All posts by Annemarie

Lemongrass and Lavender Hot Process Soap SOAPY SATURDAY


The feedback on the Lemongrass and Lavender was positive. I promise to make the CP version soon. Soaps wrapped but I could do with some wrap training


Well the Lemongrass and Lavender soap smells delicious. BUT it’s messy. As I said below probably better as a cold process soap. Or perhaps its just me who prefers CP to HP. CP is far less messy. I also tried my hand at some wrapping (see below). I have added a ink here for Soap Queen/Brambleberry lye calculator. It is helpful in measuring the right amount of oils and in my case a blessing to stop me either having too little or too much fragrance……




Well it’s a been a few days since I last said anything. I am delighted that I have had two positive comments that are worth one million comments to me.

I have been unwell again for a few days and a little exhausted. My family visited me also over the past week so its been hectic with Christmas, putting up the tree and gift wrapping.

This morning is the first I’ve had any energy. I’m having a Christmas high tea tomorrow and needed something nice to wear. I felt a little exhausted on the bus to Marble Arch at the crack of dawn today. However, I found what I wanted by 10:am and took a nice walk through Hyde Park. It was busy with Winter Wonderland tourists even at that unearthly hour in the morning. But the park for all it was dull and misty was beautiful and chilly. The air was fresh and the squirrels ran around everywhere. Joggers and cyclists and me enjoyed the beautiful crisp morning.. I tried to capture some of the beauty below.

Recently the French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul opened it’s doors locally. There had been such a fuss because it was opening directly next door to Greggs.  I thought whilst on the bus after walk through the misty Hyde Park I’d stay on a couple more stops for the sake of stopping outside Paul’s. I am a secret baker and love making bread so I was optimistic to treat myself at Paul’s. I sat on the bus hungry having only eaten breakfast just after I envisaged a delicious chicken or tuna baguette or a delicious sandwich. My tummy rumbled and the hunger pangs made the fifteen minute journey seem like an hour. Then I was there at Paul’s.  The fabulous cakes on display suggested I was in for a real treat. Greggs looked a little drab.

BUT I was met with a long queue  AND as I wondered along the counter I was met with NOTHING but flat bread rolls and flat looking sandwiches. The window display was about the only thing at Paul’s worth looking at. As a keen bread maker and  from watching countless Paul Holliwood youtube videos and reading his books. I learned the art of kneading and know what freshly baked bread looks life when kneaded to perfection. I also have had several failed attempts with bread and the bread in Paul’s looked exactly the like the countless baguettes I have thrown into the bin.  Fresh bread must also look scrumptious to eat and unfortunately. One batch of baguettes I attempted was intended to copy one I liked in Subway. They were a tad on the large side but soft and  scrumptious. I made a hasty retreat to Greggs and had the perfect Tuna and red onion baguette. I doubt Paul’s will last long.



SOAPY, SATURDAY….Lemongrass and Lavender Hot Process Soap

I will upload pictures tomorrow but from the Soap Queen   I gave this soap a try tonight. However, I did not have the right size mold. I will see tomorrow how it worked out.

2.1 oz. Sweet Almond Oil
1 oz. Avocado Butter
4.2 oz. Coconut Oil
8.4 oz. Olive Oil
4.2 oz. Palm Oil
1 oz. Shea Butter
2.9 oz. Sodium Hydroxide
6.9 oz. Distilled Water
0.6 oz. Sodium Lactate

1 tsp. Spirulina Powder
1 tsp. Green Zeolite Clay
1 tbsp. Lavender Buds

0.8 oz. Lemongrass Essential Oil
0.6 oz. Lavender 40/42 Essential

Crinkle Cutter
2 lb Wood Loaf Mold
Silicone Liner for 2 lb Wood Mold
pH Strips

If you make this project I’d love to see it!





Soapy Saturday
My orange passion fruit scented soap turned out good. BUT some of it was a bit messy. I made too much and needed to use a flat soap mold. A flat soap mold I find is not good for hot process soap. I will put these into my shower bag and use them at the gym. At least they are soapy and lathery and smell almost good enough to eat. 

The tidy batch

orange-and-passion-fruit-scented orange-soap

The messy batch 

I would recommend NOT using a flat square mold when making Hot Process soap. it is messy and doesn’t even out well and difficult to smooth over.


