Hawaiian series


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:




Leonard’s bakery

The Cheesecake factory



Out with the old, in with the organic


It was sad to see Darrell Lea pack up its doors in civic despite being the last location left in Canberra, but now the shop front has been taken up by Lindsay & Edmunds Handmade organic chocolate. L&E have been crazily popular in Canberra appearing everywhere from Handmade markets, Fyshwick delicatessens to organic stores and now they look like they are doing very well having their own store in the Canberra centre as well as a new kitchen outlet out in Fairbairn.

Venue: Lindsay & Edmunds Handmade organic chocolate

Address: Upper floor Canberra Centre, Civic, ACT


Braddon stalking- BOX


I stand corrected, when I posted that Gelato Joe’s was the newest shop in Canberra, BOX actually opened that day! I had a lot of fun browsing through their unique collection of quirky accessories and lovely skin care. 

I couldn’t help myself and since I finished my Aesop hand cream I was on the look out for a new one. The scents aren’t that strong but it leaves a nice soft touch after rubbing in the cream.

Sweet orange and jasmine Therapy Range hand cream ($18.00)

Venue: BOX

Address: 27  Lonsdale St, Braddon ACT 2612



You would think with the amount of times I have been to Costco that I would be a member by now but no- I have been the ‘Kramer leeching neighbour’ of all my friends and slyly sneaking in with them.

It is definitely a shopping experience and a half. I think everyone should go at least once and making up their own mind if it is for them or not (you just need a friend with a membership!). For me- the sheer size, variety of food, seafood, pizza sizes, KitchenAid branded items was enough to make me squeal.

Some things are a bargain and some things are just as much if not more than your local supermarket. You just have to know roughly what things usually cost and do a mini price comparison in your head, but you also have to be realistic about how much you’ll actually use and if you have the storage/freezer space. Luckily for me as a baker, I do have enough space to store 120m of baking paper, would go through 1.5kg sticks of butter and use 1-2kg of cream cheese no problem!

Another plus (besides having baking staples in bulk) is the free food samples! Two out of the three times I have found myself snacking on free food even though I wasn’t that hungry.

So far I have tasted:

*New York cut steak (twice, the guy most have seen the bliss on my face and said I should have another)

*lasagna                                                   *american cheese

*cream puffs                                          *parmesan cheese

*organic juice                                        *Bulgogi –korean beef

*spicy fried calamari

All delicious mind you!

My first bill was around $300? Which was very surprising as my partner said we didn’t need a trolley as we were only “looking” but my membership friend insisted we take one as it adds to the Costco experience (just think the double stroller version of a normal shopping trolley). All the better to fill with items (you may or may not need) my dear!

What filled my trolley on an unplanned trip I hear you ask? Slabs of Dr. Pepper and red bull, pringles (which afterwards I decided it wasn’t that much of a bargain, I was just caught up in the moment), large jar of minced garlic for my lazy days, KitchenAid grater accessories, ‘Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals’ book, almond and cashew roca in a large bag (now THAT is a bargain if you don’t mind the packaging), buffalo wings for lunch and the smallest bottle of ranch (1.4L) I could find to have with it.

Aisles of candy, chocolate and chips.

Super sized sticks of butter!

If the wheel size of a normal cheese from the supermarket is the baby, then these cheese wheels are the Mumma!

Not that you can tell in this photo but these pie sizes are HUGE! Almost as big as their pizzas!

The ‘smallest’ ranch I could find to accompany my buffalo wings!

No kissing after consuming a 1kg of this!

Not your average sized grater.

Maybe when the membership lines die down a little and I think I can control myself around free food samples, I’ll consider joining, but for now I am just happy to go whenever my friends take me (if they’ll have me ).

Venue: Costco

Address: 39-41 Mustang Ave, Majura Park, Canberra Airport 2609

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00am – 8:30pm

                             Sat 9:30am – 6:30pm

                             Sun 10:00am – 5:00pm

Membership fee (annual): $60