Home sweet home 

Having a driver hold a sign with your name on it is nice, but having homemade leek pies delivered to your doorstep is ten times better! Especially when you were craving home cooking and Asian food after your holiday. Check out the perfect crimping @rarelyseen did on these delicious babies.  
#homecooking #friendsthatcookareawesome #backtoreality 

Hawaiian series

Aloha!

If you have been following my blog for the past few weeks, you would know I recently went to Hawaii for a holiday. It was wonderful with all the sunshine, great shopping and it was really fun exploring all the eating options that we don’t get back at home. I will run through all my dining experiences through this ‘Hawaiian Series’ but just in case you’re headed for Hawaii, here is some extra little bit of information that isn’t just about food.


Shopping

Oahu island –

Ala Moana center~ A lot of shopping, a lot of eating and then more shopping. This place is HUGE and my friend and I still managed the shop the entire thing. Be sure to stop by Foodland Farms and look around, it reminded me of David Jones food hall.

If you head to the information desk in Bloomingdale’s (I’m not sure about the other major department stores) proving you’re a tourist, they can give you discount vouchers, yay for savings.

Ross Dress for Less~ When the lady at the hotel heard that I loved dresses, she sent me straight to Ross where you can snap up brand names at a bargain price. I bought a Karl Lagerfeld dress for $30 bucks and Michael Kors pointy black flats for $50. Obviously you have to be lucky with sizes and store availability.

They also sell luggage, men’s clothes/shoes, kid’s clothes/shoes, handbags, fragrances, food, homewares and furniture.

Waikele Premium Outletshow did I leave the country with an extra 10 pairs of shoes? I blame this place. We spent a fair few hours here but you might not comb the area as thoroughly as we did. I thought the place would be enclosed (like the Australian DFO) and a lot bigger but they are individual stores all congregated closely together. My advise is:

  1. try and take a car or be prepared to lug your shopping around all day
  2. only eat there for sustenance for more shopping, I didn’t love the food options other than Godiva. I’d rather eat across the road at the Waikele Center at the food vans
  3. head straight to the information desk, there are vouchers or Mastercard deals that can be applied to most stores and that means more savings
  4. read your receipts there are often vouchers for other stores or the same store only valid for that day
  5. wear good shoes- not just for the walking aspect, I was constantly kicking my shoes off to try on more shoes
  6. if you’re shopping for a handbag, browse all your options first. You might choose Kate Spade over Coach or Michael Kors

 Just before I bought another two more pairs…img_0616

Waikele Center~ We ended up here because we had completely shopped out the outlets. Nothing much to see on this side except for their food options and their Old Navy outlet.

Kauai island –

By the time we had got to this island, our bags were at capacity. The pace of life is a lot slower and a lot more relaxed, so we went swimming and relaxed instead of shopping. Although there were Ross stores, Walmart and Costco.


Accommodation

Waikiki –

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the first three nights, I deliberately booked the Rainbow Tower so we would have great views and the perfect position to watch the Friday night fireworks. They scared me half to death when they started because I was in the middle of eating cheesecake and they were so close to us!

We didn’t really use any of the hotels facilities; we went to the beach instead of the resort pool, we ate at Dairy Queen which is open to the public and we didn’t eat at any of the restaurants except for a pizza snack. You could just stay one street back where it was cheaper and just walk to the beach. We did find their location really convenient though.The view from our balcony overlooking Waikiki Beach and Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

Kaneohe –

AirBNB was our friend and we found a lovely place out in Kaneohe; it is in suburbia away from all the resorts and hustle and bustle. My friend and I were lucky that it was near some malls with our favourite shops, a Cajun King franchise and has gorgeous views to the Ko’olau mountain range (you have to google image ‘stairway to heaven Hawaii’).

Kauai island –

We stayed at the Koloa landing resort and spa. The whole Poipu area seemed really expensive, so my friends and I booked a two bedroom villa to save a little bit of money. The place was SWISH- decked out with random storage cupboards, laundry, 2.5 bathrooms, big kitchen, 8 seater dining room, living room and we were lucky enough to get a corner balcony overlooking the pool.

We were a little sad that there wasn’t a direct walk to the beach (if there was a path we never found it) and that their enormous 355,000 gallon lagoon pool (with swim-through waterfalls, water slide and cabanas) wasn’t going to be completed until early next year.

We still really enjoyed our stay; the room was fantastic, it was conveniently located near four sets of shops (I was on the hunt for food so we went to all of them), it is near Poipu beach where you can see turtles sunbathing daily and best of all, there was free parking!

