At the beginning of February, I made the journey home to Suffolk for a very special evening. The Fresh Starts, New Beginnings ball, hosted at Kesgrave Hall.
For me, the journey started as any good Friday does when you have to leave work early - with painting my nails oh-so-classily on the Liverpool Street to Manningtree train. And I tried so hard to be prepared in advance! But anyway...
A part of the Milsoms group of hotels and restaurants, Kesgrave Hall is set in parkland, just outside of Ipswich and the mansion house has been turned into a gorgeous restaurant serving gastro food and a selection of boutique hotel rooms.
The ball was organised by family friends and the cause is more than worthwhile. The charity works through Suffolk and Norfolk and was set up to provide a therapeutic service for children and young people up to 18 years who have reported being sexually abused and to offer support for their families.
The aim is to help children and young people make sense of the confusion they feel and to teach them coping strategies to deal with the difficulties they face.
They are doing fantastic work across the counties and it was fantastic to be a part of such a credible and highly enjoyable event.
Arriving late afternoon from London, we first headed to our amazing room - that bed! - to drop off bags and ball gowns, before making our way to the bar for a quick glass of wine and a catch up. Then it was upstairs to change, don our gowns and pop on some make up.
Pips joined me for the night which was so much fun. I love ball gowns and will take every possible chance to wear one. We were guests at the ball, but also took charge of supporting the auctioneer to make sure everyone paid up and bid more than they would perhaps like if left to their own accord! I went for a simple black dress with gorgeous cut outs from Asos and this stunning faux fur stoll for the end of the night when the champagne blanket wore off a little.
Drawing on a Valentines theme, The Hanger was decorated to perfection. A three dimensional 'LOVE' sign stood at the main entrance, used as a backdrop for photos later in the night, and the interior sparkled and shone.
We all had the best time, between taking photos, to playing in the Photo Booth to eating some delicious food, admiring the dresses on show and dancing to some true classics. Most importantly, we raised a fantastic amount of money for the charity, and all credit goes to a great committee. I for one love Kesgrave Hall as a venue and being able to roll through to the bar once the party had finished, order fat chips with smoked salmon sandwiches (the bar menu is available 24 hours to residents) and end the night with a celebratory glass of champagne is how every night should end in my option. A small flight of stairs away was our larger-than-Kingsize bed, the best shower and the promise of a delicious breakfast the next morning...
A big thank you to Kesgrave Hall for hosting us and to my new bbf the night porter for the best fat chips... here's to next year!