Style

Winter Retreat

June 19, 2021

Photography – Helen Janneson Bense

LocationSamphire Resort, Rottnest Island, Western AustraliaSTAY PLAY + SAVE available for 1 more day to book until June 20th 2021

Outfit Details

Dress – House of Harlow 1960 X Sophia Richie Yasmina Maxi Dress

Top – Lovers + Friends Astrid Off Shoulder Top

Hat – Mawi House Thea hat

Jewelry – Wanderlust + Co Hummingbird Necklace | Sunseeker necklace | Sunlit necklace

Who knew winter at Wadjemup/Rottnest Island could feel like this! So many of the bays are sheltered from the wind, and with clear blue skies, beaming sunshine, a healthy, warmth circulating from hours of fun riding my bike, I couldn’t believe it was actually winter. Rottnest truly is our own little Maldives. It has the clearest turquoise water, immaculate snorkelling opportunities, no cars, with vast trails to explore. It even has it’s very own unique wildlife, the quokka. They are the cutest and friendliest marsupials you’ll ever see. Every time I visit I discover something new. If you’re like me and not a fan of crowds, then winter is definitely the time to visit and explore. You can have an entire beach to yourself! I’ve completely fallen in love with a Rottnest winter retreat.

This staycay spot is only a 30 minute ferry ride from Fremantle. It’s such an easy and smooth transition that you’ll still feel well rested once you arrive. I stayed at the new Samphire Resort for my mid week staycation. It was the perfect respite for this busy mum. The rooms are spacious, luxuriously appointed, with all comforts considered. The service was impeccable and not something I’ve come to expect here in Australia. They’ve really hit an international standard that made the experience all the more enjoyable. And the food! Wow the food! Lontara served up some absolutely delicious, beautifully presented, plant based cuisine. I love the authentic south east Asian flavours and they nailed it on every single dish. The resort ambience is so relaxing, laze by the pool in their cabanas, by the beach club for sunset with a cocktail by the fire, and watch the sunrise from your balcony overlooking the ocean.

My days were filled with adventure. I rode to some of my favourite spots and discovered some new favourites along the way. I definitely recommend a ride out to the Basin, followed by Fays bay, Little Parakeet and Parakeet bays and if you still have some energy Little Armstrong bay. If you’re a strong rider and super fit, you can go even further around the whole island, depending on how much you want to ride vs laze upon the beach soaking up the sun. If riding is not your thing, or fitness is an issue, then grab an e-bike or jump on the hop on/hop off bus. You can see the whole island and not break a sweat. I also recommend heading towards Parker point and Salmon bay. There are some amazing views and snorkelling to be experienced here. On my last morning I enjoyed a short ride to Henrietta rocks, which is about a 30 minute walk from Samphire. It’s a stunning turquoise beach with a shipwreck. On a calm day you can snorkel here and explore the coastline.

All in all a fabulous staycation and one I’ll make sure to plan each year for a winter break. I’m filled with even more gratitude for my home and I still can’t believe I live in this dreamy part of Australia. I hope this inspires you to get out into nature and explore the beauty of your own backyard.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Free People

May 27, 2021

PhotographerBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – Fremantle, Western Australia

Free People Outfits

  1. Skirt/Convertible Tunic | Lace Crop | Burnout Kimono | Gold Rush Necklace | Boardwalk Sandals
  2. Skirt/Convertible Tunic | Lace Crop | Maia Bandeau Top | Gold Rush Necklace | Boardwalk Sandals
  3. Skirt/Convertible Tunic | Textured Crop Top | Lace Crop | Gold Rush Necklace | Boardwalk Sandals
  4. Fable Midi Dress | Lara Layer Necklace | Boardwalk Sandals | Burnout Kimono

Joy lives in the space where you are free to create by the will of your heart

Tapping into my divine feminine energy, layering inspiring multi wear pieces from Free People. Feeling ever inspired to create and express myself through these beautiful designs, silhouettes, embroidered details, colours and textures. I love these trans seasonal styles, making my wardrobe more versatile and sustainable. I’m obsessed with pieces that can be layered, worn multiple ways, and mixed and matched.

Free People is a brand I’ve loved for many moons. Their designs truly reflect my wild spirit and bohemian heart, and I’m so happy they are available in Australia. Make sure to check them out. For all my outfit details head to my Like to Know It profile. It’s an easy place to follow along and find all my favorite looks.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

#FreePeoplePartner

Batu Karang

May 25, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationBatu Karang, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Support local Balinese families HERE

While international travel is still not on the cards for Australia, I’m finding gratitude for all the incredible adventures I’ve had, reminiscing and dreaming of these magical moments in paradise. I’m sending my love to all of these places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. This island, like many, rely on tourism, and have really struggled this past year. If you are in a position to help, you can donate here to help feed a family.

Nusa Lembongan holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a place both Bobby and I have visited multiple times. It’s much quieter than Bali, and I always have a sense of really connecting to the beautiful Balinese culture when we visit.

