Holiday Retreats

Hélène van den Broek

I am Hélène and this is my dog Chacho. I left Holland, to start a new life on La Palma.

I love to be outdoor and coach 50+ active people especially woman. The coaching will be 1:1 and based on the activity they personally like.

For example stargazing on the Mountain, cycling, walking, visit special places, making music with locals etc.


Residential Swimming Lessons

Our private pool is small and inviting and everyone that comes to us for residential swimming lessons tells us they wish they hadn’t wasted so much time, in some cases many years, trying to learn to swim the hard way!

Being residential means that once you have arrived, unpacked and settled in, you can concentrate totally on the task ahead, learning to swim, without worrying about travelling back and forth or forgetting what you learned last lesson because there has been a week or more in between.

When we say residential we mean just that.  We don’t put you up in a local B&B as many do, expecting you to drive back and forth.  Nor do we expect you to share with anyone unless you bring your partner.  The residential accommodation is private, self contained and next to the private pool.

You can cook for yourself or just chill with a glass of wine and order a takeaway, maybe visit the local pub – whatever you style, you will never regret taking residential swimming lessons with us.

Learn to Swim

Learn to Swim – whatever your age

As many people learn when they make the decision to learn to swim, almost all of the lessons available cater for children.

If you are lucky, you will find a learn-to-swim program at your local pool but it’s likely you will have to wait a long time for a place and in our experience it is unlikely you will have learned to swim a year after starting, that’s if you manage to learn at all!  Read what we have to say about public pools and learn-to-swim classes under our private lessons page.

Many people would like to learn to swim but fear they are the only ones with the sort of problems they have.  Frankly men are the worst for this (sorry for being sexist).  Trust me, you’re far from being alone and not learning to swim because you don’t want to feel a fool while you are learning or because you think you are too old is a real shame and so unnecessary.

We have taught so many people to swim that started out being embarrassed, fearful or simply disbelieving that we almost know what you are going to say when you walk through the door.  Just trust us when we say that whatever is going through your mind, others have gone before you thinking exactly the same and they DID learn to swim.

If you’ve made the decision to learn to swim, or even if you are simply just thinking about it, drop us a line and tells your fears or concerns, or what you would like to achieve, and let us tell you how we can help you learn to swim.

Do you feel that only children can learn to swim?  Do the adult swimming lessons at your local pool leave you cold?  Maybe you been there – done that – still can’t swim.  Maybe you can’t even pluck up the courage to think about it?

Let me tell you my story.

Above is me behind the camera, so sad watching hubby swim when I’m too frightened to even go close.  At 45 I got ME (chronic fatigue syndrome).  At 48, having been so terrified of water all my life – I wouldn’t use the shower in case water went in my face – I decided I was fed up of being a victim and I would learn to swim.

Below is me, age 54, in Egypt the day I qualified as an Open Water Scuba diver.  In between I learned to swim, qualified as an instructor, took a life guarding qualification, taught many many people to get over their own phobias and learn to swim, and finally I learn to dive.

I tried to learn to swim at my local pool and frankly was horrified.  For almost 3 months I went and steadfastly refused to put my face in the water or take my feet off the bottom.  I scoured the net looking for ‘learn to swim’ books that would teach me how to swim without putting my face in the water.  Needless to say – there aren’t any.  It was a long time before I made any progress during which time I saw the vast majority of adult swimmers give up along the way.  Eventually I met Irene who shared my fears and phobias and also had decided to learn (she’s even older than me <grin>).  Together we found TI swimming which teaches balance in the water and altogether different techniques to ASA swimming.

Long story short, Irene and I qualified as ASA instructors then took the best of all we had learned to put together our own ‘Learn to Swim’ methods. These we adapt for each and every student to suit their needs and swimming phobias.  We also address the fact that adult swimming/learning is or should be, very different to the way children learn to swim and also that every adult learns in a different way and has different challenges in life.

Finally, this is me below, diving in the Red Sea.  Take heart – you CAN learn to swim as an adult.

Private Swimming Lessons

Why are private swimming lessons better than public pool lessons?

