Jeff Brazier has spoken about raising his two sons Bobby and Freddie without their mum Jady Goody. The life coach said he learnt to really "pull my socks up" when his children became totally dependent on him following the death of their mum in 2009. Sitting around the dinner table for a proper family meal became a priority, and it still is for the dad-of-two.
"I became the most conscious about what I was putting in front of my children to eat when I became their all and everything," Jeff told HELLO! Online, speaking to promote Dolmio's 'No Drama' campaign. "It's that complete responsibility that was on my shoulders to ensure these children are healthy and happy and grieving in the right way. There was a lot on but I really pulled my socks up and that's when I probably learnt more about healthy eating and looking after myself, and it benefitted them too."
Jeff with his two sons Bobby and Freddie
Jeff's sons Bobby, 14, and Freddie, 12, like to get stuck in when it comes to preparing meals, especially Freddie. "He can easily make a spaghetti Bolognese – that's in the bag," said Jeff. "I just get a sense that I'm going to blink and before you know it, they're going to be taking driving tests and moving out, and the last thing I want is that they don't know how to fend for themselves and they don't know how to put a meal together. Anything better than the typical pot noodle or plain pasta with cheese on top that most people survive on at university – if they can actually go beyond that, then I'll consider my job done."
The life coach says his priority is having happy and healthy kids
And while Jeff, 38, admits to having TV dinners when he was younger, the author has said that in his house, the family always sit around the table in the evening. "At meal times, I want them to be able to look me in the eye and ask me some reasonably sensible questions about my day, life, what's in the news, their problems," said Jeff. "There are no meals on laps, even though I remember doing that as a kid. We often play a game of cards or Dominoes or Uno, so meal times are fun."
He added: "But the main attraction is always the food I put in front of them. Fortunately, my boys eat absolutely anything which is just as well because I'm very experimental in the kitchen. I've gone a little bit pescatarian because a lot of my friends have encouraged it. We're eating a lot of pulses, bulgur wheat and things we've probably never tried before, but the boys are open to it. They are not fussy eaters, they have their favourite things but generally they're really good. If I put a salad in front of them, they'll enjoy it, they'll eat it.
Jeff is fronting the Dolmio 'No drama' campaign
"It's quite interesting with Bobby. He's on a health kick – he's been on the boxing bag at home, he's been running. I think it all revolves around girls because he's started to think about the girlies and wants a six pack. We were about to drive in to one of those drive-through restaurants and he was like, 'No dad I don't want to eat that.' And I thought, 'Yes brilliant, I've got you, I've cracked you at long last!'"
Jeff Brazier is taking part in the new Dolmio® 'No drama' campaign which highlights how a family favourite like Spaghetti Bolognese can bring families together and help diffuse dinnertime dramas.