasciitis. The physiotherapy has helped me gain strength and a wee bit of speed. I just wish my body was better designed to run. . . . Any tips on how to get over this melancholy? Have you had to give up running due to chronic injury? . . Photo by @will_patrick
A post shared by Mollie, Happiness PT (@ptmollie) on

Thank you to everyone who responded to my post about being injured and defining myself as a runner.  It was a relief to learn that I am not the only one who ponders life choices when injured.  I thought I would share a bit more about my journey with my Achilles pain and athleticism with you to understand where I am coming from and my experiences with running so far.

Photo by Natasha Wynn

I am not a very religious person, but I always say that God did not intend for me to be athletic.  When I was growing up in the USA, every year at school we had to take part in the Presidential Fitness Test.  It compared each student’s athletic ability to the nationwide average.  I failed it in the 3rd grade and was subsequently put on a special exercise regime at home.  For most of my childhood, I preferred to read books rather than playing outside with my brother but I did cheer leading on the weekends in middle school.

Football (soccer) was big in my hometown and just about everyone played, so I started playing too when I was in middle school.  I was the back-up back-up goalie and developed shin splints in year 8. By year 9, my widening hips caused patella maltracking (my kneecaps would slip out of place) so I had to wear, not one, but two knee braces.  Whether it was the knee braces, genetics, or just how I was, I cut from high school soccer/football team 3 of 4 years because I am slow.  I continued to play football and softball at a recreational level during uni, after uni, and during grad school as a way to meet new people (including my husband). 

Since 2005, Achilles tendonopathy has been an issue during and after football.  My friend, who was a physiotherapy assistant, taught me how to tape my ankles as a way to manage the condition during games.  I also tried ankle braces and switched my cleats for turfs, both of which seemed to help a little bit.  The day after a game though, I would wake up and have to hobble around the house due to stiffness in my Achilles.  Finally, I gave up football in 2011 when we moved to London because the pain was too much and I thought my ability would be way under par.

In terms of running for running sake, I started running in 2006 as a fundraiser for my local humane society.  Running was something to stay fit with but I never loved it.  The next charity I aligned with was RODS Racing, which raises money for orphans with Down Syndrome.  After four years fundraising for them by entering various races, it became harder and harder to receive donations as people knew I was a runner.  To up my game, I had to run farther than a 10K.  I never thought I would do a half marathon because of the Achilles pain, and definitely not a full.  But somehow I managed to achieve both.  I adapted my training from most plans by increasing from 12 weeks to 16.  I took it slow to avoid an overuse injury.  I always wore insoles and selected neutral cushioned shoes to support my feet for these longer distances.

Where I experience pain
I am proud to say I have ran 10 marathons now, countless halves and 5Ks.  Only in the last three years, have I started to train properly with speed work and strength training.  I have been to see an osteopath, had sports massages, received acupuncture (even electro-acupuncture), physiotherapy, and pre-habiliation.  During this time, I have definitely become faster (with a 5K PB in 2018 and half marathon PB in 2019) and fitter but still have Achilles discomfort on a daily basis.  Most recently, I attended a reformer Pilates retreat where I met a hip and knee surgeon.  He recommended shock wave therapy as the next treatment to try to improve my running ability and reduce my pain.  My long-term goal is to run a Boston Marathon Qualifying time of 3:30 by 2021.  My current PB is a 4:29 so I have a lot of work to do.

Over the next three months, I am working with Chris Myers at Complete Physio with three rounds of shock wave #gifted therapy and three months of physiotherapy.  I will be checking in after the treatment is over, and then at the end of the three months to keep you posted on my progress.  You can follow my story on and, of course, here on the blog.

If you have any stories to share about Achilles injures, shock wave therapy, shoes to try, basically ANYTHING, please leave a comment below.  I am eager to learn from others on how to overcome this.

Thanks to Complete Physio for the complimentary shock wave therapy.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Race review: NYC Marathon, WWM #4

Friday, March 1, 2019

Completing all six Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) has been my goal since 2016.  I have been lucky enough to win ballot entries with Berlin and Chicago.  For London, I obtained a charity place from Plantlife.  With the WMM increasing in popularity, it is becoming harder and harder to win a place in a ballot and the fundraising targets are reflecting the demand.  I decided to book a tour with 209 Events to run NYC in 2018 (which is why you are reading this). My last two races will be in Tokyo and Boston.  My goal is to run Boston in 2021 but I have a lot of work to do before then!

