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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

Paradise Awaits

June 3, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSix Senses Resort – Uluwatu | Villa Saba 10 | W Hotels Seminyak – Bali, Indonesia

While it may still be a long while for Australians to get back to their favourite paradise locations, for me the memories still hold a special place in my heart and will not be forgotten when the time comes to safely venture once again.

It’s been awhile since this trip to Indonesia, but I finally have the time now to reflect upon this incredible experience. One rich with colour, culture and connection. And a whole lot of beauty and relaxation.

It was September 2018 and we journeyed from Seminyak, the bustling heart of Bali, to the majestic cliff-sides of Uluwatu, one of my favourite parts of Bali. Our holiday began at the wonderful Villa Saba 10. A quiet, private luxurious 5 bed villa, equipped with our own chef and team of staff to help with any of our needs. It was such a fun, laid back family vibe; floating in the pool, listening to music, soaking up that glorious Balinese sun, sitting by the fire at night and chatting all day long.

From here we were ready for a more lively Balinese vibe at W Hotels in Seminyak. Situated right on the beach we had the privilege of watching many of those magical Indonesian sunsets that seem to go on forever in every shade of pink, peach and purple. We absolutely loved our 2 bed pool villa with everything we could ever need for the most comfortable and luxurious stay.

We always leave Uluwatu as the last leg of our trips to Bali. It has all the quiet nature vibes we crave.

We stayed at the immaculate Six Senses Resort, a luxury hotel perched upon the cliff, overlooking the ocean. It feels as though you are at the end of the earth with these breathtaking ocean and sunset views. It’s truly a place to unwind and decompress with ease. There were seated massages awaiting us at reception, an all you can eat ice cream parlour (with vegan options), and the most dreamy infinity pool!

The resort was only just opened when we stayed, so more work was still needed finishing off more villas and gardening. Even still, we found it to be a seamless stay. Such a great sign for a resort. Our plant based needs were catered for with ease, which is so often the way staying at Six Senses resorts. We have now stayed at 3 Six Senses resorts through south east Asia and I’m certain it won’t be our last. They are above and beyond some of the best quality resorts we have had the privilege of experiencing.

While this trip was utter bliss, I did sadly pick up a really serious flu on the plane on the the way home. It’s been difficult to remember these paradise days prior, as the following experience was one of the scariest of my life. It came hard and fast once I returned home. I was in bed for 5 days with a raging 40 degree fever and the worst body aches of my life. I kept thinking I’ll ride it out, I’ll be better tomorrow. By day 5 I honestly felt like I was going to die. My worried husband, Bobby, managed to get me to my doctor, who immediately sent me to hospital. She looked at me, wondering why I wasn’t already there. I had no idea the flu could be this bad. I was hospitalised for a further 5 days, and unwell for weeks. They did loads of blood tests thinking I had picked something up in Bali, to finally discover I just had the flu. My white blood cell count and my blood pressure both fell dangerously low while in hospital. I had never felt so ill, so helpless, I couldn’t even go to the toilet, and I finally understood how people die from the flu. I was out of action for a solid month recovering. The doctors left me with a strong warning that I needed to be especially careful with all viruses in future given my severe reaction and my history. I realised that almost every other time I had been in hospital it was always due to a virus. While all of this was scary, I started to piece together a better health picture which has helped me ever since. My immune system has been vulnerable since I was a child. I was frequently ill, on antibiotics more times per year than I could count. Coupled with trauma which also impacts the immune system, I have lived most of my life at the mercy of viral infections. This is one of the reasons why I’m so careful with my health now, and also partly why I was drawn to Naturopathy for work. When you have vulnerabilities and challenges in life you are able to tap into compassion to those suffering and in need. It’s also why I take Covid so seriously, and have so much compassion and empathy for anyone affected, and families who have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you.

So while it was an aftermath and half, I am still so grateful for the paradise I was lucky enough to experience before this. Since this trip I have taken numerous precautions to protect myself and maintain top notch health on all my travels. I have an arsenal of natural anti-virals, immune modulating herbs/nutrients, stress management techniques and ongoing trauma work, long term positive health impacts of a plant based diet, and hindsight to help me in future. Now I’m looking forward to visiting paradise once again, when it’s safe to do so.

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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