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Lifestyle

My Hawaii travel guide

28th January, 2019
The gorgeous Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki

At the end of last year we headed to Hawaii for a family holiday and it was such a great getaway for many reasons. It was obviously great to be able to spend time with my family and parents but there was so much to see and do that we never ran short of activities and as such it made having the kids in tow so much easier. The trip to get there was also relatively straightforward in that we weren’t dealing with changing planes or gruelling long haul flights so by the time we arrived we were ready to hit the ground running and make the most of our time there. If you’re planning to head over there yourself here are my favourite places to stay, eat and shop.

Where to stay

We stayed in Waikiki in Oahu and there are hotels aplenty to choose from. We ended up staying at the Halekulani which was great. It’s in a convenient location, has easy access to the beach and the rooms and property are stunning.

You’re always never far from a water view in Waikiki

We also spent a few days at the Aulani Resort for the kids. It’s a Disney Resort & Spa so the girls absolutely loved it. There are characters like Mickey, Minnie and Moana walking around and whilst there are no rides there are plenty of pools and waterslides to keep little ones occupied. If you’re considering it, I’d recommend staying around 2-3 days.

With my gorgeous family and Mickey at the Aulani Resort
Where to eat and drink

Even if you don’t stay at the Halekulani make a point of going to House Without A Key, which is an outdoor bar/restaurant on site. It’s a great vantage point to watch the sunset with live entertainment such as Hawaiian music and traditional dance. We did this every evening as it was a good spot to enjoy a drink and it’s kid-friendly too. Also try the Sunday buffet at Orchids which is also located at the Halekulani. It’s a good place to enjoy the water views and the food’s top notch. Be sure to book a table next to the grass so the kids can play.

Getting ready to head out with the girls

Treat the kids one morning to the Disney Character Breakfast at the Aulani Resort. The Disney characters come out and sing around the tables so it will keep them entertained whilst you enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee. ‘Ama’Ama which is also on site is also a nice restaurant option if you do decide to stay at the resort.

Located next door to the Aulani Resort is the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina and they’ve got a great selection of restaurants. The fish restaurant Mina’s Fish House is good for seafood lovers but if you’re in the mood to try local Hawaiian fare try La Hiki Kitchen.

Hawaii is definitely a great family-friendly holiday

For a casual drink check out Tommy Bahamas for Happy Hour or the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian. If you’re in Hawaii you definitely have to have at least one mai tai!

For a taste of home, head to Bills. We had brunch there nearly every day and it has the best coffee on the island. The atmosphere is really relaxed and the food is fantastic.

Senia was my favourite restaurant experience in Waikiki. It’s a 15 minute cab ride downtown so it’s a bit further out but the food was amazing and well worth the trip. There’s an a la carte menu but if you’re in the mood to indulge check out the degustation.

For a red meat fix, head to HY’s Steakhouse and Cocktail Bar. It’s had an old school feel with the waiters in tuxedos and the food is great. They also have live music on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday which is worth checking out.

Nobu is always a good spot for Japanese and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The restaurant has a great vibe and we definitely left with happy tummies.

Alan Wong’s is the spot to head for a taste of regional Hawaiian cuisine. The ingredients are sourced locally so everything is really tasty and fresh.

Sun, sand and relaxation – what more could you want?
Where to shop

Ala Moana Center is the place to head for a retail fix. It’s an outdoor style mall with everything from high end designers like Chanel and Gucci to US department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus.

Along the main strip of Waikiki is Kalakaua Avenue and there’s store after store to check out including Tiffany & Co, Miu Miu and Saint Laurent. You’ll also find chain stores like Forever 21, Sephora and H&M so there’s a good mix to be found.

The Waikele Premium Outlets are a 30-minute drive from Honolulu and you can drive there or catch the bus, a taxi or book a seat on the shuttle bus. They have a range of outlet stores from different brands including Calvin Klein, Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren.

Have you been to Hawaii? What are some of your fave spots?

Lifestyle

My fave places to hang out in summer

8th December, 2018

One of my fave haunts is The Boat House at Balmoral Beach

Summer is the perfect time to get out and about as the weather is so great and everyone is in the mood to socialise. I have a list of regular haunts in my local area in Sydney but also have some die hard faves that I will make a special trip to visit. Here’s where you’re likely to find me…

Balmoral Beach

This is the number one place you will find me in summer as it’s so close to where I live. It’s my favourite beach as it’s ideal for kids as there are no waves. I take the girls here all the time and we love spending a day out there as a family.

The Boat House

I love going out for breakfast and this spot is located in Balmoral Beach and is right next to the water. The food and coffee is amazing. Be warned though: lunchtimes are ridiculously busy, especially if the weather is great. The menu is full of great options that I always find it hard to choose what to order.

Bathers’ Pavilion

We’ll sometimes go to Bathers’ for breakfast or to grab an early family dinner. It’s got great views and has a relaxed vibe that’s just perfect for summer.

