Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Theatre Cafe on St Martin's Lane

Back in December 2016, I visited The Theatre Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue with my blogging friend Mario. We were being tourists in central London on New Year’s Eve and happened to stumble across the cafe when we were walking through theatre land. On a chilly December’s day, hot chocolates were in order and we had a fabulous time drinking Charlie and the Chocolate factory-themed hot chocolates. Fast forward to September 2019 and it was time for me to visit The Theatre Cafe again - but this time the bigger and more show-stopping edition on St Martin’s Lane.

The Theatre Cafe on St Martin's Lane, London

My sister and I arrived at Leicester Square tube station at about 10:30am and from there it took us 15 minutes to reach St Martin's Lane on foot. As soon as we walked inside we were in awe of the theming. There were light up signs, theatre props dotted around the room and a stage for performers. Each of the tables were individually themed around a show and fortunately for us, the Aladdin one was available. We headed to the counter to order some hot chocolates and then took a seat at the wonderful, purple table.

Hot chocolates at the Theatre Cafe on St Martin's Lane

Our hot chocolates were served in Mamma Mia cups and this couldn’t have been more perfect as we’re both ABBA fans. From the table we had a great view of the theatre memorabilia on the walls and whilst we were enjoying the drinks, we snapped away with our cameras. The emerald green Wicked window display was my favourite. Only at a theatre-themed location would you get such a fun display!

The Theatre Cafe stage, London

The stage was closed whilst we were at the cafe but if you time your visit well, you might be able to watch resident West End stars perform at the cafe. It would make such a fabulous venue for an intimate concert. Theatre songs in a cafe filled with stage decorations and props... it’s a theatre fan’s dream!

Defying Gravity window at The Theatre Cafe on St Martin's Lane, London

We didn’t stay at the cafe for long as we had plans for the rest of the day, but I’m really glad we were able to visit the new theatre cafe whilst we were in London. If you’re visiting the West End anytime soon, be sure to stop at The Theatre Cafe for hot drinks and cakes. It would be the perfect way to kick off a theatre day in the city!

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Thursday, 5 September 2019

£10 theatre tickets for 16-26 year olds

One of my favourite things about living in the Canterbury is the Marlowe Theatre: a state-of-the-art 1200 seat theatre in the heart of the city centre. Touring musical theatre shows visit the Marlowe periodically throughout the year and depending on the current performance schedule, you can see certain shows straight out of their West End run. We try to visit the theatre regularly as it's only a short walk from our house and seats are far cheaper than London. There is also a fantastic discount ticket scheme called "Discovery Tickets" for 16-26 year olds where you can get top band seats for £10 on certain week nights. We've been to see Rock of Ages at the Marlowe with these tickets and have booked some more shows for the Autumn 2019 - Spring 2020 season as the tickets are such fantastic value for money at £10 (only a fraction more than a cinema ticket). In today's post I'm going to explain how you can get your hand on Discovery Tickets and save as much as £40-50 for a performance.

Musical theatre adverts at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent

Finding Discovery Tickets

The easiest way to find out if a show is part of the Discovery Tickets scheme is to head to the What's On area of the Marlowe website and tick the Discovery Tickets filter. When you find a result that takes your fancy, proceed to the show listing and review the discounts section on the right hand side. The performances where you can purchase Discovery Tickets will be listed here and most of the time the days listed are Monday - Wednesday.

My Discovery Ticket for Motown The Musical at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Purchasing Discovery Tickets

To be able to purchase Discovery Tickets online, you need an account with the Marlowe Theatre. In your account, you will then need to add your date of birth and wait 24 hours for the information to be processed. The following day you should have the ability to book Discovery Tickets online and access the discounts. When you are at the final stage of the booking process the discount will be applied, so don't panic if it looks like you're spending up to £60 right until the last step of the transaction.

A key thing to remember is that you can only purchase Discovery Tickets for yourself online. If you want to purchase multiple Discovery Tickets for a performance, each attendee will need to purchase their own ticket individually or you will need to visit the box office at the theatre as a group. The staff at the box office are really helpful so if you have any issues booking your tickets, I'd head into the theatre and speak to them in person.

The Marlowe Theatre at sunset, Canterbury

Current musicals offering Discovery Tickets

At the moment you can book Discovery Tickets for 11 musicals at the Marlowe including On Your Feet, Once and Mamma Mia. Tickets sell out quickly so book soon if you want to take advantage of the discount tickets scheme.

Theatre fans, I can't recommend the Marlowe Discovery Tickets enough. We have saved a lot of money through this discount tickets scheme and I'm really going to miss it when we turn 26 and can no longer book them.

Have you ever been to the Marlowe Theatre? What show did you go and see?

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Staying in a Winnie the Pooh Airbnb

The Ashdown Forest has a special place in my heart. It's somewhere that Stuart and I have spent a lot of time and it's my own Disney playground - 1 hour 30 minutes from home. A. A. Milne used to spend a lot of time in the forest and it's where he was inspired to write Winnie the Pooh. Ashdown Forest is the real life 'Hundred Acre Wood' and today visitors can track down the book locations via various trails in the forest. From Pooh Bridge to Gill's Lap, there are lots of places for people to visit and there is even a Winnie the Pooh shop and tearoom in the heart of Hartfield (the Sussex village where the new Christopher Robin movie is set). After many day trips to the Ashdown Forest, we decide to book a countryside retreat for a few days in July and wow, did we discover a Pooh paradise in the forest.

