Two excuses to indulge in a little navel-gazing: another year drawing to a close, and this being my one hundredth blog post. My navel was quite well travelled this year, accompanying me to Melbourne in late February, the Dordogne in July, and Paris in autumn. We hosted a small antipodean invasion, and my navel and I celebrated a Significant Birthday. There were several hospital check ups dotted throughout the year, the results of which, thankfully, were all non-alarming; but another small indicator that I’m heading towards (if I haven’t yet reached) that euphemistic un certain âge. For most of the year I struggled to carve out writing time while working five days a week (well aware that many have it much tougher than me), but I did write and I did submit, and along with the inevitable rejections I have also had a few pieces accepted. And, since October, I’ve improved my work/write balance, having successfully negotiated a four day working week. I’ve tried out a number of poetry open mic evenings, and I’ve particularly enjoyed the variety and strength of women writers, and the supportive atmosphere, at Loose Muse. Some new friendships have been made and others deepened. I continue to lap up London’s cultural delights; and I’m forever feeling guilty about all the books, literary magazines, poetry pamphlets etc I’m behind on reading. Getting involved, in a very small way, with my local community roof garden has been rewarding, and I’m still inordinately thrilled with the stylish, silver-grey kitchen compost bin I bought to collect our food scraps in. The other new departure has been keeping up a modest exercise routine at home, helped in no small part by my personal motivator supreme (in writing as well as exercise) Nick Rogers. Squats, crunches, biceps curls; new vocabulary to accompany a surprising and satisfying sense of achievement. So, overall, my navel appears to be in decent condition. And with one or two writing projects slowly incubating in the back of my mind, I’m looking forward to 2013. But before then, there’s some festive food to demolish and a tipple or two to down. Cheers!