Let's focus on NYC Marathon though as the ballot results were released on Wednesday this week.  Congrats to everyone who got it!  You will soon read how much I enjoyed this race (even though I had to use the bathroom five times.  So much for a Personal Best). It was a very short trip to the USA, less than a week, due to limited annual leave. My mom even convinced me to flight home to Rochester, NY for two days to see my family at the start of my run-cation.  I then had to fly back to NYC to visit the race expo and catch up with friends before running 26.2 miles.  Easy, right?

Here is the nitty gritty about the 2018 race.  If you have any additional questions though, please a comment below and I will do my best to answer you.  I will also be working on a short YouTube video of my trip too.

Finish line of shake out 5K which is also part of the official marathon course
Entries and fees: For US residents the entry fee is $295 in 2019.  For international runners, the cost goes up to $358.  My tour with 209 event was about £1200, which included flights and entry but not accommodation.  I stayed with a friend in Queens to save on expenses, which helped keep the trip affordable.  The only downside was being very far away from the start line.

Runners waiting to get on the ferry to Staten Island
Course and bogs: Course starts in Staten Island and runs through all 5 NYC boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan).  The course is more hilly than other WMM races because there are many bridges.  In fact, the start of the race, you climb the steepest bridge/hill. 

At the start line, there were several areas for runners that split you by your wave.  Each area had a bunch of toilets, a small shaded seating area, and bag drop.  Even though there were lots of toilets, there were lots of runners so you had to wait in line.  Out on the course, there were toilets every mile at the water stations.  I stopped to use them 5 times.  There was always loo roll and most of the time only a few people waiting (primarily runners but sometimes spectators). 

One of the port-a-loo areas
Location: All over the Big Apple.  We started on Staten Island and finished in Central Park.

Atmosphere: Electric.  The crowds lining the streets were amazing! So much cheering, an abundance of snacks, and my favorite part- pure elation when a spectator sees someone they know running past.  I was lucky enough to have my friends from university at mile 16 waiting to give me a hug and cheer.  Americans are not afraid to make some noise.  In 2018, the sun was out but the temperature wasn't too high, making it perfect running weather.

Another medal for my collection
Race bling and goody bag: The medal was great.  Goody bag had usual snacks and water.  I can't remember anything else so must not have been anything crazy.  You get a foil blanket when you finish to keep you warm until you collect your bag.  My bag was at the far end because I dropped it off late (see "tips for next time" below).

Tips if you want to take part next time:
  • Eat well early because you start late.  I ate porridge at 4:30am and didn't start running until 10:30am. By the time I got on the ferry, I was hungry which lead me to eating all of my post-race snacks at the start area and then having to use bathroom five times during the race.
  • Learn the course profile.  It is very hilly, which I knew but it was different to experience it.  I suggest adding hill reps into your training plan to prepare.
  • The expo wasn't that impressive to me.  Maybe the space was too big, but there didn't seem to be very much to shop for outside of the official store.
  • NYC involves a lot of walking.  Keep that in mind if you are going to sight-see before or after the race.  For Chicago and NYC, I went to the movies the afternoon before the race and treated myself to a reclining chair to keep my feet up.
  • Know where the airport is!  The day after the race, I headed back home. Unfortunately, I went the wrong way on the subway and arrived only 1 hour before my departure instead of the suggested two.  I was sweating but so tired and sore I couldn't move any faster!
  • Sign up for shake out 5k (even though you don't get a medal).  After enjoying the shake out 5K in Chicago, I knew I had to do it in NYC too.  I ran with friends and enjoyed the landmarks along the route.  We were given bobble hats instead of medals, which was disappointing but what can you do?  Book a table for brunch if you plan to go after the race because everyone will be trying to do the same thing.
  • Check your bag on time!  As I was eating and waiting for the toilet, I didn't manage to check my bag in time.  That was a lot of stress to find the 'everyone else' van which also meant I had to walk further from the finish line to find it.
  • Keep tampons on hand.  Of course, my period started that morning but I didn't realize it until I got to start pen. I had to bum one off a Spanish lady but it didn't have an applicator so I didn't quite get it in position right.  Luckily, it wasn't a disaster in the end.
Did you run NYC in 2018?  What was your favorite part of the race?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Thanks to Simplyhealth for sponsoring my 4x4 Challenge.  This was my 4th and final race of the challenge. 