Bistro Moncur

I am a fan of the original Bistro Moncur in Sydney’s Woollahra so I was pleased when they opened up a second location in Mosman. The menu is French meets modern Australian so there’s everything from sirloin with buttery Café de Paris sauce to pan friend barramundi fillet. Amazing.

Fratelli Paradiso

I love Italian food so can’t go past this restaurant in Potts Point. It’s cosy, the food is super hearty and is perfect when I just want to experience a touch of Italy.

Apollo

Also located in Potts Point, Apollo serves up modern Greek food that’s unbelievably delicious. The main dining room is light and airy is one of my fave spots for a long, relaxing lunch.

Bondi Icebergs

When the weather is warm Bondi Icebergs is a definitely must. The view can’t be beat and the vibe perfectly encapsulates the special atmosphere during an Aussie summer.

What are some of your favourite summer haunts?

 

Fashion, Lifestyle

15 of my favourite things to do in Paris

27th September, 2017

At the beautiful Musee Rodin

There’s no doubt that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The architecture, the food, the history… all the elements are there for a holiday to remember and a thoroughly enriching cultural experience. I’ve been to Paris a few times (one of them was on my honeymoon so it has a very special place in my heart) and returning a few months ago only served as a reminder of just how much I love it there. There’s so much to see and do, not to mention the insanely good shopping to be done, so Luke and I tried our best to fit everything in but there are some notable standouts that we definitely couldn’t miss…

Outside Le Pavillon de la Reine

1. Stay at the Le Pavillon De La Reine

This is my favourite place to stay in Paris. It’s a gorgeous 17th century building, covered in ivy and looks straight out of a movie. It’s located in the Marais in the 3rd arrondissement which is one of the most picturesque spots in the city.

2. Grab a drink at The Bar Hemingway

A favourite of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald this is the place to grab a drink if you’re after a warm, cosy atmosphere and a killer cocktail.

Lunching at Lou Lou with Luke

3. Lunch at Lou Lou

The beautiful outdoor setting is one of the major drawcards of this restaurant. It’s a lovely spot for a long lunch and is near the Louvré so it’s a great place to eat after a morning spent at the museum.

4. Visit the Hotel Plaza Athénée

Luke and I stayed here for our honeymoon so it’s a special place for us. We just had to visit and have a drink there to reminisce. It’s located on the famous Avenue Montaigne which is heaven for any fashion lover.

The Galeries Lafayette

5. Shop at The Galeries Lafayette

Shopaholics will love this upmarket department store that stocks every designer brand you could think of. If that’s not your thing the building alone is worth a look. I particularly liked this spot for the kids shopping. The range is amazing and extensive (there’s even a Disney store that would put a smile on any child’s face) and it’s hard not to want to buy everything in sight.

6. Visit the Ritz Paris

This exclusive hotel has had a major refurbishment and is absolutely amazing. The big drawcard for any beauty lover would have to be the new Chanel au Ritz Paris. It’s a day spa that has everything you could possibly want in a pampering session such as massages and facials but is given the luxe touch that only those famous interlocking Cs can bring.

 7. Browse Galerie de Valois

It’s a roll call of designer stores at this shopping locale including Acne Studios, Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Oliver Peoples and Christian Louboutin. If you’re in the mood to stroll combined with a little retail therapy this is the place to go.

Amazing meal at L’Avenue

 8. People watch at L’Avenue

If you want to enjoy some people watching (especially of the famous variety) this is the place to do it. The clientele is always impeccably dressed so as an added bonus it’s great for admiring the often lauded Parisian style as you enjoy lunch. I spotted Anna Wintour there during my trip so you know it gets the tick of approval from the fashion set.

9. Check out Le Bon Marche

This super exclusive department store is owned by luxury giant LVMH so the retail experience is next-level. The space is just so unbelievably chic that simply browsing is a joy in itself.

The Thinker at Musee Rodin

10. Admire the art at Musée Rodin

Home to one of the most famous sculptures in the world, The Thinker, a visit to this place is a must for any art lover. The gardens around the museum are also gorgeous and well worth a look.

11. Eat at La Société

Great ambience and impressive interiors make this one of my top Parisian spots for dinner and drinks. Just be sure to leave enough room for this meal as you’ll be tempted to taste everything.

Dining at Hotel Costes

12.  Dinner at Hotel Costes

We go here for dinner every time we visit Paris. It has great food and is a fashion industry/celebrity favourite so it’s also another excellent spot for people watching.

13. Head to the Brancusi Art Studio

A replica of the atelier of the artist Constantin Brancusi was first produced in 1977 opposite Paris’ cultural centre, Centre Pompidou. It subsequently flooded and closed before being reconstructed in its current incarnation by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. If you’ve got time, it’s well worth a visit for the immersive museum experience.

14. Splurge on dinner at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

If you’re celebrating a special occasion such as an anniversary or milestone birthday whilst in Paris I’d highly recommend dinner at this restaurant.  The food and dining room is on another level.

15. A day trip to Versailles

Escape the city and do a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. The architecture is spectacular and everywhere you turn is Insta-worthy.

If you’ve visited Paris what are your favourite spots or things to see and do?