Friday, September 18, 2015

Shop 'til You Drop in Roermond

For shopaholic, Roermond in the Netherlands is heaven. Why?

Because it has McArthurGlen, a designer outlet, that has many branded stores offering those products with big discounted prices! You name it.. from Gucci, Prada, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, Michael Kors, Coach, Mulberry, and many many more!


Entering the McArthur Glen designer outlet feels like visiting a whole little town. A shopping heaven, you may say. It's like the Disneyland for women :)). Be careful, if you're not ready to shop, don't go to this place. I warn you. Seriously. It's dangerous. You might just want to do some window shopping, but this place has its own charm that in the end you go home with at least one shopping bag. Ufffttt... But, if you're all up for shopping, then you will have a lot of fun and go crazyyyyy! :D

But, Roermond is more than just McArthur Glen. The town itself has a "small town vibe". It's quiet, nice, and relaxing. I just love walking around the town - exploring this place - beyond the designer outlet.

The markt is also cute :). In the summer, people love to sit outside to have lunch, drinks, or dinner with their loved ones. 

And we bumped into this lovely newly weds!

Just like in any other cities in the Netherlands, the locals cruise around with their bicycles :). Pollution free!

Can you bring your baby with you while you're shopping? Of course you can! There are plenty of restaurants in this small town where you can just stop to feed your baby or to change his/her diapers :). My advice is to bring the baby stroller, because you might want to have your hands free while shopping! Yeayyy! 

Happy shopping, ladies! ^^

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tips for Traveling with Baby on a Plane

Since I've started taking Sienna Little Explorer on adventures since she was 3 months old (includes flying, yes!), I thought I could share some travel tips for moms who wish to bring their baby on a plane.


  • If you're going to do a long flight, then you book your ticket, please make sure you will get a basinet for your baby. 

If your baby still breastfeeding… 

  • You're lucky! Because you don't need to bring too many stuff in your diaper bag! Check out the "What to bring check list" below. 

  • During take off and landing, make sure you nurse your baby to ease the pressure on his/her ears. Before landing (when you're still up in the sky), as soon as you feel the pressure, nurse your baby as fast as you can. If it's too late, your baby will already feel the pressure in her ears and she'd cry. You don't want this.

  • If you're baby asleep, let her sleep. You can still try nurse her during take off and landing, but if she didn't wake up, it's fine. 

If your baby already eats solids…

  • The list of items to bring is a bit longer than the breastfed baby, unfortunately :) But, it's fine! 

  • During take off and landing, you can either put a pacifier into his/her mouth and let him/her suck, or give them some snacks or drink. Snacking is better because when they chew, their ears will equalise automatically. 

The "What to bring" Checklist: 

  • For short flights (2 hours or 3 hours): 2 pairs of clothes (I normally includes a long pants, shirts, and a jacket with hoodie to keep his head warm), 2 diapers & wipes 1 pair of socks. 

  • For long flights (more than 12 hours): 2 pairs of clothes, 1 set of pajamas, jacket with hoodie to keep his head warm, 4 diapers and wipes (depends on how many times you normally change his/her diapers) and 2 pairs of socks. 

  • Pad to put under your baby during diaper changes

  • Blanket

  • Bib

  • Hand sanitizer 

  • Favorite toys (you will need them, because sometimes they get bored on the plane, so having their favourite toys help to calm and keep them entertained) 

  • Children's books (you can also use this when they're bored or start being fussy) 

  • Ziplock bags to put wet clothes

  • Diaper rash cream

  • Tissues 

  • Sun hat

  • Sling or front baby carrier

  • Baby's medical record (in case you need to take her to the hospital, this book will come handy because it has all the record of her immunisation, etc)

  • Pacifier (it comes handy!) with clipper, so you can clip it on his/her shirt. 

