Adventurer Ben Fogle is dad to son Ludo, two, and daughter Iona, almost one. We caught up with the dashing dad of two to talk close age gaps between children, and why he would be up for having a third baby...
Iona is about to turn one, any big plans?
We're actually going to be having a joint party for her and Ludo. She's a bit too young to really 'get' the whole party thing, but Ludo is very excited! He's actually already been asking if he's able to open all of his sister's presents as well as his...
They are both very close in age, do they get on?
Fantastically! They are the best of friends which is something my wife Marina and I really wanted. It's great that they are similar ages as they appreciate the same things. Although they both completely live up to the stereotypes of girls and boys. Luda loves anything to do with tractors and cars and Iona cannot get enough of dolls and cuddly toys!
You're the first 'face' of LEGO. Is it regular play equipment in your household?
Absolutely! Ludo adores it and can play with his set for hours and hours. I loved it when I was little boy, and still enjoy getting stuck in. When I was younger I remember building houses and ships and all sorts of brilliant things with it. Now you can get all sorts of cool extras, it has come so far.
Ben and heavily pregnant Marina attend the Royal Wedding last year. Pic: PA
What's your favourite thing about being a dad?
I am your typical proud parent, so I love being out with them and showing them off! Getting outside in the fresh air and playing together is my favourite. I think adults can get so jaded with life but when you have kids you see everything from another perspective and start to get excited about different things again. Sometimes if Marina and I are out and we see an impressive tractor we find ourselves getting excited and taking photos! Having children makes you more optimistic about life.
What do you find the most challenging?
I travel a lot for work, so being away from them is incredibly hard. But then I have amazing periods at home when I can spend all my time with them. I'm covering the NBC coverage of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this summer so I'm excited about being at home with them for the next few months.
What's the longest you've been away from your family?
Seven weeks. It sounds really long but it's worse for me than them really as they are so little. We Skype and chat all the time when I'm away, and I know I then get to go and be with them exclusively for ages. Saying that it can be tough. Ludo has started to say "don't go, daddy!" which is heartbreaking!
Marina suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks before you had Ludo. You left just after to travel to the South Pole. How tough was it to leave?
Incredibly tough, but the trip had been a year in planning. I would never, ever have gone if Marina wasn't 100 per cent behind it. I was away for two months, and it was difficult. A miscarriage at any stage is desperately sad.
What would you say to other dads who have had similar experiences?
It is incredibly important to talk about it, and be open with each other about how you're feeling. That really helps the healing process. Miscarriage is sadly incredibly common, so don't ever feel like you shouldn't talk about it. Always keep that communication about the experience open. It was a horribly sad time, but now we have two beautiful children and I'm a great believer in things happening for a reason.
Ben gets to grips with the LEGO police car (Is it wrong we're a little bit in love with this photo?)
Have your travels changed since becoming a dad?
Not massively, but I do have to really think about the jobs I take, and do turn things down if it's too much. I'm a hands on dad, and dedicate myself to my children, but sometimes work does take me away.
Where in the world do you really want to show your children?
Without any doubt, Africa. But we need to wait until they are older so they can travel there safely with all he necessary jabs. That would be incredible!
Ludo had quite a dramatic birth, tell us about what happened
He was born via emergency C-section and had a collapsed lung at birth. It was incredibly traumatic and he was in the intensive care unit for three days. I could go and see him but Marina was recovering from her section so couldn't, which was unbearable for her. Luckily Iona's birth was much smoother and straightforward. Of course the nerves were there though.
Would you like more children?
I think when you have one of each it's easy to say your family is complete, but Marina and I are both one of three so who knows! I think if we did we would go for a slightly bigger age gap between Ludo and Iona and the new arrival. Another would be wonderful...
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Ben Fogle is supporting the LEGO campaign to encourage children to use their imaginations to create a forest police themed LEGO masterpiece. Upload your family's creations onto the LEGO Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning a whole host of LEGO CITY goodies, as well as the grand prize of a day with Ben at the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester.