Embrace the outdoors this autumn with inspiration from the broadcaster and writer Marina Fogle…
The heady days of summer may be over but, for parenting expert and outdoor lover Marina Fogle, it’s one of her favourite times of year to enjoy the great outdoors.
When not recording her podcast The Parent Hood or teaching The Bump Class (the ante-natal programme she co-founded), you’ll find Marina walking, running and riding through the countryside or watching wildlife from the woodland sauna she and her husband (adventurer Ben Fogle), built at the bottom of their garden. The nature-loving couple spend all their spare time at home in the country with children Ludo and Iona, dogs Storm and Swift, and three horses.
They’re also the faces of Barbour’s Explorer Collection for A/W 22, their fourth range with the iconic outdoor brand. We caught up with Fogle to discover the inspiration behind the designs and her tips for active, outdoor living.
When did your love affair with the British countryside begin?
Marina Fogle: ‘I grew up between London and the country but my heart was always very much in the countryside. I wanted to be outdoors every moment. We had ponies and would go off into the woods all day. Sometimes a riderless pony would return but our mother would be quite calm about the whole thing – I’d freak out now if it was my children! We’d build camps, light a fire and roast windfall apples. We played endlessly outside – that’s one of my most vivid childhood memories.’
Is the countryside a big part of your life now?
Marina Fogle: ‘Ben and I are happiest outdoors. I absolutely love summer but when it comes to an end, I look forward to those colder, windier days when the leaves turn and the countryside around you changes. My children love being in the country, too. We have horses and it’s so lovely being outdoors together, showing them how glorious the countryside is in all its guises.
‘When they were little, I wanted them to learn that rainy weather isn’t the end of the world, so we’d go for walks and get as wet as possible. It started with puddle jumping but we’d end up rolling in puddles and getting absolutely soaked! Now Ludo loves having a walk with Ben and catching up.’
Are you ever tempted to join Ben on his adventures?
Marina Fogle: ‘What Ben does is pretty extreme! He talks about whether we should take a year off and travel with the children. But glorious as it sounds to live on a desert island and bond as a family, that doesn’t really mean it’s the children’s dream, too.
‘If you’re eight and 10 years old, you want to be with your friends doing that netball tournament or pony club so we need to be mindful of that. But we love travelling as a family and have had some amazing trips.’
Where are your favourite UK outdoor escapes?
Marina Fogle: ‘I love Cornwall, especially in autumn. It’s so much quieter and I love swimming in a cold sea. We go to St Mawes in October or November and jump off the harbour wall into the sea. I love that coastline and walks along it. Some days there are amazing storms and the waves sweep up over the harbour wall.
‘Scotland is a favourite of Ben’s, too. He spent a year living on Taransay so we go quite a lot. We went on our honeymoon and now the children are getting to know it. The Islands are very special.’
What are your top ways to work out?
Marina Fogle: ‘Give me a field any day! I was a really unsporty child – I used to bash my ankle along the side of my bed so I could be off games. I didn’t enjoy the competitive element but I love being active outdoors and that feeling when you come back utterly exhausted.
‘The children have ponies and I have a horse, Jack, who loves hacking [riding for light exercise] and jumping in the woods. I started riding again two years ago and I’m much stronger in my core now.
‘And now I’ve got a dog, I absolutely love running, too – it’s given it a new purpose and I usually run two or three times a week. It’s so lovely to have time alone with my thoughts – it’s often when I’m most creative. I do an online HIIT workout a couple of times a week which is brilliant for strength.’
Do you and Ben exercise together?
Marina Fogle: ‘No! I remember suggesting a run to Ben early on in our relationship and it was met with such resistance, I never broached it again. We play tennis which we really enjoy and go for walks but when it comes to hardcore working out, Ben doesn’t like feeling he’s got to speed up or slow down. He just wants that time for himself and to exercise exactly how he wants, which I think is absolutely fine!’
How do you relax?
Marina Fogle: ‘We have a little wood-fired sauna in the woods and it’s magical. It has a glass front so we can sit and watch the birds and deer. It’s a really important part of our relaxation, especially when Ben’s been away – he’ll light the sauna and we’ll disappear for an hour to do the hot/cold thing.
‘We have a little wooden plunge pool and it’s gasping cold. I stay in it until I feel like I’m going to faint and then go back into the sauna and it’s amazing! I always sleep really well and, if you have aches or pains, it’s really good to stretch in there.’
You’re glowing with health. What’s your secret?
Marina Fogle: ‘I’d rather be riding my horse than sitting in a skincare clinic! I use SPF then, in the evening, just wash my face and use a moisturising anti-eczema cream. I haven’t succumbed to tweakments or botox. I’ve had enough caesareans, I don’t need unnecessary surgery.
‘I’m just very lazy – I get to the hygienist and dentist but, beyond that, there are more fun things to do. I’m really grateful that, at 44, I’m still quite active and can do everything the children want to. That’s why I invest in my body, in terms of eating and exercise.’
What’s the key to enjoying autumn outdoors?
Marina Fogle: ‘Good outdoor clothing allows you to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather. It’s why Ben and I have long been fans of Barbour. I feel it’s so important to get children outdoors and model to them that bad weather isn’t a reason to not go outside.
‘I inherited my father’s Barbour jacket when I was 14 – I like the fact you can buy something that lasts a lifetime. Ben has a huge collection of vintage Barbours – you can rough them up and they’re fine.’
What’s the inspiration behind your latest Barbour Explorer collection?
Marina Fogle: ‘It’s about how I enjoy dressing in the country. I love wearing dresses – it’s so easy to team them with wellies when I’m outside or a pair of boots if I need to smarten up. With a Barbour over a dress and wellies on my feet, I’m ready to go! My dress with a tie waist looks really lovely with a chunky jumper and a Barbour on top.’
Marina Fogle’s three outdoor essentials:
- ‘A good waxed jacket. I like a longer jacket with a big collar I can turn up. I’ll often go a size bigger so I can wear something padded, like a gillet or down jacket, underneath.’
- ‘A good pair of wellies. As soon as you get cold feet, the day is over, so good footwear is essential!’
- ‘A hat. If you have a terrible hair day or get totally wet, a hat always looks fantastic and keeps the rain off your head.’
Quick Q&A with Marina Fogle
Gym or outdoor exercise?
‘Outdoor exercise – I haven’t been to the gym for years and I’m not massively keen to return!’
Mountains or beach?
‘I’m half Austrian so it has to be the mountains. My perfect holiday would be mountains with a lake because I do love swimming.’
Pizza or quinoa?
‘This is going to sound ridiculous but I really do love quinoa! I get those little packets you can pop in the microwave for an instant meal – they’re just great.’
Bar or spa
‘Bar. I find spas a bit boring!’
Wellies or heels?
‘Wellies of course! I genuinely don’t think I’ve worn a pair of heels for a couple of years now. I’m happier in wellies.’
Words: Mary Combe | Photography: Barbour