Review: Fulham Wine Rooms

I spend a lot of my time in bars (*hic*) and rarely feel the need to do a ‘review’ on here as such, a passing comment or shout-out in The Week That Was is usually enough, but I really do think The Fulham Wine Rooms has a cool enough concept to deserve a little more explanation.

Based at the Munster Road end of The Fulham Road, it’s not a bar I go to very often because I tend to drink further up the Kings Road/Fulham Road, but having stumbled home from there last Friday night I think I need to make it a much more regular haunt.

I’d been a couple of times before but always for friends’ birthdays in a large group, which doesn’t really do the concept justice I don’t think. I’d had fun and drank great wine on both those previous visits, but I’d always thought I should go back and ‘do it properly’, so when Katie and I were looking for somewhere to go boozing on Friday night I suggested we went there.

It’s a wine bar – yes –  but what’s super cool about this place is that they have a fun ‘serve yourself’ system which is done with clever computerised fridge wizardry and Oyster type ‘top up’ cards.

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You can of course just order bottles of wine from their extensive menu (200ish to choose from), but the tasting is the really fun bit in my opinion.

There are loads of wines that you can self-serve by the glass (a whopping 48, to be precise) and the menu comes with decent tasting notes and is helpfully in price order, as are the display bottles, so you can start cheap and ‘work your way up’ if you choose to. (You can go all the way up to a £45 a glass wine, if you’re feeling particularly flush!).

We started with the cheapest wines and then progressed to the pricier ones as it’s a fun way of comparing different grapes and seeing if the spendier ones really do taste that much better. (There’s no cheap and nasty wine here though, so don’t worry about having anything that isn’t fab).

You just put your card in to the relevant fridge and then use a touch screen to select your wine and pour size.

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You have the option of three different pour sizes: a taster size (not stingy at all!), a standard glass or a large glass. We mostly just had taster glasses and then treated ourselves to a full glass every so often when we found one we really liked. Awesomely, the taster glasses are fairly priced as a proportion of their larger sisters…so it’s not more expensive to go for taster glasses. The price per ml is the same regardless of what portion you choose, which we were pleasantly surprised by….

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A blog post for my mum and a competition…

It’s kind of an in-joke amongst some bloggers that the only people guaranteed to read their blogs is their mums. I have a very open and honest relationship with my parents but I can still cringe with the best of them when I get a text to say they’ve just read “certain” blog posts. To keep my tone natural I just try to pretend my mum isn’t going to be reading, but this post is – for once – actually intended for that mother of mine.

So well done mama! You’ve landed on a blog post that I’m not going to go “ewwwww did you have to read that one?!” about. You are very welcome to read this and you can even print it out if you like.

Mother’s Day is fast approaching (March 15th, FYI) and whilst it will catch some people out by surprise, my mother had the foresight to invite herself down to London for Mother’s Day before we’d even put the Christmas decorations away. It’s my sister’s birthday the day before Mother’s Day, so it’s a weekend of joint celebrations and everyone will be staying at ours…but Heather and I both know that this “special weekend” will be more about Mother’s Day than Heather turning 25. Mother LOVES Mother’s Day.

So when my fave blogger Nat (of LeBlow fame) contacted me in her daytime role of Etsy Social Media Wonder Woman to ask if I’d like to write about my mum as part of their #everydaymum campaign ahead of Mother’s Day, I was all for it. Partly because I will gladly tell anyone who’ll listen that I have the best mum in the world, but also because if we can get some of the Mother’s Day lovin’ out the way now then Heather may actually be allowed a birthday cake come March 14th. (Just kidding mummy).

But where do you even begin to start when you really do think your mum is the best?

I’ll start with how Natalie started, asking me to sum up my mum in two sentences…

“My mum is the funniest woman I know. She’s supportive and kind and inspiring and wonderful and all those great things that mums should be, but it’s the fact she can make me cry with laughter in the most inappropriate of situations that I love the most”. 

Belstaff Presentation. London Fashion Week Fall Collection 2015.

My mum is *hilarious*. She really is the funniest person I know and the fact that she can cry with laughter on her own over near enough nothing (like the man trying to rescue my phone from the deep cavity of a sofa a few weekends ago, remember that Mother?!) is just one of the millions of reasons that I think she’s the best.

Crying with laughter is par for the course with my mum; it’s not that she’s particularly easily amused it’s that she knows she’s often amused in the most inappropriate situations. You haven’t really met my mum until you’ve seen her with my auntie Helen and my nan (their mum) literally unable to breathe with snot dripping down their faces because they are doubled over about something ridiculous. Like the time when my nan’s handbag was on fire whilst she was wearing it. Really.

She’s incredibly supportive and in the best possible ways. She knows my sister and I inside out and speaks to us both every single day, about important things and the more mundane things. If I text to say “argggggh XYZ is really annoying me because of XYZ” then she won’t try to explain it or see the other side or go OTT, she knows I’ll figure all that stuff out for myself and just texts “XYZ sounds like a stupid bitch”. Which is often all I want to hear. She is always able to empathise and always knows just what to say to cheer me up.

