Midsummer in Finland

July 12, 2019

Photography/EditingHelen Janneson Bense | Thanks to my sisters for their assistance helping me capture the beauty of Finland

LocationHelsinki | Järvisydän | Tampere (Villa Linda + Periscope) – Finland

The midnight sun shining it’s sparkling light through the window of my Mummo’s house is one of the earliest memories of my childhood. I said to my Mummo I’m not going to sleep until it gets dark. She was always the one to be most patient with me and she joked “Ok then it will be a long, long night” This was the last time I ever saw my grandmother and as a 4 year old child I remember screaming and crying as I left Finland knowing somewhere inside I would never see her again.

Growing up in Australia was beautiful, but being separated from my family and culture has always been challenging. Every time I go back to Finland a little piece of me is retrieved. When I hear the language it feels like home. My mother said to me before my trip “Walk into the forest, be still, and listen to the trees. It’s here you will understand” It’s here that every cell of my being feels alive, my energy centres align, and I’m filled with a level of contentment that I can not describe.

This trip was a journey through my lineage, through the stories of my grandparents and my parents. And my own story; all stories connected, shaping who I am. I traveled to Finland with my 3 older sisters on this trip. We visited where our grandparents lived, loved and where their souls now rest. We connected with aunties, uncles, cousins and their families. There is so much love that exists within our family no matter the distance or time apart.

Our journey began in Helsinki. One of my favourite cities; full of beauty, history, incredible architecture. The highlight this trip was visiting the new Oodi library known as ‘book heaven.’ I was so impressed with the design and space created to encourage reading, creativity and expression. I know my kids would be in book heaven for sure!

From here we journeyed to Järvisydän to celebrate Juhannus – the midsummer festival. A joyous time of light when the sun never sets. We had a beautiful time at the Lake Spa and a little dance party into the early hours of the morning. It was one of the most fun nights of my entire trip, and it never got dark! You’ll get to enjoy long sunset pastel skies for hours.

Järvisydän is situated by Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in South eastern Finland. I love visiting this part of Finland, particularly as it draws me closer to our ancestral roots of Karelia. This resort and spa is one of a kind in Finland. It has all the history with a lot of modern touches. The lake spa is always a favourite for the sauna loving folks. You can choose between multiple sauna types and cool down in the pool or lake. The pool water actually comes from the lake and is heated by geothermal and solar energy. There’s also a salt room, Angel’s Hammam, and a storm shower. It’s the ultimate Finnish Wellness experience.

We stayed on a beautiful houseboat during our time here. We were even lucky enough to have a driver for the day to take us out on the lake. At one point my daughter called me to ask what I’d been up to. I was surprised when I realised I had literally been staring at the lake all morning drinking a million cups of tea haha! It’s absolutely mesmerising how the water changes through the day with the reflections, clouds and colour shifts. It’s honestly something I spend way too much time staring at because it’s so hypnotic.

Other than staring at lake reflections, there is so much to do here at Järvisydän. They have many excursions on the lake to see the endangered ringed seals. There are stand up paddles boards, boats, canoes, bikes and hiking trips to the national park. Everything you could need for a wonderful holiday time is here.

Our next stop was Tampere – the sauna capital of Finland. We had the most beautiful mökki (cottage) by the lake. It was here we really had our traditional Finnish midsummer experience. It was the perfect spot for slow mode. We enjoyed lots of stand up paddle boarding exploring the lake and cups of tea on the verandah watching swans and sunsets. My favourite moment was definitely having a ridiculously hot sauna, running naked into the freezing cold lake, and drying by the warm fire I had made. It reminded me of when I was young and my parents took me camping in Australia. Even living here, they still brought their portable sauna (that my Dad made) and set it up by the lake. We would sauna, swim in the lake and warm by the fire each night as we cooked our dinner over the fire.

We spent a week in Tampere and honestly I feel like it wasn’t quite enough time to fully experience all this city has to offer. We had a visit to the Frantsila Herb Farm which was an absolute dream for me. As a Naturopath, I’ve always loved connecting with plant medicine and to be able to see the herb fields in Finland was incredible. What was so fascinating is how resilient the plants are due to the extreme weather conditions. It means they are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants and are the ultimate superfood. If you want to try any out head here.

We had many culinary delights on this trip from Helsinki, to Järvisydän to Tampere. The standout experience was dining at Periscope. The sweeping views of Lake Pyhäjärvi, next level service, and the most exquisite food, made this an all round 5 star experience. They had numerous vegan options which were all delicious. I would highly recommend a night out here. After dinner head to their rooftop terrace and enjoy some of their amazing cocktails.

A road trip through Finland is one the most beautiful ways to explore this country. During the summer wildflowers and colourful lupins line the roads, with breathtaking forest and lake scenery along the way. You’ll want to stop every 5 minutes to take photos! The route from Helsinki to Järvisydän to Tampere is a very easy first trip to Finland. Each drive is under 4 hours and you’ll feel like you are a million miles away from the city.

