Posts Tagged ‘New book’

Christina Interviews Fifi O’Neil

February 23, 2011

About five years ago, I was interviewed for Country Living Magazine in the USA.  The interviewer was Fifi O’Neil

She was utterly charming, – we instantly became friends.   I met her for the first time, two years later in New York and I felt I had known her for most of my life.   We planned to do a book together, but sadly it has not yet materialized.  We both, however, made a book independently a year apart, here is a small interview about her new book….Romantic Prairie Style due for publication on April 15, 2011.



About Fifi’s book:

Romantic Prairie Style embraces simple pleasures, comfort and the long-cherished ideals of natural beauty, simplicity and harmony with the earth. It’s a style that says ‘home’ wherever you may be because, more than anything else, it’s a mindset: gentle but strong, welcoming and lasting, durable yet sophisticated and, above all, real. Over the centuries, the humble dwellings built by European immigrants to the US in the 1880s have evolved into sturdier, more comfortable homes, which, depending on their geographic location, took on a variety of designs, be it a ranch, cabin, farmhouse, cottage or adobe. Each of these styles plays a role in prairie style and its enduring aura of romance and nostalgia. Here interiors bear the influence of European settlers and the poetry of the heart-warming authenticity of simple, natural textures, hand-hewn beams, bleached wood, weathered planks, woven blankets, cow-hide and Navajo rugs. It’s a style inspired by the honesty of homespun materials of the past wedded to a flair for the present. It’s flower-sprigged brocade, tawny leather, crisp eyelet and soft linen, corduroy with crochet trims, woolen plaids, cosy flannel and wispy organza. It’s history retold and all about the enduring connection between people and places and the nostalgia we feel for a rural country life, a yearning for a simpler life, as embodied in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.

We know you love Prairie decor, tell us why it connects so strongly with you. (Why Romantic Prairie? vs. another style i.e. Cottage.  Why will this appeal to readers?)

What appeals to me about Prairie Style is that it is much more than a decorating style: it’s  a way of life. One that reconnects us with what truly matters: family, home, and the earth. The global economic crisis, the emphasis on green living, and the need to escape the stressful demands of today’s life are at the root of this return to a peaceful and more contemplative lifestyle. The more unsettling the news, the more we seek the refuge of our homes and look for meaningful and economical ways to beautify our surroundings. Honest materials, artisanal goods and time-honored objects are once again valued and create homes, not just shelters. The lessons learned come together in the celebration of a wholesome life. Now, we look back to yesteryears because  to understand the past is to secure the future. We embrace the present hence fostering stewardship of the land.
The authenticity, poesy and healing qualities inherent to this sustainable lifestyle define Prairie Style. Traditions and preservation are its heart. The nobility of the land and the fragility of our heritage are its soul. The spirit of prairie style drifts eternal in the romance of nurturing interiors and the abundant beauty of  nature. These are the compelling reasons that will appeal to those who embrace these values.
This decorating style is not only timeless, it’s also very timely because the upside of an unfavorable economy is that it makes us take stock, re-establish values,  prioritize, and realize our potential. We look inward, not just within ourselves but within our own settings.  The benefits are measurable both emotionally and physically and clearly visible.

Tell us about your journey shooting the book?   Where you traveled and anecdotal stories from your travels.

I first went searching for the homes I wanted for the book. Then set up the photo shoots, and Mark Lohman (the photographer) and I travelled from one end of the country to the other. I styled, he shot, I wrote. Mark lives in L.A and I am in Florida. We flew and met at the various locations. The first 4 homes were in Illinois. From there we went to Missouri and Nebraska. Next came Southern California followed by Northern California (Ione and Tahoe). Then off to Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

We got chased by a 3-legged dog In Nebraska. Dolly-the-Goat ate some of the props (basket of apples) in Ione where we were also warned about rattle snakes but only saw a zillion bats and where I also had my very first martini ever. Tracey and Joy (in Illinois) supplied me with band-aids for my blistered toes and Anne Marie (also in Illinois) soothed my weary bones (and Mark’s) with her secret “medicinal” gin remedy (going back for more of that magic potion in May!) and a home cooked dinner …..Drove across a creek with no bridge in Missouri………Andrea’s geese (in Nebraska) thought they should nibble at my hair…….And Mark and I nibbled on Angela’s incredible macaroons….. Also had nice “chats” with horses, rabbits, goats and chickens and more!

Maria's spirited goat Dolly, having a snack. (DreamyWhites)

Tell us about a few of these amazing homes, and the homeowners who opened up their homes to you.

Where to begin? Of course every home was special and all the homeowners have become friends. Because of the nature of the book and their own feelings about prairie style we had an instant connection. One rooted in the same values and principals. Becoming lifelong friends was inevitable. We are keeping in touch. Marc and I will be revisiting some of these locations for book 2, though the concept is still about prairie the angle is different, hence the possibilities to shoot some of the contents in familiar surroundings.

What was the best part of your adventure making Romantic Prairie? Don’t say being done – what did you love?  Would you do it again?

