Soho and its secret delights: the Hazlitt’s beckons | London Creative Photographer

I’ve never heard of the Hazlitt’s until my husband took me there on our 9th wedding anniversary. If you know us personally, this isn’t the norm for us. There were years when we had forgotten our anniversary {gasp!}, yes, when our 3 children were born in succession, all within 3.2 years. Many years when a simple take-away sufficed or a meal in our kitchen together when the kids were asleep. And there was one year when we made a real effort and went away on a cold November weekend to Arundel…with a baby less than a year old. Both of us hardly had any memories of that weekend save the crying of our youngest and the bitter cold. Yet, being together was the most important thing, and still is.

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This year, unbeknownst to me, my husband went to great lengths to plan our anniversary. It has been a tough year for us. We’ve had health and job challenges and difficult as these times can be, they remind us of what is most important in life.

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Babysitting had been organised months prior so we could go have a drink in St. Martin in the Fields cafe in the crypt, see two exhibitions: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery which I greatly enjoyed and Seduced by Art at the National Gallery, a fascinating visual account of photography past and present.

We wandered around Covent Garden to enjoy the festive lights and eccentric street performers. After dinner we headed to the Vaudeville Theatre to watch the much-reviewed Russian play Uncle Vanya, a well-written and profound portrayal of human nature with all the complexity of ideals, emotions, hope and despair that come with living.

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And finally to the Hazlitt’s where one goes back in time to the 18th century. Rooms are named after the early occupants and visitors of the three historic houses on Frith Street. We stayed in Joel Johnson room – the bricklayer who built no. 5 Frith Street. My husband told me to bring a camera; he knew this small boutique hotel was a feast for the eyes. Original sculptures, paintings and furniture adorned every room and hallway. There was a fire roaring quietly, the lights were dim and all furnishings cosy. Thankfully, Hazlitt’s have modern conveniences which make living in the 18th century a real pleasure and delight.

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Staying in Hazzlit’s is quite unreal. The floors are uneven and the stairs askew. Take one step out of the hotel’s front door and you are in 2012, right at the heart of busy Soho thriving with pubs, cafes and bars that never sleep.

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I am grateful to God for giving me an amazing, hard-working husband who puts up with all the chaos of our daily life…with the mundane, the interesting, the expected, the surprises…and yet always patient and always kind. To D, I love you beyond words can say. Thank you for sharing your best bacon sandwich with me.

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