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Turquoise Waters Retreat

November 23, 2021

PhotographyHelen Janneson Bense | Bobby Bense

LocationTurquoise Waters Retreat

PicnicPretty Willow | Alma Handcrafted by Nature Plant Based Gift Box

Healing RecsSensate – Use code HELEN35 for 35AUD off | Sunshine | Barefoot walks | Singing | Digestive Bitters | Ear Massage | Cold showers | Meditation | Deep Breathing – especially before eating | Regular Digital Detoxes

Outfits Isla Midi Dress | Farrah Wrap Dress | Willow Kimono | Lolita Pants | Lace Robe | One piece Swim

JewelryAnanda Soul

When it rains it pours is how the saying goes and it couldn’t be more true for me right now with my current health issues. If you’ve been reading my Instagram lately, I’ve been sharing a little more about my health journey. It can be a lonely one at times. Connecting to others going through similar experiences has really helped me and I’m so grateful for everyone who’s reached out to me this past month.

I thought all my problems started with my broken toe in August, or the gastrointestinal virus I had in June, or the paddling injury that spurred on my frozen shoulder in March….what I’m realising is it’s a little of each, plus the stress of the last 2 years piling on. Plus the fact that I’m peri menopausal and going through new changes that are challenging me in many ways. I’ve had multiple breast scares over the past 8 years and I recently experienced another when I found a new lump. It really put me over the edge. I’ve been back and forth with tests over the past month. While I was given the green light at first, it wasn’t long before things escalated and I found myself talking to a breast cancer specialist facing more testing and more waiting yet again. The waiting anxiety feels like the hardest part of it all, but it is really just the tip of the iceberg considering the journey some take when they are diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m feeling very lucky right now, and very grateful. I received the best news ever last Friday that my results are all clear. I have a healing journey ahead, most likely surgery, but there is a deep sense of relief that we’ve finally and completely ruled out the ‘C’ word.

With such an eventful year I’ve really needed a lot more time in self reflection. You may have noticed from Instagram I’ve taken numerous solo staycays this year. One aspect is for work, which feeds me creatively, but the other is my need to be alone with my thoughts, to get to know myself better, and understand my changing needs. I’m beyond grateful my amazing husband Bobby and our children are able to support me through all of this. It’s most definitely not a viable option for everyone. We’ve always faced certain challenges without extended family support, so we all really rely on the support we give to one another, especially through times like this.

My recent solo staycay was thankfully divinely timed so perfectly around the beginning of my breast scare. I stayed at the incredibly beautiful Turquoise Waters Retreat. A luxurious, coastal styled airbnb located in Scarborough that made me feel so at home. Every detail is considered and every space is both comfortable and photogenic. It’s definitely a fantastic space to take some epic photos and relax. And to set up a glorious picnic! Pretty Willow stopped by and set up the most creative, magnificent and relaxing picnic space to enjoy and unwind. Everything about this stay was exactly what my body, heart and soul needed.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time soaking up the sunshine by the stunning pool. Sun-smart sunbathing is known to improve mood and really helps me regulate my nervous system. It’s something I do in short regular bursts, particularly in the cooler months. I’ve also discovered many other hacks for activating my vagus nerve, which is the switch to the calming part of your nervous system. Music, singing, humming, massages and cold showers are all amazing vagus nerve activators. And so are digestive bitters. Particularly good taken right before meals to ensure proper digestion. Since the vagus nerve is intricately involved in controlling digestive function it’s no wonder we get tummy issues when we are stressed. We need rest to digest!

I’ve also got a new hack that I’m a bit obsessed with. It’s called Sensate. It’s a small device you place on your sternum area that emits infrasonic waves that are synchronised and in harmony with the specially composed hemispheric audio which can be found in the Sensate app. It’s so easy to use and it’s immediately relaxing. Sensate can help to calm the fight-flight-freeze response of your nervous system, activate your vagus nerve, induce relaxation, and over time helps to improve the tone of the vagus nerve….also known as stress resilience. This device is particularly good for those who have experienced trauma and suffer with post traumatic stress. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it’s helped me amp up my meditation time to be even more effective. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, use my code HELEN35 for $35 AUD off.

So while it’s been a year of health hurdles, it’s been a wonderful learning experience, and I find myself growing every day, creating a life that aligns more with my ethos. I’m spending a lot more time in nature, with friends, with family, I’m regularly tuning out of the news and social media, and I’m focused on what I can do, rather than what I can’t. These last fews day I’ve had some small wins with my shoulder which means my dream of getting back on my paddle board this summer is back on the cards. I honestly couldn’t be happier. Finding gratitude when the chips are down means that no matter what life throws your way, you can still thrive, and find ways to enjoy life even when there are immense challenges.

Right now I’m taking it one day at a time, knowing I will heal, and taking extra special care of myself as I navigate this bumpy part of my road.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

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

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