I’ll really miss Finland and my family, though I’m already envisioning the next trip. If you aim for late July/August the prices may be a little lower, the nights will be a little darker, and the berries will be ready for picking :)

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

Copyright images + text GypsyLovinLight 2019

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 images and text © GypsyLovinLight

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


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


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


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

Jungle Oasis

April 11, 2019

PhotographyHelen Janneson Bense | Lisa Hamilton

Drone Photography/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSoneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand

Imagine flying on a private plane overlooking an ancient rainforest paradise surrounded by turquoise seas as far as the eye can see. This is Soneva Kiri; one of the most unique locations I’ve ever visited in Thailand. It has it’s own micro-climate and it’s own time zone. This way you will always have so much time to enjoy the the glorious sunset.

Soneva Kiri is an inspirational, eco-friendly, and sustainable resort that grows it’s own organic produce, recycles it’s own waste and reuses and repurposes it’s own waste to create the very building blocks required to maintain the resort. It’s setting the highest standards for resorts on every single level. The food quality and options are endless. The staff are always happy to accomodate any dietary need. There’s an all you can eat ice-cream and chocolate room, including a whole range of vegan sorbets that are just so refreshing in the Thailand heat.

I had the absolute pleasure of traveling here with fellow travel blogger, Lisa from @seewantshop. This is why I love traveling so much; connecting, creating precious memories, and forming beautiful friendships. Lisa and I shared so many hilarious moments on this trip, and found it so refreshing to have some real and honest chats about the ups and downs of blogger life.

The highlight of our day was our lunch trips by boat to North Beach. This beach is one of Soneva Kiri’s most hidden jewels. It’s the clearest, most beautiful, picturesque paradise that has everything you’ll ever need for a day of total relaxation, adventure and mermaiding. Head out for some stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, kayaking, or hang on the beach for some badminton, table tennis and the most delicious array of culinary delights. Lisa and I spent many days here sipping on coconuts and enjoying the views from the swings. The water hammocks were probably the most relaxing spot on the entire island. Imagine being gently rocked by the soft waves as you cool down under the hot sun. It’s so relaxing, refreshing and it almost put me to sleep like a baby!

A must do at Soneva Kiri is book the Treetop dining in the Tree pod. It is hands down the most unique way of enjoying high tea. You can book it for any meal, though I loved the afternoon light overlooking the beautiful turquoise water. While we sipped on rose, our waiter brought our meals via a zipline! It was crazy cool how fun and exciting this was.

And when you’re tired from all the snorkelling, dining, mermaiding, and sunset cruises head back to your luxuriously appointed private villa. We stayed in the most grand 4 bedroom residence with our very own waterslide! I couldn’t believe it! It was unreal! It definitely made it hard to leave and explore the island when our room was this amazing. And when you do decide to explore again, you have your very own buggy to drive around! How fun is that! If you want to book the exact villa we stayed in check out Villa 18 :)

I’m so grateful for time in nature like this….to explore this world and live my passion capturing beautiful moments. I’ve realised how much my perspective of this world has changed since my blogging journey began. I notice so much beauty everywhere I go. I see the world through a magical lens that truly brings me into the present moment where I can deeply feel my connection to nature.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

The Gift of the Moment

December 7, 2018

Photography/VideographyBobby Bense

Model/Editing/StylingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationFuji Island, Fiji | North Beach, Western Australia


Camera – Special Edition Taylor Swift SQ6 Instant Camera


Outfit Details

Ixiah Disarm Sequin Top + Pants

The Thrown Down Desert Scape throw + cushions

Jewelry – Anna Beck Hematite + Blue Sapphire Sama collection


Every day is a blessing, every moment a gift.

I’ve learnt in my 42 years of life to be grateful for all the simple moments with my loved ones, like preparing a meal, playing a song together, or a shared silence as we watch the sunset together. To be present and connect with them is what I am most grateful for. Every day brings new discoveries, a deeper connection, so much love and magic.

This festive season I’ll be creating keepsakes and capturing all my cherished memories with my Instax camera. This entire year we have been traveling with our Instax and each place, each adventure, each moment is not only etched in our hearts, but we have a little piece of it to look back on.

Today I’m going to share a little guide in this video below on how to use the new Instax SQ6. It’s actually super easy and so much fun to create. And I love the new special edition Taylor Swift camera. It will make the most perfect surprise gift for Christmas!


Here are a few tips and examples for shooting and using your Instax…

  • Ensure the light is behind you when taking a snap rather than shooting directly into the sun. Use the lighten ‘L’ mode if your image is turning out too dark, or ‘D’ mode is it’s over exposed.


  • Always ensure you don’t ever open the film compartment until you are ready to change the film. The light will destroy it. There is a counter on the bottom right of the camera that lets you know how many images you have left.


  • In a bright place you may want to suppress the flash. Just push the button underneath the self-timer. Ensure you push it again after taking your snap if you want the flash back on. Play around with the flash filters for some fun coloured filter options. They simply pop on over the flash.


  • Use the Macro mode when shooting anything close and in detail, like flowers, shells or amazing insects. You’ll need to shoot approximately 30-50cm away. For anything 2 metres or greater use Landscape mode.


