Travel

Looking for Rainbows

April 15, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense

Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths Beach Resort

Outfit details

ClothingTiare Hawaii Brooklyn Dress | Spell Organic Ruched Skirt + Wild Love Robe | Astars Soiree Wide Leg Pants

Swim – Camilla Lunar Gazing one piece

Jewelry Spell Wild Love Gold Locket Necklace

Beach Picnic Setup and Styling Meekohontas | Vegan Grazing + CakesThe Art of Grazing + Simply Rawjus | Dried Flower installationsLush Petals Co

It’s been over a month since our family trip to Smiths Beach resort and wow how things have changed. In such uncertain times, I’ve found peace in knowing what is most important to me and being forever grateful for that. I’ve been focused on my day to day, being present with my family, while looking forward with a positive mindset, remembering there is always a rainbow after the storm.

Even though it was awhile ago now I wanted to share a little about our wonderful and much needed stay at the magnificent Smiths Beach resort. It’s safe to say we have picked favourites when it comes to traveling in the Margaret river region. Smiths stands out for location and luxury. It’s centrally located for the the surfer and the mermaid, the foodie and the wine connoisseur, the adventurer and those seeking retreat. The resort is just a stones throw from the most spectacular turquoise beach that carries it’s own special magic.

Located in Yallingup, which translates to the “Place of love”, Smiths is our family’s favourite place to stay. This was our fourth visit in just a few years and I can’t imagine it would be our last. Under a 3 hour drive from Perth, it’s the ideal getaway. It’s secluded, yet so close to all the wineries, breweries, restaurants and local art; you can pick and choose your culinary and artisan experiences. Or spend your day surfing, snorkelling or supping in these pristine waters. And end it with a sunset picnic on the beach and watch the sky turn all shades of the rainbow.

This trip in particular was so needed for our family. We started this year with tragedy as we watched helplessly as my parents home town was ravaged by bushfire and my parents lives were at risk. It was weeks of stress and worry that we didn’t even realise was taking a toll on our health. Soon after our daughter, Jade, became very ill and it’s been months of no sleep, doctor and hospital visits, and heart ache. She’s thankfully on the mend now but her road to recovery will take some time and she is still very vulnerable, particularly her lungs. Now as Covid-19 spreads through our world it’s more important than ever for us to focus on family, health and home. These changing and uncertain times have everyone on edge and the loss of lives and livelihoods around the world has been heartbreaking.

One thing I’ve realised is there is no right way for any of us to be feeling right now. We are experiencing a collective trauma. And it’s HUGE! It’s ok not to feel ok. You are allowed to feel sad, anxious, scared, depressed and you’re allowed to feel positive and be productive and motivated. Whatever your way of managing this situation is, it’s ok. We are not alone. We are all in this together. And everyones struggles matter and deserve empathy. Please reach out and ask for help if you are struggling.

Emotionally I’ve had to draw upon many tools to manage my anxiety. One of the most important steps has been identifying and embracing my emotions as they arise. I’m giving myself time and compassion to feel. I’m being easy on myself, observing and letting go of my inner judgements. I’ve witnessed my own past personal traumas surrounding “feeling unsafe” triggered once more. I’ve been practising mindfulness each day to stay in the present. I’m easing my mind accepting ‘what is’ rather than entering into a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios that generate more anxiety and fear. I’m finding gratitude for all that I have, rather than what I don’t.