Our last trip to Nusa Lembongan, we stayed at the lovely eco-conscious Batu Karang Resort, in the Occasion Wedding villa. A perfect, romantic, luxuriously appointed villa, equipped with a spa bath, private pool and breathtaking turquoise ocean views with the most incredible backdrop of Mount Agung. Bobby and I don’t have family who live close to us to help with our children, so when we get the opportunity to travel together, just the two of us, we absolutely treasure it. This was one of the most romantic trips we’ve had, making the most and best of our time together. We were surrounded by opportunities for stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, island hopping, beach clubs and chatting with locals. Our days were spent exploring by motorcycle, learning about the locals, underwater adventures, balmy sunset beach dining, night swims, and enjoying the privacy of our villa.

Batu Karang is located only a stone’s throw from the boat harbour on Nusa Lembongan. You can in fact walk to the resort from the beach. It’s an easy boat ride from Sanur on the mainland of Bali, and well worth the effort. From the island you can also visit the sister islands, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Both are very accessible from here and have loads of experiences on offer. Crystal Bay beach is one of my favourite snorkelling spots in the area that can be accessed on a boat tour.

For those wanting to unwind and relax, the resort has 3 pools to choose from; an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, a lap pool for swimming, and one with a swim up bar, perfect for lounging with a coconut under the palm trees.

There are multiple dining options within the resort at Muntigs and also on the island. The resort restaurant is set around the infinity pool and a perfect spot to watch the sunset. The Deck also offers amazing ocean views and is a great spot for an afternoon cocktail. Around the island we also loved Hai Bar and Grill, Sandy Bay Beach Club and Nyomen’s Warung for a truly local experience. We had no issue eating plant based anywhere, and I often find Indonesia is one the easiest and most delicious places to enjoy plant based cuisine.

Writing about this place has brought back all those beautiful memories in a very visceral way. I hope to revisit again once it’s safe to do so, to explore this magical island and support the local community. And I recommend you put Nusa Lembongan on your travel list if you haven’t already.

With love and gratitude, Helen xx

Copyright Images and Text | Helen Janneson Bense 2021

Beach Wedding Inspiration

May 11, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – City Beach, Western Australia

Set up and stylingPretty Willow

FlowersLush Floral Design

DressesRue De Seine Bridal

JewelryHeather Gardner | Ananda Soul

Shop my favourite bridal styles

Throwing it back with this blog post to a simpler pre-covid time, reminiscing about this wedding scene of my dreams. This was a passion project of mine, born from a creative vision I had one afternoon. A spark was lit and I knew I had to follow this impulse. This shoot ended up being such a leap of faith as we juggled bad weather and travel schedules to make it happen. At the last opportunity we dove heart first even amidst a storm and 90% chance of rain forecast for the day. It was a miracle that it only rained once, thankfully only between outfit changes.

We were so blessed with beautiful sunshine, beautiful light and a magical sunset. As soon as we packed up the rain came once more.

It was such a joy working with the ultra talented Pretty Willow and Lush Floral design who created a scene more extraordinary that I could have imagined. If you’re looking for some extra talented, ultra committed Perth creatives for your wedding, then look no further.

With love and gratitude, Helen xx

Mother’s Day Love Note

May 3, 2021

It’s an innate knowing that I am worth it all, worthy of being seen and heard for who I am“.

PhotographyBobby Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – Busselton, Western Australia

Outfits – Available HERE 20% off site wide until May 9th 11.59pm AEST

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing mamas. You are always enough. I see you, I hear you, and I send you all my love.

This Mother’s Day I’ll be cherishing my family, my children, and myself. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt as a mother is to ensure my love cup is full. Overflowing if possible. This means different things for everyone. For me, it means following my passions and balancing this with family time. It means meditating every day and healing trauma. It means eating healthy, thinking mindfully, and spreading love to all those around me. Including myself. It’s moving at my own pace, spending time in nature. It’s connecting with the ocean, the trees, the animals, walking barefoot in the sand, and feeling the elements upon me every single day.

It’s saying “I love you” in the mirror and being kind to myself when I’m judging my thoughts and actions harshly. It’s carving out time to follow my joy, while I take care of nourishing my home and family. It’s an innate knowing that I am worth it all, worthy of being seen and heard for who I am. It’s showing compassion to myself in times of struggle. Giving my wounded inner child the tender love she needs. Walking a path of courage, brave to share my sensitive and vulnerable soul with the world, knowing it can break my heart. And allowing my heart to be broken, so I can feel all of the love pour in as well. This is my greatest strength, that builds the ultimate resilience in me. It is my safe place where I belong to myself. It’s where I heal. It’s where I know without a doubt I am enough.

Let this Mother’s Day be a reminder for self care, and to begin the journey discovering what that may look like for you. We all have different needs, and taking the time to find them is part of the self love healing journey. Tell me, what sets your soul on fire?

With love and gratitude, Helen xx

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 2021

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