Additional items to bring if your baby already eats solids:
  • Snacks -- I normally bring some biscuits or her favourite snacks 

  • Food -- instant baby food, such as instant rice cereals or baby food that come in jars (you just ask the stewardess to warm it up for you). For long flights, I normally bring 3x meals and fruits that come in jars (puree fruits)

  • Formula

  • Bottle to keep hot water for your baby's food (just in case your baby is hungry in the boarding room and you need to feed her right away), baby bottler or cup 

  • Light weight plastic feeding set with utensils 

ps: for long flights, normally airlines will give you a baby package. Some airlines' package are better than the other ones. Sometimes you even get baby food (in jars), diapers, and tissue. But other airlines only give you a package of tissue, that's all (booooo…!!) :D


Walk around with your baby, so he/she doesn't feel too bored. Sienna Little Explorer loves other babies or kids. So, whenever she gets a bit fussy, I take her around and try to find parents with other babies or kids. Once she sees the other small human beings, she starts smiling and excited again! It's so nice to see how she interacts with the other kids. And it also makes everyone's happy, you, the other parents, and also the other passengers around us :).

For diapers change, do it in the toilet. They have a board where you can lay your baby. Don't forget to always put at least one hand on your baby, in case there's any turbulences. If possible, bring a small toy to keep his/her hands busy, so he/she doesn't move much. Try doing it faster than you normally do, then go back to your seat afterwards with a happy and clean baby!

Another tip is to always put your diaper bag underneath the seat (below the seat in front of you), so you could easily reach it whenever you need to get something for your baby. Never put the diaper bag in the cabinet above your head. It's troublesome.

For long flights, I normally separate her food, snacks, her plastic feeding & utensils and bibs in a separate plastic bag, so I don't have to dig the diaper bag nervously once she's hungry.

That's all for now. I wish you an enjoyable flight with your baby! Happy holiday!! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Visit to Gouda, the Cheese City!

Who loves cheese?

If you are a cheese lover and happen to be in The Netherlands, make your way to visit Gouda. You must be familiar with Gouda cheese, right? So, why not visit the place where the Gouda cheese is born? :D

From April to August, every Thursday morning, one can visit the cheese market in Gouda. The location is in front of the City Hall. It's madness. As a cheese lover, you'd go crazy! Tons and tons of cheese are displayed on the street, cheese farmers and traders bargain in such a way, they've been doing this for hundreds of years! You can also come across the local farmers in their wooden shoes. At first, I thought it's only for "tourist attraction". But, apparently, according to the locals, up until now, the Dutch farmers still wear those wooden shoes! Wow. I wonder whether those shoes are comfortable to walk with! They seem ok walking around with them, though.

It's better to visit the cheese market early in the morning, because it's close at 1pm. So, make sure you wake up early! I imagine how it was back then, hundreds of years ago, when the farmers sell their cheese to their customers or traders. And the scene before me is pretty close to it. The Dutch still maintain the "tradition" and they even make some girls wear the Dutch "milk lady" costume to give a more perfect touch to the whole scene. Awesome.

And oh, not only that, those farmers carry the cheese with horse carts! I love it.

An entire cheese (one wheel) weighs around 10 kilograms and it costs around 100 Euro, depending on the age of the cheese. The older the cheese, the more expensive it is.

The cheese market is pretty crowded. You can hear the whole bargaining process of the cheese trading through the loud speaker. The locals and tourists blend together. Approaching the closing time, the cheese farmers start to load the cheese to the horse carts. They make a line and throw the cheese one by one to one another until it reaches the cart. And slowly, you'll see the numbers of cheese displayed in front of the City Hall decrease... as the crowd fade away..

After experiencing the fun at the cheese market, I head to the gorgeous City Hall building with Sienna Little Explorer and my Mom. Apparently, the back part of the City Hall, the one facing the cheese market has turned into a lovely cafe. We have some drinks there and I feed Sienna there, too. She takes a nap after I breastfeed her. I'd love to think of how fancy she is, taking a nap in the oldest gothic city hall in the Netherlands! This gothic City Hall was established in 1450 and is now serves as a museum and venue for wedding receptions, parties, etc. The interior itself dates from the 17th and 18th century.