Let’s just look at the cost element to begin with.  You pay £4 per lesson and get 7 lessons per half term. That’s 42 swimming lessons per year costing £126.  You probably spend the same amount again practicing in between plus the cost of getting to and from the pool every week.  So you’ve spent maybe close on £200.  Can you swim a length at the end of that year?  Not one person at our local swimming pool moved up to the intermediate class in less a years lessons.  In the intermediate class the deep end was an terrifying experience with the instructor standing poolside with a long pole for those who got into difficulty which many did.

Is being in a public pool with other people and your instructor on the poolside a good way to learn?  What do you think?

Suppose you paid that amount for private lessons, learning to swim in the comfort of a private pool with your instructor in the water with you?  What would you achieve?  For most people this would get you almost there.  For some, these supportive individually tailored private swimming lessons will be all that’s needed, if you are really water phobic, then you will obviously want more support but you will be amazed at what you can achieve in a small private pool with the right instructor.

Contrast the 2 years at your local swimming pool taking lessons in a class against booking your private lessons today and knowing you can go on your next holiday and be confident in the pool or the sea.

But couldn’t I just have a private swimming lesson at my local pool?

A private lesson at your local pool is always an option but having been there ourselves and spoken to many many people who have found this wasn’t the answer for them, we feel confident in saying this is a somewhat pointless exercise.  You will simply get exactly the same for your private lesson as you did for a lesson shared with other people and it will cost you about 4 times the price for half the time.  Your swimming instructor will still be poolside shouting her instructions to you and usually your so-called ‘private swimming lesson’ will be in a pool full of other people.  Just because you have the instructions undivided attention for half an hour, in our opinion doesn’t justify calling it a ‘private lesson’.  What you gain from being the only student, you can lose by being fearful of other swimmers splashing and making noise during your ‘private swimming lesson’.  Not so private after all?

What proportion of adults fail to learn to swim because they don’t have private lessons?

Irene and Gay speak from personal experience.  We continued to go to our local pool for ‘lessons’ for about 3 years after we learned to swim simply because we enjoyed swimming.  Most of our skills came from taking swimming courses with TI and studying other methods such as Shaw and Alexander.  We also researched a great deal about fear and phobias and spent a lot of our free time in the pool helping each other correct our technique.

We didn’t learn a lot at the local classes and the ‘advanced’ class wasn’t all that advanced!  What we did learn was that the vast majority of people fell by the wayside.  Some had private swimming lessons, paying £22 an hour to be coached from the poolside in a public pool full of other swimmers.  As I mentioned above, not my idea of a private swimming lesson.

So how many succeeded without having private lessons in a private pool?  VERY VERY FEW!!! and that includes those that had some individual lessons in the public pool.


Private swimming lessons in a private pool with your instructor in the pool with you (and only you!) is the way forward.  Of course, just because an instructor offers private lessons, doesn’t necessarily mean they have what it takes to teach you, but we like to think we stand out above most others and our testimonials prove that.

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us now to chat about your fears and phobias and how we can tailor YOUR private swimming lessons.



Swimming With Dolphins

Depressed? Swim with dolphins

swimming holiday with dolphins

Taking a dip with dolphins can be a tremendous therapy for people with depression according to a study published on Saturday in the weekly British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Nature lovers – biophiles to give them their scientific name – have long argued that interaction with animals can soothe a troubled mind but this claim has always been anecdotal lacking the scientific data to back it up.

Seeking to find out more psychiatrists Christian Antonioli and Michael Reveley at Britain’s University of Leicester recruited 30 people in the United States and Honduras who had been diagnosed with mild or moderate depression.

The severity of their symptoms was calculated according to established yardsticks for mental health the Hamilton and Beck scales which are based on interviews and questionnaires with the patient.

No antidepressants

The volunteers were required to stop taking any antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for four weeks.

Half of the group was then randomly selected to play snorkel and take care of dolphins each day at an institute for marine sciences in Honduras.

The other half was assigned to a program of outdoor activities also at the institute that included swimming and snorkelling at a coral reef but without the dolphins.

Two weeks later both groups had improved but especially so among patients who had been swimming with the dolphins.

Measurable symptoms of depression in the dolphin group had fallen by half and by two-thirds according to the two scales – twice as much as in the non-dolphin group.

