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London: My life in Brands

April 2015

By Martha Alexander, London

I spent some of my formative years firstly living next to the Terry's chocolate factory in York (and working there during the Christmas holidays) and then during university years I lived next to the Cadbury's chocolate factories in Bournville, Birmingham. The smell of chocolate being made is comforting and nostalgic for me: I love both Terry's and Cadbury's but as an adult I discovered Amelia Rope and her amazing chocolate: a chocolate for grown-ups in packaging for magpies. From the jewel colours of the foil to the sophisticated flavours (Pale Rose, please!) Rope's confections are a treat for whoever eats them. I like to put them as part of the table decorations when I have friends for dinner: the fact that you can’t buy it in the corner shop makes it special.

There can hardly be a better example of British luxury than Jo Malone fragrances. I love the brand for myriad reasons - the genius fragrance combinations (Wild Fig and Cassis; Brush suede and Peony!) but not least because it was a feat of entrepreneurship: Jo loved fragrance and managed to start with a small shop that became instantly popular. So popular in fact that on the first day it opened someone offered her £1million for her entire business. I love stories like that.

A well-dressed bathroom will always have Jo Malone in it and as a brand seems to transcend age and cannot be confined to a type of person: I've seen Jo Malone stuff in Chelsea lavatories or rather squalid bathrooms in Peckham house parties.

I myself wear the Wild Fig and Cassis fragrance. The paper label is worn and grubby but it's an everyday essential: I have a small bottle which lives in my Mulberry Lily AKA my favourite handbag: I never get bored of it and while I have a red Alexa I don't covet the Lily in any other colour. Mulberry is a brilliant brand: managing to maintain traditional, classic style and rather conservative roots but ensuring they provide inventive design for younger, more fashion conscious fans. I also have Mulberry weekend bags. There's nothing I'd change about Mulberry other than the prices, which are eye-watering! 

Beauty & Cosmetics
Design & Luxury
Food & Drink
Fashion & Style
Jo Malone Fragrance, London
Amelia Rope Chocolate, London
Mulberry Designer Handbag, London

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