My greatest project

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

Many of you who have followed ‘next to nicx’ over the years have probably noticed that it’s not plastered with my photograph. In fact, I’ve actively avoided putting my face on the blog as I’ve rather liked hiding behind my creations. I’ve loved letting them do the talking and showing off, particularly as I’m not comfortable in front of a camera and have tended to prefer being behind it. I am something of an introvert.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

I thought that if my ‘face’ didn’t match what you thought it would look like, you’d be disappointed. A little like when someone creates a movie adaption of a book you love and they put what you feel is entirely the wrong actor in the part. The book is forever tainted by the awful actor and the mental image you had created is slightly overwritten.

I didn’t feel like the face of this blog. I was pregnant and fat and I’m still not back to my ideal shape. I’m sleep deprived, tired and have struggled with an iron deficiency. I’ve used all these as my excuses for leaving my face off the blog and to keep hiding in relative obscurity.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

But all that comfortable anonymity has recently been stripped away. I was asked to complete a project (rather a splediferous one I can share with you in August) and they wanted to put my photo on it. After the subsequent panic attack, I realised that I can no longer hide. And whilst I’ve no plans of plastering my face over every post, I probably do need to share a little more than I have been.

Thankfully I’ve recently become friends with lovely and insanely talented Hayley Hay. She’s amazing! Hayley came to my rescue and took some really great photos of the Munchkin and I. Many more than was needed for my project. And so I’ve decided to share some of them with you and to say;

“Hello, this is me. Nice to meet you”.

As well as; “Check out my greatest project of all time! Isn’t she adorable?!”

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

Because Munchkin is by far and away, my greatest creation/ project/ job.

She is a handful. Just like her father and I, she knows her own mind and makes sure we know it too. She is also gentle, generous and kind. I’m adoring the personality that is emerging every day and seeing just how excited she gets as she learns something new. Just last week she learned how to clap her hands and so clapped proudly whilst saying “Yaaaaay” for about a day and a half. She clapped even whilst crying!

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

I’m a firm believer in “Do it once. Do it well”. And I’m doing my utmost to do it well with Munchkin. We have our good and bad days, and I’m learning to go with the flow a lot more. My perfectionist self has had to learn to be happy with ‘Almost perfect’ and more often with ‘Good enough’. It has been a challenge.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

Just minutes before we were to start this shoot, my daughter decorated her outfit so badly it had to be changed entirely. And it was washing day. So she end up wearing a t-shirt, baby Converse and spotty tights in this shoot instead of the pretty dress I’d planned. I was a little disappointed. But after seeing the end result, I’m so glad! They show every gorgeous little squishy baby roll and her beautifully chubby belly. She’s thinning out a little now as she’s starting to move around a bit more.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

This beautiful little one has taken all of my days and a fair number of my nights. Any any spare time I’ve had, I’ve been making but haven’t had time to blog.

It was starting to get to me. I hated seeing the blog stagnant. Even though I told myself it was only ‘maternity leave’, I seriously considered giving up next to nicx. Being an expat and not having easy access to family had meant that I’d not had time alone to work etc. I couldn’t see a way to make it work.

But a couple of my friends and my husband gave me a serious taking to, I’ve decided to keep it going. And I saw a need for a little me time as I’d started to feel like I was losing myself. Consequently, we’ve made some lifestyle adjustments. My husband comes home early a couple of nights so I can get in a swim/ workout and we now have a sitter come to look after Munchkin a couple of half days a week so I can get back to ‘work’. Munchkin has made a new friend, and I’ve finally got time to bake/ blog/ make and create!

It has the added benefit of making me feel a whole heap better and therefore, I’m a much better mother.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

Good news! This means that the blog is going to get busier than it has been. All those half finished projects are starting to be completed and photographed. And I’ve a whole heap of new ones. So you should start to see a craft/ GF baking blog post every week or so. And I’ve a list of splendiferous things I’ve found whilst wandering around this new world inhabited by little Munchkins, I’ll share a few of those with you too.

Nicola Pravato by Hayley Hay Photography

Thanks for following next to nicx and for being patient all these months!
So see you next week; right now I’ve a tiny skirt and post to finish!

Nicx

 

All images in this post are Copyright to Hayley Hay Photography

 

Fruit printables

 

I don’t often share the work of others on this blog. But now and then I stumble across something that I can’t resist sharing with you, this is one of those things!

I haven’t made these paper pieces of fruit… yet. Primarily because Munchkin still has a habit of making papier mâché out of everything she can get her hands on. But they’re splendid!

I can’t help but think they’d make fabulous presents filled with candy, or put in a fruit bowl as a table decoration. I only wish I’d thought of the idea! Honestly, though, Mr Printables do some splendid work I’m exceedingly envious of. Go check them out here
 

mrprintables-play-fruit-templates-1
mrprintables-play-fruit-strawberries
mrprintables-watermelon-pineapple
mrprintables-watermelon-template
mrprintables-apple-pear-templates

 

Download the templates here

Collection of free Valentines Printables

 

Valentines Day is fast approaching. Are you prepared?

