Welcome to NALA’S DEN!
Hey there, I’m Natalie Franćeska, a mother and children’s book author. I’ve created Nala’s Den as a sacred space to share ideas on navigating the wild and wonderful world of motherhood.
Nala’s Den symbolises our home, and as with the connection to nature, a den is a safe space for a lion and its cubs – a place of warmth, nurturing and growth. Of building connected families and raising happy, confident kiddos that are free to be themselves, be curious and explore the direction that their hearts take.
As a child I was known by the nickname Nala – from The Lion King. She was the lifelong friend of Simba and was not only a strong little cub, but was also pretty sassy, which I’m told is where the likeness arose from! As Nala grew and developed into a lioness, she was known as a fearless and loyal friend. Later as a Queen, she went on to have children, encouraging them to take care of themselves – guiding and raising her kids to be confident and ready to go out into the world.
I’ve always loved The Lion King story and the powerful lessons of the great Circle of Life – illustrating the connection to all of our lives from the start to the end and back again. Now as a mama to a beautiful boy myself, it seems fitting that I carry my childhood name into creating a space to follow in Nala’s footsteps and bring gentle words and sound advice to my community of mamas, friends and carers. Also, whilst celebrating this beautiful full circle connection between young and old.
This blog contains resources and inspiration to help families along the parenting journey and also focuses on our wellbeing and mind. Like finding time for mindfulness and self compassion on the run, so we are well-equipped with practices we can develop and share with our children. As encouraging little ones and parents alike to navigate the magic within brings greater happiness to ourselves and everyone around us.
Family is at the heart of what I share with you through Nala’s Den and my personal connection to my roots shines through in the stories here. My heritage lies between Australia and Croatia, and as a kid I spent many summers swimming in the clear blue waters along the rugged Dalmatian coast with my family. I grew up forming a deep appreciation for mother nature and its beauty, the powers of the sea and its ability to calm our minds, souls and all that surrounds us. This further developed into a fascination with harnessing the power of the mind as I embarked into the highly competitive tennis world as a junior and learnt first-hand how our state of mind and the game are intrinsically linked. I eventually experienced burnout in my teens which ended this dream, but this experience led me to becoming a certified NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner and Coach in 2019.
NLP is a complex model of understanding how perception creates experience. With a focus on the conscious and subconscious mental processes to assist in creating behavioural changes and emotional states. It provides practical ways in which you can alter the way you think, and approach your life. I take these learnings into my daily life as a mother and share practical tips in the wellbeing and parenting sections of my blog of how to better nurture ourselves inside and out.
Alongside this and having spent the past 10 years in the construction industry, pursuing the connection between people, spaces and the designed world, it seemed natural to incorporate a ‘Build-Her’ section to the blog. I’ve been fortunate to be able to bring creative solutions to light through my work, collaborating on projects with an environmental performance objective and focusing on making conscious choices for the natural/built world. In this section you’ll find inspiring ‘Build-Her’ UP stories and a few good DIY ideas for around the home.
So from me to you, this is my heartfelt expression along this journey of motherhood and everything in between. This is where you’ll find stories, resources and proven tips that work!
I truly believe that the future of our world lies in our children. The wisdom and folklore passed down from my beloved grandmothers and shared with generations has been weaved in my latest children’s picture book, MY GRANDMA IS LIKE THE SEA, building upon this foundation.
1. I’m a mummy.
2. I have a passion for storytelling rich in imagery.
3. I am a children’s book author. Go to SHOP to order my new children’s picture book, MY GRANDMA IS LIKE THE SEA.
4. If my inner circle feel under the weather, I tend to create imaginary stories that provide them with another perspective. That is, to lighten the load.
5. Don’t leave me sprOUT! I’ve never, ever been a fan of Brussel Sprouts. But since having a kid myself, I get creative with how I make them and now they’ve been known to make guest appearances on the dinner table. Watch this space for family recipe ideas.
6. I love Dramatic Arts and Theatre. One of my favourite plays I performed in was Cagebirds by David Campton. I starred as ‘The Wild One.’
7. I’m a book worm.
8. Orange is my favourite colour. Blue comes in a very close second.
9. During my competitive tennis days, I took a liking to playing with the boys. Playing mixed doubles was also ace!
10. I dig making sculptures out of sea side clay. It was one of my favourite pastimes as a child.
11. I enjoy picking blackberries and making it into fresh juice.
12. I’ve never been a huge fan of the cold. But this shifted upon experiencing my first ice bath in Bora Bora… followed by discovering the Wim Hof Method.
13. This brings me to the next fun fact… I want to see the Northern Lights.
14. I’m intrigued by Ancient Wisdom.
15. 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!
16. My soul is at home by the sea.
17. I love making things. Especially DIY low tox, sustainable solutions.
18. I am interested in human consciousness and wellbeing. As well as environmental preservation. If the environment is not in balance, how can humans truly thrive?
19. I dream a lot – possibly due to a very vivid subconscious. I write down my dreams in a journal as soon as I wake each day.
20. I am a tad into classic films. One of my favourite classics is Splendor In The Grass.
21. I was named Natalie after Natalie Wood.
22. I love music and interpreting lyrics. My family are musical – as a collective unit, we sing, play guitar, piano and the drums.
23. I’m a sucker for salt.
24. I’m also a sucker for hot chips – homemade ones with potatoes from the garden.
25. As a child, I was a sucker for ‘Žrnovski Makaruni.’ A type of homemade fresh pasta my grandma made for me.
26. Fun and adventure is important to me.
27. I am intrigued by the great thinkers of all time – Socrates, Jung.
28. Who would I loved to have met in this world? The inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla. Why? I’d like to talk about energy, physics and that of which exists beyond matter.
29. I love the surf. As a child, I would dream about travelling the Aussie coast in a Kombi slash Caravan. The furthest I got was sticking up some nostalgic photos of my father’s Kombi on my wall.
30. I have a crafty book of inventions I created as a child. My favourite being the sunglasses with a range of interchangeable colourful lenses used depending on your ‘mood.’