Julia is one of the UK’s favourite TV presenters. She has a keen passion for the outdoors and is known for fronting BBC One’s Countryfile back in 2009 alongside Matt Baker, as well as presenting Wainwright Walks and most recently Wonder of Britain.
Julia’s other television ventures span from BBC Three’s Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Watchdog, Wish You Were Here and the Rough Guide for Channel 5.
In addition to her presenting, she is also the President of the Camping and Caravanning Club, as well as the first ambassador of Ramblers Worldwide Holidays.
And of course most importantly, a mummy of 3!
Describe a typical day for you
There’s no such thing because my job is very diverse. I can be out filming on a mountain side or in a studio, on location in another country, boating, abseiling, flying, writing my book, doing a radio morning – you name it. No two days are the same and I love it.
Days at home are about enjoying the babies and spending as much special ‘Mama/Baby’ time as possible.
I’ve gone from having no children to 3 children in 4 years (one 4 year old boy called Zephyr and twin girls Zena and Xanthye who are 5 months) and I’m relishing it.
Children are fulfilling and rewarding in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
The days with the girls are easier to chart: wake up, feed, sleep. Wake up, feed, sleep. Wake up, feed, sleep for a little bit longer….bath time, feed, lots of cuddles in-between and good night.
Zeph is obsessed by dragons and volcanos so if we’re not drawing them, we’re pretending to be one or to be on top of one!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
For all mums I think it must be your children, but putting them to one side for a moment, I think I’ve made some good telly programmes.
I’ve been in the business now for nearly 20 years – when I was starting out I wanted to achieve longevity and adaptability. I promised myself that as long as I could get work and it was rewarding, I’d carry on.
Watchdog, Kill It Cook It Eat It, Wainwright Walks, Countryfile, Wonder of Britain are some of my favs. I did make a merry appearance on Come Dine With Me once – I wouldn’t use the word ‘proud’ – but Christopher Biggins and I had a laugh.
What’s in your handbag?
All the usual bits and bobs: credit cards, Laura Mercier lip gloss, a notepad and pen, Blackberry (yes I still have one!), iPod, wet wipes and a Sophie giraffe for someone to chew on!
What are your ambitions in life?
There are loads of TV programmes I still want to make, including a panel show and a big outdoor event series.
I want to hike across South America, which I hope to do soon (I have recently become an Ambassador for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays and they run some amazing walks out that way), and I hope to bring up my children to be happy, confident, kind, individuals, who can save the planet!
You’re currently working with AXA on their campaign to raise awareness of new car seat regulations, please tell me a bit more about that.
Keeping your kids safe when driving them to nursery, soft play, or just to the supermarket is one more thing to worry about as a mum and unfortunately, car seat safety can be quite confusing.
To help raise awareness of the current car seat legislation, which includes the introduction of a new height-based i-Size seat that keeps kids rearward-facing for longer, I’ve partnered with AXA to help put parents at ease about the pressures of driving with children.
AXA has put together a really handy guide about current car seat legislation with the help of RoSPA, which you can find here. I’ve also provided my top tips for making that car journey a little bit easier.
The campaign also focusses around keeping kids entertained whilst travelling by car, how do you entertain your own kids?
As a mum, I fully appreciate how stressful crying children in the car can be, which is why I have shared my top entertaining tips with AXA.
My top recommendations would be to tire the little ones out before setting off, or stop en route at service station playgrounds for them to let off some steam. Games and sing-alongs are also high up on the list, with toys, snacks and a cosy pair of pyjamas to travel in also a must!
What advice would you give your pre-baby self that you now know, having had children?
You cannot underestimate how much your life is going to change. Everything you do will impact your children’s lives – don’t think you’ll be the same person.
As a relative of mine says, “your life has changed but you wouldn’t change a thing.”
Also when you’re leaving for work early in the morning or planning a night out, build in at least one (extra) hour of cuddle time – you still won’t want to leave!
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I don’t do predictions. It’s hard enough keeping up with what’s happening tomorrow, but my girls will be 5 and Zeph will be 9, so there will be chocolate cake and bouncy castles somewhere in the mix.
What advice would you give a budding TV presenter?
Get a mate to film you on your phone doing all sorts of the things you think you’d be good at or talking about on the telly. Watch it back and try to get your friends and family to honestly appraise you. Would you watch yourself? Approach as many production companies as you can who make the kind of programmes you like and offer to work at anything to get experience.
Finally, happiness is…
Dancing on a beach in the sunshine to your favourite music played out loud, with your little ones screaming, “dance with me mummy ,dance with me!”
For more information on AXA’s campaign to make sense of car seat regulations head to Vicki’s post here