Yesterday I tried a recipe meant for cold process soap. Somehow I don’t think it worked. However, the smell is good even my neighbour commented on it as she passed the door. It looks too messy to take pics. I will post the finished product when I cut the soap.

The hot process method is what I began with and preferred until now that is. But only time will tell


Soap making basics

Such a tough week but I have been busy purchasing my oils and fragrances. I can’t believe that I’m now spending less on goodies to sit and eat all day. The most yummy smells coming from kitchen are fragrances and oils. There was a time it baked apple pie and triple chocolate layers.

SOAP., SOAP, SOAP……………if you are getting into soap there is no need to spend a fortunate on equipment. I will set out here all you need.

EQUIPMENT health and safety first

  • i wear an old shirt and a pair of washed out jeans. I cover my feet with a pair of slippers. They were given to me as a Christmas present in the office. I assumed someone wanted to dispose of them. I was planning to do just until I found use for them. I also purchased a pair of goggles below for £6.99. They are adjustable too

safety-goggles-galactic-deluxCLOTHING….i wear an old shirt and jeans and a pair of work slippers that cover my feet.




I refer to Vinegar as an necessary piece of equipment. In the event of burning apply white vinegar to the skin. I always keep a bottle on the counter. It has remained full thanks to the protective clothing.


You probably have the following items in your kitchen. Kitchen items is are the tools you need. Pleases do not ever reuse the items used for soap making to prepare food.  I checked out what cooking utensils needed to be renewed in my kitchen. I used the older utensils for my soap making, I store them in plastic storage units that I have squeezed into a corner in my kitchen. You should not go out and spend too much money. The tools required allow for thriftiness. The plastic see through boxes were used from bay cost £5 each. They were sold locally and I saved on postage and packaging. 


I am interested in making both cold process and hot process soap. A crock pot is recommended for hot process soap. I started off this hobby to save money so I raided my kitchen utensil storage space. I found a deep fat fryer that I had no use for. I couldn’t believe I had two. One my mother purchased for me and one  a friend gave to me. I sold one on ebay for half price as it was nearly new. I was able to purchase a nearly new crock pot for less than what I sold the fryer. It was in excellent condition.

crockpot-hp crockpot-inside crockpot-two


  • A large stainless steel spook and plastic spatulas. The spook is to stir in the lye and the spatula to mix the oils. These can purchased at your nearest pound or poundland stores. Also you need rubber gloves. I purchased mine from ebay at £3 for a box of forty.  plastic spoon — for stirring the lye solution.


  • A soap mold — to pour your raw soap into
  • silicon-mould
  • many different options here – from a commercial soap mold to yogurt cups, or Tupperware container – basically any leak-proof container made of plastic, glass or stainless steel. Wood or cardboard molds can be used too if they are first lined with freezer paper.
  • A large Pyrex pitcher to measure hard and soft oils. In the case of CP soap the Pyrex can also be used for mixing ingredients. Do not use the glass pitcher to mix lye. The temperature from the lye will crack the glass. 


  • Lye must be measured accurately.
  • I use a regular sized Salter scale for measuring oils and a mini scale for fragrances.


  • I find it easier using a Pipette to extract fragrances


  • temperature of cold process ingredients (the oils and lye solution) can greatly affect the final product. Measurements therefore must be accurate. The temperature of your soaping area also affects your results. If you were to ask advanced soapers, “What is the perfect soaping temperature?” you would receive a wide range of answers. This is because it depends greatly on the particular recipe and design. For most soapers, the preferred temperature of soaping lye and oils are 120-130 ° F. In addition, many soapers and books believe it is helpful to have the lye and oil within 10 degrees of each other.
  • Check out this oil chart link…….
  • Lye  can be measured in a glass pitcher but should only be mixed with distilled water in a plastic pitcher
  • Always wear eye protection and face mask to protect from the temperatures and fumes.
  • lye-to-water

Distilled or rain water must be used in soap making. Tap water crystallizes the soap. Distilled is the recommended fluid for soap. I have never used bottled water.  I purchased 2×5 liters on ebay for £13. I shopped around and found suppliers willing to sell two bottles for the price of three.


ALWAYS add lye to distilled water. NEVER add water to is DANGEROUS and can be FATAL.  


