Welcome to NALA’S DEN!

Your go to ‘village’ to accompany you on your motherhood journey!

I’m Natalie Franćeska, a mother and Australian-Croatian children’s book author. As a child, I was known by the nickname Nala.

A den is a safe space for a lion and its cubs. And so, Nala’s Den symbolises our home; your village community, supporting you as you navigate the wild and wonderful world of motherhood.

In the middle of a night feed, weary eyed with a buzzing mind, it hit me like a tonne of… I guess I can say ‘nappies’, that living in Sydney, I am one of the first in my lineage of mothers to raise children without the support of a literal ‘village’. All the generations before me were raised in small coastal communities in Croatia. Surely, as mothers we are biologically hardwired to lean on other mamas, extended family members and friends for support; however, our ‘den’ has been disrupted by a rapidly evolving society, and raising a child in today’s city is a very different, and sometimes isolating affair.

Now, this is not to say that I don’t have a beautiful support network of mothers… women, and men for that matter. The key here is that it’s no longer the constant, reliable and accessible presence my grandmothers had in their daily lives. It got me thinking, surely there are mothers out there who also long for this, a village to lean on for advice or support.

Here you will find resources, stories and inspiration to help you along your motherhood journey, with a focus on wellbeing. I also hope to gently nudge you to embrace your roots, explore mine and sight-SEA all that the small yet richly abundant country of Croatia has to offer.

And remember, ‘it takes a village to raise a child…’

You’ve found your ‘village’ in Nala’s Den.

10 Fun Facts about me

1. I am a mother of two.

2. I have a passion for storytelling.

3. I truly believe that the future of our world lies in our children. The wisdom and folklore passed down from my beloved grandparents and shared with generations has been weaved in my children’s picture books, MY GRANDMA IS LIKE THE SEA and MY GRANDPA IS LIKE THE SEA.

4. I have spent the past 10+ years working in the construction industry, pursuing the connection between people, spaces and the designed world.

5. I ventured out to find Odysseus’ Cave and 66-foot submerged tunnel (according to legend) one summer in Europe. Ahoy! I’m pleased to say the mission was a success!

6. I’ve never been a huge fan of the cold… but this shifted upon experiencing my first ice bath in Bora Bora.

7. During my competitive tennis days as a junior, I took a liking to playing with the boys. Playing mixed doubles was also ace!

8. I write down my dreams in a journal as soon as I wake each day.

9. I was named Natalie after Natalie Wood.

10. I love the surf. As a child, I would dream about travelling the Aussie coast in a Kombi. The furthest I got was sticking up some nostalgic photos of my father’s Kombi on my bedroom wall.