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The week that was…Squeeze, Marko Mitanovski, naked burritos and Toni Mascolo’s book launch

So, tell me, was it a good week?
It was a really great, exceptionally fun and VERY busy week. Topped off beautifully by collecting ST from the airport this morning. Yey! No more worrying that zombies are trying to get up the stairs/that the wind is actually a demented ghost/that Mr Boogie from Sinister is hiding in my wardrobe! (And of course it’s just very lovely to have him back generally, not just as a demon fighter).

What have been your favourite ‘banging beats’?
I’ve been listening to a lot of songs from my childhood this past week and the key album I’ve had on repeat is Squeeze’s Greatest Hits. I know it’s not ‘cool’ to like greatest hits albums but this compilation CD was released in 1992 and played on repeat throughout most of my young life. I know every word to every song. As a child I thought the idea of “pulling mussels from the shell” was HILARIOUS (god knows why) and that Cool for Cats was the single coolest song I had ever heard. I remember listening to this album on long car journeys fondly and I have been listening to it loudly all week long. The best way to spend an hour and sixteen minutes.

Have you watched anything REALLY GREAT?
TV and movie-wise, no. I’ve been out every night and generally haven’t had a second to watch TV – much to my dismay.

But I have of course been at LFW and I’ve seen some jaw-droppingly gorgeous shows. My favourites for ‘wooooooooah this is quite the spectacle’ vibez were Pam Hogg on Sunday, Giles on Monday and Marko Mitanovski on Tuesday.

Let’s start with Pam’s which featured aaaaaaaall the hand-stitched leather this season. The collection was inspired by “diamonds, demons and dogs” and explored the twisted world of fairy tales. It was slightly great…

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I loved the 60s inspired bubble shaped bird’s nest hair that Indira Schauwecker created with the TONI&GUY team.

You can see my vid with her below to see the girls in action on the catwalk…

Then GILES on Monday was just the definition of gothic governess gorgeousness. I bloody LOVED this show. It made me genuinely want to own black lipstick and a ruff collar.

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Again, you need to see the catwalk video really to appreciate how the girls moved on the runway. I’ve never seen models play so much with the clothes but it’s the perfect way to show off the fabrics and details. More dancing on catwalks, please.

And then we have Marko. Wonderful, brilliant and batshit crazy Marko. These clothes were just *everything*. I want a jacket with a spine. Now.

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Shout-Out Saturday: Roasted Almond Tea by Amanzi

During LFW I rediscovered something I’d fallen in love with last year – Amanzi’s Roasted Almond tea. I generally don’t like herbal teas – mmmmmm petal water – but this caffeine-free concoction tastes like the most wonderfully nutty caramelly appley treat. And I ruddy love it.

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I can’t handle much caffeine, so I don’t drink coffee at home and only have the occasional single shot coffees out and about each week if I want a boost. A proper ‘strong’ coffee makes me feel too wired, which is ridiculous but hey. I guess I’d rather be a sensitive baby than a “GIVE ME COFFEE NOW” caffeine head.

I do LOVE tea though and I drink my tea strong (just not endless mugs of it) when I have it. I appreciate and enjoy the different blends and have always wanted to be a tea snob the way people are coffee snobs, but I rarely get the opportunity to go “tea wild”.

Whilst coffee houses and coffee snobbery is just a normal (and annoying) part of London life now, tea houses are much much less common. Like, when did you last go into a place that had a tea wall like this?

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This is just a teeny snapshot of the tea wall in Amanzi on New Cavendish Street. And yep, you can just walk from one end to the other sniffing all the tea blend goodness.

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Pretending to be a Fashion Week model with the help of a Sunday Riley Flash Facial…

I’d always wanted to try Sunday Riley’s skincare range having heard nothing but positive things about it, so when I was invited to see them prep the skin backstage at Belstaff during LFW I was slightly giddy with “omg get that stuff on my skin RIGHT NOW” excitement.

Whilst I hadn’t tried anything by Sunday Riley before, I had a vague idea of the different products within the line thanks to being a Caroline Hirons megafan. Good Genes – their all-in-one lactic acid treatment hero product – had been on my wishlist for a loooooooong time.

Everybody is aware of the hair and make-up teams that help create the final look for a fashion show, but seeing skincare brands backstage is a relatively new thing and Sunday Riley was the first skincare brand to have a backstage presence. They’ve been doing it for five years or so but I only noticed skincare brands backstage for the first time this season, with The Body Shop pushing their skincare rather than make-up backstage at Fashion Scout.

I’m used to working backstage with TONI&GUY, so I know how the models look before they walk in to hair and make-up. And, if we’re honest here, it’s usually more “absolutely shattered” than “enviable”. Nobody wants to feel sorry for the stunningly gorgeous models, but those girls are tiiiiiiiired.

The models at Belstaff were in for a treat though, as the Sunday Riley team were prepping the skin before MUA Maria Comparetto and her team created a pared back beauty look based on Amelia Earhart.

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Belstaff Presentation. London Fashion Week Fall Collection 2015.

The girls were getting a “Flash Facial”, Sunday Riley’s signature backstage treatment which is quick on results when you don’t have much time. It’s pretty much the definition of easy, just 2 pumps of Good Genes mixed with 2-3 pumps of Ceramic Slip cleanser.

I saw the results in front of my eyes, but I wanted to try it out for *myself*…as the cynic in me thinks of COURSE it’s going to look amazing on the professional models….

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