  • Adding lye to room temperature water can cause the water to reach temperatures up to 200 ° F. The mixture also creates fumes, which should not be inhaled (ensure you wear your mask)
  • TIP, TIP, TIP  (I froze half my distilled water quantity and added the remainder at room temperature. The temperatures was just under 100 ° F). Always ensure you get your temperature in accordance with your recipe. 

frozen-lye frozen-combined-lye

  • The lye will be misty until it sets


The lie must be cool and clear before it can be applied to the oils. I used this time to prepare my oil, fragrance and colouring


  • NOTE TO THE SELF……Some soap makers say soap can be made without lye. NOTE TO SELF after extensive research and expensive soap making classes with expert soap maker and successful business woman Linda Cross stresses……NO LYE NO SOAP. That goes for hot or cold process.




  • A Stick blender — to blend the oils with the lye mixture and start the saponification process. The stick blender is essential for hot and cold process soap. The food mixer better used for mixing colours in hot processing soap.


  • A good range of oils particularly coconut oil,, butters and fragrances. Fragrances are not essential.






A basic soap recipe

The following procedures are vital when preparing and making soap.




I purchased Galactic Delux Safety Goggles from ebay £6.99, adjustable and safe. NOSE and Mouth…..You should also protect your mouth and nose from the fumes of the lye. (I will explain ways to reduce the temperature during soap making).
CLOTHING….i wear an old shirt and jeans and an old pair of toe covered slippers that cover my feet.
safety-goggles-galactic-delux long-sleeves-protective-clothing-old-clothes scart-lol

WORKING WITH LYE.  The above protective clothing is essential when working with lye. Lye  is dangerous. Spillage from lye can burn through clothes onto skin. It can be fatal if not handled appropriately.


  • Lye mixes with oil and spoonifies, or becomes soap. At first, you have lye, water, and oil. Then the curing process begins and after a few days the lye, water, and oil is transformed into soap. At the end of the curing process, perhaps 3-4 weeks (sometimes more), there is no lye left in the soap, no oil, and no water. What is left behind is pure soap with nothing of the original ingredients left behind.
  • in the event of lye burning. Apply white vinegar to the spot of skin. I always keep a bottle on the counter during soap making.



NEW soap makers. Always follow a recipe from professional soap makers. It is important not to second guess the measurements and hard and soft oils and lye. Oils whether hard or soft have different affects on soap.
For example two hard soaps may come from the same plant but they don’t go together. Oils are combined with the Lye that makes the soap. Lye is a dangerous substance and must be used appropriately. A good recipe is also about health and safety which I will discuss in detail.
The following recipe consists of two main ingredients. I chose it because it is simple but mainly because I had ran out of coconut oil. I emailed ‘making soap in your own kitchen’ and asked if I could replace coconut oil with palm oil. According to the oil chart I can replace hard oil with hard oil. But ‘making soap in your own kitchen’ advised me not to replace any recipe as it is made to suit the measurements of oils and lye.


  1. Olive Oil
  2. Lye
  3. Distilled Water
  4. Jasmine scented fragrance (optional)
  5. Mica Lemon Drop  colouring (beautiful colour but did not work well in this recipe. I should leave colouring out in future)

Olive Oil (regular). Soap made from a high percentages of olive oil is soft upon un-molding but will cure to be a really hard bar of soap. Hard oils , fats and butters that are solid but scoopable at room temperature such as palm oil, lard, tallow, coconut oil, mango butter and shea butter. … Brittle oils make a hard bar of soaptesco









Lye mixes with oil and saponifies, or becomes soap. At first, you have lye, water, and oil. Then the curing process begins and after a few days the lye, water, and oil is transformed into soap. At the end of the curing process, perhaps 3-4 weeks (sometimes more), there is no lye left in the soap, no oil, and no water. What is left behind is pure soap with nothing of the original ingredients left behind.

(more about lye later)


Distilled water is highly recommended by professional soap makers.


Is softer water than tap water. Applying tap (hard water) to a recipe risks crystallization of the soap. Tap water can cause soap “scum” to form –(more information about the chemistry of soap scum here), but you’re going to have that problem with any real bar of soap. (Less so with detergent bars.) Your water would have to be really hard to cause so much trouble as to not be able to use it in your soap recipes – and the rinsing problem comes with really soft water, not hard.

Fragrance and colouring

My initial plan was to add scented lemon  to the recipe. But I ran out of Lemon fragrance and opted for Jasmine. As Jasmine has a pale yellow I applied a touch of the Lemon drop. I am happy with the scent but unhappy with the outcome of the colour. i would recommend when making Olive Oil soap to stick to natural colour and add a fragrance if preferred.