Right now we can show our gratitude for those risking their lives to save ours by staying home, socially distancing and practicing proper hygiene. I feel incredibly blessed to have a safe home, to be in ISO with my family, to have my health, nutritious food, and to have found solace in creating art and music. We have health care warriors risking their lives every single day so we can be safe. There are homeless people, those who have lost everything, their livelihood, their purpose, their loved ones. Those who suffer violence in their home and have no safe space. This is a serious tragedy. One we are all a part of. Our main collective task right now is to STAY HOME and it’s ok if that is all we can do. Many will struggle deeply with the loss of life our world is experiencing. Not everyone will be able to turn their stay at home experience into a positive or productive one. Be easy, be kind, and be loving to your self during this time. Let go of the inner judgements. If all you can do is stay home, please know that is enough. If you can, try and focus on a few simple joys each day. Some ideas might be implementing a daily self care routine, playing dress ups and board games, music and dancing, painting and cooking, taking a neighbourhood nature walk (if allowed) and listening to bird song, looking at the clouds form shapes and the twinkling, starry night sky. Our family started a new tradition of picnics on the lawn where we say 3 things we are grateful for each day, which inevitably opened the discussion for more gratitude and those 3 things quickly turned into 20.

In the meantime let’s also remember the small businesses that are struggling, and try and support them where we can. Order from small businesses online and order produce from your local green grocer. Many are doing deliveries during this time and need our support. And when this has passed let’s book that trip and visit all the places we’ve dreamt of during ISO. I know Smiths beach will always be top of our list along with visiting my parents. Where in the world are you dreaming of when this is over?

For now take great CARE, stay WELL, and so much LOVE,

Helen xx

I left my ♡ in SA

February 21, 2020

PhotographyBobby Bense & Helen Janneson Bense

Editing/Styling/Creative Direction/ModelHelen Janneson Bense

LocationsSouth AustraliaPort Lincoln, Eyre Peninsula Tanonga Eco Lodge, Line and Label, Greenly Beach, Mikkira Station, Almonta Beach, Tumby Bay, Port Lincoln Hotel, Memory Cove, Seawall Apartments, Glenelg Beach, Moseley Beach Club, L’Anse Tumby Bay Cafe, Rogue & Rascal, Del Giorno’s

Please note that all drone imagery at Memory Cove and Almonta Beach was obtained with permission by the Department for Environment and Water.

Outfit Details

Dresses – Arnhem Island Sun Dress + Maxi Dress (Similar) | Tiare Hawaii Brooklyn Dress + Eyelet Hollie Dress| ASTARS Swing Cami + Soiree Wide Leg Pants | ASTARS Capitola Embroidered Skirt + Capitola Off Shoulder Top

Swim – Camilla Lace Front V Neck One piece

It was a journey into the unknown. Into the wild, raw and beautiful South Australian wilderness. We literally had no idea of what was in store. That we would be feasting on some of the freshest locally grown produce crafted by culinary experts. That we would be so deeply immersed in nature, connecting with the land and wildlife. That the coastal views and multitude of turquoise rock pools would completely take our breath away. And that all of this would be ours to enjoy with barely another soul in sight.

Our journey to Eyre Peninsula began in Adelaide. From here it’s a short under 1 hour flight to Port Lincoln. A great place for food and some local shopping, situated right on the beautiful Boston Bay. We stayed at the Tanonga Eco Lodge, 20 minutes from Port Lincoln. It’s a sustainably built lodge that sits high upon the ridge overlooking the ocean. I loved waking up here to the sound of birds and the golden glow of the sunrise each morning. Also the perfect spot to end a long day of exploring as the sunset sky creates a 360 degree panorama for you to feast upon each night. It had all the luxuries one could want, in a modern light filled space, that won’t cost the earth. Just some of the inspired sustainable design elements include an in ground slab for thermal mass, double glazing with attention to window orientation and size, a stand alone power supply primarily from solar energy, rainwater, organic worm treatment for all waste water, along with locally sourced produce. Tanonga was such a great base of comfort, luxury and some the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.

Day 1 – On our day of arrival we headed to Tumby bay for lunch at L’Anse Tumby cafe, a super cute French inspired cafe and worth a visit. We explored all the street art, including the incredible Silo art you’ll find just as you turn off to Tumby Bay. We settled in at Tangonga and then off for more incredible plant based cuisine. We found everyone so accommodating about our food preferences and it was super easy to travel through this region. Dinner was on the waters edge in Port Lincoln at Del Giorno’s and it was so delicious with such wonderful, welcoming service.

Day 2 – Swimming with Sea Lions with Adventure bay Charters. Hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I can’t recommend this enough. From the moment you arrive to the beautiful turquoise cove you can see these adorable sea puppies swimming excitedly towards the boat to greet you and play. They are such social creatures and absolutely loved swimming with us. I’ve never felt such a deep connection like this. And they are so cute! On the boat trip back to Port Lincoln we stopped offshore at Memory Cove to take in the pure pristine wilderness. We learnt about how endangered these beautiful beings are and that we must be aware of our part to play in their decline. If you choose to eat seafood, please ensure it is sustainably caught. Fishing nets are the biggest contributor to plastic pollution in the ocean and cause countless deaths of marine life each year, including dolphins, whales and turtles too.

After our adventure packed morning we enjoyed a delicious plant based lunch at Rogue and Rascal and then decided to take the wild and long 4WD journey down to Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area in Lincoln National Park. This incredible blue lagoon is about a 4 hour 4WD round trip from Port Lincoln. You’ll need to a key from the Visitor Centre to enter as they only allow 15 vehicles in per day. You’ll need to pack all your essentials too – water, sunscreen, food, first aid etc. as there are no facilities once you’re there. Just pure wilderness. You’ll see so many emus and kangaroos on your drive in. And many rare species that find a safe refuge here including Rosenberg’s goanna, echidnas, western whipbird, malleefowl and hooded plover. And if you’re lucky you’ll see the endangered white bellied sea eagle, which is the second largest bird of prey in Australia. We were able to spot one from our earlier boat trip with Adventure Bay Charters. Just look for the white belly.

Day 3 – We had a little sleep in after our mammoth first day and headed to explore Greenly beach. We had a lot organised for the day, but we honestly got so caught up exploring this one stretch of coastline which is just pure magic! We found a beautiful turquoise rock pool filled with starfish and decided to enjoy lunch here and soak up some sunshine. It was great to adopt a slower pace today and really breathe in the beauty of our surrounds. If you would like exact map details to help you locate this rockpool pictured in this post, please send me an email or comment on this post.

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at Sarin’s at the Port Lincoln Hotel. They have the most amazing set up and sunset view with twinkling lights and all the ambience you could envision. They created a bespoke plant based menu for us and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time. I was completely overstuffed by the end because it was just so good I couldn’t stop myself from eating more. I highly recommend this spot for dinner while you’re traveling through this region.

Day 4 – We started our day with an incredible sunrise at Tanonga and our staple avo on toast and a cup of tea. A beautiful day of exploring lay ahead and we were all a buzz with excitement. First up we ventured out with eco-accredited tour Xplore Eyre to Coffin Bay national park. Our first stop was Almonta beach, stopping along the way to say hello to the many emus and kangaroos that you will see in this region. Again we were so shocked to have this entire beach to ourselves. There were breathtaking cliffs and pure white sand beach for as far as the eye can see. And we were lucky enough to be greeted by a pod of dolphins swimming in these beautiful turquoise waters.

Next up we headed to Mikkira Station, home to a wild koala colony. Never have I ever seen koalas in the wild like this. I must have seen a koala in almost every tree. It was cuteness overload. We checked out the historical Mikkira homestead, set up a little picnic and enjoyed some healthy fresh treats amongst the gum trees and koalas. This protected haven is private property, so you will require a permit from the visitor centre to visit, or you can book a private tour via Xplore Eyre.

