In an exclusive interview and photoshoot, TV favourite Julia Bradbury has revealed she is so keen for her children to help clean up the environment that they spent part of a recent New Year break in Antigua picking up plastic from the beach. "I did some beach cleans with the kids," she said. "Recycling is quite tricky on the island but they've done away with plastic straws and plastic bags have been banned." The nation’s most passionate walker also took time to explore the Caribbean island on foot, going for hikes in the rainforest. The holiday, at the Hodges Bay Resort and Spa, came at a good time for the BBC Countryfile presenter, who recently finished filming her new eight-part series, Julia Bradbury’s Australia, which she filmed in two-week stretches at a time. She told HELLO! the work made her miss her seven-year-old son Zephyr and three-year-old twin daughters Xanthe and Zena – but she refused to feel guilty about it.
Julia Bradbury with her three-year-old twins
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"I missed them, of course, and felt pangs of guilt rather than an overwhelming sense of it. I don’t buy into guilt. It can be a very negative emotion, and it clearly wasn’t going to help as this was a job – I had to do it. You have to make peace with yourself and get on with it." And she fully believes that her property developer partner Gerard Cunningham is more than capable of holding the fort when she is away. "Gerry’s a very loving, caring parent, and his cuddles are as important as mine. If I’m on the other side of the world or on a shoot up a mountain and you can’t get me because my phone’s off, he’s the go-to daddy."
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And she is outspoken about how a father’s role in a family is still not considered "equally important". "Why is it not so acceptable for the father to run off from work to the child who has fallen over in school? The workplace needs a cultural shift where it is as important for men to have family time as it is for women. There’s a great expression, which goes something like: ‘We bring our daughters up to be more like men. When will we bring our sons up to be more like women?’"
To read the full interview, pick up the latest copy of HELLO!, out Monday 7 January