Partying in Amsterdam, shopping in Thailand!

Partying in Amsterdam, shopping in Thailand!

How fantastic that summer has finally arrived. I returned from holiday last week and couldn't believe that a heat wave was upon us. Normally when you land back into the UK you can hear everyone on the plane groan as you descend through the clouds into the grey and damp we suffer.

You then spend the next hour freezing cold as you wait for your lift or taxi to collect you and regret that yet again you didn't wear the right clothes for travelling home.

Our holiday was an action packed trip to Thailand where we go every year, sometimes twice a year if we can spare the time. We flew via Amsterdam and as our connecting flight to Bangkok was 6 hours later it was a waste to spend it in the airport (even though Schipol is my favourite airport) so we headed into the city centre.

We picked a great time to visit Amsterdam as it was Queen's Day, to celebrate Queen Beatrix's birthday, with a full-on party. They hold an internationally-renowned street party, which goes on through the night until the evening of the next day and a huge carnival.

We felt underdressed as the whole population was decked out in bright orange. At least if we'd flown Easyjet we could have borrowed some staff uniforms and blended in with the crowds!

My overall impression from Thailand this time was that there are more ladyboys than ever before - it's also getting harder to tell whether in fact they are ladies. We took 2 friends from England on holiday with us and being first timers to Thailand they couldn't believe their eyes. To help them work it out I gave them a few of my tips:-

They are too beautiful to be true
They wear excessive make up
Thai ladies are not tall
Look out for big hands and feet
An Adam’s apple?
There are of course other more discreet signs if those 5 don't help.

I love the markets in Thailand as I can never resist a bargain so ended up bringing home the usual suitcase full of gifts - sunglasses, bags, t-shirts, but one person I really struggled to buy for was our niece Elle, who celebrated her 10th birthday at the weekend.

I'm great at coming up with gifts for adults but I find buying for kids so much more difficult - I always worry that they'll be disappointed by what I thought was the coolest present but to them is so last week.

I think she was more than happy that we held her birthday party at our house though �" who wouldn't be over the moon at the opportunity to show off to your friends by having a pool party at your Uncle's castle?

I'm sure she is the most popular person in the class when her guest list is being drawn up!

After reading about the story of the parents who were successfully sued for around £1 million following an accident on a bouncy castle they hired, we did start to worry about the implications for holding Elle's party.

3 Years ago, an 11 year old boy in Kent was left brain damaged and the parents of the triplets whose birthday party it was have been blamed for a lack of supervision.

Elle's parents hired a bouncy castle and ball pool at our house but can you imagine asking her friends parents to sign a disclaimer before their child was allowed to join in? We had to double check that our public liability insurance was up to date, but like many people we may think twice about hosting the party next year.

Keeping a secret is hard!

Having taken part in Secret Millionaire you would think I had perfected the art of keeping secrets, however I have to admit I'm struggling to stay tight lipped this week.

Yesterday, my partner Michael and I travelled to London along with 7 other hopeful homeowners, to film the final of 'I Own Britain's Best Home.'

The programme will be broadcast this Thursday, the 15th at 8pm on Channel Five but until then we are all sworn to secrecy so I can't give you any indication either way of whether we won or not.

You'll either have to watch it to find out or keep an eye out for me shopping for party gear as a clue. I set up a Facebook group when we originally appeared on the show and promised all members that I'd throw a party if we won. The group now has over 1800 members which I think would be too much of a squeeze at the house. It does prove however that social networking sites are definitely the place to be.

If you're already registered on Facebook, look me up and add me as a friend.