Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hawaii - The Hotel

We aren't usually the kind who spend too much time in the hotel while on holidays. We usually don't worry about paying extra for a view that we're not going to look at because we're out sightseeing anyway. And we only do the token dip in the pool on the last day to just kill time before flying out. But this time we knew we wanted a relaxing holiday where we would lay by the pool and wake up in the morning and have a coffee (or a Mimosa) whilst enjoying the view from our room as we plan what to do (or not do) the rest of the day. So, when I came across the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and read that they had not 1, not 2, not 3 but 5 pools on the property, I knew we had found the perfect retreat. And with the ocean in their backyard, we were spoilt for choice as to where to spend lazy afternoons. And don't even get me started on the view from our room on the 32nd floor of the Tapa Tower....

View from the Lobby
Our Room
The colours of the ocean we woke up to every morning
The view from our room on the 32nd floor
The view
Sipping cocktails on the balcony

Panoramic shot of our view at dusk
Lunch at one of the restaurants in the hotel by the beach
Hotel Grounds
Pool 1
Pool 2
Pool 3
Pool 4
We didn't get to try Pool 5 because that was always the busiest one as it had water-slides and was filled with kids the whole time. And there was also a man-made lagoon on the property which we didn't get to try. But you know, there's only so much relaxing you can do on a 7-day trip. Plus it's a good excuse to go back. Although, the hotel is very crowded and busy most times, this is just a sign of how popular it is and because of the beautiful view and great location right on Waikiki beach and close proximity to everything you'll need during your stay and the 5 pools - I'd highly recommend staying at the HHVBR if you plan to go to Oahu. We booked our hotels and flights on Expedia, we got great rates so I also recommend you try researching your next holiday on Expedia to compare prices. They have great deals year round specially if you bundle flights and accomodation. Bon Voyage!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hawaii - The Shopping

No holiday is complete without great shopping! Specially for a shopaholic like me, that's number one on my agenda. Hawaii has amazing shopping whether you go to the Ala Moana Mall or if you prefer a shopping strip like the Kalakaua Avenue where shops are open till 11pm every night (H&M till midnight) for post-dinner shopping - win! But one place that's a must-visit for bargain-loving shoppers is the Waikele Premium Outlets Centre. Even though its a fair way away from Waikiki where most of the hotels are, its definitely worth setting aside an entire day to go here. You won't be disappointed. This is where I did my best work as you can see below ;)...

Waikele Outlets house outlets for brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Michael Kors just to name a few and also larger specialty stores for Sports goods, Perfumes, Sunglasses etc. Something for everyone.

Change-rooms at Kate Spade New York
My shopping from the Outlets
Inside the shopping bags- From top Left to Right: Prada Sunglasses at 50% off, Kate Spade cos bag $11.79, Kate Spade Bangle $17, Kate Spade top (as seen in photo above) $62, Michael Kors Gold Watch at 50% off, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks (not from Outlets - bought at Nordstrom) $40 each (price is Aus $76).
Some more shopping -Turquoise & White Striped Maxi Dress $12 and Paisley Print High-waist Shorts $17 from Forever 21, Grey & White Sequins Striped Tank and Cream with Gold Sequins Tank from Banana Republic $7 each (Waikele Outlet), 2 for 1 Body by Victoria Fragrance Mists from Victoria's Secret $15, Daisy by Marc Jacobs 100ml perfume from Duty Free shop at Hawaii Airport $75 (comparable price in Aus $120) 
Given that I had just 2 hours at Waikele (because we had to make it back in time for the last shuttle out to Waikiki) I think I did pretty well, although I do recommend taking the earliest shuttle to get there and the last shuttle back so you can take your time because there is lots to see. I was pretty chuffed with the bargains I got. My new favourite shopping destination ;). What I would give to go back!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Hawaii - The Sights

We flew to Hawaii for a week last week. It was absolutely wonderful! The weather, the shopping, the relaxing by the pool and beach - it was all perfect. A much needed break. And I hear we avoided some really cold days in Melbourne, so that was a bonus. I'll be putting up some of our photos from the trip in a series of posts. I thought instead of a travel diary by day, I'd do posts by theme, so this is the first - The Sights of Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach

Driving around Oahu Island

Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay Resort

Chinaman's Hat
 Arizona Memorial & King Kamehameha's Palace

Battleship Missouri
"The Ultimate Surrender" Statue
King's Statue & Palace (as seen in opening credits of Hawaii 5.0)
Atlantis Submarine Tour
Heading to the Submarine in a Ferry - Diamond head Crater in the background
111ft deep in the ocean

  Such beautiful sights! Day or night, Hawaii doesn't disappoint. I miss it already!

