Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a wonderful event that was not only local to me (hello no 4 hour round trip to London) but it was also for a cause that is extremely close to my heart.

As a mama of little ones the thought of having to whisk them down to a&e just doesn’t bear thinking about. Jasper has already had two trips in his 4 years of life (it’s safe to say there will be no more jumping on the bed) but we’ve been so fortunate to be in and out with nothing but a bit of medical glue to his head. However situations can be so much worse and that’s why I was so eager to hear all about Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity’s current £2 million project for the Children’s Emergency and Trauma Department.

Currently over 70% of adult a&e patients are there as a result of alcohol, drug use or mental health issues and being so closely linked to the children department this can cause a lot of stress for families and make a childs already scary visit so much more so. Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity are already hard at work transforming the Children’s Emergency and Trauma Department into something that is not only functional and built for purpose but also pretty magical; but of course they still have a way to go to reach their £2 million target and I was so excited to find out how I could help raise awareness and be a part of that transformation that we may one day need to use ourselves.

So during the month of May Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity are encouraging people to hold a #dineatmine dinner party. The idea is that instead of going out to a restaurant to eat with your friends and family, potentially spending over £50 per head; you invite them round to eat at yours – it could be a fancy 3 course meal, a picnic or a BBQ in this lush weather and the money you save from eating out can be donated to an amazing cause!

What’s amazing about the campaign is that the government is matching every £1 donation made so whatever contribution you give you know it’s being doubled in an instant!

Well to give us a bit of inspiration for what a typical #dineatmine evening could look like, myself and a small group of local bloggers had a private dinner cooked for us at the brand new Room2 Hometel in Southampton.
Room2 is a fab concept of home like hotels where not only are the rooms 30% bigger than your typical hotel room but you also get a full 24 hours stay rather than the usual 23 hours. Rooms are like apartments with kitchens and a homely decor yet you get all of the luxurious amenities of a top hotel plus their signature ‘bits and bobs box’ – just like your bits and bobs drawer at home!
 
Something I loved about Room2 is that not only is there a great bar and restaurant downstairs which non-residence can visit to sip coffee and use the wifi; but you can also order takeaways to your room and they give you recipe inspiration in your room so that you can always eat your home comforts whilst away!
It’s definitely a fab place to stay for families as the rooms are just huge and cater really well for kids with their cool built in bunkbeds; and it was also the perfect place to host the Dine at mine event!
We actually had our dinner in one of the Room2 rooms, which was cooked for us (in the connecting room) by none other than Masterchef 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo, who was just so lovely!
 
The menu was absolutely incredible, I opted for the vegan and vegetarian options and oh my goodness my mouth is watering just thinking about it all now! Shelina actually owns Lakaz Maman, a local Mauritian Street Kitchen which I’m now eager to dine at after tasting her amazing recipes!
For starters I had Buffalo Cauliflower with a Mango Lime Chilli Sauce, mains was Roasted Aubergine Mauritian Curry with Turmeric and Cumin Rice and a side of Cucumber Relish and then the piece de resistance was the Chai Tirimisini and Tropical Fruit Platter with Salted Caramel Chocolate Sauce for dipping!
I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better evening; we ate incredible food and sipped on scrumptious cocktails all while learning about an inspiring project in the most beautiful setting.
I came away with a full tummy and most importantly a full heart as the work that Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity is just going to be so amazing. Not only are they making the whole Children’s Emergency and Trauma Department more functional, accessible and built for purpose but they are making it Hampshire themed with a New Forest walkway of fake grass and horses – I mean how magical for a poorly little one to be transported to somewhere fun and calm in a time of pain and feeling scared!
 If you’d like to find out more about the amazing work that Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity are doing and would even like to host your own Dine at Mine fundraising event then please do register for a fundraising pack on the SCHC website. The pack and include invitations, dinner party game ideas and recipe ideas from Shelina! What’s also amazing is that they tell you exactly where your donation is going into the project, for example a £50 donation will go towards decorations to make the department bright, colourful and more child friendly and a £100 donation will go towards fitting out a new kitchen so that staff can serve parents and siblings drinks and refreshments!

I’m so excited to follow along with the project and am already thinking about hosting a #dineatmine event once we’re back from our travels this Summer; will you be hosting one too?

Thank you so much to Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity, Room2 and Shelina Permalloo for a wonderful evening and thanks to you guys for taking the time to read and find out a little more about the appeal!

Jess x

*This event was complimentary but all opinions in this post are my own