There isn’t “one” best part. From the homeowners hospitality and generosity to working with Marc, who is not only a consummate photographer but also has a wonderful sense of humor and makes every shoot fun and relaxed–in spite of the grueling schedule– and having the priceless support of the whole team at Cico Books, made the adventure an unforgettable one. And, YES, I am ready to start the follow up book. In fact I can’t wait. Marc and I are planning our schedule and looking forward to beautiful locations and ….a couple of martinis along the way…..

What was the most challenging part of your adventure?  I know a lot of people would love to make a book so please share your insights with us.

Considering the traveling involved, editing a magazine at the same time, working with other magazines, shooting 13 homes in 6 weeks (for the book) +13 more homes for various magazines (through the same period) AND writing the book in 3 weeks turned out to be quite a challenge. But, as the saying goes “If there is a will, there is a way!”

What is next for Fifi?

Getting ready to go on book signing tours. Setting up next location shoots for book 2. Designing a “PRAIRIE PRETTY” line of clothes and home accessories.

Romantic Prairie Style by Fifi O’Neill is published by CICO Books at [US price to be supplied/UK price is £19.99 , hardback.  Photography by Mark Lohman. Visit

We are giving a copy of Romantic Prairie Style away to a lucky Cabbages & Roses fan, just leave us a comment telling us what about the Prairie style inspires you.

To receive extra entries you can –

Post the giveaway to any of your social networking sites; such as your blog, twitter, and/or Facebook, and you will receive an extra entry….. Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry.

Open to US/Europe/UK viewers only. The winner will be chosen randomly on March 3, 2011.
The giveaway book will be shipped upon availability.


November 4, 2010

Cabbages & Roses really does love

Love Bakery

LOVE BAKERY by Samantha Blears

Just over a year ago Samantha Blears opened the Love Bakery on London’s iconic King’s Road.  The shop has quickly built up an incredibly loyal following and the local community has taken this independent bakery to its heart.  If you wander down the King’s Road you won’t be able to resist popping in.  Displays of pretty cupcakes in the window, framed by the candy pink and green stenciling on the shop front, catch the eye and draw in the crowds. It’s magical – from the sparkles on the cupcakes to the jars of Love Hearts on the dresser, from the postcards on the mirror to the pink Roberts radio, Love Bakery is the perfect place to hang out with your friends, take a coffee at the bar and have some fun.

Now in her new book, Sam reveals her recipes for the many different treats that can be found in the bakery.  Find out how to make her cupcakes, love pops, love shots, cuptails and whoopie pies; discover fabulous hidden flavours such as the Peruvian Bear Cupcake’s secret marmalade centre; be inspired by her fantastic ideas for co-ordinating party themes and tips on how to decorate your offerings with minimum fuss and maximum style.  Sam encourages you to let your imagination run riot:  using her moodboards, just-in case store cupboard and glittering decorations, you can easily create your own versions of her much-loved cakes. Take the fear out of baking, replace it with fun and sparkle and you’ll find there is nothing more delicious as a cupcake baked from the heart.

Visit the equally beautiful website

Or to get your own copy of this book click here

Now just got to choose which one to make first….this book even looks good enough to eat…



September 9, 2010

Thank You




Centsational Girl

For a delightful review of Christina’s new book,

At Home with Country

by CICO Books

Click on over to and enter to win a copy of At Home with Country











August 6, 2010

Thank You




Simplified Bee

for writing such a lovely review of Christina’s new book,

At Home with Country

by CICO Books.


August 3, 2010

Thank You


From The Right Bank

for a lovely article about Christina’s new book, At Home with Country by CICO Books.

July 30, 2010

Fabulous Article


Monthly Giveaway

Please click on over to coco + kelley to see a super article and interview with Christina.  coco + kelley is a terrific site that beautifully marries the concept of  fashion and home design.  Christina talks about the use of a  stripes in fashion and home design, and her decision to include stripes in every Cabbages & Roses collection over last 10 years (20 collections!).


And don’t forget to enter the giveaway and let us know your favorite home and fashion striped item from the Cabbages & Roses website.   The lucky winner will receive her choice of one striped clothing and striped home product!


A big Thank You to Cassandra for working with us on the article.  We love your blog.





June 21, 2010

Thank you

to the amazing Laura


for her terrific interview with Christina.

We loved meeting you in NY, and hope to see you again on our next visit.



Previous Post

June 20, 2010

Thank you


the wonderful Jenny


for her witty post about Cabbages &Roses.  Her adorable sense of humor made us smile.    Everyone should check out her beautiful blog and store.

June 17, 2010

Sloane Square – June 2010

A feature article about Christina, and Cabbages & Roses ran in the June issue of Sloane Square Magazine.  The article speaks to Cabbages & Roses continued growth during these challenging economic times, which is a true testament to  Christina’s strong creative vision for the brand and her amazing staff that make it all happen. Congrats!

June 10, 2010

Thank You


for their lovely post about At Home with County, Christina’s newest book.  We really appreciate it.

Your blog is so dreamy!

Best C&R