To end this incredible day we went to Line and Label for dinner. We had no idea what we were in for. And what a treat! And what a way to end our time on the Eyre peninsula. It’s a stunning venue built amongst the Peter Tinkle vineyards. You’re surrounded by organic gardens filled with vital foods used in all their dishes. I don’t think I’ve ever been welcomed so beautifully to any restaurant like this before. I felt like family, like I was at home, in this immaculately designed restaurant. All the design details reflect consideration, to ensure a welcoming, comfortable experience. And the food, well I can’t say enough great things about the food. They created an incredible plant based menu for us. 5 courses of pure deliciousness. I’ve never felt so spoilt in my life! Line and Label is more than a culinary experience. It’s a place to enjoy an entire afternoon or evening amongst the vineyards, watch the sunset, listen to music, enjoy the delightful ambience and decor, and explore the gardens. It’s an absolute must visit for the Eyre Peninsula.

Day 5 – Time to say goodbye to our wilderness and head back to Adelaide. Honestly there is still so much more to do here. Check out Talia caves, Whaler’s way and many more rock pool locations along this magnificent coast. We decided to save this for our next trip ;)

Straight off the plane we headed to the historical beachfront Seawall Apartments in Glenelg. Probably one of my favourites places to stay in Adelaide due to the close proximity to the beach, main shopping, beach club and cafes. We stayed in the gorgeous Beach house, which has maintained it’s beautiful historic charm in the design details, with modern, fresh beach themed decor. We absolutely loved this spot and would definitely book this for future family holidays to Adelaide.

First stop was Moseley Beach Club for some family fun in the sun and lunch. This is the most unique beach club located right on the sand by the jetty, just metres from the water. It’s super laid back with daybeds and beanbags and the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail. We had an awesome, super fresh, plant based meal here of tofu, rice and veg, salad and sweet potato fries. Perfect seaside food :) From here you can ride the giant ferris wheel, walk down the Glenelg jetty, the kids can enjoy the massive play space, and you can shop your heart out along Jetty road.

After enjoying a magical sunset right in front of our beach house at Seawall we ventured into town for a unique dining experience at Parwana. A bustling local spot of home cooked style Afghan food. We enjoyed some dhal and chickpea curry and some of their homemade soda. We were thoroughly stuffed and ready for a good nights sleep at beautiful Seawall. Though with all the fun and action of Glenelg we decided on a night time walk to watch some live music at the jetty. You are guaranteed there is always so much going on here.

Day 6 – Starting the day fresh with acai bowls at Bomdia. This is our second time to Adelaide and we love this cute spot. It’s just off Jetty road, walking distance from Seawall. Next stop Henley beach for a lazy beach day with the family, throwing the football, swimming and long beach walks.

We ended this beautiful day with a huge spread at Secrets by the Sea. Traditionally a seafood restaurant they created a plant based feast for us all. Everything was so beautifully presented with a fabulous sunset view from this stunning historic building.

It’s safe to say I left my heart in South Australia. What a trip! I highly recommend it. If you have more time I could suggest a million more things to do! Honestly there is so much! But hopefully this is a good start to help you plan your own adventure.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Ayada

November 29, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationAyada Maldives

Outfit Details

DressesBrooklyn Grange | Pitusa Multi Flared | Arnhem Poeme Mini

SwimwearKoleha Pistachio Botanic One piece | Camilla one piece (similar)

Jade wearsArnhem Belle Littles Top

JewelryAnanda Soul Divine Guidance Mala | Wanderlust + Co Zodiac Necklace | Ananda Soul Om Namah Shivah Ring | Heather Gardner Crystal Earrings

Ayada truly is the epitome of pure luxury, and it was the perfect place for us to enjoy at the end of our wonderful Maldives family holiday. Off the beaten path, nestled in it’s own remote paradise, we experienced the ultimate in service and luxury. Everything was handled with such care and attention to detail, from the moment we met our representative at the airport, to our departure. It took a plane and boat ride to get there, and it was worth every minute of the trek.