Accurate measurement of weight and temperature is vital for a successful soap. For this CP soap I only had the temperature of the lye to worry about. I used Salta weighing scales for the oils and a smaller scale for the fragrances. I froze half of the distilled water and added the rest at room temperature. This reduced the fumes of the Lye
scale-and-mini-scale frozen-lye oilive-oil


Stick Blender.


The blender brings soap to trace more quickly than stirring by hand. What is trace? Simply put, trace is a point in the soap making process when oils and lye water have emulsified. Once the soap has reached thin trace, it will continue to thicken over time. The picture below shows when the liquid thickens a trace can be made. In CP soap it often resembles custard.


I used a large pot to mix my trace. The outcome was still the same




  • Dry powered lye can be measured in a glass pitcher AND should only be mixed with distilled water in a plastic pitcher. The temperature of the lye could break the glass pitcher. Lye must always be added to water DO not add water to lyeAdding water to lye will lead to an explosion and it can be fatal. 


  • Adding lye to room temperature water results in high  temperatures up to 200 ° F. This creates fumes that should not be inhaled (ensure you wear your mask)
  • TIP, TIP, TIP  (I froze half my distilled water quantity and added the remainder at room temperature. The temperatures was just under 100 ° F). Always ensure you get your temperature in accordance with your recipe. 

frozen-lye frozen-combined-lye

  • The lye will be misty until it sets. The added ice quickens the cooling clearing stage.


The lie must be cool and clear before it can be applied to the oils. I used this time to prepare my oil, fragrance and colouring



  1. Prepare soup silicon soup mold. You can use a water proof carton or container. I have only used the soap mold.silicon-mould
  2. Place the stick blender into the liquid and swoosh it around before switching on mixer
  3. Turn on stick blender and blend towards a trace
  4. custard-level
  5. When liquid reaches the appearance of a custard you know you are the trace stage.
  6. Use a plastic spatula to empty the liquid into the mold spatula
  7. Tap on mold onto kitchen counter for smoothness.
  8. Apply alcohol spray on liquid to clear bubbles
  9. Place a piece of cling film on the inside of the mold on top of the liquid. This helps to set and keep the liquid smooth.
  10.   In the above example I forgot the alcohol spray. I removed the cling film and applied the spray and made a mess.
  11. Place the mold in a cool area for twenty-four hours. I placed the soap in a cool store cupboard. I later transferred it to underneath my kitchen window. My window is always open and at night kitchen is cold as the temperature drops.
  12. After 24 hours remove the soap from the mold. it should be cut into cubes or blocks and allowed three to five weeks to set.
  13. Store the soap in a dark cool area.  In the past I covered a tray with baking paper and allowed the soap to sit for another twenty-four hours. (I will update with photos later)
  14. On the one occasion I made CP soap the next day I placed the soap in a small box covered with baking paper and stored it inside a dark cupboard.
  15. Allow CP soap 4-6 weeks to cure. This is how long it takes for the water to completely evaporate, resulting in a harder, longer lasting bar of soap. One misconception about CP cure time is that the soap is unsafe to use within the 4-6 week time frame because the lye has not had time to saponify”.

This is my second attempt at CP soap. Some say it’s difficult. I believe it was easy because I only had two ingredients. I will attempt bigger batches of CP soap later in the week. I find HP soap easier. I use a crock pot and that saponifies the soap within twenty-four hours. I prefer to leave HP soap for a week before using. I will make some later in the week. 

UPDATE: The outcome of the soap was better than I expected for this first cold process attempt. The only trouble was that it was a bit rough around the top because I disturbed the wrapping with the alcohols spray. But there are no bubbles just a few crumbs. I was unhappy with the colour but now cut it is a pale yellow the colour of Jasmine




lemon-scented-blockslemon-scented-close-up lemon-scented-cuts

Day 6

Day six and the cold is clearing up. I treated myself online from Little Black Dress a Boux Avenue high Waisted Control Briefs. I know I have put back on the couple of pounds I fought hard to lose and my body is screaming for it’s walk in Hyde Park.  I have had to deprive myself of this need because of my cold. For someone in my condition catching a cold leads to bigger issues. I will treat my body when I get the new briefs and wear them under my yoga pants. I might as well compensate for having no fancy tight slinky black dress to wear this Christmas.  LBD explain that it is also about posture as well as shape who knows I might become the sexiest middle aged woman strutting around Hyde Park!

