Australia

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, 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

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

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

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

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

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Broome Time

June 12, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationBali Hai Resort and Spa | Gantheaume Point | Eco Beach | Roebuck bay – Broome

Outfit Details

Sky Narbery Dress| Brooklyn Grange Dress | Spell Seashell Skirt |Spell Maisie Scarf

Swimwear – Posy one piece | Salvador Summer one piece | Blue Batik one piece (similar)

We may have been in the same time zone as Perth just over 2000km away but time definitely moves differently in Broome. It’s smoother, calmer, more relaxed and I can see why a lot people make the move up there.

Our trip was well over due. We have talked about visiting for so long and somehow never quite made it happen. I’m so happy we finally did and I’m already planning the next one. If you’re like me, and have been thinking about it forever, do it! Book it now! It’s the perfect time to visit now until October, the whales will be visiting soon too.

We stayed at the relaxing Bali Hai Resort and Spa. This was such a great choice for us as we needed a quiet and serene space to rest each day after so many outdoor adventures. The smell of frangipanis mixed with the trickling sounds of the water fountains made it the most tranquil oasis. We loved swimming and lazing by the salt water pool which was so refreshing after our dusty desert adventures. The highlight of our stay was definitely the couples massage experience at their well appointed day spa.

Our first day we headed out with Broome Whale watching on their solar powered vessel for the Snubfin Dolphin eco tour. Little did we realise we were going to see a whole lot more than just dolphins. We had some of the closest encounters ever with dugongs, who are known to be quite shy. This is actually the only tour company in Broome accredited with a Dugong interaction license, so if you want to see them, definitely book with these guys. We also saw so many beautiful turtles and multiple pods of dolphins, both bottlenose and snubfin dolphins, who only reside here in Roebuck bay. This is truly a one of a kind experience you can’t have anywhere else in the world.

What we loved about this tour was the level of knowledge and environmental awareness shared; touching on our individual social responsibility to protect our oceans through sustainable practices. We were so impressed to see these guys ditch all single use plastics and to learn they are completely carbon neutral through their biodiversity carbon offset scheme. They support local community with school programs, and they rescue and support rehabilitation of sea turtles. What’s not to love!

Day two we headed off on another full day of ocean explorations. This time we set sail aboard Karma IV, a 70 ft catamaran, ready to explore the pristine and remote Eco beach.

What a rewarding experience it was to feast our eyes upon this beach. It’s about 130km south of Broome and the most relaxing way to visit is definitely via the seas. This beach has an eco resort that has been built upon environmentally sustainable practices, with a choice of solar powered tents or villas, all with a pristine ocean view.

There are hammocks, kayaks and paddles boards waiting for you on the beach, and that Broome time feeling that makes you forget that time even exists. After a beautiful lunch at the resort, we set sail once again into the sunset back to Broome. It was so beautiful relaxing on the trampolines, feeling the ocean beneath us swaying us back and forth. The crew really took care of us and the food was next level. We loved that they catered to our dietary needs with high quality, delicious food :)

Day three we realised we didn’t even know what day it was anymore or how many days we had been in Broome. This was our spa day and couples massage. We also spent quite a bit of time in between taking photos and catching up on work while the kids enjoyed some pool time at Bali Hai.

Our next few days were spent exploring Cable beach and Gantheaume point. We visited Gantheaume point multiple times even in the same day. Broome is ruled by the tides and they change so much each day. At low tide you can see the dinosaur footprints that are 130 million years old. It’s actually such an amazing spot! At high tide you can jump off the rocks into the crystal blue water and search for rock pools that start to fill up. It’s a magical place that I would gladly revisit and spend many days exploring. The kids loved climbing the rocks and it felt pretty easy and safe for them, while still providing a challenge.

What really hit home on this trip was our need to take better care of our oceans and our planet. I’ve been making my own changes over the past few years but I wanted to share some tips here. My hope is to raise awareness and help others who may not realise how easy it is. Every little bit helps and it all adds up. We owe it to future generations along with our planet to take better care.