The view from the lobby, out in the distance you can see the ocean.A lovely warm welcome when we arrived at the resort.A turtle just chilling on Poipu beach.


Transport

Oahu island –

Waikiki Trolley~ The Pink Line Trolley was our saviour! For $2 USD per ride, the pink trolley goes past the major hotels/landmarks in Waikiki and heads straight for the Ala Moana shopping center. A nice choice if you couldn’t be bothered to walk but you want to get to The Cheesecake Factory.

Remember to have exact change (who knew $1 bills would come in handy), it gets busy and sometimes there are closer stops depending on the direction (we got off at stop #13 instead of cycling all the way through to stop #10 when we got on at stop #12)

There are other coloured lines for other attractions.

Shuttle buses~ we didn’t use these but there are buses to get you from the Waikiki area to the outlets.

Car rental~ 

Oahu island –  since the Waikiki resorts are a little distance away and if you plan to go anywhere other than your resort and close facilities, I would advise to rent a car (if you’re okay driving on the other side of the road on the other side of the car for us Aussies). With our car we were able to visit Pearl Harbour, go to the outlets, go to any restaurants and head to an event that the boys were in Hawaii for.

Kauai – definitely hire a car. We stayed in Poipu and it was 30 minutes away from the airport. After arriving at the resort, everything was just a quick car ride away- the shops, restaurants, the beach, the waterfalls and the canyon.

Uber~

Not too many drivers outside of the Waikiki area and I couldn’t see any drivers when we went to Kauai island.


I hope you find some of this information useful (although this is only based on my experience), it would be the type of advice I would have liked to known before my trip.

See my other ‘Hawaiian Series‘ posts here:

Costco

IHOP

Godiva

Leonard’s bakery

The Cheesecake factory

 

Jetlag…

I never have trouble sleeping 😴, so jetlag doesn’t affect me too much but I do always wake up really hungry. So I woke up early (by my standards) and made some pistachio and cranberry granola that my dear friend gave me the recipe for years ago. Still TimmyC’s favourite. 
#homemade #granola #baking #breakfast

Costco- Hawaiian series

After coming home from a holiday, one of the first things you have to do (besides mountains of laundry) is re-stock the fridge. For this and nearing the end of my toilet paper supply, I found myself at Costco- the little slice of America we have here.

While we were at Kauai island, it was suggested to me to visit the Costco store to see all the items that we wouldn’t see in our stores back in Oz. Here are just some of the random things I saw as we made our way through the store.BBQ beef brisket sandwich USDA choice beef brisket, BBQ sauce, coleslaw ($4.99). I ordered a beef brisket sandwich and it came out really oily, the bun was way too sweet for my liking and I didn’t finish it. The sausage in the hot dog was nicer and bigger than ours but the cheese pizza tasted exactly the same as back home.

It looked nice on one side and dripping with oil on the other.I swear the Home Alone movie has made me addicted to cheese pizza.Our Australian membership got us into the store.We get chocolate pandas and they get ‘chocorooms’.Nothing really weird about this product, I just found the name amusing.‘Stranger things’ fans can squeal like I did.Croissant or sausage and egg for breakfast? Why not have both?This made me stop in my tracks… A whole roasting pig. What the?!Different versions of poke salad.They sell massive chicken pot pies! I want this is Australia.What I found very useful as a tourist in the store were their deals on Mauna Loa macadamia nuts and Hawaiian Host chocolate, both recommended to me by my Mum when she went earlier this year. They were cheaper than buying them at other stores and made for a convenient souvenir for family.Despite the food area being outside, the layout of the Costco store in Hawaii is very similar to ours. At times it didn’t feel like we were in another country, until we came across some of these unusual items.

Koloa landing resort

We are loving this resort. The two bedroom villa is massive! It has multiple random Harry Potter closets, 2.5 bathrooms, laundry room, two bedrooms, dining table for 8, big kitchen, living room and a corner balcony overlooking one of the pools. I could stay here for forever. 😌
#koloalandingresort #lei #hawaiianhost #holiday #hawaii 

When in Hawaii

When in Hawaii, do what the Hawaiians do** 🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍My friend taught me a neat trick where you cut out all the spikes which creates a beautiful pattern. Hawaiian pineapples are ridiculously sweet with a small non woody core aka completely opposite of back home. 
**disclaimer: I have no idea what the locals do, but if I lived here, I’d eat pineapples all the time