In addition a self-rating measurement of anxiety symptoms the Zung scale found a fall of more than 20% among the dolphin group compared with a decline of 11% among the non-dolphin groups.

“To the best of our knowledge this is the first randomised single blind controlled trial of animal-facilitated therapy with dolphins ” say Antonioli and Reveley.

“The effects exerted by the animals were significantly greater than those of just the natural setting. The echolocation system the aesthetic value and the emotions raised by the interaction with dolphins may explain the mammals’ healing properties.”

Swim with the Dolphins

Wild and Free Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins – what you need to know

Adult Swimming Lessons

Learn to Swim for Adults

Do you feel that only children can learn to swim?  Do the adult swimming lessons at your local pool leave you cold?  Maybe you been there – done that – still can’t swim.  Maybe you can’t even pluck up the courage to think about it?  My journey as an adult learning to swim.

Almost all adults reading this page will have failed to learned to swim as a child and will broadly fall into 2 categories:

  • Adults who never had the opportunity at school
  • Adults who never got the hang of it at school

If you are reading this now I am assuming you are considering taking adult swimming lessons, and like most other adults reading this page you will have concerns.  Let me just list a few of the comments we get from would-be adult swimmers over and over and over again.

  • I’m the odd one out.  Everyone else can swim.
  • My legs sink.  Swimming lessons just don’t work for me.
  • I just can’t put my face in the water.
  • If I take adult swimming lessons, will I have to go in the deep end?  Panic!!!
  • I’m not just an adult – I’m way too old.
  • Adult swimming lessons for men are embarrassing.

The list is endless but largely there are many many reasons why people manage to talk themselves out of taking adult swimming lessons.  As of today, we haven’t met one single person that can’t learn to swim as an adult no matter what their age or perceived problems.

So if you found this page searching for adult swimming lessons and you’ve read this far, why not contact us and have a chat about you adult lessons.

Sauvage swimwear Skimp Couture is here to bring you some of the best and hottest swim suits and beach accessories from new and established designers. Check out a wide selection of sexy womens and mens beachwear, designer swimwear and accessories.

Finally an apology for the excessive use of the words adult swimming lessons but that’s what the net likes and we do want to find us every time you search for ‘ADULT SWIMMING LESSONS‘.

Baby Swimming

Read about us in Woman Magazine

Our Baby Swimming site is an offshoot of our nervous swimmers program offering the opportunity for mothers and babies to :

  • Learn about baby swimming
  • Read articles and find information about teaching baby to swim
  • Purchase Little Dippers Baby Swimming DVD
  • Book one-to-one Baby Swimming Classes in a small private pool
  • Arrange Mother and Baby Swimming Sessions
  • rImprove Mums confidence in the wate
  • Get in touch with other Mums in your area

Babies enjoy much in the water. Swimming is the most complete sport and the first thing to start practicing, even before babies learn to walk or crawl. Until recently, doctors and experts recommended not to take the kids swimming lessons until they met four years, but in recent years has appeared a type of baby swimming highly recommended:
Stimulation exercises in the water with the baby.

Baby Swimming Classes

Baby classes are not lessons for babies to learn to swim, among other things, because it is not until about age four when the musculoskeletal system is developed enough to swim. These baby classes are an activity that seeks aquatic baby stimulation through a series of games that allow you to learn to float and move through the water with the help of their parents.

In this method the role of the father or mother in the water is essential. Through technical guidance of the teacher in charge of the activity, parents participate in the aquatic adventure of your baby. Besides this initial contact will reinforce the bond between parents and babies, living an original, unique experience.

At what age should we begin these baby classes?

The age at which infants begin to learn is not clearly defined. What the experts recommend is that you wait until the baby is four months since it is at that age when you finish the immune system mature small, and the risk of ear infections or colds is lower. The Committee on Sports Medicine and Training of the American Academy of Pediatrics for many years opposed to children under four years give swimming lessons, on the grounds that they considered that the risks  – as cooling child, possibility of water poisoning and infections – and the false sense of security that could produce some parents that their children would be able to swim and self-care in the water were downright harmful to the child’s health. But since 2000 this position has changed dramatically: the Committee stated that the risks can be avoided through precautions and safety measures.

