WHAT I JUST LOVE.. DREAMING OF OLD TIMES. More of my Amsterdam trip.



Hi my dears,

Sorry for the later silence. The internet didn’t travel with me and though I had a lot of posts written in my notebook, my computer didn’t feel like connecting to any network. I guess she is a choosy as me or wanted holidays as badly as me! 😉

While we were in Amsterdam I discovered yet another very interesting corner off the beaten track- together with the Museum of Bags and Purses that you can re-read on the links if you missed the other posts of my Amsterdam trip.

It is another exhibition center with one in particular that I liked very much. The place is called FOAM and shows are all related to photography. (yes, me like it and me Nikon liked it too!).

Edward Steichen was for years a fashion photographer, but also a war photographer that fought the two World Wars and died almost a 100 years old. He lived between 1879-1973. His life is full of creativity, up and downs in the personal side and great achievements on the public scene. In the exhibition you get to see some of his amazing fashion pics as he was the originator of what is named ‘glamour photography’. Cameras were not allowed so the pics are FOAM’s.

Of this exhibition I loved the beauty, the delicacy and the aesthetics of the years he portrayed -recently reenacted in the movie the Great Gatsby- the glamour, the lifestyle, the models, actresses, the businessmen, the actors, the celebrities. They were all part of the magazines he used to work for for over 15 years – no more, no less than Vanity Fair and Vogue (voila!). Steichen was the Chief Photographer for them (double voila!).

While I was there I couldn’t help but to think how life is a merry-go-round, sometimes up, sometimes down.. some of the pics were from the America before the big crash of 1929. Same as with Titanic.. I wonder what happened to those pretty dressed ladies, to the gentleman playing polo or to the groups smiling while posing in a shiny white yacht.. What happened to them when the 29’s crash? Were they able to keep on with their lives the same way as before or they just realized one day after it that they no longer owned anything? That they didn’t have anymore a job, a house, a movie to star or a company to manage?

I really love black and white pictures but they always bring nostalgia to my heart as you can see. Speaking of which, have you ever been to the Immigration Museum in Ellis Island in New York? There, there is a photo gallery of the people that were reaching America. In Ellis Island– a little island just beside Liberty Island- they were kept to process the papers and to make sure they were not sick or had an infectious disease (in quarantine). Images of the gallery are striking and you can look for your ancestors as they have a registry right there.

Black and White pics are beautiful and dramatic, delicate and powerful, old and so modern.. I just love them. Check below the amazing shots Steichen took of Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper .. What do you think? Nice, eh?


Lil van De Nikon




Hi my dears!!

There is a little gem in Amsterdam that I can not recommend enough to visit. First of all, it is a museum.. Yep! I love Museums but this one is about one of those things I am so crazy about.. BAGS!!

From day one in Amsterdam, I wanted to visit this Museum. Now you will find out why.


The museum has a permanent exhibition and a temporary one, one amazingly well decorated cafeteria with three ambiances-one of them full of history- and a beautiful cozy garden.

It holds a collection of over 4.000 bags ( a dream come true!) and it all started as a private collection of Hendrikje Ivo. Now her daughter, Sigrid Ivo, is who manages the Museum.

Love for bags runs in the family.. it might be something genetic, hehehe!

You can find bags and purses from the XVI century to our days. It is a fashion history museum about bags and the way they have evolved for so many centuries taking into account the changes in fashion and the need they were covering.

www.whatijustlove.com Like for example, did you know that bags and purses were used initially by men and women indistinctly? Yes, Manuel!!

Now I am talking about the Middle Ages, right at the origin.. as in those years the clothes didn’t have inner pockets, whatever you were needing to carry with you, you needed to put it in a bag, whether it be money, confidential letters, a small Bible or a fan.. you would put it in your bag.

And guess what.. initially it was not hanging from the shoulder, but chained or tied to the waist.

Did you know that in Europe it was traditional to give a little purse with money for the bride and groom? Now we still do it -Yep!- but in a paper envelope (boooring!).  Before the content was as important as the container and those bridal bags would be done with silk and a piece of enamel copper or ceramic with the faces of the soon-to-wed. Limoges in France became very famous for these bridal bags. Check this one.

www.whatijustlove.com Time passed and the society changed. Travelling became more accessible and the first travel bags appeared. Soon the woman joined the work forces and new needs arose.The materials changed too.. from leather to beads, plastic, synthetic materials, metals etc..the limit is the imagination now.