Here are just a handful of simple things you can do right now –

  • Say no to single use plastics – plastic bags (carry your own reusable bags, plastic straws (you can buy your own metal straws), bottled water (you can buy a reusable water bottle), plastic wrap (there are so many alternatives that are reusable and cheaper in the long run), takeaway coffee/tea (invest in a keep cup).
  • Eat plants – animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Fishing nets are also one of biggest plastic contributors to the ocean that trap dolphins, sea lions and seabirds.
  • Walk, ride, take public transport, ride share, carbon offset your travel
  • Partake in local tree planting in your community
  • Eat local and seasonal produce. It’s better for your health and farmers markets are so fun too! Just take a cute market basket to carry your produce home. The transport, energy and packaging it takes to bring produce from the other side of the world makes no sense.
  • Shop at bulk stores with your own containers to limit plastic use. You can fill up on shampoo, body wash, olive oil and your nuts and grains as well.

There is of course so much more we can all do, though this is a good starting point. I’d love for you guys to share your tips here too!

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

East Coast Blues

May 15, 2019

PhotographyBobby Bense | Mel Carrero for Spell

Styling /Model/Editing Helen Janneson Bense

Location – Gold Coast (Xanadu Main Beach Resort) | Byron Bay (Bask + Stow + Peaceful Byron Airnbnb) | BluesFest

OUTFITS

Wild Bloom Maxi Skirt | Posy one piece

Maisie Skirt | Maisie Crop

Seashell Organic Ruched Skirt |Camp Fire Lounge top

Kimba Scarf | Alfie Jacket

Dakota Palms Bikini

JEWELLERY

Lunar Love Flash Tattoos | Belle Mare Necklace | Mandala Medallion | Stargazer Necklace | Vintage Sun Necklace | Long Coin Necklace | Night Sky Necklace

HATS + BAGS + SHOES

Juno Boater | Spencer Boater (special) | Umbria Bag | Ezra Bag | Tan Ankle Boots Similar | Sleddly Boots | Naida Wedges | Vera sandals

This was probably one of the most fun family trips we’ve had over the school holidays. Being Easter, school holidays and Bluesfest, you can only imagine how overloaded Byron was. Nevertheless when you adapt to the fact that traffic and parking will be slower, it is just so worth it. The bustling energy and cumulative excitement of everyone was exhilarating.

We first landed in Gold coast as it’s an easy and direct flight from Perth and under an hour drive to Byron. There are so many picturesque spots to stop along the way too, like Rainbow Bay. Every bit as magical as the name suggests. We stayed at Main beach at the lovely Xanadu Resort. We had spectacular ocean views from our balcony and the beach only steps away. The kids boogie boarded all day long while we enjoyed some quiet slow holiday moments to rest and rejuvenate before we headed into what we knew would be a super high energy state for Bluesfest.

Byron never disappoints. Ever. Our stay began at Bask and Stow, a relaxing, luxurious and convenient spot to stay when you want to be close to everything. The suites are so beautifully and stylishly appointed with all your needs and the plunge pool area is the perfect oasis for a little respite from the Byron sun. You’ll want to take a million photos here as every corner is so instagrammable!

From here we moved to the most beautiful Airbnb thanks to the lovely crew at Spell. It was actually my Byron dream home…the wardrobe, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the wardrobe! haha! It was so tastefully designed with so many beautiful bohemian details. It was such a wonderful place to rest after each big day at Blues.

This Bluesfest was a wonderful journey through time for us and a bonding experience for our family. Living my 20’s listening to Ben Harper and Jack Johnson and finally seeing them both perform live brought all the memories flooding back. I had a few sweet moments remembering when I was pregnant with Jade, and when Bobby and I were married, always with Jack Johnson on repeat. It was so fun to share these moments with our kids. They even remembered so many of the songs from when they were little. It’s these shared experiences that bring our family so much closer.

