Wherever we go, the feeling of 'home' is always something we humans enjoy. Whether we're staying somewhere familiar, or somewhere new and different, it's the everyday comforts that make the world of difference to our experience.
The Southampton Hospital Charity are fundraising to build just that, a home from home for the children and their families to stay in a more friendly and decorative environment during their time at hospital. With the funding they need, the clinical and scary wards will turn into the New Forest, with grass and trees, colours and textures. According to their website, the charity says:
"As an emergency service, our treatments and outcomes are among the best in the UK, but our current facilities do little to ease the anxiety felt by children and families during an often scary and stressful time. Together with The Murray Parish Trust we are fundraising to significantly enhance the environment, making it a more child friendly and safe place to be, helping to reduce stress for everyone involved, and allowing our staff to deliver the very best care for those who need it the most."
How can we help? That's where 'Dine at Mine' comes to play!
The 'Dine at Mine' campaign encourages us to invite our loved ones over for a dinner party, BBQ, Murder Mystery, Quiz night, whatever you fancy! The aim is for your guests to donate to attend, which will contribute to the fundraiser with the Southampton Hospital Charity. I think it's a fantastic idea. Not all of us fancy, or can physically do something like a marathon to fundraise for charity, but we all love having people round for food and games, right!
I had the absolute pleasure of spending an evening with lovely local Bloggers at Southampton's new 'Hometel' Room2, which is on Queens Terrance in-between Oxford Street and Ocean Village, and its a stunning place! We were invited to a private 3 course dinner cooked by Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo (of Lakaz Maman in Bedford Place), where we dined and drank and chatted in one of the master rooms of the hotel. The food of which, was all cooked in a hotel room kitchen!
Talk about home from home. Room2 is like a hybrid of an Air BnB and a hotel, with large bedrooms (all inspired by whichever city the hotel is in, so our rooms have a nautical touch) all fitted with a kitchen and lounge area. The bigger rooms have lofts that go up to another bed (great for kids) and all equipped with tech, kitchens, postcards you can write and send, doors you can access via your phone, and even a 'bits and bobs' box full of items you'd find in 'that drawer' in the kitchen, like a deck of cards, dominoes, post-it notes, pens etc.
The lobby is basically my Pinterest dream brought to life, and it's open as a cafe and bar so you can pop in even if you're not a hotel guest. I'm thinking of swinging by and doing work here whenever I pop into town, they have free wifi and the chairs are so comfy. Plus there are plants everywhere and who doesn't love that. Theres a communal tv too, where we of course watched a bit of Love Island before we went home! There's a tuck shop too which stocked everything from Jude's Ice Cream and snacks, to bottles of ketchup!
After our tour, we sat down for dinner. The food Shelina cooked for us was incredible. I had buffalo cauliflower as a starter and an aubergine curry for mains. The chai tiramisu was outstanding and the fruit/caramel sauce combo that followed was definitely a crowd pleaser! We were gifted the cookbook that features in each of the rooms, which is full of simple and quick recipes, which I'll certainly give a go; I need to get my practise in if I'm going to have friends over for a Dine at Mine evening!
I had an amazing evening with amazing people, and all for an amazing cause. Make sure to follow everyone on social media to follow the campaign, as well as for amazing food, hotel interiors and ideas for your own 'Dine at Mine' evening:
Many thanks to Room2, Shelina Permalloo, The Southampton Hospital Charity and the lovely Rebecca Henderson for organising the event and inviting me!