Upon our arrival we were greeted with a wonderful festival atmosphere. It was good vibes, lots of laughs and games for all ages. Bobby and I played giant connect 4 while the kids jumped on the trampoline and attempted to do the limbo. The kids quickly found their favourite spot on the island at Ayclub playing endless games of foosball, pool and table tennis. It was a short bike ride from our incredible Sunset Ocean family suite which made it loads of fun, and super safe for them to explore on their own. Our overwater villa was breathtaking. We watched reef sharks (which are super safe to swim with) and eagle rays swimming by from our pool during the day and magical sunset skies at night.

We spent our days snorkelling the house reef and we took a dream snorkelling and dolphin sighting trip that will forever be etched in my memory. I’ve never seen so many dolphins at once. They playfully swam around us with their beautiful, joyful energy. This tour was the biggest highlight of our entire Maldives trip. And to top this off we had the most intimate encounter with a turtle right after this. As we swam alongside this majestic being it turned around multiple times and simply stared at us for what felt like an eternity. This experience was beyond what I could ever have imagined.

The food, the chefs, the restaurants, all went above and beyond to create the most exquisite plant based foods for our family. Every meal was a dream and culinary delight for our senses. We had a special dinner at Kai restaurant and this was an absolute stand out. I remember saying it was the best meal of my life! And it really was. I’ll be dreaming about that dinner for a long time.

Our last day was spent enjoying the most decadent plant based floating breakfast in the Royal Ocean Suite. The villa itself was so beautifully designed with all those Turkish inspired colours and details. We enjoyed all of our favourite foods and a slow, relaxing day of pure luxury that we’ll never forget.

If you guys are planning a trip and need any tips please feel free to message me. If you’re island hopping like us, then you need to plan it out and that will vary for each person’s preferences on where you want to stay. I do find that each resort we stay at are so helpful in organising most of the details for you. It makes traveling a breeze. And the plane views are always just stunning so it feels more like a tour.

I use this resource here to check the distances between each island and Male (island where most international flights land) and it helps me to work out if I can reach an island by speedboat or seaplane. It’s always best to organise a stay overnight in Male if you’re arriving late at night and plan to take a seaplane to your first spot. Or organise to first stay somewhere within speedboat distance as some will run late at night.

I feel so grateful for this family trip to the Maldives. It definitely takes a lot of work and time to organise all the logistical details when traveling to the islands, and it can get quite costly, but it always is my absolute favourite place to relax and explore with my family. We always leave inspired, knowing anything is possible.

Happy travels and so much love,

Helen xx

A Timeless Sanctuary

November 12, 2019

Photography – Bobby Bense

Model/Editing – Helen Janneson Bense

Locations – Vakkaru Resort – Maldives

USE DISCOUNT CODE VMGYPSY when you book direct at vakkarumaldives.com you’ll get 40% off room rates + complimentary half board meal plan. Stay from now until 19th December 2019.

Outfit Details

DressesCharo Ruiz Vaiana | Yumi Kim Dolce Vita Maxi | Camilla Retro Rainbow Tie Front + (Similar)| Jaase Fiorella Adriana Maxi

Swimwear – Heidi Klein (similar) | Camilla (similar)

When our arrival to Vakkaru was blessed with a dolphin sighting, we already knew it was going to be one amazing experience. Every moment of our stay from being greeted at the airport to saying our farewells was managed with the highest level of service, that has put this resort into our top 5 best resorts in the world.

Vakkaru is located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Baa Atoll. The resort has multiple blue holes and an incredible house reef accessible from the overwater villas. We had some of our best snorkelling adventures right here in the pristine turquoise waters of Vakkaru, that were teaming with tropical fish.

In the Maldivian language, Dhivehi, Vakkaru means Coconut Timber and the island actually has around 2300 beautiful, lush coconut trees. We loved the earthy yet luxurious design of the resort, and how beautifully decorated the villas were, with the most soothing colour palette reflective of the surrounding nature.