Each day I got to do what I love most! Play dress ups in the most beautiful Spell clothing, connect and dance with a tribe of divine, inspiring women, and listen to some awesome tunes. Some of my favourite moments were hanging out at the Spell stall with that amazing pink piano set up by the talented Lucy. My kids absolutely loved this and I loved watching them fall deeper in love with music.

Head over to Spell to read a little interview about my mothering journey and to check out the new Lioness collection. It’s incredible!

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

All text and images copyright © Helen Janneson Bense 2020

Smiths Beach

September 12, 2018



PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSmiths beach resort | Indijup | Yallingup – Western Australia

To do – Book a bespoke trip with Experience Smith | Picnic + Surf Gallery at Aravina Estate | Snorkel at the Aquarium | Day trip to Injidup Natural Spa

EatLamonts at Smiths Beach | Aravina Estate | Wise Wines | Acai Bowls at Yallingup beach | Wild and Woods cafe | Eagle Bay Olives

Outfit details

Clothing Imperial lace miniAnastasia Lace Skirt | Lace scarf (worn as wrap top)

SwimwearSalvador summer one piece | Halter neck one piece

JewelryGalaxy charms bangle | Orbit necklace | Gold Stone Ring

HatsRiviera cap | Summer Love Boater

Accessories – Round Bali bag | Azul sandals | Luxe Banana Palm Floatie

We had the lovely pleasure of spending a few incredible days down at Smiths Beach earlier this year and it is by far one of our favourite WA beaches. We fell in love with Smiths Beach resort which was perfectly located just a few hours drive from Perth and is hands down the best place we have stayed in this region. It’s luxurious, peaceful and located right on this amazing beach. It’s a fantastic surf spot and has some of my favourite wineries just minutes away. It also has some of best sunsets I’ve seen all year! The sky lights up in the most beautiful candy coloured shades of pink and purple, and the ocean sparkles like turquoise diamonds.

Our family stayed in the 3 bedroom villa which was simply stunning. So luxuriously appointed, neutral and light, with beautiful Indian ocean views. I loved starting each day cosy in my robe, a cup of tea in hand, watching the surf. We had everything we needed right there, and when we felt like eating out, Lamonts was just a few steps away and served up one delicious feast for our family. After each salty ocean adventure we enjoyed the beautiful sparkling pool and soaked all our worries away in the villa’s amazing bathtub.

We packed in a few days of adventure and fun while we were here and headed out with Mr Chauffeurs and Experience Smith. We started our day on route to the Aquarium, a super secret lagoon spot that I’ll probably never be able to find again. We were lucky to have our guide show us the way for our gourmet picnic and snorkel. We were so grateful for the help as it’s about a 20 minute walk down the cliff with all your gear. Once we arrived it was complete magic. The snorkelling was phenomenal and the entire lagoon is protected from the ocean, so no need to be worried about sharks here. It has the most gentle current that you can float along with, and it’s filled with vibrant marine life.  Our kids loved it and we all felt so safe snorkelling for hours.

After a wonderful snorkel and picnic we headed to Aravina Estate. I had no idea what heaven we were in store for here. The most picturesque winery on the lake’s edge with blooming gardens in all shades of the rainbow. They served up the most delicious feast. Vegan for me of course and catered for so wonderfully. We stayed to share some champagne by the lake, and relax in the peaceful vibes of this place.

The biggest highlight of this trip was our visit to Injidup Natural Spa. An absolute natural wonder of the world here. Nature has basically carved out an ocean spa equipped with multiple massaging waterfalls as each wave crashes over the rocks and spills into the lagoon. It can get pretty wild during high tide and wild weather so definitely be mindful visiting this spot. On a calm, hot summer’s day it’s pure magic.

Each day we ended up on the beach, tuning into the magical Smith’s beach sunset. When I think of my busy year, it was here on the beach each day that left me feeling the most relaxed I have felt. It’s a truly special place that I can’t quite put into words. You will just have to visit and experience it for yourself.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

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