In an exclusive interview and photoshoot in Mauritius with her family, Julia Bradbury has told HELLO! magazine how the trip has given them the chance to spend precious time together following her cancer diagnosis last year.
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"I have this feeling of embracing everything now, grabbing everything that life has to offer with open arms. I wasn't sure that I would ever travel again – and certainly wasn't sure whether I'd wear a bikini ever again," said the TV presenter, who stayed at the luxury Heritage Le Telfair resort with her partner Gerry and their three children Zeph, ten, and seven-year-old twins Xanthe and Zena.
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The trip coincides with Julia's emotionally raw documentary this week about her cancer journey, which began when a 2¼in tumour was found in her left breast last September. She underwent a mastectomy in October, when her breast – plus two lymph glands – was removed and reconstructed, and is slowly recovering.
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"I've always appreciated the healing power of nature and even more so now," she told the magazine. "I'm still at the acute end of coming through my diagnosis and coming to terms with everything, so life is very heightened: the skies are a deeper shade of blue, the patterns of nature are more striking than usual. I'm taking it all in."
Julia and her family stayed at the luxury Heritage Le Telfair resort in Mauritius
Julia also told how she had vowed at the beginning of the holiday to accede to any of her children's requests, whether to go swimming or beachcombing, trek in the nature reserve that surrounds the hotel or eat ice cream – "But only one a day!"
She added: "They are this size for such a short time: you blink and they're gone. I want to enjoy every one of those moments and they're even more magnified and precious now."
Julia also opened up about how she considers her illness an opportunity to "reset" her emotional and physical health, revealing that she practises meditation and gratitude every day, exercises, sleeps at least eight hours every night and has cut out almost all alcohol.
It's the family's first holiday since Julia's mastectomy in October
"It will be a long time before you find me dancing on tables again – and I love dancing on tables!" she said, laughing.
Julia has been able to create some very special memories with her loved ones while staying at Heritage Le Telfair, which is set in 2,500 acres of preserved parkland. During her visit, Julia has been able to fully explore the resort which not only has a beautiful beach but also exceptional spas, a golf course, varied culinary concepts in 12 restaurants, a nature reserve and a 19th Century historic plantation house.
Also in keeping with Julia's commitment to the environment and sustainability, the Heritage Le Telfair offsets all CO2 emissions that would be generated by each hotel stay. This is part of a wider programme of sustainable and conservation initiatives such as sourcing 100% of its food produce from Mauritian or Indian Ocean farmers and producers, reforestation of endemic trees in the nature reserve, regeneration of coral and fish species in the lagoon and waste recycling.
Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer and Me is on ITV on Thursday at 9pm and on ITV Hub. For more information on Le Telfair, visit heritageresorts.mu.
For more information and reservations visit www.heritageresorts.mu Rates start from £215 per room/night for 2 adults.
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