Words & Photography Rowan Collins-
Funnily enough, our friendship started with porridge. In 2016, we met through an online group for the university we were both about to join, when Liv reached out to me with a recommendation for a porridge café in Copenhagen, where I was about to visit. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but a year and a half later, after one of the busiest and most exciting weekends of our lives hosting our first porridge pop-up, we would be in Liv’s bedroom crying with laughter, remembering that was how it all started.
We are lucky to live in Norwich, a small city in the East of England with a wonderful community of independent businesses and creatives. Inspired by this and our love of porridge, we had a dream of opening a porridge café. A cosy space where people could come and enjoy slow mornings with their loved ones, and eat some wholesome, seasonal food. We talked about our idea again and again, and last year decided to run it as a pop-up for one weekend, just to see it come to life. Here, Norridge was born. What we didn’t realise was that the pop-up would end up feeling like just the beginning, and that we would go home with heads of full of ideas as to how we could expand Norridge into something bigger.
During that first pop-up, we were touched by how supportive our city’s community is, and how important that support is to our business. We want to celebrate that special community and bring it closer together, and we hope that through more pop-ups, wellbeing events and creative workshops we can do just that, at the same time collaborating with and supporting other independent businesses and creatives.
Outside of community, one of the biggest parts of Norridge is hygge. It’s become a bit of a buzzword over the past couple of years, but it’s something everyone can relate to and probably experienced before the term made its way across the world from Denmark. To us, porridge is inherently hygge. It’s warm, creamy, sweet, and there’s a certain slowness in the making of porridge, particularly when it’s made on the hob, that makes just about any morning more hyggeligt. We are passionate advocates of making a little more time in the morning, if you can, to make a proper bowl of porridge and take the time to sit down and enjoy it, preferably with a blanket and some cushions near a window with natural light, or with a few candles lit during the darker months.
We are also hugely inspired by the slow living movement. We live in a world that is increasingly fast-paced and demanding of our attention, so now more than ever there is real value in slowing down and taking a break from our ever-busy schedules. Cooking is one of our favourite ways to do this, but we also love spending an hour or so in one of Norwich’s wonderful coffee shops or settling down at home with a beautiful magazine and a cup of hot tea. We hope that Norridge can be a space that will encourage people to slow down and take some time for themselves, and provide a rest from our ‘always on’ lifestyle.
Finally, seasonal and plant-based eating is a huge part of what we do. We’re both veggie lovers through and through, and we get excited by all the varieties each season has to offer. One of our favourite things is walking home with a tote full of fresh veg wrapped up in paper bags, ready to be made into something delicious. This is really important to what we do, and as Norridge grows we hope to continue working with local, in-season produce to encourage people to do the same at home.
© all pictures Rowan Collins
Starting a business has been a huge learning curve. Norridge has not only become a big part of our lives, but it has changed our lives and, in a way, changed us. We live and breathe our little business. We are constantly thinking about new recipes and new collaborations, and dreaming about opening a permanent café after university. It gives us the freedom to use all of our skills and interests and create our dream job. A job that is broad and hard to define, but encompasses everything we’re passionate about. We work as cooks, designers, photographers and marketers, we do both the admin and the hands-on work. We use every spare moment to work on the business, and even when we’re not working on it we’re thinking about it. It can be intense and it can involve long days and late nights, but it’s also immensely exciting and somehow rarely feels like work. This is still just the beginning of Norridge, and we can’t wait to see what’s yet to come.
More about this beautiful & mindful project here.
Essay from our Volume 1 print edition, available 2018.