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

 

Slowly re-entering an altered reality

 

I feel a bit like Alice. I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I’ve met wonderful characters who have helped, sometimes hindered and oft times made my journey fun or just a little less stressful. Everything in my life is the same and different.  And I am now slowly waking up to reality. But an adjusted reality. A reality that includes a little person who has no respect for sleeping hours or schedules. Like the little white rabbit, I’m always late (which those of you who know me ‘off blog’ understand is enough to give me a conniption!).

The cause of this adjusted reality, she’s perfectly gorgeous. I’m in love.

 

Nicola and Munchkin by Hayley Hay Photography

 

Before Munchkin arrived, I was certain that my life would get easier. After 12 days in the early stages of labour I was exhausted and ready for the next part. And after hearing from others who’d been able to do projects in the weeks following the birth of their children, I was certain that the 2/3rds completed projects and blogs I had would get completed and after a week or two my blog would continue. After all, newborns only eat and sleep right?! I’d get all of my projects done and the blog would continue much as it had been *insert unladylike snort here*.

 

Nicola and Munchkin by Hayley Hay Photography

 

I should have taken heed to what my pregnant friends who already have children were doing. They were all planning ‘maternity leave’ from their projects and blogs.

Unsurprisingly I was in for quite a bit of a shock. I’ve gone from having many hours alone, to struggling to find enough time to have a shower, let alone finish a tutorial and write a blog. And of an evening I usually resemble a zombie and anything I’ve written makes about as much sense as if it were written by the aforementioned brain-dead one.

So it’s over two months since Munchkins birth and I’m only just making my way back to the blog. The tutorials and templates are on their way. But it’s going a bit slower than I thought.

Thank you to all of you who wrote to ask for the little shoes templates and tutorial. I love that you’re all looking forward to making them! But I have to beg for a little patience. They’ll be done just as soon as I can. Hopefully next week; but don’t hold me to that. The Munchkin may have other plans she’s not informed me about.

 

All photos of Munchkin and I in this post are by the very talented Hayley Hay from Hayley Hay Photography.

Switzerland’s New Papershop – Ikea

 

I received an email from Ikea yesterday and immediately made arrangements to go and check out my local store. Why? It’s not like they were handing out free Sczchfgdudnkfdskj’s, and I’m not a huge fan of their disposable furniture. Like with my chocolate, I’m more a ‘one good quality piece rather than a 400 gram block of average stuff’ girl. But I do like their gluten-free cake! And cheap glassware, lighting and teacups for parties.

They do a roaring trade with the expats here. Where else can you go, do a confusingly long, windy lap through a warehouse and walk out the front door with a complete house-full of furniture and appliances?! We do have some pieces bought over the years that I’ve yet to find suitable replacements for, but that’s mainly because second hand and vintage are so insanely expensive here; and as up until recently we’ve not had a car for me to take ‘brocante excursions’ in.

So why was I heading to Ikea with haste?

 

 

I went to check out their new Paperstore. I love paper-stores! Switzerland isn’t the best place to buy wrapping paper or stationery. When we arrived here almost 4 years ago it was near on impossible to buy wrapping paper or cards that weren’t bedazzled in some form (usually with glitter AND metallic foiling) and that often cost more than the item you wanted to wrap! Thankfully the situation has changed of late, and whilst still expensive, the range and quality have improved. For example Globus have come so far as to stock limited ranges of letterpress stationery.

So the prospect of cheap wrapping paper and stationery lured me in and I went for an ogle. It’s not earth-shattering. The designs are relatively modern but nothing that you’ve not seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take it in and how up to date they keep the ranges. I like the black and white, and brown paper and white ranges but wasn’t overly enamoured with the green, blue or pink options. But it is cheap (eg. 10 gift tags for 1.95 chf) and going by the number of people filling yellow bags with notebooks and gift tags, is quite popular. So if you find yourself having to wrap presents galore, need party favours or have decided that the Sczchfgdudnkfdskj you’ve just bought needs to be wrapped before you take it home, it’s the perfect place to go.

 

 

You can find the list of Ikea stores that contain the Papershop range in Switzerland here. The range and prices in Switzerland are shown here.

 

 

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In Print…

Inside Out Magazine

 

I’m really honoured to be included in the latest issue of Inside Out Magazine. Inside Out Magazine was one of my regular reads when I lived in Australia. So to find myself featured in their ’6 blogs to bookmark’ section held even more excitement!

 

Image via http://instagram.com/p/ab_SRNgnjZ/
Image via http://instagram.com/p/ab_SRNgnjZ/

 

I’ve since found out it is now possible to subscribe online to the magazine via Zinio. Why not check them out for a monthly dose of design and interiors goodness?

 

Image from http://instagram.com/p/aZvySagnh_/
Image from http://instagram.com/p/aZvySagnh_/

 

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.