Coming up next posts on Shopping, Our Hotel & Food, My Outifts....

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


If you've checked out my Instagram lately, you would know that I've been on a (short but beautiful) summer holiday! To find out where and for a sneak preview click here.

Details coming soon...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

One night at Crown

So, if you read my previous post, you would have realised that Mr. Pre works with an awesome company - the chocolate tour was part of their annual conference and so was staying the night at Crown Metropol with dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill for employees and their spouses/partners. We got to stay the night on the highest floor with a city-view room! What a great way to spend the weekend. It was like a mini-vacation. Even just one night at a nice hotel even if you don't leave town with great food, wine and a good view can help recharge those batteries. I highly recommend it. Here's a glimpse of our stay on the 26th floor and dinner...

This photo doesn't do justice to the beautiful piece of meat that was on my plate. Also, since we were so many of us, we got all the sides on the menu, this was just my first serve. 
What a great weekend it was of good food, wine, chocolate and all things indulgent! 
But now time to stop looking back and start looking ahead. I'm going away for a bit this weekend. This time on a proper getaway not just a mini one (still short though, only a week, but holidays are never long enough). Watch this space for updates...

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Chocolate Tour - 2

It's a cold, wintry night and I'm sitting on my couch, snuggled up next to the heater, sipping coffee and watching Confessions of a Shopaholic. Quite a perfect setup. But I can't help but think about this amazing weekend I had a few weeks ago...I've been meaning to share but just haven't gotten around to it. Until tonight, because all that's missing in this perfect setup of mine tonight is some chocolate! Which brings me to the Chocolate Tour I went on, again (remember I did this last year?). No, I'm not a crazy chocoholic (just a shopaholic). It was organised as a team-bonding activity by Mr.Pre's work. Fun idea, isn't it! So here are some pics from the day...

Statutory Warning: Below images contain some decadent delights and are not suitable for persons with a delicate willpower and trying desperately to shed winter weight by avoiding and not consuming decadent delights (this includes me) - so what the heck, go ahead and enjoy this eye-candy...

Our tour began this time at the new Cacao Lab at the Strand where we were given Hot Chocolate Shots.

Hot Milk Chocolate Shot
We went to Koko Black in the Royal Arcarde, of course.

Taking a little break from all the chocolate, I stopped to admire the beauty of the architecture of the Royal Arcade. I love this place. Makes me feel like I'm living in the 1920s.

There were a few other choco-licious stops we made along the way including Haighs and the Fair Trade store. We ended the tour with a complimentary hot drink and dessert at Theobroma in Melbourne Central (I took my dessert in a take-away container as I had had enough chocolate for the day - yes, there is such a thing as too much chocolate).
Mocha at Theobroma
But after all that sweetness, I needed something savoury. What better than Jimmy Grant's chips with oregano, garlic oil and feta right next door at the Emporium foodcourt! Yumm!

I'm in love with these chips! They're my new guilty-pleasure! (Now you know why I'm trying so desperately to shed those winter-kilos!)

Alright, now for the decadent delight I promised....just kidding ;) - it's my outfit for the day.

Floral Bomber Jacket: *$25 (Portmans)
Grey Marle Tee: *$10 (Dotti)
Bow Necklace in Soft-Gold: $19.95 (Portmans)
Embossed Jeans: $49.95 (Zara)
Bag: *$53 (Forever New)
Black Ballet Flats: $12 (H&M)

Outfit Total: $169.90
* = sale prices

The Chocoholics Tour was just as enjoyable the second time around as well. I highly recommend doing it just as a fun weekend activity with your friends if you are looking to do something different without spending a fortune or travelling far and wide.
You can find their details here.