As always we spent the majority of our time in the ocean from sunrise to sunset. From their dive centre, known as Splash, we headed out on kayaks to their incredible pure white sandbank island. From here you can snorkel some of the surrounding reefs, and the blue hole. It’s an easy kayak and a great family adventure exploring the most iridescent turquoise waters that surround Vakkaru. Ensure you pack your snorkel gear, water, hat and reef safe sunscreen as it gets so hot in that Maldivian sun. One of our favourite snorkels was the turtle splash snorkelling trip and we lucked out seeing 3 turtles the moment we jumped off the boat! From here it was turtle after turtle as we snorkelled along the most beautiful reef.

Our kids had the best time here at Vakkaru and have said we must visit again. If they weren’t snorkelling with us, they were riding their bikes around the island and visiting their favourite spot the coconut club. We played many games of foosball, table tennis and pool here. We even challenged some of the Vakkaru team members to a few games which was so fun! We really loved that the resort had activities for all ages groups. It really is a great and safe place to travel with kids of all ages.

One of my favourite spots, and there were so many, was the overwater Merana Spa. They have the most beautiful sound healing room equipped with crystal bowls. I was already won over when we arrived, but this was everything. The room had a glass bottom viewing space so while you played the bowls you could see the turquoise water and fish below. Absolutely so serene. What I loved about the spa most was that it is actually a communal space available for all guests to visit. There is no extra charge for use of the jacuzzi, plunge pool, sauna and sweat room. They sit right on the waters edge in the most picturesque setting. It’s like having your own giant overwater villa. It’s a beautiful spot to watch the sunset as you soak in the jacuzzi.

We were also very impressed to learn about Vakkaru’s green initiatives as sustainability is always an important factor anywhere we stay. Their on-site reverse osmosis water treatment means still and sparkling water for all guests served in glass bottles. They regularly clean up the house reef and have coral planting for guests and team members to participate in. We absolutely loved their healthy organic farm where they compost and source much of the produce for the kitchen. And you can tell! Everything we ate was absolutely delicious and full of vitality. Some of the best vegan food we’ve had. The breakfast buffet offers a wide range of options for anyone on a plant based diet. And if you like, have your breakfast in your villa pool. The floating breakfast was so good and full of all my favourite breakfast foods – avocado on toast, fresh fruits, granola, and fresh veggies. Nothing was ever too much for the chefs here either. They were more than happy to create some beautiful bespoke vegan taste sensations and experiences for us. Our last dinner under the stars at Vakku was probably the most extraordinary way to end our stay. Surrounded by a love heart, lanterns and a glorious sunset, we enjoyed one of the best dinners of our lives together as a family. We felt beyond blessed. This is a memory we’ll never forget.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Vakkaru now and book the dream trip of a lifetime and remember to use my discount code VMGYPSY

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Out of the Ordinary

October 25, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Editing/ModelHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSix Senses Laamu, Maldives

Outfit Details

ClothingSky Hyeon Mini |Sky Maija High Low |Koleha Tassel Wrap |Milanja Lemon Stripe Top + Lace Skirt

SwimwearKoleha Pistachio Botanic One piece |Heidi Klein One piece (Similar)

Accessories – Pom pom bag (similar) | Hutton Sun Hat

When I began planning our family holidays to the Maldives I wanted to ensure that I chose somewhere to stay that reflected our beliefs. We always look for places that make sustainability a priority, respecting the land and ocean that surround them. We look for a place that supports healthy living and offers plant based cuisine. And we seek out back to nature, unique experiences, something out of the ordinary. We found all of this and more at Six Senses Laamu. It’s laid back, barefoot luxury, that will enliven all your senses. I now understand why so many people have told me this is their absolute favourite resort in the Maldives. It lives up to it’s reputation.

