We were very excited this week to interview the beautiful Marina Fogle. Marina is the founder of The Bump Class, preparing London’s mothers to be for the birth of their children. Informative, impartial and above all great fun, The Bump Class is tailored to meet the needs to parents who want to learn about the practical elements of child birth, breastfeeding, parenting and first aid from a supportive, pragmatic and unbiased point of view.
Marina lives in Notting Hill with her husband, the TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle and their children Ludo, 3 and Iona 2 and their dog Maggi.
What inspired you to set up ‘The Bump Class’?
When I was pregnant I was very reluctant to spend time or money on an antenatal class but a group of friends persuaded me to do one. I did Christine Hill and it was by far and away the best thing I did in my pregnancy. Not only did it educate and prepare me for motherhood, but for the first time in my pregnancy I became really excited about becoming a mother. Chiara and I both strongly feel that girls who are really well prepared for what will happen to them not only during labour and birth, but also for the months that follow, generally enjoy motherhood more than those who haven’t stopped to think or plan for the birth of their child. Chiara and I wanted to create an antenatal class that was thoroughly informative, practical, impartial and above all fun, an environment in which mothers to be can get excited about the birth of their child, discuss any worries, concerns as well as excitement and meet a group of like minded girls who will become their invaluable support network through the shared experience of becoming mothers at the same time.
Tell us a bit about the services you offer and the benefits to both mums and dads to be.
Our antenatal course is really comprehensive. We have a selection of guest speakers who are all specialists in their fields, but who are also great people people. These specialists also then provide an aspect of our clients support network – for example if someone has back issues during their pregnancy, they have already met on of London’s leading Women’s Health Physiotherapists.
Our classes are very much a collaborative discussion rather than a lecture. Classes are small and the girls are encouraged to ask questions as and when they come to mind.
We both felt strongly that we needed to dedicate two classes to preparing girls for after the baby has been born. A lot of mothers to be tend to focus on the birth and pretty much every mother will agree that it’s actually the months that follow that are the hardest and where you’re on your own the most.
The dads class (one 2.5 hour session) is relaxed yet informative. We prepare the fathers for what will happen during the last weeks of pregnancy, labour and once they are fathers and focus on what they can do to help at each stage. The fathers are generally very curious, and often slightly nervous. Having Chiara, a doctor and mother herself, lead that session is really well received and she will always answer their medical questions in a way that leaves them confident that they (and their partners) are ready and excited about the birth.
The Bump Class is run by both you and Dr Chiara Hunt, you sister – are you a close family?
Very close! Chiara and I are 18 months apart and basically grew up doing everything together. When she told me she was pregnant when my son was 3 months old I was over the moon that we could share the journey of motherhood together. As it happened she’s been there for the birth of both my children and in fact my daughter is Iona Chiara after her amazing aunt! Our four children are less than three years apart and are much more like siblings than cousins. They’re very lucky.
As a family we’re all very close – we spend pretty much every weekend with our parents in the country. The cousins love their grandparents and it’s so much easier having them altogether, out in the country, messing around with tractors and treehouses.
What’s on top of your to-do list this week?
We’re expanding the website and writing a book so I’m meeting Leonora Williams-Wynn who did the brilliant illustrations for the website to discuss the look of future images. We’ve been slightly overwhelmed by the response to The Bump Class. Oh and I’ve got to put bars on the children’s bedroom windows…they’ve discovered climbing….!
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an expectant mother?
Everyone you meet will try and give you advice and it will invariably be conflicting. Decide early on to take advice from one person and try to block out everyone else (particularly those who try to tell you that they can tell the sex of your baby… one of the MOST annoying things!).
Your husband is TV presenter Ben Fogle, what’s it like living with such an adventurer?
He’s an incredible father and our children are totally obsessed with him. Of course it’s difficult when he leaves and we don’t speak to him for weeks – particularly when Ludo suddenly announces tearfully that he’s ‘lost’ his Daddy. But when he’s back he really spends time with them and will arrange fun, unique outings. The other day they all went to the butterfly exhibition at the Natural History Museum and Ludo had butterflies all over him. At the moment they’re unaware of his profile but I love that when asked at school what Daddy’s job is, he proudly announces “My Daddy swims with crocodiles”.
What’s your idea of a perfect family weekend?
It’s got to be the beach. We spent a weekend in Dorset recently which was just heavenly. The beach is the ultimate playground and we love nothing more than spending the day trawling rock pools looking for crabs, shells and pirate treasure with our dog Maggi. Ideally Chiara and her children would come too and the children would charge around in a gang before they collapse, sandy and exhausted in a room together. I’d love for us to camp but with a two year old, it’s a little early. I’m sure it won’t be long though, until Ben packs a tent for us….
What’s your favourite family recipe?
I’m a big fan of Annabel Karmel – her recipes are delicious and prove you don’t need copious amounts of salt and sugar to make things taste delicious. We’ve been barbecuing a lot recently (whatever the weather) and I make the burgers with the children (they love getting their hands dirty) and then helping cook the burgers on the barbecue. I’ve found the more input my children have in making their food, the more excited they are about eating it.
- 450g/1lb lean minced beef or lamb
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (I used mixed herbs for this)
- 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water (I used a beef stock cube for this)
- 1 apple, peeled and grated
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- a pinch of brown sugar
- a little salt and freshly ground pepper
- flour for coating if sauteeing, and vegetable oil for frying
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together except for the flour and oil. Using your hands, form into about 8 beefburgers and roll in flour to coat. Saute in the vegetable oil for about 5 mins per side or until browned and cooked through.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
The Miracle Blanket – this swaddle is a brilliant piece of kit. As my babies got bigger they would fight their way out of their traditional swaddles and wake themselves up…every half an hour. The Miracle Blanket has clever flaps that makes it impossible to escape from without using Velcro. Every mother should have one.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Gosh, that’s the most difficult question of the lot…. Hmmmm – I’d say I’m an energetic mother who can tell great stories – I’m incredibly optimistic and love being busy to the point that I’m slightly chaotic… and I have massive FOMO.