Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: Make Your Own Soap, 2nd Edition - by Joy James

Available from and in two formats: ebook £4.95 and paperback £5.50.

This little book is surprisingly comprehensive.  The clear sections take you on a lovely journey from novice to budding soap maker.

The first few pages explore some of the background to this age-old craft as it examines some of the fundamentals for getting started, such as points of safety, equipment, ingredients etc…  You soon realise that soap making is a very accessible to everyone.

It is written so clearly and in such a ‘you can do this’ way, you are rolling up your sleeves, ready to get stuck in and give it a go, by page 17.  That’s a good thing too because the following pages are dedication to 11, delectable and very tempting recipes.  These are beautifully illustrated, using so many different luscious ingredients, such as pumice and nettles, in the Gardeners Soap, goats milk in the Calendula and Goats Milk Soap and even beer in the Shaving Soap recipe – there’s plenty of information on where you can get these ingredients too.

It is perhaps a good idea to read through the basic method, later in the book, before deciding which recipe you are going to try first.  It gives VERY clear, step-by-step instructions and illustrations to take you through every single step of the process, logically and systematically.

Of course, like with cooking, things may not go according to plan, when trying new recipes and what is particularly good about this book is the Troubleshooting section, which examines possible problems that can arise during the soap making process and offers solutions or ways to avoid problems in clear, non-jargon English.

There’s also a section that provides links and contacts for further reading or information, support networks and accessible suppliers.

To sum up, this book is rather like Dr Who’s Tardis – small on the outside but HUGE inside.  So much has been packed in, yet it is completely uncluttered, clear, logical and beautifully illustrated.  Well written, informative and inspiring.