I could live in a hotel. Some people hate them, I know, but not me – I see hotels like giant dollhouses laid open to explore. If I ever become an eccentric millionairess widow, (& let’s hope I don’t) I am absolutely living out my dotage in a boutique hotel somewhere glamourous. It’d probably be about the same price as a decent nursing home anyway, right?

For our latest London trip, we stayed at the Town Hall Hotel. A decommissioned old council building, it lends itself surprisingly well to hotel life, with vast council chambers and parlours, a grand marble entrance and spacious old offices behind wood panelling & stone.
I love the anonymity in hotels, the closed blank doors and repetitive, dark corridors. My secret door opens into a private realm of sunlight and white sheets that’s just for us, all gleaming glass & fluffy towels, in a city that’s hectic and busy and loud.
Down in the basement there’s a swimming pool, small and slim but deserted, each time we visit. Orla, slightly uncertain at our community pool back home, gains unimaginable confidence, bobbing about in little orange armbands, chasing a rubber duck. She flails with her tiny, pale limbs in the cobalt-coloured water, and overhead a plane passes over so low it blocks the sun for a second or two.

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In hotels, the daily snags of life are smoothed away – my tangled bedsheets made up so perfectly each day that to mess them again at night is like running through virgin snow. Hot, steaming water that never ever runs out, and expensive shampoo and moisturiser on tap, not rationed & used with guilty calculations.

My absolute unequivocal favourite part of any hotel stay is breakfast. I like padding down heavily carpeted stairs in the early morning light, tangles still in my hair, to sip tea & look out on strange new views in a room that’s heavy with the scent of coffee & honey & sugar. I find peace in the quiet hum of guest’s conversation, occasional clinks of crockery, birdsong & traffic noise drifting in from outside. In the days before Orla I might take a journal or a book with me, but now we focus solely on the daily milestone of breakfast; surrounded by fruit, piles of toast and mini pastries that are small enough to eat twelve two, she undoubtedly will declare that everything is yuck, & throw something on the floor.

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This battle had already been lost for the day when Polly from Little Kin photography arrives to meet me at the glamourously cool Corner Room restaurant for our photo session. Like all the best creative people I know, I met photographer Polly through Instagram, where she seems to specialise in those spinning, fragile childhood moments that I find so challenging to capture.
This is our first ‘real life’ encounter; She finds me drinking coffee & weaving a flower crown, like a ridiculous stereotype of my own Instagram feed, & we share easy chatter while Orla takes important notes with Rory.
Coffee & intros done, we head off to explore the big old building together.

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As we wander the dark wood-paneled hallways & spilled out into bright, sun-filled staircases, she clicks away effortlessly around us, until we almost forget she is there.
Together we find new treasures in the dollhouse of secrets; visiting artworks down a side wing, a huge cabinet stocked as a liquor cabinet, an impeccably-behaved greyhound who quietly roamed the halls. (I imagine we undo years of extensive discipline by feeding him the leftover breakfast croissant and petting him like a baby, but he shows remarkable restraint all the same.)

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As the day grows warmer outside we step through the marble lobby & take a short walk in the sunshine through East London to our next photo spot. You can see a preview of the second part of our shoot over on the Little kin blog now; I’ll be sharing some more, along with a few recommendations in another post soon. x

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All photographs c/o Little Kin Photography. Part of our stay at The Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green was complimentary, but all opinions are entirely my – or Orla’s – own.
Link love:

The Town Hall Hotel on Instagram
Polly’s personal Instagram Account
Little Kin on Instagram

The Town Hall Hotel

Little Kin Photography

17 Comments

  • Rebecca Harrison

  • June 27, 2015

Oh, I did. I was fretty something came out wrong. x

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 25, 2015

Oh, thanks Rebecca! Your praise is the most important praise. Did you edit this? I think I saw your original comment and now you’ve changed it a bit? If so, I wasn’t offended – I just meant that I find it really hard – she’s always moving, and they come out all a-blur! x

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 25, 2015

Yes! That might be where I got the idea… or possibly you already told me this story. Hotels are cheaper than cruise ships, and less risk of noro virus. It’s a winner.

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 25, 2015

Oh, thanks Ashley! The loveliest compliments – you’ve made my day! x

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 25, 2015

YES! breakfast and hotels and also kittens. What more could we ask for? 🙂 xxx

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 25, 2015

Aw, thank you lovely! So nice of you to pop by 🙂 xxx

  • Candy Pop

  • June 19, 2015

Wonderful photographs and I’m with you on the hotel comment, I love them! Have a great weekend!

  • Alicia Lapp

  • June 19, 2015

I agree: hotels are the best. And breakfast…breakfast is the best.
Darling photos + dress + daughter!

  • Ashley Pitts

  • June 18, 2015

So I just stopped by from a comment you left on my blog, and I’m so glad I did! Your blog and photographs are beautiful and your little one is adorable!

  • Sheona

  • June 17, 2015

I read something about a lady who lived on a cruise ship instead of a nursing home. It was cheaper! So a hotel room probably is too!

  • Sarah

  • June 17, 2015

I’m one of those people who doesn’t really like hotels, but between your writing and your photos you might have just won me over!

  • Rachael Smith

  • June 17, 2015

Sounds like a wonderful trip. The photos are all equisite! Looks like a lovely place.

  • Rebecca Harrison

  • June 17, 2015

Lovely evocative writing Sara and Little Kin’s photos are fantastic, but why do you say you find childhood moments so hard to capture? Your photos of Orla are always very beautiful and full of emotion.

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 17, 2015

Oh, you definitely need to go in! They host yoga classes and workshops in things like calligraphy & woodcarving – I’m sure you can find a good excuse! 😉 x

  • Sara Tasker

  • June 17, 2015

Ah, thank you! What a lovely thing to say xxx

  • Sarah

  • June 17, 2015

Oh how lovely! I work at a little charity around the corner from the Town Hall Hotel and have always wondered what the building is like on the inside but haven’t managed to pop in yet. These photos are beautiful! xx

  • Shrads

  • June 16, 2015

You have such a lovely way with words Sara. I’ve been following your blog for a while and I love it. Don’t stop. x

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