8 tips to get back on track after a break from fitness

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

So far, I have been taking it easy this year in terms of training.  My book launch consumed most of my time and energy in January, which left little time for anything aside from the spin classes I teach and physiotherapy sessions.  With my 40th birthday and three trips abroad in February, I also took some time off from working with my nutrition coach.  The break was needed, both physically and mentally.  I had been pushing myself quite hard since the start of my 4x4 challenge in the autumn in 2018.  After an eight mile run over the weekend, I realized I was ready to start adding structure back into my training and keeping better tabs on my nutrition.  Without a big goal to work towards, I am feeling a little bit lost.

Many people take breaks from fitness routines for various reasons, such as an injury, having a baby, or a busy time at work.  It may sound funny, but I am a little nervous about getting going again.  Will I be out of shape? How can I possibly limit the amount of chocolate I consume each day? It can be a bit overwhelming to get back into a health and fitness routine, so here are my eight tips on how to do it successfully. 

1. Forgive yourself for taking a break.  Whatever the reason, you took a break but now it is over.  Rather than looking back and regretting anything (loosing fitness, gaining weight, missing out on training sessions with friends), know that our bodies need rest and recovery built into macrocycles.  Use your energy to build focus on what lies ahead.

2. Set a plan.  Before you start up again, decide what you want to focus on and how.  Do you want to eat more fruit and vegetables?  Do you want to lift three times a week before work?  No matter what your goal is, plan is out in chunks (such as 8 week cycle) and put it in your diary.

3. Prepare to be hungry.  If you are both starting to exercise more frequently and changing your eating habits, you will probably feel hungry at different points in your day.  Take the time to prepare meals and snacks ahead of time to save you money and temptation.  Keep porridge pots in your desks or dried fruit and nuts for emergencies.  Apples, carrots, and Babybels make handy snacks too.

4. Hire a professional to create a habit.  Working with Function360 (#gifted) has provided me with training structure and targets my weaknesses so I can achieve my goals.  Their physiotherapists know I want to become a faster runner and my assigned program reflects that.  This year, I hope to work with them more often to speed up my results.  (If you live in London, give them a call and get 15% off your first appointment with my code F360MM15.  This is not an affiliate code.  I do not receive any monetary compensation for people I refer).  A personal trainer, dietitian, personal chef, or life coach. etc will also help you focus on your goals.

5. Prioritize sleep.  Yes, you may want to pack your diary full again but think back as to why you needed a break.  Without sleep, our body cannot repair itself.  We also feel more hungry when tired (because our body needs fuel to make up for lack of sleep).  I know you may feel like you need more hours in the day to build up momentum, but it might be a better idea to skip a workout and go to bed early on a regular basis then to crash and burn.

6. Shout about it.  Tell  your friends, co-workers, and family about your plans. Or put it on social media. The verbal (and visual) commitment will reinforce your refreshed mindset and also give you accountability.  If you tell the whole office you are going for a run on your lunch break, they will be sure to ask you how it was that afternoon.  Do you want to admit you spent your break on Facebook instead?  I didn't think so.

7.  Forego the fizzy drinks.  This is one I know I need to work on.  Fizzy drinks can be empty calories (as in calories that offer no nutritional value).  They are also full of chemicals and an added expense.  Aim for water (with a slice of fruit for added flavor) if you can.

8. The more the merrier.  Recruit people to join you on this journey.  Social runs can be more fun.  Meeting people at the gym before work makes the early alarm slightly more bearable.  Having your housemates eating home-cooked meals every night with you is a great way to share the prep work and clean up. By having people around you with similar goals, it can help you to talk to them about how you are feeling when you want to give up.

These are just a few tips that have worked for me.  You don't need to do them all at once.  Select a few that are doable and see how you get on.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions on how to come back to a healthier lifestyle after a break, please leave a comment below and let me know.  What has worked for you in the past?

Race review: The race formally known as Wadi Rum Ultra

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Photo by Ben Tufnell
I never thought I would complete a race that was longer than a marathon.  (In face it wasn't  too long ago that I thought I would  never run a marathon).  Rather than do things half-ass, I decided my first ultra should be a multi-stage race abroad and be in the desert. For this who don't know, any ultra marathon is anything over 26.2 miles (although some say over 30 miles).  Since I completed the race in October 2018, the Wadi Rum Ultra has re-branded to be Ultra X Jordan as part of the Ultra X Co's strategy to become the World Championship of Ultra running. This year they are hosting races in Sri Lanka, Mexico and Jordan.  Next year, new locations (Bolivia and Azores) will be added.