For me family holidays are about connecting and doing what we love together. There were so many activities at Six Senses for us all to enjoy including water sports, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, football, treasure hunts, board games, and of course snorkelling is by far our family favourite. It has been a dream of ours for the longest time to swim with turtles. This was also one the reasons we chose Six Senses. They have an amazing house reef and they offer guided snorkelling with their marine biologists each day. You’ll be able to see multiple green sea turtles and maybe even the endangered hawksbill turtle. Every time we saw them it was like the first time. The joy and excitement we felt as we shared this experience as a family was immeasurable. And to top it off they actually have turtles nesting on the island! We even woke up one morning to a turtle laying eggs just next door to our villa! If you’re lucky you may even be able to witness them hatching during your stay.

In between hours of snorkelling and ocean adventures, we enjoyed so much delicious plant based cuisine. We sampled vegan goodness from each of their dining options – Zen (Japanese fusion), Leaf (local signature restaurant), Longitude (à la carte and buffet) and Chill bar, which was perfect for enjoying a cocktail and watching the sunset to some great tunes. Our favourite was Sip Sip where we all enjoyed many laid back long lunches by the pool. They offered a great range of vegan options which was so refreshing to have some variety each day. Whether you’re plant based or not, try the ‘Love Salad’ when you visit. The flavour explosion is incredible! After lunch you can lounge by the pool or relax in the water hammocks. This was my favourite spot to completely unwind. There is nothing more relaxing than the warm ocean gently swaying you. And if you’re not too full who could go past the all you can eat vegan sorbet! One of the many wonderful treats we love about Six Senses was the Ice and Chocolate Studio :)

What I admire most about Six Senses Laamu is their dedication to sustainability and their goal to be completely plastic free by 2022. They have already banned all single use plastics, but they are taking this one step further to remove all plastics from their supply chains as well. During our stay I did a back of house tour which was so insightful. They grow much of their own organic produce including a mushroom hut, they make all their own uniforms and textiles, they limit the amount of waste they produce, they re-use all glass bottles in their Earth lab, and produce their own water. And it doesn’t end there. You can read more here about their marine conservation efforts and community outreach.

The wonderful gift of travel is how humble it makes you. You begin to see the world in a new light. Your appreciation for nature grows and your will to protect it. We were so inspired by our children who on their own accord initiated efforts to collect rubbish from the beach during our transit in Male, and what small amounts of rubbish washed up on shore at Six Senses. During our stormy yet beautiful visit to their sandbank island we saw a little bit of plastic pollution wash up with the strong currents. Plastic bottles, lighters and flip flops were some of the most common items we dredged out of the water. It just goes to show how far these pollutants are traveling and how much more we all need to do to protect these beautiful environments. Our wonderful children of course happily helped us to collect all the rubbish to be properly recycled.

Something we highly recommend when traveling to the Maldives is bringing your own reusable water bottle. We also suggest that you take all your plastic waste home with you. Not all resorts will recycle properly like Six Senses and your plastic may end up back in the ocean.

Here is a website that I’ve found some really great tips and products that have helped us transition to a plastic free home, and ideas for traveling plastic free. If you want any specific advice please feel free to message me. I’m always happy to support anyone on a journey to help protect our planet.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Our Wild Winter Escape

August 13, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Editing/StylingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths Beach Resort | Margeret River |Augusta (Whale watching) | Parry Beach BreaksLand’s End | Valley of the Giants | Williams Bay NP

Outfit Details

Clothing – Milanja Escape Maxi Dress + Escape Ivory Lace Dress| Tysa Designs Wrap Skirt (Wildflower) + Wrap Skirt (Brazil) + Wanderlust Dress (Côte d’Azur)| Tolani Super Silk Turquoise Scarf (worn as a warp top) | Unreal Fur De La Cream Faux Fur Jacket (Similar) | Spell Kimba scarf | Camilla One piece (Similar)

Jewelry – Ananda Soul Wise, Wild + Free Ring | Angel Whispers Necklace | Shakti Bodhichitta Amulet | Chakra Balancing Necklace | Gold Charm Necklace | Mantra Necklace

Home – Sea Tribe Hyams Cushions + Hyams Throw

This year our family decided to do something a little different over the school holidays than our usual tropical escape. We headed down south of Western Australia to experience the wet, wild, wintery wilderness, or so we thought. Our days were filled with sunshine exploring the pristine beaches and even braving the invigorating, cold water of the Indian Ocean. Our nights were spent cosy by the fire, rugged up watching the starry night sky. It was the perfect family adventure to celebrate Bobby’s birthday week.

