The Netherlands

in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Denmark, France, Geneva, Leavesden, London, Malmö, Paris, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Travel, United Kingdom, Versailles, Volendam

Beauty + Fashion [VIDEO]: The humungous (affordable) Europe haul

Hi everyone! Finally publishing this requested video which takes over 20 minutes. Crazy long, I know! But there’s just so much stuff to show you! So this is the video where I prove to you guys that shopping in Europe can be VERY affordable. 🙂 While I do have family there who heavily subsidised our trip and spoiled the hell out of us while we were there, the stuff I actually paid for didn’t leave my wallet in a sorry state. I missed Europe and all the things I can get there but I am proud to say that as always, I kept my head and didn’t go wild. Whew! (Always a struggle though if you’re into beauty products and clothes!)

Also, as a disclaimer, I didn’t include everything and even had to cut off a lot of parts just to keep it this short! I kept the most interesting bits, though. The home stuff, I’ll probably talk about them in another entry.

You can check the list of products I mentioned after the video if you don’t want to go through the whole ordeal. 😉 I also put them in order so you can easily forward through the video if you’re only interested in a few products!

A friend of mine who saw this video first before I uploaded it also asked why I didn’t get anything from Sephora during the trip. Answer: Because of the low Ringgit, everything is cheaper in Malaysia at the moment! So it would have been a disservice to my wallet and shopping skills if I shopped for makeup there that’s readily available in KL. 😀

Also, I was able to keep my hands off the Charlotte Tillbury and Tom Ford lipsticks that I wanted with the logic that if I pass on them now and just buy them when I have more savings, then, I will be able to buy more stuff in Boots! Haha! Crazy, I know. I’ve been taking extra freelance work lately as I’ve been saving up for the high end stuff that I want for my next trip – which may be coming sooner than I thought! 😉


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Travel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Amsterdam Centraal, Where to Go, What to See, Sightseeing, Dutch, Holland, Netherlands, Rijksmuseum, National Maritime Museum, Canal Cruise, Amsterdam Canal Cruise, Cruise, Going Around Amsterdam, Amsterdam Tours
in Amsterdam, Europe, Travel

Travel: Canal Cruise in Amsterdam

There are quite a lot of canal cruise companies operating in Amsterdam and I’ve been getting a couple of questions as to which one is the best. It’s pretty hard to determine which company is actually the best as I haven’t tried them all – only a few. 😀

So I thought I’d do just a real quick post on the last one we tried when we were in Amsterdam last August which left both my husband and I happy with the experience.

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After our visit to the Rijksmuseum, we proceeded towards the Heineken Experience building where the small docks for the Amsterdam Canal Cruise‘s boats can be found. Need directions going there? Click here for a map.

We had to pay €16 each for a 75 minute tour. This is a pretty sweet deal since you’ll be seeing more of the city as some of the tours operated by other companies only last for 60 minutes and will charge you the same amount.

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The best time to board a boat would be around 4:00 to 5:00 as even in the summer, it wasn’t so crowded.

You will be given disposable earphones which you can plug into audio sources near your table. You can choose among 20 languages (as seen above) for the narration/audio guide which will play you go through several places of interest.

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Almost Diplomatic - carolific - Diplomat’s Wife - Travel - Amsterdam - Ship Museum - Maritime Museum - Het Schreepvart Museum
in Europe, The Netherlands

Travel: The National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) + Riksmuseum

It is no secret that I probably married one of the biggest nerds on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, people. I am very happy about that, to be honest! 😉 In fact, I’m absolutely lucky to find someone who would want to visit as many museums as I’d want to in this lifetime and not yawn at me to death.

It’s no secret that we both love travelling and are quite nerdy about it. And while some people may say museums are overrated, us two will be the first to disagree with an eye roll. And as a veteran museum-goer (I declare it a thing now), I’d have to say that the National Maritime Museum and the Rijksmuseum – both in Amsterdam – are definitely worth your time and money.

I’m gonna jump right into it as I have very limited time to write this entry! So many things to do today! 😀

Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum)

Address: Kattenburgerplein 11018 KK Amsterdam

Open daily from 9am to 5pm

Getting there: Take the 22 bus (Indische buurt) or the 48 bus (Borneo Eiland) which departs from the front of Victoria Hotel (near the Amsterdam Centraal train station).

The Dutch are known for their rich maritime history and their important sea voyages that lead to discoveries and highly coveted spices. Of course, they had to have a special museum that documents these things. Do Hugo Grotius and his book Mare Liberum ring a bell? 😉

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in The Netherlands

Travel: Volendam and Marken, The Netherlands (Where to Buy Souvenirs!)

Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam are two fishing villages which have kept Dutch tradition and architecture alive. If you’re not into touristy places, then at first glance, Marken and Volendam might not be for you. However, there are still lots to see here once you veer away from the usual route.


There’s a saying that goes something like – If God created the world, then the Dutch created the Netherlands. Which is pretty much true since the Dutch have a long history of reclaiming land. Thus, most parts of the country is actually man-made. Ever wondered why Amsterdam looks so symmetrical when you’re looking down at it from your plane’s window?

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Islands, canals, dikes – for a country that’s actually below sea level, their relationship with water has evolved greatly in the past few centuries. To say that water is their friend is even an understatement – They are its masters as they can practically control it nowadays.

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They did come a long way from being flooded all the freakin’ time and being considered as a marsh land. Marken, meanwhile, is a village that was separated from the mainland due to a storm in the 13th century. From then on, the people living on the newly made island, set their sights on fishing as their main source of livelihood

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in Amsterdam, Europe, The Netherlands, Travel

Travel: Arrival in Amsterdam + Zaanse Schans (Windmills, Wooden Shoes, Secret Pathways)

Hello from KL! Once again, sorry for the absence! But also, a huge thank you for staying with the blog and coming back despite that short hiatus. It still feels weird getting views from all over the world even though I wasn’t posting much – only 1 post in 3 weeks!

I thought only the people who actually know me in person (Shout out to Philippines, Malaysia, and Europe!) take time to read my ramblings but apparently, some people in Mexico, Germany (where I don’t have any relatives, I think!), all the way down to New Zealand (and a lot more countries) find these entries interesting. And for that, a big, virtual hug for you guys! Thank you so much for supporting this blog. :-*

I guess the hardest part about having to write about your long vacation is not really knowing where to start. So let’s just back track all the way to day 1.

We left Kuala Lumpur on the 8th of August for a 3-week trip to Europe to visit family and friends while going sightseeing along the way. It was my husband’s first time in Europe so it was actually fun going back to some of the places I’ve already been to and acting like a tour guide while discovering new places with him.

We flew via Emirates and it was a pretty great experience with them. Is it better than my favourite KLM? You’ll have to wait for the separate post on that. Though I must say that Emirates really made the looong journey bearable for someone like me who has been flying a lot for years but absolutely hates it. (Dries out my skin and hair, stress, boredom, anxiety during take off/ landing – I can go on all day)

As soon as we arrived, tragedy struck. I got corneal abrasion from my persistence to put on my contact lenses despite my dry eyes. That doomed me into wearing my glasses for a week. Not that I’m entirely complaining. I love my glasses with its vintage vibe and all but I hate not being able to wear sunglasses unless I go for them and decide to be almost-blind for a day. Pfft.

My mom and her boyfriend (who’s a tour guide) picked us up in Schiphol. Since we only had a few days in Amsterdam before moving on to our next stop on this Europe trip, they decided to take us to Zaanse Schans right away so the husband can see the ever famous windmills. Off we go without freshening up! (I was totally dying to change into something more comfy but I didn’t want to be a wet blanket! And Alvin looked pretty game for it.)

Luggage lockers and getting to Zaanse Schans

We took a train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal where we made use of the luggage lockers (bagagekluizen) there. Found in the station’s East Wing (near the Albert Heijn) you may rent them for a few euros per day and since we didn’t want to drag our (heavy) suitcases through the city then to the quaint neighbourhood we were going to, it was smarter to use this service. You can find the rates and a bit more info on this here.

From Amsterdam Centraal, there are two ways to get to Zaanse Schans. One is by taking the train to the Koog-Zaandijk station (takes less than 20 minutes) followed by a 10 to 15-minute walk. It’s a pretty fun way of seeing the area and you’ll be passing by a chocolate factory that makes sure the air smells of cocoa. Yum! Do take this route if you’re going in the summer. I tried it in 2013 during winter and I don’t recommend it on a windy, winter day. The part where you have to walk over a bridge to get to the actual area of Zaanse Schans can be quite chilly.

The other route going to Zaanse Schans is by taking the Connexxion bus 391 from Amsterdam Centraal. It comes every 15 minutes and the journey takes around 40. It’s kinda like sightseeing on a tour bus so this route is also fun. Though the main advantage of this is that you get dropped off right at Zaanse Schans and there would be no need for you to take a long walk to get there. For this trip, we took the bus going there then took the train back to Amsterdam Centraal. 😉

Zaanse Schans

It’s a “living and working” community that dates back to the 18th century and is one of Europe’s oldest industrial areas. For most people travelling to the Netherlands, it’s a must see as it’s like taking a step back in time.

Our visit was right smack in the middle of the summer holidays so it was no surprise that Zaanse Schans was packed. The sun shining (way too) bright that day was practically a call for all the tourists in Holland to flock to this area.

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