Finally, if you’ve had a good or bad experience trying to find baby swimming, please drop us a line.

Thanks for visiting Baby Swimming and we wish you and your baby every joy and success as your baby  learns to play swim.

Teach Your Baby to Swim

Taking the First Steps

Teach Your Baby to SwimWater makes us very afraid when we know how easily a baby could drown. Today we are going to tell you how to teach your baby to swim from when he is very small. They will start to have confidence in the water and you will feel much more secure and calm.

The first contact with the water should be in the bath since you can support the baby much better. Put the baby in the bath and fill it with water until it covers the chest. Do this several times. Also, if you use toys in your bathroom it would be advisable to take them to your lessons in the pool too, so that your baby feels secure with familiar things.  After, swimming lessons will come in the pool.

It is very important that your baby feels relaxed in the water and learns to float, but that does not mean that he is out of danger of drowning. You must always be with your child and either hold him or keep him at arm’s length at all times. Never leave it alone near a swimming pool or even a smaller body of water, like a bucket with three fingers of water, not even forfor such small babies.

Forget the floats. If you bought them to make them feel safer in the water, the experts do not recommend them. Not only can it give them a false sense of security, but they will also adopt an incorrect way of staying afloat, as it makes them take a vertical position in the water when they need to be able to stand horizontally. If you are already used to swimming with them, it will be difficult to take them off.  If you want your child to learn to swim more easily, try these water games:

  • Give your baby a straw and encourage him to blow into the water.
  • Drag him holding his arms while he kicks with his feet.
  • Put him to float on his back, supporting his head and back. Move in zig-zag.
  • Teach him to jump from the edge, holding him first from below with his hands. Then encourage him to jump without help, but stand up, not head down.

After 15 months, although it also depends as soon as the child begins to become familiar with the water, their learning is a little faster, because they already know how to walk and this makes them move better.  Babies who have contact with water will begin to crawl , walk, move, communicate with other children much quicker.

Finally, it is important, to teach certain basic rules about swimming from a very early age, which will provide some extra safety measures to enjoy the lessons safely:

  • Do not get into the water without first tellng an adult
  • Do not jump in without permission or supervision of an adult
  • Shower before and after the pool
  • Use other protection methods such as sunscreen, flip flops to avoid fungus in swimming pools or goggles to protect the eyes from chlorine or salt
  • Do not run or play on the curb of the pool

Baby Swimming Classes

When it comes to baby swimming classes, we are a little nervous of using that term.  It conjures up visions of the local pool crammed with at least 6 or 8 babies and a swimming teacher on the side barking instruction and expecting every baby to be the same, leaving mothers whose babies don’t seem to conform feeling lost and vulnerable.

There is also the issue of how Mum feels too.  New mothers especially can feel very vulnerable in this situation.  Perhaps they book the obligatory baby swimming classes because they want baby to learn to swim when they have never been a strong swimmer themselves.


Baby Swimming Classes

If you are a strong swimmer and comfortable in the water and are lucky enough to have a resilient baby who will cope with anything thrown at him or her, then go ahead and book those baby swimming classes at your local pool.

If not, you might want to consider booking private swimming classes for you and your baby.  You and your baby will have the total and exclusive use of our small ‘baby-friendly’ pool for your class and the undivided attention of an instructor who will tailor the sessions to both you and your babies needs.

The pool at Swim-Easy is largely used by swimmers with phobias and other nervous non-swimmers as well as individual mother and baby water awareness sessions.  If you see anyone at all before or after your session, it will be a nervous swimmer or another mum with her baby occasionally Dad.  Occasionally they will be leaving as you arrive for your class, or arriving for their class as you leave after yours.  That’s it!   What you won’t see is loads of people lining up for their swimming classes and a frenetic noisy environment that often terrifies babies before they even get in the pool.

We are based in Swadlincote, Derbyshire and can offer baby swimming classes on a week to week basis for those within traveling distance and residential packages for those a bit further afield.

Whilst we offer baby swimming classes phrased as such, each and every session is tailored to you and your baby.  You may book a mother and baby swim that turns into something more adventurous when you and your baby are ready, or you may book a baby swimming class and find that you’d rather have a relaxing play session with your baby.