Christmas in Covent

Christmas in Covent

2011 will, in a little over a week, be a distant memory for most of us. Copious amounts of turkey – and alcohol – will have been consumed by the end of the festive period – substitute that with goose, chicken, duck or pheasant if you are that way inclined – but if it was good enough for Henry the Eighth in the 16th century I see no reason why I should be any different! Turkey it is and to keep it regal, it will be a crown – stuffed! I digress!

As I write, I’m celebrating one of the most interesting and rewarding years I can personally remember as an adult, 2011 has been a real eye opener for me. It marks my first full year reviewing books and my second and most productive – certainly as far as results go – fitness year. Many of you will be aware of my decision to change my life in late 2009, my way of living, and although it was hard going initially I am now starting to see the rewards of all the hard work. It hasn’t been plain sailing, but then I never expected it would be, but I have somehow stuck to my goals and I feel a very different person to the one I was way back when.

It’s embarrassing to admit but in the dark days of 2009 I weighed 315lbs – that’s 22 1/2st to us brits – and with a blood pressure that was incredibly troubling I couldn’t see a way out. Something clicked – long story – and I knew I had to change my eating habits and the way I lived – looking back I seriously doubt I’d be alive to share this with anyone today and for the support I’ve received from many of my friends this year I cannot thank you enough. I now weigh 193lbs and fitter than I can ever remember – the fact I train six days a week may have something to do with that! I have re-educated myself, changed my lifestyle appropriately and have moved on – I will never ever go back to the old me!

I will continue to push myself to reach more goals in 2012, work harder, train even harder and although I have reached my ultimate weight loss goal, I’m not satisfied! We never are are we?!!

Enough of my weight issues. The main reason for this post is to thank the number of people who have supported me in my first full year as a reviewer, visited my blog, sent me incredibly nice emails and messages and retweeted my tweets! There are so many people I’d like to mention and I know for a fact I’d forget someone so please accept this as a blanket thank you! You all know who you are! I cannot begin to tell you how much it has been appreciated.

When I began reviewing in late 2010 I never ever thought I’d be in the position I am today. Working in media as I do on a day to day basis I approached the publishing world with a great deal of scepticism and with one eye open. I didn’t know if there was room for another reviewer and I certainly didn’t know if I’d make enough contacts to make it worth attempting. Within a few months my hesitation was forgotten and I was accepted – at least I think I have now! – as a family member. The publishing world surprised me, it’s a magnificent industry to be part of and the publicists who look after authors and help promote books are some of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Sure they have a job to promote books but most go above and beyond their roles in promotion, they care about what they do, they love what they do. How many of us can actually say we love doing the job we do day in day out?

With the help of my new found friends in publishing and weight loss I have gained a level of confidence I never expected I would ever achieve and the relationship I now have with books and London will remain steadfast, loyal and true – as Elvis once sang in King Creole! Publishing has given me a new outlook on life, a new vitality, a longing to pick up a book and discover what the next page or chapter will bring. It’s the unexpected that keeps me going, the anticipation that a new challenge is just a page turn away!

Twitter has been another amazing discovery – and tool – this year. It has allowed me to keep in touch with publicists, promote reviews, ramble – as I’m doing right this very minute – and meet like-minded people. Twitter is an amazing tool. It has not only made the world a smaller place but it has opened up the lines of communication with authors and fellow book lovers around the world. We can now get in touch with our favourite authors in 140 characters or less and invite them into our living room or study asking questions or commenting on their books. Use it wisely and it’s a thing of beauty!

So all that remains for me to say is to wish all my friends, new acquaintances and new followers a wonderful Christmas and a very prosperous new year in 2012.

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