"I try to just switch off" ... Chloe Maxwell. Photo: Paul Harris
Chloe Maxwell loves a good book by the pool ... preferably with frizz-free hair.
Which was your best holiday?
It was in the Whitsundays. A friend of ours had a private 100-foot yacht with staff so it was pretty amazing to be able to go out on that with the kids. We had a chef cooking mashed vegies for my son who was only a toddler then, and they had jet-skis and waterskis and snorkels and little jet-propellers you could go underwater with. It was just over-the-top ridiculous.
Best hotel you've stayed in?
My husband and I stayed in the beautiful InterContinental Paris Le Grand in Paris last year; it's the one with the really famous Cafe de la Paix downstairs. It was very upper class, all the decor was incredible, the service was fantastic and it's really central in the 9th arrondissement.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
A nice beach or pool. The sorts of holidays where you can just relax and sit by the pool and read a good book are my type of holidays. Last year we went to Bali and stayed in a villa in Canggu where there was a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the beach where the women would come and give you massages. Heaven.
What do you always take with you on holidays?
A good book. And by that I mean a paperback - I haven't gotten into Kindle, it's not quite the same. Often I like to write in my books, underline sections or dog-ear the page so I can go back and read it again, but you can't do that with an iPad. I like my books to have stains that equate to holiday memories - "There's the cocktail I spilt, a bit of Bloody Mary!"
Best piece of travel advice?
Pack light. I hate having lots of luggage. I even go to the extent of getting samples of my skincare in little sachets so I don't have to bring big bottles. And I'll always take a black pashmina, which can double for so many things - you can use it as a sarong, as a shawl if you get cold, or if one of the kids gets cold on the plane I can wrap it around them.
Where do you want to go next?
We're going back to Bali after Christmas, Phuket next year then Anaheim to Disneyland and then Buffalo in America for my sister's wedding, so there's quite a few trips booked in! But I'd actually really like to go to the Maldives. You can wake up and jump straight into the clear blue water, just beautiful.
What was your worst holiday?
I went snowboarding one year in Perisher and broke my wrist on day two of 10. The whole rest of the week I had to play pool and drink wine by myself while everyone else was out on the slopes having a good time! That was really annoying; it's much nicer to play pool with someone else.
And your worst experience on holiday?
I got flashed in Paris one year by a dirty old man in the Metro. He jumped out from behind a pylon in a trench coat with nothing on underneath. The worst part was there were other people at the station and no one batted an eyelid, they all just looked away! I was only 19 at the time and I didn't really know what to do - I just tried to think of all the foul words I knew in French and hurled them at him, then I just ran away.
The biggest packing mistake you've ever made?
Not packing my GHD hair straightener. I've got the world's fuzziest hair and if I don't straighten it I look like a woolly mammoth. If I forget the GHD I either go to a salon or just tie it up. Or maybe that's when I need to pull out my black pashmina and wrap my hair into a turban - there's another purpose for it!
Worst hotel you've stayed in?
A backpackers in Edinburgh, Scotland. That's not something I ever want to revisit. I was with my boyfriend in a tiny room with a teeny-weeny window, and there were only bunk beds and communal toilets. It was just really yukky, it didn't feel clean, especially using the toilet with 20 or 30 other backpackers! Lucky Edinburgh's such a beautiful city that it definitely made up for it.
What do you avoid on holidays?
Emails. I try to just switch off and concentrate on relaxing. I leave a message on my phone and email saying I'm away, and I don't go to internet cafes or anything like that. People just have to wait!
What do you hate about holidays?
The rude awakening into reality at the end of them: "Oh that's right, I don't actually live on a tropical island and sip cocktails every day of my life, I'm a domestic slave. Better get back to the washing!"
As told to Nina Karnikowski
Chloe Maxwell stars in Celebrity Come Dine with Me Australia, which airs on Tuesday, December 11, at 8.30pm, on the LifeStyle Channel.