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Spring Clean Edit: In conversation with Bella Middleton, founder of Norfolk Natural Living


Bella's guide to washing PJs
I have recently discovered the beautiful store Norfolk Natural Living. It sells wonderful natural products from household and garment care to skincare and more lifestyle products. As I am currently curating a Spring Clean Edit, I thought it was only fitting to touch base with the founder, Bella Middleton to discuss slow living and how we can better look after our PJs...
Tell me a bit about Norfolk Natural Living and what inspires you

Norfolk Natural Living is a slow-luxury home-care and wellbeing brand, designed to bring a little beauty and even pleasure to our daily rituals. From Laundry to skincare to going to sleep, we all have daily rituals which we can improve - and with a little thought - I believe we can slow down, simplify and find space for pleasure.

I have always been fascinated with the benefits plants can have on our wellbeing, as an aromatherapist I know how much of an effect fragrance can have on our moods and I wanted to create a brand to encompass that.  A big part of aromatherapy is breathing and taking your time, time to allow the oils to work on your senses, to help your mood or wellbeing.  I wanted to bring this ideology to Norfolk Natural Living - that each ritual we do, can be elevated, very simply, to something we look forward to and even gain pleasure from.

How has the brand evolved and what is important to you?
Norfolk Natural Living was born from the belief that cleaning and garment care products can do more than just clean, the belief they can improve our wellbeing and even make us feel better.  It was the natural progression for us to then open a perfumery and bring my love of aromatherapy and belief in our wellbeing to our newly launched range of Eau de parfums, Pillow mists, Bath remedies and Temple oils.  
 
Initially we opened our first shop in Holt, Norfolk in early 2019 - over the last two years we have grown to love the community which Holt has provided.  It's a busilling gem of a town, full of wonderful independents - which makes it such a creative area to be in.  The support we have felt from our customers over the past lock-down's has been immense.  So much so that we felt we could move our gorgeous utility shop to a bigger premises within Holt and re-open the original store as our dedicated Perfumery.  
 
Opening the perfumery feels like such an organic progression for the brand - we have grown in confidence to share our therapies with our customers and we have had enough time to really invest in the perfumery and all it has to offer.  I'm very excited to see what the rest of the year holds, as soon as we are allowed to open our doors again.  I hope to be able to host evenings to help teach my customers more about the aromatherapy remedies - how they can help improve their wellbeing.  These lockdown's have been so tough on everyone, I feel it is more important than ever to try and help - in whatever way I can - even if it's just getting the most out of our days - be that focusing when working from home, or sleeping better when we go to bed. I want to try and improve our wellbeing, every single day.
Bella and Natural cleaning products
What makes Norfolk Natural Living so special and how are the products made?
We make every product fresh, by hand - in our workshop in Norfolk.  I'm so proud of that, with my small team we hand craft every product, it's not the fastest process but it means we can consider every element, from each ingredient - to the packaging - we do it all here in our workshop.    Which I think makes such a difference as we are all so passionate about each item we make - we even post all our products from the same workshop.  So we can do little things like fragrance the parcels before we post them, we try to make every step as pleasurable as we can.
How should we use your products to prolong the life of our PJs
When washing anything precious (let alone your Sian Esther Pyjamas) I would always wash by hand - if you must wash in the machine, please make sure your PJ's are turned inside out - it will help prolong the life of the cotton.  To clean them, I would use our Lavender clothing detergent, it infuses the fabric with a delightful blend of essential oils designed to help you drift off to sleep.  
Laundry cleaner for pyjamas
How do you practice slow-living?
Sleep is my number one priority, it affects my moods and my wellbeing so much that I believe if I can simply get a good night sleep - I will gain so much more time during the day.  So much so I have a ritual I follow fairly religiously - it really helps. 
Firstly - I really try to go to bed at the same time every night.  I begin by turning my telephone off.  I then run a bath (or have a shower) at least an hour before bed, using a magnesium salt soak or if I have a shower - I follow with a magnesium body oil, (magnesium really helps ease any pains in my muscles, lowers my heart rate and really helps aid sleep) .  I then step into a really lovely pair of pyjamas - I love my Sian Esther PJ"s they are so comfortable, and they add that bit of luxury to the end of a day - and they always lift my spirits.  I might read a little or drink a cup of peppermint tea (or both!) - but just before I turn out the lights, I mist my pillow with our sleep remedy pillow mist., the orange oil is wonderful for diffusing negative thoughts and the lavender relaxes my mind. 
As I have a three children under 7 and a young puppy - the house is always pretty noisy and busy - but I find the slow moments are reading stories, drawing pictures or gardening - I love being with my children and I find they naturally gravitate to slow-living.  They love cooking and building blocks and reading.  So although it's not always easy - my number one rule for slow living is sleep (as it makes me so happy) and my number two - is to leave my phone in the drawer as much as I can and be present, it buys me so much more time in the day and it's so much more fun.
Slow living
What do you love about Norfolk and where would you recommend we visit when we can?
The big Norfolk skies - it's not called Turner country for nothing -  you've got to go to the coast.  Then walk, walk, walk.  The air is wonderful and colours are simply heavenly... Then of course stay somewhere equally wonderful - I love the Gunton arms especially in the winter - even if it is on my doorstep.  Oh and of course our stores in Holt - they are rather wonderful too (- but I would say that!)

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