This was out third visit to Smiths Beach resort and it definitely won’t be our last. It’s our favourite place to stay in Margaret River. It’s close to everything we love to visit – Indijup Natural Spa, The Aquarium (natural lagoon), Hamelin Bay (sting rays), Whale watching in Augusta, the surf, the food and those incredible pastel sunsets that are hands down the best at Smiths Beach.

We loved the light, open space and view from our 4 bed beach house. It was so dreamy waking up to the sounds of crashing waves each day. Not to mention soaking in the beautiful bath tub each evening and melting into their luxurious bed each night. We enjoyed so many culinary delights including the most delicious vegan offerings from Lamonts. They provided us with the best vegan tapas platter we’ve ever had. They even made Bobby a vegan birthday cake which was just incredible! If you head to Smiths Beach you must stop by for the yummiest all day breakfast at Lamonts.

One the highlights of this trip was spending a day with Whale Watch amongst the gentle giants of the ocean. The northern Humback whale migration is happening right now and we had a front row seat to witness all the magic. We were lucky enough to enjoy the VIP Captains Lounge experience and it was wonderful to hear first hand information from the crew about all their whale encounters. This is a beautiful family owned and run business that truly understand the whales, sharing their insights and research along the way. We were so inspired by their stories and their passion for the whales. If you choose to go whale watching in WA then definitely go out with Whale Watch.

From Margaret River we ventured further south to Denmark. We wanted to get closer to the ancient trees and the rugged coast that reminds us a little of California. For Bobby’s birthday week it felt appropriate to find a little reminder of home.

We stayed at the beautiful Parry Beach Breaks in one of their luxurious beach houses called Land’s End. The sweeping views over Parry Beach along with the sounds of nature and kangaroos hopping about made it the most ideal spot to completely unwind. And unwind we did. We completely unplugged and switched off from work, emails, wifi and deeply immersed ourselves in nature. Our family had so much fun, from swimming at Greens Pool, to walking in the treetops amongst the old growth forest, bouldering at Elephant rocks, slow cooking meals together, and quiet moments by the fire. We spent these few days connecting with one another, having deep conversations about the universe, and laughing so much we cried.

There are moments in nature that leave a mark on you forever. And this was one of them. We were all cosy by the fire, playing cards, whilst keeping an eye on the stormy sky. The sun rays began filtering through the clouds, everything was glistening, and it looked like a rainbow would appear at any moment. I decided to get changed into a colourful outfit in preparation, just in case a rainbow did appear and we could take some beautiful photos to share. As I was getting ready I was singing a little rainbow song I made up, willing and hoping one would come. The kids were of course laughing at me. I felt like a little kid, so full of joy and anticipation. I had no idea if a rainbow would actually appear. Moments later we watched the most beautiful rainbow we’ve ever seen form right in front of us. We could see both magical golden ends of the rainbow. We made wishes and danced in the euphoric exhilaration of this moment. To our disbelief and absolute delight a second one appeared. A double rainbow! It was so unbelievably magical. We were all stunned. We were all in awe. What a special moment this was. And I was so happy we could all fully enjoy this and capture this beauty to share with you.

I’m always looking at life through a magical lens. And putting myself out there in nature, anticipating, searching, exploring. It reminds me we are all connected. We are all made of the same star stuff. We are all ONE. You never know what you’re going to discover. We love leaving our comfort zone to seek these priceless treasures, these moments that build bonds and family memories we will cherish forever.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

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