There is no way my normal race review format can cover the complexity of this race.  I am working on a vblog to show you the landscape and also have lots of kit to tell you about.  To hold you over until then, here is a brief overview of the race.

What you will see along the route
Entries and fees: In 2018, Ultra X Jordan registration fee was £895 for accommodation in Amman and during race, transport to/from race plus Petra and race entry, Jordan visa, a celebratory BBQ and beer on day of finish. In addition, there were three doctors on the team to administer medication and treat wounds (mostly foot blisters) and two osteopaths to offer daily treatments such as massages, assisted stretching and foot wound care.  The 2019 registration fee is £995 for individuals or £890/pp for teams of three or more.

Course and bogs: The course was 250km through Jordan's Wadi Rum valley.  It varied from day to day (and slightly year to year) with multiple campsites along the way.  We ran: 40km, 55km, 70km, 50km and then 37km over the five days.  No toilets along the course but two of the three camps had toilets and showers.  Nights one and two were at the first camp which offered canvas shelters, light bulbs (but no outlets to charge anything) and running water in the bathroom and showers. The next camp was affectionately called 'Rock Camp' because we slept on a giant boulder without electricity, water or toilets.  There were blankets and cushions to sleep on but it was quite windy and therefore chilly.  Camp three was a magical 1980's oasis.  Proper beds (two per canvas cabin), tables, chairs, a cash bar, and running water in toilets and showers.  I have never been so happy to see a can of full fat Coke in my life.

Day 1 start line
Location:  The idea behind Ultra X races is to offer an amazing five day race experience so you only have to take one week off of work.  Jordan's desert valley did not disappointment.  Many of the other runners added a few days to their itinerary to explore the country further.  Temperature were 30 degrees plus during the day.

Atmosphere: Due to the location, there isn't anyone to cheer for you along the course but the crew made up for this. It was ace seeing a friendly face every 10km. You also would occasionally get a 4x4 Toyota truck with tourists shout at you as they drove by.

Kieron, an osteopath from Just One Body, at work on a runner
Race bling and goody bag: Sadly, no medal this year but we did get a branded cotton t-shirt.  I had lots of time to think along the way and will probably get a custom necklace off of Etsy that says "Grit".  Everyone was sad there was no medal and I sure  Ultra X has taken that feedback on board.  No goody bag either but we did get cold beers and dinner after the race.

Sunset stretch class after Day 1

Tips if you want to take part next time:

  • Learn about the local culture and what to wear: It is a conservative Muslim country and you need to be aware of that.  When we were in the desert, we were a bit isolated, which allowed the cultural rules to be relaxed but in Amman and Petra, we were Amman, we needed to be respectful.
  • Learn about how the toilets work and carry your own toilet paper: I am still not exactly sure what the 'bum gun' was officially for but I do know not to flush the toilet paper. Be prepared and keep some toilet paper or tissues on your any time you leave the hotel.
  • Make sure to strength train to combat the shifting sand effectively: It was extremely hard to train for running in shifting sand while living in London.  The best thing to do is to strength train and make sure you have strong ankles and supportive shoes.
Photo by Ben Tufnell
  • Wear sweat-proof sunscreen: I was shocked to spend £13 for 77g of sunscreen at My Race Kit (It is special stuff that the sand won't stick to). However, I didn't get a sunburn, nor did I have to carry around a sunscreen bottle to re-apply so it was worth every scent.
  • Book a few extra days if you can: It is a beautiful part of the world and there is lots to see (think Petra and the Red Sea).  It will also get you time to acclimatize or recover.
  • Come with a plan B: Not many of the participant's races seemed to go to plan.  There were injuries, food poisoning, muscle pulls, and blisters galore.  Approach the race with the flexibility of a Plan B in case your situation changes so you won't be too disappointed.
Fueling with Lucho Dillitos (gifted)
  • Pack a variety of food.  Nutella is a good chocolate substitute:  I met Steven via a Whatsapp group as five of us were arriving one night early.  The day before we set off for the desert, Steven and I were discussing our concern for the lack of chocolate in the desert (chocolate and high temps don't mix).  We soon discovered that Nutella is an excellent compromise.
  • Don't drink the water but don't be wasteful either:  If you are not a local, it is not advisable to drink the tap water in Jordan.   During the race, you are provided with bottled water.  There are a lot of resources that goes into bottling the water, transporting it to the race camps, and then disposing of the bottles that I encourage you to drink what you need in a eco-conscious and responsible way.
Photo by Ben Tufnell
The Ultra-X Jordan race wasn't like anything I had every experienced before- either in my travels or in a race.  Registration for 5-13th October 2019 race is now open.  Let me know if you have any additional questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.  A short vlog will be up on my YouTube channel soon.

