Amanda Woodward Brown's List of Loves - The Grace Tales

Amanda Woodward Brown’s List of Loves

This column is obviously being written under very different circumstances than previous ones, yet like always, it is a list of things that I love. More than ever, it is important to recognise or seek out what makes you happy...

For me, that has been something as simple as decorating a table or after years of searching, FINALLY finding the perfect bikini. Oh and wine, or even more specifically Aperol Spritz, which has become my new Friday night ritual to celebrate getting through another week of juggling work with schooling children (who seem to be increasingly doubtful of my efforts at education!). 

Despite the fact that we are not currently going anywhere outside the four walls of our home, and I don’t have to even get out of my pyjamas if I didn’t want to, I have been finding solace in pretty dresses. I have always turned to fashion as a pick-me-up, and this situation has reinforced that even more. I have been wearing Faithfull the Brand’s floral midi dresses on repeat. The silhouettes are effortless but the prints make each piece feel special, so I feel pulled together, even if I haven’t washed my hair or put on makeup. 


I have always struggled to find a bikini that fits properly as, like a lot of women, I am a different size on top and bottom. Then I tried on a swimsuit from Arabella London. Designed by a woman, for women, the British brand’s swimwear is revolutionary. After years of not feeling comfortable in a two-piece, I realised it wasn’t me being self-conscious, rather I was just never wearing a style that actually fit me properly. From an adjustable tie back, luxurious sculpting fabric and tops sold by cup size and separately to briefs, there are so many clever details that set the British brand apart. Liberating and empowering – both words I never thought I would assign to swimwear.


I have written about British beauty brand Vanderohe before but I couldn’t not include the label in a list of things saving my sanity during lockdown. I am not one for spending lots of time on a daily routine, but the Purifying Cleansing Oil smells so heavenly I actually look forward to taking my makeup off each night. I have even started taking a few moments to do a facial massage after cleansing, just to breathe in more of the therapeutic scent (check out their Stories highlights on Instagram for an easy how-to). I’m also a huge fan of the Enhancing Body Serum. I have really sensitive skin and it was an instant miracle cure for my wizened hands which were in a particularly bad state after weeks of handwashing. 


With time now on my side I, along with the rest of the world, have become obsessed with cooking, gardening, and table styling. I am definitely not an expert in any of these, so this is not about detailing my amateur attempts, but instead spotlighting those who I have been turning to for inspiration. There has been a tremendous generosity of spirit in sharing knowledge and advice through social media. A few of my favourites have been Yotam Ottolenghi answering baking conundrums on Instagram live, Skye McAlpine, and Tart London’s simple but delicious recipes, stylist Twig Hutchinson’s how-tos on tablescaping, florist Willow Crossley’s charming videos and Laura Jacksons’s fun cook-a-longs and #MakeAMealOfIt initiative. What I love about all of these, is that they are in no way intimidating, it’s not about perfection or even the end result, but simply the infectious joy of creating. 

@ottolenghi @tart_london @skyemcalpine @minford_journal @willowcrossleycreates @iamlaurajackson 

We recently discovered a clever app that has made a huge difference in staying in touch with family and friends during lockdown. Caribu was created with grandparents in mind and is designed to enable children to play games, draw or read a book with another caller. Violet will have Caribu calls with friends where they will play games or do colouring together, while Isla will actually sit still for more than five minutes while my mother reads her a Beatrix Potter story. Virtual babysitting!