Slenderness is slow but it’s sure happening

The weight is finally dropping off slowly with time and patience. I started walking regularly and have also had an experienced trainer who specialises in disabilities helping me. His motto take the little bit of energy you have and put it to good use, think of those nice jeans you desire to fit into. I’m now coming to the realisation that it also takes energy to sit and eat in front of the TV all day. I renewed my oyster card for the bus only and walk a little bit each day following the bus routes that way when I get tired I can hop on the bus. It sounds boring but at least I’m sitting on the bus thinking on what I’m doing, what I want and buzzing with ideas on change. It beats sitting in front of the TV all day gorging on junk food and watching TV. I’m hardly likely to do that on the bus. Its less boring than wasting away at home. I can get off the bus if I feel like another ten-minute walk and it is amazing how this is making me more energetic. The swimming also helps relax the muscles don’t be put off by those majorly energetic people as in my case I remind myself they all had to start somewhere and for people who find it hard either through willpower with or without disability even the smallest bit of exercise is just as good for the body as those who spend hours exercising.

As for the bad eating habits I find that now since gaining that small piece of willpower and energy I’m starting to stop eating when I’m full rather than continuing until the plate is empty. I also through what is left in the bin rather than keep it for later in a storage bowl in the fridge because I am concerned that it will only lead to snacking later in the night out of greed and a lack of mind over matter knowing it is in the fridge. I have yet to conquer my affair with sugar but at least I’ve cut down a little and not so addicted.  I believe if I try to cut it right out I will binge more however, the Custard Creams are banned from my biscuit tin and will remain that way forever.

Today I am considering starting my own business in sport and outdoor activity fashion. I miss outdoor activity and some sports with a passion and whilst I am out of it physically doesn’t mean to say that I can’t still be involved other ways. Today I’m researching Chinese buying and marketing and all the things that small businesses should look out for. It is an exciting place right now to be and I know had I not started to take note and control of my physical appearance my mental health would have also suffered and I would never be here today. Disability will not stop me today or ever again.


Constructive Self-Criticism


I was always interested in psychology of the mind years prior to undertaking a degree in psychology.  Throughout the hundreds of books, I read explanatory style always interested me with its explanation of why people blame negative events on all the surrounding, permanent aspects of the self and external forces. For example, in my case, I argued with consultants and even the dietician that my disability and restrictive lifestyle was to blame. I also blamed the mini-Sainsbury on my doorstep and the Poundshop within a ten minute drive and convinced myself that should I not be surrounded by these shops I would not binge on Custard Creams and packs of chocolates. Prior to constructive self-criticism kicking in I never once told myself that if I avoided these places I would not have the goodies to binge on. Nor did I consider researching and discussing with professionals and others in my situation ways of getting fit within my limits. Then I experienced a strange encounter with myself. 

It was the day of my first swimming lessons and I was relieved that the locker room was empty. I had signed up for a membership that day also so that I could avoid using the public locker rooms. After a struggle getting into my swimsuit and bearing excruciating pain from the straps digging into my shoulders whilst walking through the changing room I noticed the woman at the end of the room watching me. The closer I got the familiar she became as the chubby stranger with two chins and flabby arms eyed me up and down with a look of sheer horror and disgust. I suddenly felt uneasy and embarrassed and turned my head away and rushed out to the pool area.  However, it was no use I couldn’t relax and with five minutes to spare before my swimming lesson I rushed back to changing room to confront that look of horror. As I expected she was still there waiting when I returned and again staring straight at me. However, this time her look was of sorrow and sadness. She looked familiar because she was me looking back at myself in the full-length locker room mirror.  The tears welled up in my eyes as I let my towel drop and I asked myself out loudly “how could you let that happen”?  

I already had the answers but until that moment I couldn’t see them until I allowed constructive self-criticism to kick in. The reality that my weight gain, lack of activity and reclusiveness could not solely be blamed on my disability had now sunk in. I was forced to admit that I am responsible for my body irrespective of my circumstances and that it was only me who could make changes and put things right with myself.