The room in the upper floor is quite special. It's used to hold meetings and once you're there, you could smell the wood that's dominating the entire room's structure.

I also love the stairs. The handle of the stairs is very gothic, to my opinion. And, if you pay attention, the first stairs from the bottom are uneven. It shows that people tend to step on that side, making the stairs leaning down. It's just amazing to note that this thing happens over the years.

While you're in the area, go visit the Cheese Museum. Even though it's pretty small, but you can learn about the cheese making process and see all the tools they use to make cheese. And after that, you can buy all the Gouda cheese you want in the shop at the ground floor! Woohooo!!!

We also visit the Sint Janskerk, this 123 meters long church is the longest in Holland and is world-famous for its Gouda windows. The windows are super tall and impressive.

 Have a great "cheesy" day in Gouda, folks! :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Favorite Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has many museums for everyone. They even have the so called "Museum Night", in which, once a year, on the first Saturday in November, 42 museums in Amsterdam open until 2 am! It's a festive in itself! I remember going to a Museum Night a few years back and it was a blast. I bumped into some Dutch celebrities that were also visiting some of the museums. That's how fun and popular the Museum Night is!

Anyway, my favourite museums in Amsterdam are Van Gogh, the Rijksmuseum (the National Museum of The Netherlands). Both museums are located in Museumplein.

Van Gogh Museum. 

I never get bored of visiting the Van Gogh Museum, even though I've been there many times. It's just amazing to see the different phase of Van Gogh's life influence his artworks. I also love the letters that he sent to his fellow painters. One could see that he thrived to improve his skills all the time, by learning from the other painters, moving to new places, and.. studying about arts, too. Impressive.

So, I took my Mom (she is also a painter!) to visit this museum. I knew she would love it. Even though the line was super long, we didn't give up. (the line is always long. It would actually save you a lot of time if you have a museum card or buy the ticket one day before - online).

The first floor of the museum has a convenient restaurant and displays some of the best Van Gogh's self portraits as well as his life's milestones. The second and third floor houses Van Gogh's paintings from different era. You could see how he evolved and changed his style.

In overall, this museum houses the largest collections of Van Gogh's paintings in the world. You can easily spend a good three hours (or more) here.

ps: Ticket price for Van Gogh Museum is 17 Euro for adult.


The Rijksmuseum.

The building itself is breathtaking! Pierre Cuypers, the architect of the Rijksmuseum also designed the Amsterdam's Central Station. One could see that both buildings have the same style. He also designed some other buildings in Amsterdam, as well as houses. If you happened to walk around the city, you would see some buildings or houses look similar to the Rijksmuseum or the Central Station. All gorgeous!

One should spare plenty of time to explore this museum. One day is not enough. Really. And please wear comfortable shoes or sandals, because this museum is HUGE!

The museum displays 8,000 objects of arts and history from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years of 1200-2000. It houses the Rembrandt's famous painting, the Night Watch.

Walking around this museum, one would be amazed not only by its collection, but by the building itself. Everything looks huge and 'royal'. I just love it, even though my feet always screams, asking to be massaged. :))

When you're tired from walking and enjoying the masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, you can take a rest and have a little picnic on the grass at the Museumplein. In the summertime, the locals love to do this. Sunbathing on the grass overlooking the beautiful building of the Rijksmuseum in the sunny day, breathing the fresh air, sounds like a great way to spend the summer, right? :)

And yes, my Sienna Little Explorer also loves it!


ps: Ticket price for the Rijksmuseum is 17.50 Euro for adult.

Friday, July 17, 2015

De Hallen, a new hangout place in Amsterdam

If Indonesia having a food court is a "normal" thing, in Holland is a pretty new thing. As well as the "all you can eat" type of restaurants. It becomes a trend nowadays.