Hundred Acre Wood studio in the Ashdown Forest

Eve's Hundred Acre Wood studio is located in a quiet part of the forest, about 10 minutes in the car from Hartfield. It's only been listed on Airbnb since 2018, but it's been extremely popular from the get go and I can certainly see why - the Pooh theming is adorable. The forest is incredibly remote so you need a car to stay at Eve's place but she has plenty of parking and you'll be grateful for your car when it comes to finding the Winnie the Pooh attractions.


Winnie the Pooh artwork at the Hundred Acre Wood studio

Eve let us into the airbnb at midday, which was extremely helpful for us as we wanted to refrigerate the food and drink that we'd brought from home. When we're staying in an airbnb we tend to take snacks with us so that we can save some money and this trip was no different - we arrived loaded down with our supermarket shopping. Once we were inside we quickly noticed Eve's attention to detail. Winnie the Pooh artwork was dotted on the walls alongside a hanging quote and some nature-themed home accessories: all reflecting the studio's spectacular location. The studio was light, bright and airy for a relatively small apartment, making it a lovely place to stay in the Summer.


A Winnie the Pooh quote in the kitchen at the Hundred Acre Wood studio

In terms of kitchen facilities, there was a kettle, toaster, fridge, microwave and 2-ring hob. There was no oven, but for a couple of days it's pretty easy to cope without one. There was a monsoon-style power shower, a hair dryer and many toiletries, so you certainly had everything you needed for a mini break. As a note, if you fancy watching TV make sure you bring a tablet or laptop from home as there is no TV in the studio. We watched on demand services via my laptop and were happy enough on the 2 evenings.


Winnie the Pooh's house in the Ashdown Forest

Eve's studio backs onto the forest and if you're a fan of walking, you can take lots of hiking trails direct from the studio. We were mainly there for the Pooh walks so we always drove straight from the airbnb down into Hartfield, but if you're keen to explore more of the forest when you're visiting, definitely bring some walking shoes.

How to book

The entrance hallway at the Hundred Acre Wood studio

If you're new to Airbnb, you can sign up via my link and get some money off your first trip. Eve's place is very popular on Airbnb so make sure you book in advance to secure your Winnie the Pooh retreat. She's very responsive on the platform and will work around your schedule.

Eve's place is a dream holiday home for any Winnie the Pooh or Disney fan. We had a lovely couple of days in East Sussex and would highly recommend her airbnb. It is so special being able to stay in the heart of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Sunday, 28 July 2019

We are getting married in 2020

A side step away from my usual travel content, but as the title says... Stuart and I are getting married! After we returned home from Malta, Stuart proposed at home in Canterbury and it was absolutely perfect the proposal: quiet, private and just the two of us. We told our family and friends a short while later and then May and June were dedicated to deciding what type of day we wanted, booking a venue and choosing a date. We're both quite private so we knew we wouldn't want a big spectacle and as most of you may expect, the honeymoon is just as exciting for us as the big day (travel is our thing).

Kat and Stuart's Wedding - April 2020


Both of us are extremely organised people, so we knew that getting it all arranged for 2020 wouldn't be a struggle. It was just a question of when in the year we'd like to get married. December is my favourite month of the year, but we were concerned it'd be too cold to get married then. On the flip side, we knew Summer could potentially be too hot for us, so we decided to look at April, May or October. We booked a series of venue viewings and when discussions moved to dates, we decided April would be the perfect time of year for us. So April 2020 is when we'll be tying the knot, how exciting!

Kat and Stuart in Westgate Gardens, Canterbury


Originally we talked about the Ashdown Forest as we've spent so much time there together and it'd be a dream to get married in the Winnie the Pooh forest, but venues in the forest are incredibly expensive. We then thought about Tunbridge Wells as it's a stones through from the forest, but when it got down to the realities of planning a big day and all of the appointments we'd need to attend, we realised that choosing a local venue would be far more convenient. In the end we decided on a Canterbury venue, which I'll be keeping secret until the big day, but it is absolutely beautiful and very us.


We've decided to keep the formal bits of the day quite small as neither of us wanted to have tonnes of people present at the day, but we'll then have more of our friends and extended family to the evening party.

A close up of my engagement ring in Westgate Gardens, Canterbury


We are going to be saving our pennies for a big destination honeymoon in 2021, but in 2020 we do have a 'mini moon' planned for shortly after the day. We're going to stay in Dubrovnik, Croatia for a few days and hopefully visit both Montenegro and Bosnia whilst we are staying nearby. We have half board accommodation so we'll be able to relax in the evenings at the hotel after we've been sightseeing during the day. Both of us are incredibly excited for this trip, especially as we will potentially visit 3 new countries!

Planning our Wedding has been so exciting and after a few months absence from my corner of the internet, I thought it was time for a life update. I do intend to write a few articles about our Wedding planning experience, particularly my hen weekend, the mini moon and a round up of the entire day, but these will be dotted in amongst my usual travel content.

Thanks for bearing with me whilst we plan our next chapter.