Constructive criticism covers the degree to which someone attributes changes in lifestyle externally or to the inner-self. Disability can be physical or psychological. In my case it is chronic disease that affects my physical capability but being the one-time optimist and after three years of ignorance I stopped dwelling on how much weight I put on or how badly I felt. I knew it was time to turn my bad experience in the locker room into something positive and a new start.  I prepared myself for a difficult road but I knew I would re-educate myself and put my life back into perspective. 

Behind every disability is a person and in keeping that in mind so began my swimming lesson and journey back to fitness began. 


Get Fit to Fit into Fashion



One dark secret most women admit to is harbouring the smaller sized outfit in their wardrobe that they are unable to part with. This is because it represents a time in their lives when they felt good within themselves. If you’re like me you probably still have more than one pair of undersized jeans in your closet and/or at least one outfit you cannot bare to part with. So what is the solution particularly when one has a chronic disability that restricts them physically and also affects their diet and fluid consumption?

In my case chronic disease affects my appetite. I used that as an excuse to binge and graze on sugary foods and drinks. However, the majority of people that have issues with binging also have issues with some type of mental or physical health  problem.  It is a psychological fact that illness affects a person’s behaviour. This is because we seek comfort and to replace the restriction illness has placed on our capabilities. 

Having attended Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) lectures as part of my degree many moons ago I should have realised that my urge to gorge on packet after packet of Custard Creams and packs of chocolate down were more to do with my behaviour as opposed to my diagnosis. But I instead I argued with myself that if there was not so many shops with tempting treats then I would be less tempted. Of course I never considered moving out to the countryside where I would be less tempted. I simply convinced myself that one day I will be well again and the weight will just disappear.

According to CHP research behaviour changed during any type of illness is common particularly comfort eating which usually occurs owing to the lack of motivation in people’s lives.  CHP educates us in understanding the techniques of behavioural change towards food, exercise, socialising, mood and many other aspects that affect us during difficult times. In my case my illness is chronic and affects my physical capability. 

I cheered up when my consultant informed me that I could stop taking steroids until she added that she was extremely concerned about my quick weight gain. She recommended me to see the dietician later that day.  I hadn’t weighed myself in three-years since becoming ill and was now faced with the news that I had piled on three-stone. I knew I had gained weight because my fashionable clothes no longer fitted me and I had switched to wearing leggings and baggy tops. My one time clothe shopping appetite had been replaced by the sugary appetite. I not only gained weight but I had also allowed my appearance to go and besides my trip to the hairdressers and the beautician to get my eyebrows done I had lost interest in my pedicures and manicures. I was also a recluse and was losing touch with friends and socialised only with the TV day and night and food. I cried as I discussed with the consultant that through my disability I was no longer to able continue my twelve mile walk to and from work everyday and weekend country walks with my friend and the walking group we joined. The consultant was sympathetic but advised me that I could undertake some exercise within my limits and socialise more she believed would take my mind of sugar. 

I discussed my diet with the dietican later that day and she found that my food itself wasn’t the problem the problem was I wasn’t eating enough of it because I was full of sugar.  I had become a couch potato in a rut with life passing me by. She advised me that long walks for me at this time was not possible but I could always take up another hobby like swimming.  I pointed out that I couldn’t swim and she responded that it was probably time I learned adding that there were plenty of health clubs with swimming pools in my local area. It was her belief that even a small exercise would be better than nothing. . 

On reflection I had plenty of time to learn as I was unable return to my stressful job owing to blood pressure and I was bored. Learning to swim had to beat sitting glued to the TV all day binging on food. I felt that now would be the best time to learn a new hobby such as swimming.  

I booked swimming lessons at my local swimming baths that would eventually lead to me changing my life for the better in terms of my health.

Swimming helps you to improve heart rate and blood flow and maintain a healthy weight. What most people don’t know are the little benefits of swimming that separate it from other forms of exercise. Swimming not only helps with general physical fitness, but it encompasses a host of other benefits such as muscle toning, breath control, and meditative qualities. With so many peripheral benefits in one workout, you can kill two birds (or should I say six birds!) with one stone. Here are the little known benefits of swimming:

Swimming not only helps with general physical fitness, but it encompasses a host of other benefits such as muscle toning, breath control, and meditative qualities. With so many peripheral benefits in one workout, you can kill two birds (or should I say six birds!) with one stone. Stone’s, Stones and Stone’s are what I need to lose lessons booked and now for the plunge!