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

Great Southern

April 22, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense/Helen Janneson Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – Albany, Western Australia

Where to stay – Private Eco friendly Cottage | Lodge | Homestead

Where to visitFrenchman Bay | Goode Beach | The Gap & Natural Bridge | Bald Head walk | Little Beach | Albany town

Everything about this trip was unexpected. It took us to breathtaking, wild places we never imagined.

We went to Albany with very low expectations, having only briefly visited once before on a somewhat dreary day. When I started looking for holiday spots everything was pretty much booked out. I didn’t realise at the time that I was actually booking us into the most incredible stay ever!

We arrived to this stunning bush property, 650 acres of land and coastline to explore before us, an actual private retreat. There was a private beach, private lagoon, private lake! It was pure paradise with so much space, wildlife and wilderness to explore.

There are 3 accommodation options starting with a budget friendly, eco friendly cottage overlooking the lake and the ocean. It boasts spectacular sunset views, daily kangaroo visits, and if you look up you might even spot a sea eagle. It accommodates 4 people and has everything you need for a sustainable, comfortable, self contained stay.

This lodge is pure luxury. It has space to accommodate multiple families, 10 people in total, and has 360 degree panoramic lake and ocean views. It’s the ideal place to stay with family friends. And that bath view is spectacular!

The last option is Maitraya Homestead, built on the cliffside overlooking the ocean and your very own private beach directly in front. It can accomodate up to 16 people and is ideal for weddings, reunions, birthdays, retreats and special occasions. The homestead is full of character and history, complete with it’s own atrium and indoor swimming pool. The fabulous Lady Gaga also stayed here and they have a music room in honour of her.

Our days were very full exploring the grounds of Maitraya, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking daily on the lake, swimming in the private lagoon, and wandering the majestic coast line. A trip to Albany wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the natural marvel that is The Gap. An absolutely astonishing spot where you can experience the true power of nature. The 25m granite rock, once connected to Antartica, formed around 1300-1600 million years ago. The viewing deck is not for the faint hearted. It definitely made me squeamish at times.

What I loved most about our location was the vicinity to Little Beach, in Two Peoples Bay Reserve. You’ll need to pay a small fee to enter, but it’s worth it. Pack for the whole day, you won’t want to leave. It’s tempting to spend your day at the main beach, but beyond the beach, is an even more amazing beach that is a little more private, a little less wavy, perfect for swimming and rock jumping. Around another bend was a whole lot of rock pools with a big turquoise lagoon. We were completely surprised by this beauty, and that it wasn’t overcrowded. It’s always worth taking those extra steps to see what’s around the next corner.

I highly recommend a visit to the Great Southern. We only saw a handful of spots in this region, but we explored and enjoyed them thoroughly, knowing we will revisit and discover something new next time.

With love and gratitude, Helen xx

Copyright text and images Helen Janneson Bense 2021

When the stars aligned

April 14, 2021

It’s only now that I can look back and realise that the day I met my beloved Bobby, we were cosmically destined for one another. We lived oceans apart, yet everything aligned time and time again to bring us together.

Our first meeting was in a café in San Jose, California. I was saying goodbye to some old friends and Bobby was our waiter. A mutual friend introduced us and mentioned that Bobby had just booked open-ended travel to Australia and that we should  connect when I return. 

I agreed, and in the true spirit of those pre mobile phone days, I handed my email address on a tiny ripped piece of paper to this mysterious and ridiculously handsome guy.  

A week later, at a bar in San Jose, as I celebrated the end of my 6 month USA road  trip, our paths crossed serendipitously once again. And lucky they did, as he lost that tiny piece of paper with my email on it. I once again wrote it down on another equally small piece of paper. He vowed he would not lose this one and still to this day it holds a special place in his wallet.  

About a month after I returned home I received an email from Bobby updating me on his travels. I passed on my new home number and said when/if you make it to Melbourne, let me know and I’ll show you around. 

One day out of the blue, Bobby called on my home phone. He let me know he’d made it to Victoria and that he was hanging out at a little café called Leroy’s in the town of St. Kilda. He wondered if I was anywhere close to this place and if we could meet up. Little did he know that this was where I was living and that he was at my new local coffee spot! Both of us were amazed as I mentioned that I was only a 5-minute walk away. It also happened to be my only day off work for that week. And it also happened to be Valentines Day, yet neither of us realised this until much later.   

As we stared at each other over coffee, I couldn’t help notice the intense reaction I was having to him. I had never felt so affected by another person before. It was like strings of energy were pulling us closer together and sparks were flying everywhere. The moment I mentioned going for a walk, he agreed almost too quickly. 

Years later we talked about how overwhelming that moment was for us both. I was overheating; my heart racing and I could barely hear what he was saying. I felt like I was both floating, yet tethered to him in some way.  That connection is what has grown into the deepest love I’ve ever known. 

This was the beginning of our relationship. We faced many challenges over the years with long distance, different time zones, visas, families, and navigating a path for ourselves, knowing we wanted to find a way to be together. Every day as we talked on the phone, we embraced the uncertainty and focused on the connection and love we had, knowing a way would become clear when the time was right. And it did. 

Even when things were so uncertain, we held on to the hope in the certainty of our love. 

Bobby was able to finish his studies thanks to an international program here in Western Australia. He moved countries so we could give our love a chance. I moved  from Victoria having never stepped foot in WA. 

We have clearly both fallen more in love with one another over the years, married, had 2 beautiful children and are so grateful that we ended up in this incredible part of Australia, that is now our home.  

I love capturing photos of our relationship together. Every chance we have had to travel and explore, we ensure we have our Fujifilm instax mini LiPlay along to capture all these precious moments. For older memories, we print our photos with the instax mini Link right from my phone. It’s always such a gift for us to print our memories and reflect upon creating this magical life of love together. 

Infinity Chalet

March 8, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense/Helen Janneson Bense

EditingHelen Janneson Bense

Location – Margaret River, Western Australia

Where to stayInfinity Chalet – just a 3 hour drive south of Perth

Outfit Details – One piece (similar) | High Low Skirt (similar) | Jasmine Strappy Mini Dress

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a bestie adventure, or solo retreat then look no further than this immaculately and luxuriously appointed chalet. Every attention to detail is considered and you will leave feeling well rested, rejuvenated and content.

Infinity Chalet is perfectly situated on the picturesque Margaret River, a short drive to the river mouth and the breathtaking Surfers Point. A wonderful spot for the whole family, with swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, rock pool exploring and surfing.

We decided to do some off road exploring on this trip and discovered some of the most secluded and exquisite rock pools and beaches. We couldn’t believe there weren’t any crowds as it was the height of summer school holidays. It just goes to show there is a little slice of paradise for everyone here in this region. I’m not going to geotag and share the exact location of these spots as I feel they are most likely some local gems. I will say that it is worth exploring those off the beaten path tracks and always walking around that next corner.

After our days of exploring we welcomed the comfort and luxury of Infinity chalet. We loved the steam shower and stunning spa bath with that amazing sunset view. We spent our evenings unwinding with a plant based, sunset picnic overlooking Margaret river, enjoying the peaceful vibes of the fireplace before melting into their luxurious king bed.

If you can’t already tell we really loved our stay here. It was faultless and I look forward to the next visit.

With love and gratitude, Helen xx

Copyright Images & text 2021 Helen Janneson Bense

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