The first brands established themselves as benchmark: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci.. and today still are.The designers know they need to keep on watching their clients and how their needs evolve. That is the key.


You can see I learned a lot on the visit!. Also, important (for photo lovers), when in the Museum you can take pics but not with flash. There is mostly focal light so it is not a problem.



When I was taking the first pictures, in almost ecstasy, my camera gave me the message that my SIM card was full. Murphy’s Law once again!

I asked the reception desk for some assistance.She called the Manager and Berenice came to the rescue and with a huge smile took me to the back of the house and lend me a computer to transfer the pics to an USB. Ladies, never leave behind your USB! This might not be the kind of advise you expect from your mothers, but that is my “V.I. Piece” of advice to you all!

Berenice saved the day and made this post more beautiful thanks to the pics. The people behind the museum ( are all women!) are smiling, happy to be and to assist, she even introduce me to the Community manager to link up with her when this post will be published. Wow! what an amazing place to work and to be.. great camaraderie, great customer service and surrounded by beautiful bags!!

www.whatijustlove.com I don’t need to say that my inspiration rose to amazing heights after the visit! I now have so many ideas, I probably have enough for 2-3 collections!!

If you go to Amsterdam don’t miss it, it is absolutely worthy.


Lil van Leather






Amsterdam is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city. My Mediterranean heart forces me to visit it always in summer though. And even in summer don’t forget to bring your sweater. Average temperature during the day in centigrade is 17 C during July and August. When the sun goes down it is chilly!

If you only have 2 days, like a long weekend or if you are enjoying a longer stopover between flights, you might want to see my list of basics…in healthy mode. We all know Amsterdam have a not so healthy side, but that is another story.


This is what I recommend you to visit and experience:

–          The canals: take a tour to see the city from a different perspective. It takes more or less one hour to one hour and a half and most of the tours depart from the Central Station area. The canals are called Grachten in Dutch and have more than 400 years of history. Three years ago Unesco named the canals World Heritage Site. Dutch are very practical people so don’t think the canals are only beautiful, they served a purpose and it was part of an ambitious project to double the city size.


–          The Museum Quarter: in the same area you can find the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. The House of Bols and the Diamond Museum are also very close by. For the RijksMuseum there are huge lines so my only recommendation is to book online and be at the gate before the museum opens. Depending on your love to the shows you could be there one morning or the entire day. There are other Museums in other areas of the city like the Rembrandt Museum and the Museum of Bags and Purses that I will dedicate a stand-alone post because I loved it so much!.


–          If the lines of the Museums are just too much, just beside the museum area you can find the Fashion District. From culture to couture in a pair of streets! The best designer’s shops are in street Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat. You might need 2 to 3 hours and a credit card ready to mambo!


–          Check the festivals, in summer there is plenty.. In our case it was the traditional cheese market in Alkmaar and the Windmills and there we went!.. Check the concierge of your hotel or check “Tours and tickets” website  to see what is on at the time. You might be right on tulip season or a super fan of miniatures (then go to Madurodam). Depending on the excursion you might take one morning or a full day. More about our Cheese excursion in a coming post!


–          Rent a bike: plenty of places to rent them and you can take a “dry” tour, well unless you are very clumsy and end up down in the canals. ;). Don’t worry the city is very flat and it is very easy to ride because they have their proper bike lanes.


–          Food! Food and Food! Try the many cheeses, the uitsmitjer, the poffertjes, the bitterballen, the pannenkoeken, the cheese croquetten and the gulash croquetten. Not so good for the diet at all, but wherever I go I always try the local food and the beer or wine. In Amsterdam the beer is the absolutely international Heineken.


–          Flea markets: I just love the street markets and in Holland are full of colours of the gorgeous fruits and flowers! In the Albert Cuyp Market I found one delicacy that stayed in my memory from my honeymoon… the wasabi peanuts!.. In the hotel in Maldives, at the beach bar, they used to serve them and I became addicted. I couldn’t find them in Dubai and my lovely hubby bought me a full bag! Yumm! There you can buy cheaper the souvenirs like the traditional clogs, the tulip bulbs, postcards etc..