One of the new hip places to eat in Amsterdam is De Hallen. The building itself was the first electric trams building in the city, but now it has turned into a cool complex, filled with different types of shops and studios, from hair salon, music studio, cinema, hotel, restaurants, arts shops, and.. a food court.

I love the Food Hallen, the food court in De Hallen. It has many "food trucks" offering various types of food, ranging from a simple waffle joint, Mediteranian dishes, vegetarian burgers, cheese sandwiches, and many other more! It took me a while to choose what to eat. Sometimes, when you have too many options, you're just puzzled :)).

The place is always full and crowded. So, make sure you come early if you want to get a table or two for you and your gang! :)

Have a nice meal, guys!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Amsterdam... I'm Back!

So happy to be back in Amsterdam again! OMG. How I missed this city!

Amsterdam has a special place in my heart. I spent two years studying here for my Masters degree, back in 2002-2004, at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. It was one of the best two years of my life!

The last time I visited Amsterdam was six years ago, we had a little reunion with my hangout friends who came from different parts of the world. It was so much fun. This time, I returned to Amsterdam with.. my seven months old baby girl, Sienna Little Explorer, and my lovely Mom!

Amsterdam is still the same. The air still smells like marijuana (hehehe.. especially if you stroll around the Red Light District area), the canals are still pretty, the tilted houses that look like dolls houses, the sound of the trams' bells as the back sound, the tourists that walk around the "Centrum", the central area of the city, with their cameras, and.. the locals that cruise around with their bikes.. or boats! I love it.

On the first day, I took the chance to show my Mom and Sienna Little Explorer my campus, De Jaren - the cafe that I used to hangout at, the China Town area called Nieuwmarkt (and the Asian supermarket where I used to buy Indomie - everyone's favourite instant noodle in Indonesia!), and walk around the down town. She's been to Amsterdam several times, but this was the first time we both were in this lovely city at the same time.

One of my favourite buildings in Nieuwmarkt is Cafe In De Waag. This historical building was originally built in 1488 as one of Amsterdam's city gates, St. Anthony's Port. Now, the building becomes a restaurant and cafe, people can also hold dinner reception here.

What type of food do I missed most?

The answer is... poffertjes! :D

As soon as I landed in Amsterdam, I didn't wait too long to eat this tasty mini Dutch pancakes, topped with powder sugar and lots of butter. Yum yummm!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sienna Little Explorer Goes to Europe!

My 7 months old baby girl, Sienna Little Explorer, is now ready to explore Europe! Yeayyy!

I'm taking her to the Netherlands to visit my cousin (and to go back to Amsterdam - where I studied! - gosh, I missed Amsterdam so much!), and some other countries that I haven't been in Europe, such as Hungary, Portugal, Chez Republic, and Turkey. In total, we will be in Europe for 1.5 months.

Nervous? Of course! Especially since this will be the first time Sienna Little Explorer flying for 15 hours! But lucky that my beloved Mom is coming with and she'll be with us for two weeks in the Netherlands :). But the excitement beats all the fear. Hehehe.. I'm just excited to be back to Europe again!

And I'm very lucky to have a baby that is not fussy. Sienna Little Explorer is such a happy baby. The 15 hours plane ride goes pretty easy, she doesn't cry or anything like that. But, I just have to admit, this is the first time I cannot sleep on the plane or even watch movies! Normally, on the long hours flight like this, I sleep like a baby! This time, no chance. Even though Sienna sleeps on the basinet, I still can't sleep because she wakes up every time she moves to the side. (when she sleeps, she moves 360 degrees! So, you can imagine how hard it is for her to sleep in the tiny basinet! :D)

How about eating my meals?

Well, lucky that my Mom is traveling with me. We take turns. So, either she eats first and I play with Sienna, or the other way around.

Check out these photos of my Sienna Little Explorer :)

And.. the sunrise greets us from our plane's window... welcoming us to the new adventures! :)