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  • Darla Blake

Happy holidays!

Well, it’s that time of year again! How on earth are we already almost at the end of 2019? Madness. I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, however you were spending it.


The period in between Christmas and New Year is always my favourite time of year; though I’m not often drawn into ‘self-improvement’ trends (and perhaps New Year represents the epitome of clichéd ‘Be the New You!’ mentality), I can’t help but feel invigorated by it. I used to spend the time dwelling on all of the things I had wanted to have achieved by the end of that particular year but hadn’t, however these days I mostly try to focus on things I did manage and, more-so, the things I want to do looking forward. The goals that I set are not always big by any means; even something simple like ‘find a nice new dog walk’ works for me - anything that widens my horizon a little is good in my book.


Looking back on 2019, a lot happened that I’m genuinely proud of. I bought a house in the hills, ran a half marathon (17 and and a half minutes faster than I wanted to, no less) and started opening letters (something I have avoided doing for years and years - I still don’t open the scary looking ones but hey, I can work on that). A lot happened that could have been a little less gnarly, too; I lost both of my grandparents within months of each other and seeing my mom lose both of her parents was tough. But I also got my very first niece, who I love to death, and met lots of genuinely wonderful people through this little bubble, dates and colleagues alike.


In the world of Darla, I had some truly spectacular times. Making memories has been one of my most favourite activities this year, and boy did we do that together! I’ve had such a variety of things to enjoy, and I’m very grateful to those who have chosen to spend time with me.


Now I’m preparing for 2020 and, despite the political landscape being so challenging looking ahead (would you prefer your Brexit with milk or lemon, Sir? Perhaps I’ll just add both and hope you won’t mind the curdling), I feel so delightfully motivated and optimistic about a lot of things elsewhere. I am particularly looking forward to my musical journey next year; for those who don’t know, the short story is that I used to work as a pianist but life threw a curveball that knocked me sideways about 10 years ago and I haven’t really played properly ever since. I’ve always felt in my heart that one day I might return in some capacity, though I recognise that likely too much damage has been done to ever go back to playing professionally. My commitment to the idea of performing again has thus far involved not too much more than practicing whilst I’m alone and not caving and getting the long nails I’ve always dreamed of (colleagues - yes I am as captivated by your always gorgeous talons as I am by your butt during duos - perhaps I’ll just continue to live vicariously through you). Somehow something thing feels different going into 2020; I floated the idea of giving an ‘accessible’ recital some months ago and the bee in my bonnet is now feverishly buzzing in preparation. I have been practicing every spare minute I get, and I can feel my sleepy inner-pianist waking up, finally. I also spotted a flute in a charity shop last week and, in buying it, plans of learning (well, re-learning, technically) to play are also being forged. In the spirit of pre-emptively trying to stick with it, I have created a blog to chart my practice schedules/ progress, which won’t be remotely interesting to anyone (other than perhaps other former musicians who may be in a similar situation), but I’m posting a link to it HERE because visibility is accountability. Though I am linking to it on this page, there won’t be anything to do with this world on the blog; you can still find all of that stuff over here.


Music stuff aside, I also have a goal next year to start the transition to life in the hills, away from London. I’m still very much here for dates and so on, but I’d like some of the rest of my life to be spent in greener pastures. I’ll be manically decorating (all in time to have to do it all over again when I finally get around to re-wiring, naturally), so send me all the muted tone colours you can for inspiration!


I’ll be spending new years eve quietly, as I usually do. Nothing like a bit of Netflix and actual chill, eh?! Next year I’m taking dates from 02/01 onwards, so get in touch if you’d like to make something magical happen. Thanks so much to everyone who has helped to make my year nice this year, and I hope lots of good things happen for you in 2020!


Kisses,

Darla xx

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