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Living Life Beautifully

March 27, 2014

Open your eyes wider – here’s one more fabulous book!

Have you ever heard of Cabbages & Roses? Online it’s described as “a quintessentially eclectic English brand, creating beautiful yet functional Clothing, Accessories, Homeware and Fabric”, in real life it’s one of London’s most beautiful shops! If you haven’t visited them yet, Living Life Beautifully will be a perfect guide into their inspiring world.

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Simple and calm interiors decorated by lovely vintage finds, natural fabrics, pretty flowers – everything reminds of idyllic life that many of us might remember leading in our childhood. Times were different, weren’t they? There was no mass production, every little thing was treasured, mended and restored if need be. Sadly now everything’s just clutter and rush…

In fact when was the last time you relaxed and arranged a bouquet? When did you last have your breakfast on a table that had table cloth on? If you don’t remember, you definitely have to meet the owners of Cabbages & Roses.

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Everything started quite a few years ago when two friends and ex-colleagues Christina Strutt and Brigette Buchanan decided that their passion for beautiful things could be transformed into something bigger. Christina remembers these days: “We were two quite eccentric ladies, living in the country, with small children in tow. We were muddly, and we certainly had no idea about anything to do with business, but we did know that people were always covetous of our respective homes and seemed to want to know how to replicate something similar for themselves.”
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Many years ago Christina made the right decision – to sell only the things that she’d love to own in her home and, what at the beginning was solely mail-order business, turned into a lifestyle adopted by most of her and Brigette’s family members. Now everyone’s busy making Cabbages & Roses even more special.

Christina’s daughter “Kate oversaw the shop’s development and expansion into Japan; her forester son Edward provides the foliage for the shops; and her daughter-in-law Sophie and grandson Frankie have been stars of Cabbages & Roses’ seasonal – and totally exquisite – short movies, all created by friend Katy Lawrence”. Brigette’s daughter Violet has become Christina’s design assistant – she was only 12 when Christina and her mum started their business and, having seen all of it’s development stages, she’s now using her own instinct how to make things beautiful.

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I guess that’s what’s so dare about the whole brand – it’s totally unique and totally homemade!

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Living Life Beautifully is more than an interior design book, more than a story about Cabbages & Roses, it’s a chronicle of two lovely families, who definitely know how to live beautifully. Open up this book and meet them, you’ll learn how to see joy in little things.

Living Life Beautifully by Christina Strutt (photography by Simon Brown) is published by CICO Books and is available from rylandpeters.com

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Here’s one more sweet surprise –  short interview with Christina Strutt. Find out how to make your business work, what small changes can transform your interior in a blink of an eye and what lovely shops you should visit while you’re in London.

Cabbages & Roses is an extremely inspiring brand, many would love to replicate something similar in their own homes. If you were asked to give three simple ideas, that can transform one’s interior in a blink of an eye, what would they be?

C.S. – THREE NEW CUSHIONS. WALLPAPER A WALL. RE ARRANGE THE FURNITURE

In the book you have mentioned that it has always been your maxim to sell only the things that you love. You have also said that “this principle has meant having to bid sad farewells to pieces that come to feel like old friends at times”. Is there anything you haven’t said and will never say farewell to?

C.S. – OH MANY MANY THINGS – I HAVE BOUGHT PICTURES AND OBJECTS AND FURNITURE THAT I HAVE HAD TO BUY FROM THE SHOP BECAUSE I COULDN’T BEAR TO PART WITH THEM. THEY ARE NOW NICELY INSTALLED IN MY NEW FLAT IN SYDNEY STREET!

Cabbages & Roses started as a solely mail-order business. How did this work? You mentioned that you and your colleague Brigette “were muddly” and “certainly had no idea about anything to do with business”, but you’ve come so far! What do you think small businesses should concentrate on first?  

C.S. – A PLAN, THEN A STRATEGY. IT IS ALL VERY WELL INVENTING SOMETHING OR MAKING SOMETHING, BUT YOU NEED TO WORK OUT HOW MUCH IT WILL COST, HOW MUCH YOU CAN SELL IT FOR AND HOW MUCH THE BUSINESS NEEDS TO BREAK EVEN. THERE IS LITTLE POINT IN PURSUING YOUR DREAM IF IT MEANS YOU RUIN YOURSELF AND HAVE NO HOPE OF MAKING A PROFIT AT SOME STAGE AT LEAST!

Cabbages & Roses has been named as London’s most beautiful shop. What other shops do you think could also fall under this category?

I THINK THAT WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL SHOP, BUT AM NOT SURE IT IS ACTUALLY LONDON’S MOST BEAUTIFUL SHOP!! EGG – KINNERTON STREET, APPLEY HOARE – LANGTON STREET, JOSEPHINE RYAN – LANGTON STREET, LEILA’S SHOP – NEAR ARNOLDS CIRCUS IN SHOREDICH, ALL OF BOROUGH MARKET. I AM SURE THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF OTHERS, BUT I LEAD A SHELTERED LIFE AND RARELY GO SHOPPING!

Thank you for answering our questions, that’s very kind of you.

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Well, then… I hope you’re off to the RPS website where you will find this beautiful book!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 6, 2014 2:49 pm

    Thanks for liking! I like your blog 🙂 don’t you love white in a house? So bright.

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