Thanks to Simplyhealth for sponsoring my 4x4 Challenge. This race was number three of four. 

Last minute gift guide for Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

So far, February has been all about my 40th birthday. It wasn't until yesterday that I remembered Valentine's Day is this week.  My husband isn't really into all of the V-day hype but we do get each other cards and have a nice meal in.  If you are still looking for ideas on what to get your loved one, check out my Amazon storefront for last minute gift ideas (all available with Prime shipping!).  There is something for everybody with over 30 items to choose from.

If you already know you want to give your Valentine an activity tracker, read my Valentine's Day post from a few years back with tips on how to select one.  There are so many to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming!

Or you can never go wrong with a voucher to Urban Massage (which is now called Urban and offers manicures, osteopathy, and facials in the comfort of your own home).  You can get 20% off your first treatment using my affiliate link.

Here are a few items you will find in my Valentine's day shop.  (Please note that the Amazon links are affiliate and cost the  buyer nothing additional.)

Let me know in the comments below what you think the perfect Valentine's Day gift is if you don't see it below.

How to make a claim with Simplyhealth's Active Plan

Thursday, February 7, 2019

I am not the best at life admin.  Submitting paperwork, such as receipts for my taxes, invoicing for freelance work, and posting things on eBay, tend to get pushed to the side in favour of a workout or episode of Bridezillas.  Actually, the paper gets put into a pile on the kitchen table until my husband forces me to deal with it.

My Simplyhealth UK Active Plan has four different levels of coverage, each with a maximum claim benefit.  I have the premium level, which gives me £350 for muscle and joint care, £100 for podiatry treatments, and £350 for health assessments, in addition to other coverage.  If I utilize just one benefit a month, the plan pays for itself and I can keep exercising without having to worry about being injured.  Because I am so bad at filing paperwork, I was relieved to know that I can either claim with a paper form, which was included in my welcome pack, or submit a claim online.  I spend most of my day sitting at a computer so I figured I would be able to handle method on a regular basis.

Booking an appointment

Before booking any appointments, I make sure to read through the T&C's to ensure my claim will be valid.  For example, physiotherapists have to be registered with Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), as must podiatrists.  Then I also considered how much my benefit was and if I thought I would need multiple treatments. For example, my feet aren't too gnarly so I splurged with my medical pedicure before Wadi Rum.  For my osteopath treatments, I went with my current clinic to allow for a continuity of care.  For my eye doctor, I went to location that was close to home and affordable.

Filing the paperwork

For each appointment I have attended so far, I received a paper or electronic invoice.  If I received paper, I scanned the document on my printer at work or took a photo.  Then I logged into my Simplyhealth account and took the following steps:

  1. On my Simplyhealth account home page, there is a section that says 'make a claim'.  Click on the button to make a claim online, but there is also an option to request a paper form via the post.
  2. On the next screen, you agree to a declaration that the info you are providing is true.  It also reminds you that the receipt has to have the following information on it:
    • The full name of the person who received the treatment.
    • The name, address and contact details of the practitioner or establishment who provided the treatment.
    • The date and cost of the treatment.
  3. You specify who the claim is for from a dropdown menu (as you many have partners or children on your policy) and the date of the treatment.
  4. Then specify the type of treatment and cost.
  5. Upload the receipt (either photo or pdf).
  6. Then you confirm all of the details, including bank details.

There is also a screen where you can check your benefit balances, which make it very easy to see if you are using you plan to it's full potential.  My payments are always processed within a few days.  I decided to have the money go into my savings account so I could pay for a race abroad at the end of the year (Valencia anyone?). 

Thanks to Simplyhealth for sponsoring my 4x4 challenge.  All opinions are honest and my own.