It had been an unusual start to the journey anyway with Chris and I making our way to the airport separately as I had been at BBC Radio London doing an interview about my book with Joanne Good, who some of you may have seen guesting on QVC.
It was always going to be a bit tight as my interview was at 4pm and my flight was at 8.30pm but I was fairly confidant the Gatwick Express would get me there on time. There was a moment at the station when I thought my confidence was misplaced as there had been delays on the line all day but despite the snow I arrived with plenty of time to spare.
Our flight was delayed for an hour or so whilst we waited for some passengers to arrive from Paris who were booked on our flight, during which time the weather conditions were deteriorating. Once we were all on board the de-icing process began.
It went on for well over an hour and it was a bit disconcerting that the flight engineer kept peering out of the window with his torch to make sure the engines were okay. We finally left almost three hours late but better to be safe than sorry. So not the best start to our holiday, but what followed more than made up for it.
I have never been to Mauritius before but it has always been on my 'wish list'. The problem with that is sometimes things don't match your expectations but this was certainly not the case. We had booked to stay at the Sugar Beach, a plantation style resort on the west of the island at Flic en Flac.
As we walked into the double height reception with the view through the gardens and out to the sea beyond, and were greeted by the friendly staff and a welcome cocktail, I could positively feel myself relaxing.
Our room had a view across the gardens to the beach and sea beyond, and that first evening we were treated to the most perfect sunset. You will be very pleased to hear, as will Alison Young, that both Chris and I used very high SPF… Chris courtesy of Ultrasun, and I used my favourite Decleor – factor 50 on my face and 30 on my body… and we kept in the shade for a large part of the time unless we were walking along the beach, swimming in the sea or heading to lunch at Tides restaurant. Have you ever seen a Greek salad more beautifully presented? And it tasted delicious too!
I also did lots of swimming but could not manage a hundred lengths of the pool as it was huge. Instead I did a hundred widths, which were about equivalent to lengths in my old pool, most days. We didn't have wall to wall sunshine, in fact it rained a couple of days but the rain was warm and left everywhere smelling so fresh.
It also caused some of the exotic flowers to fall from the trees including the stunning and fragrant Frangipani, as used in Elemis's Frangipani Monoi body oil and the flowers from the Barantonnia tree which reminded me of fibre optic lights… I wonder if that is where someone got the idea from?!
The plan was to totally relax but I must have forgotten to tell my brain! On the first morning sat on the beach under the parasol, I had an idea for a novel and spent the rest of the holiday scribbling copious notes about the plot and the characters… all I need now is the time to write it!
Speaking of books, I will be back on air on 'Anything Goes' at 8pm this Saturday with 'One Hundred Lengths of the Pool', which is now back in stock. We had the book launch party, hosted by Simon Wilson at his shop on Fulham Road, last night and thank you to everyone who came and made it a really memorable occasion which I will tell you all about in next week's blog.
I know we haven't had it so bad in the south of England so my thoughts are with those of you who have been snowed in with no electricity… let's hope it warms up soon.
Much love Julia xx