We sit down with TV presenter Julia Bradbury to discuss what she gets up to on a daily basis, how we can make eco-friendly changes and what her new show has in store for us.
How do you balance work vs social life?
The social life since I have had kids has changed significantly. It used to be about seeing friends, going to cocktail bars and the cinema. Now, I try to find one night a month without children where I can go and see my friends. A true social life, in that adult sense of the word, is very difficult when you have three little ones. But, it’s important and spending time with your friends is a crucial part of your health. I’m lucky that a lot of my friends had kids at the same time, so we’re all under the same pressure. We try to take time for each other and get that balance right. Parenthood is very rewarding and very lovely but those nights out and hangovers have certainly become few and far in between.
What do you do to unwind?
I really enjoy yoga and I can do it from anywhere because I follow YouTube videos. I love going to classes because there is that energy in the room, you have an instructor and you can ask questions too which helps. But yoga is something I can also do in my bedroom – put down a mat and half an hour is all you need. It focuses me for the day. On my days off, I like to play tennis, too. I have only recently taken it up again after playing it as a kid. But I have enjoyed going back and learning something that I was quite good at as a teenager. Now I’m pushing and challenging myself to improve.
What is your daily routine like?
I don’t have a daily routine as my work is so varied. One day I could be getting up super early around 5am and doing a radio show. The next day I could be packing and preparing to go filming in the UK or abroad. I can be climbing mountains, then the next day in a TV studio. Today, for example, I haven’t had time to do any exercise apart from 20 minutes this morning when I got up. I did some stretching and a bit of yoga. Routine is really hard for me so I have to work extra hard at trying to fit in that one hour of me-time.
What do you eat on a daily basis?
I am definitely addicted to sugar. I’ve always had an incredibly sweet tooth and I get that from my dad. We’ll go out for dinner as a family and my dad and I will always order the same food (or should I say the same pudding). But, because I have become so much more aware of how much sugar is in everything, I’ve tried to reduce my intake every day. So for breakfast, I’ll have low sugar muesli and a handful of blueberries or strawberries.
I eat veggie once a week, the whole family do. We’ll do veggie bolognese with kidney beans or egg noodles and veg stir fry with sesame seeds. I use Quorn as well and make lasagne with it. I like bean burgers and veg burgers with a bit of halloumi on top. I’ll do pasta with cheese and veg, that kind of thing. I love food! Asian food is a real treat, I love Dim Sum, dumplings and anything with Asian flavours. I try not to eat too much red meat. I like duck as it’s quite lean. I’m a real foodie and I like cooking.
What’s your favourite thing about getting outside?
Daylight and getting vitamin D is so important. You don’t always get enough fresh air if you’re in a city. I do recommend getting outside and to the nearest green space – parks are a Godsend for all of us across the country. We should love our parks, treasure our parks and utilise our parks. We all know that the closer you get to trees and plants, the cleaner the air is going to be. If you are bound to a city, try not to take the main roads and go for the back roads because generally, research shows that pollution is lower on these roads where you’re away from the traffic. I wholly recommend getting out to the countryside when you can.
Where’s your favourite part of the UK to go walking?
This is very difficult, I always feel like a politician when I get asked this question. Of course, I have been to and celebrated many different parts of the UK and never want anywhere to feel left out. It’s quite well known now that when I started walking it was in the Peak District. My dad that took me walking and hiking for the first time and we used to explore the white and dark peaks. So because of my childhood memories, the Peak District will always be special to me. And I will always love places like Jacob’s Ladder, The Lake District and also Cornwall as the coast is incredibly invigorating. We are spoilt for choice in the UK, we have so many fantastic locations to choose from.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to live a more healthy lifestyle?
I look at my health in three categories – physical, mental and wellbeing.
Physical health is about keeping fit and in shape. Think about your goals, whether that’s to lose weight or be in better shape so you’re not out of puff when you climb the stairs. You have got to evaluate yourself and think am I fit enough? Can I live my life to my best ability with my current fitness level? I personally need to be quite fit because my job is very active and I do lots of outdoor activities which can be physically demanding. Therefore, I have got to be quite physically fit so I work hard on maintaining that fitness. The most important part of all health and fitness is making the time. We all make excuses and none of us really have the time but actually none of us can afford not to be fit. Your physical health is doing exercise. Whether that is walking, going to the gym, playing tennis, doing a team sport at work, yoga or Pilates. Find something that you like and mix it up and do it three times a week.
Mental and Wellbeing
For your mental health that is about focusing on some of your problems. You can combine your mental health with your walking which is good for mental health. Walking helps you think clearly. There is a chemical reaction and the rhythm of walking helps you to elevate your mood and think clearly and it’s a really good way of problem-solving while you’re walking. Then, wellness is taking the time for you – read a book, spend time with your children, cook a dish that you’ve always wanted to cook. It’s about doing something that you really want to do and doing it for you. That’s your wellness health.
Give yourself one hour every day for you and then work out what you’re going to do every day with that hour. Are you going to concentrate on your mental, physical, or wellbeing health? Then carve your week up to make sure you to cover three bits of physical health. And split the other mental and physical health amongst the other days
How can we be kinder to the environment?
The easiest thing you can do is look at your everyday lifestyle and try and cut down on the number of fast consumables that you buy. A lot of the clothes we wear are made of plastic. Make different clothing choices and going for natural fibres that will last longer. Billions of clothes end up on landfills every year! That’s because we have all got used to this idea that you can buy a £3 t-shirt then throw it away when you’re done. That is quite damaging to the planet, because the production of that t-shirt takes a lot of water and energy, contributing to greenhouse gases. Everything has to go somewhere and if it ends up on a landfill, that’s bad.
Make choices – instead of using takeaway cups, get a reusable bamboo one. It’s hard to be kinder to the planet because you have to do research. So spend time looking at the things you use in your everyday life and see if you can switch some of them for a more sustainable product.
Tell us about Australia and your new TV program.
Australia is an incredible country, island, continent. There is more to it that just the surfers. I think we think about the lifestyle as being the sunshine and surfing but it’s such a diverse country. You’ll see me in rain forests, the middle of the outback deserts, cattle stations in the middle of nowhere and isolated ranches miles from anything. I got to see the great barrier reef which I have wanted to do for my whole life. I was sleeping under the stars. The series is really an explanation of the Australian way of life. And there are many ways to it there. People can live in the middle of nowhere and have to deal with that isolation.
You have got Sydney, one of the most vibrant cities in the world and 40,000 people commute across Sydney harbour every day, there is so much variety to the country. In this series you are definitely going to see me talking about the plights that we as a battle are battling at the moment, so from a conservation point of view, the rain forests are under threat in Australia, and I touch on that. I visit turtle sanctuary as they are re-released into the wild after being damaged by man and plastic. I explore coral bleaching in the great barrier reef. and see how we can repair and help nature. Not to mention I meet lots of extraordinary people. It’s a really exciting series.
Working to inspire people and their families to get outdoors, Julia is partnered with Cotswold Outdoor – one of the UK’s leading outdoor clothing and equipment retailers –and walking website The Outdoor Guide.