–          Delft shop. This cute little shop is full of beautiful ceramic pieces in the traditional blue and white. It is a must see!.. And yep! That is the price of the little plate..


Other things you might want to see if you still have more time:

–          Central Train Station: for sure sooner or later you will end up here as most of the excursions leave or arrive from this point. The building is nice (from 1889) but the square in front is a chaos now as they are doing some construction and there is so many people that is a bit too crowded for my taste.

–          Anna Franck Museum. Sorry, the book made me so super sad that I wasn’t able to visit it the first time I visited to Amsterdam and this second time, same thing. There is too much emotion around Anna’s story. They say it is very commendable though.

You can see more pics on the Instagram feed (@gallegoara) or directly on the blog side. Don’t forget to like the pics you prefer and to follow and like very much the Facebook blog page. That would make me very happy!

This is my Amsterdam- short version, for a 2 days or 2 days and a half stay. Have you ever been in Amsterdam? What did you like the most? Please let me know your comments, your suggestions, your thoughts… interaction is what I just love more about blogging!

Lots of Luv,

Lil van Traveller 😉



Hi there,

I must admit I used to love Benetton when I was younger. All those colorful sweaters and cool pants were my dream when I was 16. The other day, I went to the Benetton Shop in Dubai Mall, and I got so surprised.. I thought it could be too juvenile for me and my thirty something’s (hem hem), but noooo! I mean it is fresh and trendy but not too teenage like. I am so glad to see that the brand grew with me, too bad I didn’t realise before. Well, being in Jamaica for 6 years kinds of explain it! Now Benetton is back to my make-me-happy-list.

I went there following the invitation of Maryshka- another Dubai based blogger which I follow and I like very much (Follow this link to go to her blog). The invitation was that Joan from streetblush.com – another lovely Dubai based fashion blogger- was doing styling in Benetton. For me, as follower of her blog to have the occasion to meet her and pick her brains to chose a look was just too good to miss.

Joan is amazing and the vibe there- there were other now girlfriends!- was awesome. We had really a lot of fun and well this is the result of her styling. I hope you like it. I liked it so much I bought the pants, the top and the yellow shoes.. Khalas!





This coming week I will be going on holidays ( yeii!). I can’t wait to get to the airport and start the disconnection process to the everyday’s routine.

This summer holidays we will be going to Holland and Spain- back home to friends and family. Yep! Home, sweet Home. As much as I love Dubai, this heat is something else!

We will be staying in Amsterdam 2-3 days and my hope is to visit different areas of the ones I visited many years ago. A little problem thought, I can not fully remember them! But it is alright, we don’t have too much time, so we will do the basics and a lot of walking or riding ( in one of those cute old style bikes) if weather permits.

After that we will fly to my beloved Madrid. I miss walking on the streets, the smell so unique of bars and cafes always full of people no matter what time during the day or during the night, all the warmth of this Latin blood of ours behind every smile and every Hola.

Madrid is indeed a truly amazing place, full of palaces, full of Museums, full of History, full of Art and full of Love. We don’t have the sea close by -minimum we need to drive around 4 hours to reach Valencia ( the beach of Madrid ;), but we have gorgeous mountains with pines aromatizing the atmosphere and we have great parks in the city too. Our Retiro Park has a huge lake  and you can rent a boat and paddle your way, or you can just seat under the trees and watch the squirrels do their jumping and hiding. We used to go there on Sunday mornings to read the newspaper or a book, have a cold Pepsi or just do nothing (well sometimes some stalking! hahaha).

The best thing is that in summer we have most of the festivals going on, so I just don’t have plans. Once we arrive there we will just decide what to do and where to go. Family and friends are the best advisors one can ever dream of having.

While I am away, I am not sure how the internet and time will be working, so just in case I get “missing in action”, don’t worry too much. I will be better than fine.

On the meantime, I found in Youtube a video that shows some of the best attractions of my Madrid for you to see what I am talking about. There is plenty of videos available if you are planning holidays or you can just drop me a line too and with pleasure I would assist you yo put together some nice itinerary.

Well, hope you like it. Please don’t forget to like the facebook page of the blog, share the post with your friends and make comments because I would love to know your thoughts.