I’ve said it often: You don’t need to live in the country or on a farm to embrace the elegant country style. But it sure doesn’t hurt when you actually do, and when the farm is in England in Cotswolds, the house is a quintessential English cottage, and your story is that you spent most of your adult life in the glamour of New York City but have taken to the countryside with your family and done it with impeccable style. Amanda Brooks, formerly of the New York fashion world, has let us into her new way of life thru Instagram and now with her new book, Farm from Home: A Year of Stories, Pictures, and Recipes from a City Girl in the Country.
When my copy of the book arrived, I was surprised. There is an old-fashioned, timeless quality to it: from the simplicity of the front cover to the endpapers of garden plan drawings to the monthly chapters with subheadings like, Sunrise walks and Farm Repairs to the diary-like entries. There is nothing glossy or slick here. Only gorgeous photographs, taken by the author, and homey recipes (I’m thinking of trying the cheddar toast with quince jelly and the olive oil picnic cake) scattered among stories of daily life in rural England. There are apple trees and hounds and pet lambs, and preparing for an English Thanksgiving, everything from the beautiful and sublime to the ordinary and messy. I loved the glimpses of the interior of the cottage, and the two-page spreads of monthly images of specific aspects of country life that show the subtle changes in the landscape over time, like the pear espalier trees that were planted twenty years ago (and, Amanda says, absolutely make the house).
But the message is not simply about getting back to our roots, after all these are not Amanda’s roots, they are her husband’s. It’s about embracing a new way of life, slowing down and connecting more deeply with the land and with others—and most of all, with yourself. It’s about living in the moment. This is the kind of book that you can pick up and open to any page and be transported for a few precious minutes after a long hectic day. I’d venture to say that it’s also a book that will not go out of style.
You can find gifts, tableware, and country attire thoughtfully curated by Amanda Brooks at her new boutique Cutter Brooks not too far from the farm.