  • If you want to have some creative fun, the double exposure setting is really cool. You can add 2 separate subjects into one shot. Simply set the mode button to ‘Double Exposure’ and snap your first shot. A few seconds later after the LED has flashed, you can take your second shot.


  • When in Selfie mode, ensure you can see yourself in the mirror on the front right of the camera. Hold the camera steady to prevent blurring, and at a distance approximately 30-50cm away from you.


  • For fun family pics that everyone can be in, attach your Instax to a tripod and push the self timer mode. Once you have your frame set up, push the shutter button. You’ll then get around 10 seconds to get into the frame before the picture is taken.




I hope this has inspired you to create and capture precious moments; to chase joy and beauty, and to give the gift of love and connection.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

My Private Oasis

November 29, 2018

Photography/Editing/ModelHelen Janneson Bense

LocationFuji Island, Fiji

CamerasFuji Film XT3 | Waterproof camera XP130


Outfit Details

Rococo Sand Off Shoulder Dress

Poupette St Barth Giselle Broderie Mini Skirt | Crochet Crop

Jewelry – Anna Beck Multi-bar Charm + Delicate Satellite Chain Double NecklaceHematite/Blue Sapphire Ring | Multi Stone Ring | Hematite/Blue Sapphire Bracelet | Hematite/Blue Sapphire Open Cuff

AccessoriesCocobelle Shoes, Belt + Bag – releasing soon | Boater Sun Hat


Only in my wildest dreams could I have imagined staying on my own private island. Thanks to Fuji film, it’s now possible to book a stay at this perfect island oasis. Every single corner of this island is waiting to be explored; a creative playground for those who love photography. You will be non stop snapping in this inspirational space.

From the moment I stepped off the boat my beautiful staff greeted me in traditional Fijian song, with a refreshing coconut drink, and the warm smiling faces that I would soon come to realise is a part of who they are. Every encounter I heard ‘Bula Bula’ with a smile that radiated straight from their hearts. Bula literally means ‘Life’ and is used to say ‘Hello’, though it feels like so much more than a hello. It feels like they are giving you good vibes and wishing you the best at the same time.

As I settled into my private villa and took in the million shades of blue from my infinity pool, I felt the serenity wash over me. I was on a solo trip, just me, on a private island. And though I had a team of staff to take care of my every need, I definitely felt the privacy I was craving. Many of you know I was unwell a couple of months ago, with a terrible flu that led me to hospital. I experienced some post viral fatigue and I had to stop blogging for awhile. This time away on my own was exactly what I needed to restore. Not only does traveling solo rejuvenate me, it empowers me. I build confidence as I govern my own path, facing my fears and uncertainties. I’ve come home stronger, clearer and feeling so full of vitality.

One of the many perks while I was at Fuji island was playing with Fuji’s new Mirrorless XT3 camera, along with their waterproof XP130 camera. I was really impressed with the XT3 image resolution whilst achieving low noise, and it’s super fast and accurate autofocus. And you’ll be blown away by the quality of video it captures. It’s the first mirrorless camera in the world to deliver such outstanding results. When you visit the island there will be a whole suite of Fuji film equipment, including these new cameras, just waiting for you, along with staff to help you capture your favourite moments to share. If you have ever dreamt of being a luxury travel blogger, this is a fantastic spot to capture some unique and otherworldly moments. The sunsets and sunrises paint the sky with their vibrant colour, while the ocean view forms a blend of azure and turquoise with the changing tides.

While you’re here you’ll have your own boat and captain to take you on snorkelling trips to explore the neighbouring islands. We did a quick drive by Castaway island where they filmed the classic Tom Hanks film. It was such a treat to see this as I love that movie! Wilson! lol ;) I had a wonderful snorkel and saw some beautiful, healthy coral and so many tropical fish. The colour and clarity of the water was probably one of the best I’ve experienced. I’m definitely planning another trip back to Fiji with the family! The island was well equipped with stand up paddles boards, kayaks and your very own hammocks. It’s so lovely to relax under a palm tree with those crystal clear lagoon views.

When I wasn’t mermaiding in the ocean, or lounging by the pool, I was eating. And wow! I don’t say this lightly, but I had the best meal of my life here. No joke! The chef knows what he is doing! He surprised me with each and every meal. I only mentioned to him my plant based dietary requirements and let him create what he does best. And OMG! I want his recipes! The vegetables were so fresh and the flavours so on point. I will always be dreaming of his incredible world class cuisine and would gladly go back just for this.

So now it’s time to pack your bags, book your flight and head on over to Fuji Island. Seriously though, it’s in my top 3 best places I’ve ever stayed and I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed at all. Everything is included with your stay; use of the entire island, your 5 star luxurious villa, gourmet food, a huge range of cocktails + wine, daily use of the long boat with captain for island hopping/snorkelling, water sports, and all the fuji film equipment to capture your most cherished moments. For now the island is only available to book until December 7th so be quick! And have an awesome time!

Much love and gratitude xx


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