There are some topics that stir up fevered conversations on social media and parenting is one that is guaranteed to get people talking. Marina Fogle, wife to adventurer Ben and mother to Ludo, Iona, Willem and Storm the family dog, has tackled this sometimes flammable and always fascinating area head-on in her various ventures over the years and is now considered an authority on pregnancy, family and parenting matters, along with her sister Dr Chiara Hunt.
Marina co-founded the invaluable Bump Class – this Luxury London writer read the accompanying book from cover to cover – and produces The Parent Hood podcast, which covers everything from instilling confidence and promoting self-care to food, video games and IVF. Home is London and here Marina tells us about her career, and what she loves about our city.
Where is home? I live in North Kensington, just north of Notting Hill, which I definitely consider my hood. I grew up in South Kensington and I met Ben in Hyde Park. I live right on the park – as wild as you get in London – which is just heaven. I know so many people on our street and I thought that sense of community was lost in London but I feel that I’m always saying hello to someone, which is really special.
Favourite local restaurants: Farmacy on Westbourne Grove. It’s a vegan restaurant and I am not a vegan person, but I think the food is delicious and the vibe is really fun. Also Grainger & Co. which is opposite, if I can get a table.
The perfect family day out in London: I love the Science Museum and sitting and looking at things, but Ben would rather be actually [immersed] in nature – not as patient! It would probably be heading out in our Defender, taking the roof off if it’s nice weather, driving into central London and heading to Hyde Park. We'd go down to one of the Farmers’ Markets or the Southbank – there’s always lots of interesting stuff going on down there, and it has a real vibe. We often go to things like the Udderbelly. I like getting on the tube, walking over the bridge and just being in this vibrant, eclectic exciting part of the city.
The Londoner you find most inspiring right now: I really like the way Elizabeth Day is reframing failure and encouraging it to be something you learn from. It’s certainly not a message which was articulated very well when I was growing up, and if our children can have role models who embrace failure, and aren't afraid of it, I think that will do a huge amount for their mental health.
What are your little luxuries in life? I often get up a bit earlier than everyone else in the house and take half an hour to myself when the world is quiet, just sitting down reading the paper with a cup of tea or doing some emails. It’s a really nice, serene start to the day, which is often chaotic. I love doing some exercise – walking the dog or going for a run or 20 minutes of [app] Sweat With Kayla. It’s so important for my mental wellbeing, and time for thinking, and mulling things over. I also love reading. I just read How To Fail [by Elizabeth Day] which is great and Educated by Tara Westover is absolutely amazing. I have on my bedside table Bloody Brilliant Women by Cathy Newman, The Five by Hallie Rubenhold and Bella Mackie’s Jog On which Ben recommended to me.
Favourite accounts to follow on Instagram, and top podcasts? I don’t follow many people but I love wearing dresses, so @DailyDressEdit. Also @FeatheringEmptyNest - Elle is very articulate and I love what she has to say. For podcasts, The High Low, How To Fail, Desert Island Discs, No Such Thing as a Fish, Friday Night Comedy from Radio 4 and weirdly I love Inside Health, a really interesting medical podcast. I am fascinated by medicine and how it's changing.
Has your career turned out as you expected? It has not panned out at all how I thought it would. My career is much more exciting, much more challenging and much more rewarding [than I had expected], and I am braver than I thought I was.
How has your podcast developed in the two years since you launched it? The Bump Classes, where the idea stemmed from, are very much classes where you’ll learn something, and The Parent Hood [podcast] has morphed into a conversation about how we communicate. Communication lies at the heart of our relationships with our children.
What’s in the pipeline for the Bump Class and Parent Hood? We’ve only done two Next Bump classes but they’ve been really successful. We have a really great team involved – midwife Jo Hooper and counselling psychologist Dr Fran Smith – and we explore how having a second baby is going to impact the dynamic in your family that already exists. We also talk about the relationship between the parents, which can come under a huge amount of stress and is so important, and all the key information you’ll need. Two babies seem somehow to be more than double the work!
The best piece of advice you’ve been given: Add life to your days, not days to your life. I'm a big believer in living in the now and taking risks. Our purpose in life, really, is to have as much fun as we can while we have the privilege to live.
Your favourite place in the world, and why: Austria. I love being up high in the mountains, the silence, which is so rare nowadays, the fresh air and water so clean you can drink from streams. You can challenge yourself both physically and emotionally – it’s a really rich, rewarding environment to be in.