For those of you who aren’t, I’ve collated a collection of free Valentines Day printables. So if you’re stuck for ideas, why not have a look? Just click on the images to link through to the respective blogs and downloadable files.

My husband and I are a bit rubbish at Valentines Day. It’s often forgotten until the day before or the morning of.

We avoid all the really commercial aspects of the day and don’t go out to crazily expensive and often mediocre dinners or buy each-other expensive gifts. But we do something. This year my husband will have just gotten off the plane after an 11 hour flight followed by a 2 1/2 hour train trip, having spent just 3 days in San Francisco. So we’re going for low key this year. I’m going to make us a nutritious and delicious dinner and then, if my lovely other half can keep his eyes open, we’ll watch a movie.

Usually I make a card. But last year I forgot about Valentines Day all-together as I was suffering from a hideous bout of morning sickness. I have no idea what I’m going to do this year. Some people appear to be using my Little Mr Robot Advent Calendar as a Valentines Gift, so I may do something similar.

 

Via The Black Apple
Via The Black Apple

 

Via Design Wash Rince Repeat
Via Design Wash Rince Repeat

 

Via Pumpkins and Posies
Via Pumpkins and Posies

 

Via Everyday Cheer
Via Everyday Cheer

 

Via Pumpkins and Posies
Via Pumpkins and Posies

 

Via Everyday Cheer
Via Everyday Cheer

 

Via One Charming Party
Via One Charming Party

 

Via Love Vs Design
Via Love Vs Design

 

Via Whisker Graphics
Via Whisker Graphics

 

Via Rockin Boys
Via Rockin Boys

 

Via Fancy That Design House
Via Fancy That Design House

 

Via A Blog Made Vibrant
Via A Blog Made Vibrant

 

Via Theo Design
Via Theo Design

 

Fabulous finds for Munchkin #1

 
I’ve spent a fair amount of time browsing the interwebs of late. Looking for inspiration and ideas for Munchkins wardrobe and nursery (we hope to find out what flavour we’re having at the next big scan in a couple of weeks). I’ve found so many fabulous things! I just have to share a few of them with you!

lion handmade coat eco- friendly little goodall coaters europe
handmade animal coats eco friendly coaters little goodalls

I may have tried to convince DM that Munchkin needs one of these gorgeous wool felt coats now…

I failed. I did see his reasoning, but why shouldn’t a 3 month old (in December) have one? I did get a commitment to order one next year though!

I found these beautiful items on the Petit à Petit and family blog. They’re handmade in the United States and each one takes about 15 hours to put together. They’re available in the states from Little Goodall and from Coaters in Europe.
 

Precious Knit Blankies for Baby- Sheep blankie

From Precious Knit Blankies for Baby, this gorgeous blankie instantly made it’s way onto my ‘todo’ list. I’m going to need a knitting machine if I’ve any chance of getting through them all! Available from Amazon here.

 
 

A thousand words. Daniels Duvet cover DIY

Check out this amazing tutorial! I’d thought of using Spoonflower to create bedding. But this is genius! Jen from A Thousand Words traced her sons artwork onto his bedding. She’s created a tutorial here if you’d like to do it too. This is something I hope to use in future. I’ll just have to be patient and wait until Munchkin is old enough to be artistic.
 

Sarah Trumbauer Papercut artist Birth Announcement

Sarah Trumbauer is a paper cut artist who makes these wonderful creations. I think they’d make splendid baby announcements. You can buy prints of her work on Etsy or she does work on commission. I may have added a custom commission to my future wish list (once I work out just what I’m doing to Munchkins nursery).
 
There are a ton more wonderful items I’ve stumbled across. I’ll list more of them next week. But now I’ve got to get back to work to finish the tutorial I’ve been trying to put up on the blog for the last few days.

 

Free Christmas Printable Gift Tags

It’s that most wonderful time of the year…. The time when you feel like you’re running late (and you are) for about 3 weeks straight. You’re prepping for guests or for travel, hiding Christmas presents from loved ones (and trying to remember where you hid them later), making fruit cake and trying not to consume the alcohol for the cake… before it gets into the cake. And in amongst the chaos that is the festive season, you need to wrap presents!

And if most of the people I’ve discussed this with are anything to go by, you get to the night before the big day in question and the stash of wrap you grabbed as you raced out of the store but didn’t really look at properly taunts you. And you make do. Or you get to the gift wrap section and anything that is half decent is gone. All that’s left is the paper covered in gaudy glitter. The wrapping paper equivalent of a Christmas sweater featuring Rudolph with blinking nose. The one that doesn’t fall into the so bad it’s good category. It’s just bad.

So I’m here to help. I’ve come across so many gorgeous printables that you can use quickly and easily and I want to share them with you. They’ll enable you to present perfectly polished presents! So go grab a roll of brown paper, some bakers twine and your tape. Print and cut these out and you’ll be set!
 

These are some of my favourite this year! By Kelli Murray Art and Design.
Click on the images to link through to the respective printable post.

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