Two years later the couple, who met 17 years ago while working together at Frankie & Benny’s, are back in the limelight after welcoming their third child, daughter Kai, two months ago in typically "unconventional" fashion.
Adele, 35, opted yet again for an unassisted home birth and shared a candid snap on Instagram.
This week, Fabulous Digital visited the Allen’s home in Hove, East Sussex, where they revealed more about their controversial "off-grid" parenting style, which involves playing Junior Scrabble with the kids rather than sending them to school, letting them choose whether or not they brush their teeth and going barefoot 24/7.
For the past eight months, the family-of-five have lived in a one-bedroom flat in an emergency social housing block after they were evicted from their home.
They’re currently living out of suitcases, surrounded by piles of boxes, stacked shelves and there's a spare freezer in the lounge.
Despite the Arctic temperature that left me shivering on my short walk from the station, eight-year-old Ulysses greeted us barefoot while Matt, 35 – fresh from his daily sunrise dip in the English Channel – and Adele were dressed in Crocs.
“We’re big fans of re-wilding – getting back to nature and going barefoot, even if it’s cold,” Adele tells us as she welcomes us into the damp-smelling, cramped flat with Kai tucked in a sling.
Every surface is strewn with cuddly toys (any parent of three kids can sympathise), books, dozens of plants and washing out to dry.
Our kids go barefoot, even when it's cold
How they manage in such a small space is baffling; but one thing about this overcrowded set-up isn’t a problem for these unconventional parents – sleeping in the same bedroom.
“Every other mammal sleeps close to their young when they need that to be the case,” Adele points out as I observe the unusual set-up. A double bed with mismatched duvets is against the wall with two single mattresses side by side on the floor.
“It’s a really pleasant experience for anyone who hasn’t experienced it before, waking up with their children and sharing all those moments.”
Adele and Matt advocate child-led parenting, which gives kids the freedom to make their own decisions. For them, this stretches to letting them choose their own bedtime.
This means Ulysses sometimes doesn’t hit the sack until midnight and usually wakes up between 9am and 10am.
They also let the kids decide whether they want to brush their teeth or not – which is often not.
I think school resembles a prison more than somewhere children enjoy to be
When it comes to sex, the couple “find windows” when Ulysses is out with his friends and Ostara is taking a nap.
Unlike most households with young children, there’s no strict morning routine here; in fact, there’s no routine at all, helped by the fact the children don’t go to school – because they don’t want to.
Adele explains: “There’s so much about mainstream school that doesn’t resonate with me.
“The controlling, authoritarian style they bring in to discipline the kids, the strict curriculum that doesn’t allow for creativity, the stealing of the children’s autonomy – they’re not allowed to eat when they’re hungry or go to the toilet when they want anymore.
“I think it resembles a prison more than somewhere children enjoy to be.”
Though Ulysses, who should technically be in Year 3 and taking his SAT exams, isn’t interested in going to school, Adele reckons three-year-old Ostara may be “more curious” when she gets to that age.
The children receive some education at home, which consists of visits to their local allotment, swimming days at the local leisure centre and soft play.
Adele said: “Ulysses has an interest in numbers, so he will sit down with Matt in the evening and do sums.
“He doesn’t have such a strong interest in reading and writing but we do have Junior Scrabble. He’s more interested in how to type in the right words on the iPad at the moment.
“We don’t mind them using computers and iPads as they’re growing up in a world full of technology, so denying them access to fully master that is going to hinder them in the future.”
As with her other pregnancies, this time around Adele rejected ultrasounds, refused to take folic acid and gave birth without any pain relief.
She said: “I don’t take folic acid – it’s been linked to a gene mutation which impairs the body’s ability to detox.
“I’d rather take the natural alternative, Methylfolate, which is found in green leafy veg – because I have a plant-based diet I’m sure I’m getting enough of that.
Ulysses doesn’t have such a strong interest in reading and writing, but we do have Junior Scrabble
“When it came to the birth I knew I’d be able to manage the pain by myself with Matt here.
"I feel very tuned in to my body and able to listen to the signs. I would have called someone if I felt it had got beyond my control.”
She also opted for a lotus birth with Kai, which involves not cutting the cord and waiting for it to fall away from the naval naturally. On this occasion this took three days.
Adele told how it took six hours for the after birth (placenta) to come out, and after washing and curing it she kept it in a cooler bag close to Kai until the cord fell off. She and Matt then threw the placenta in the ocean.
The couple also didn't give Kai a bath for two days because they believe “babies aren’t born dirty”.
Adele said: “The white sticky coating they come out with is called the vernix. It’s on there to protect them from the amniotic fluid in the womb.
“When they come out if you wash it off straight away it leaves their skin very vulnerable to abrasion. It’s better to rub it into the skin rather than wash it off.”
Ulysses and Ostara’s upbringing is a far cry from their parents’, who had a “fairly conventional” childhood growing up in Hertfordshire.
Speaking about her decision to parent in this way, Adele explains: “Witnessing the direction society’s going in, we’re losing connection and respect and trust with people, and I think it starts at a level of losing our relationship between our family members because we’re not listening and connecting properly.
Babies aren't born dirty… we didn't wash Kai for two days after the birth
“I was in mainstream education up to degree level. Afterwards I stopped and realised I wasn’t any the wiser about what I wanted to do and found myself going into all things natural and alternative, and that’s what resonated with me.
“I don’t think any of that was fostered in mainstream education, I just had to go and live it.”
The couple also favour natural remedies and have rejected conventional toiletry products.
“Shampoo, conditioner, regular soaps and toothpaste, I haven’t used them for so many years, I can’t remember the last time,” Matt admits.
“Rather than use toothpaste, I chew on cloves with coconut oil; you’ll be amazed how clean your mouth feels if you wash that around for five minutes.”
I can’t remember the last time I used shampoo, conditioner, soap or toothpaste
“We also don’t tend to use suncream and conventional medicine, we opt for herbal, natural remedies,” Adele says, adding that she refuses to vaccinate her children as she believes “the body doesn’t need it”.
NHS guidelines recommends babies are given the 6-in-1 vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and hepatitis B, at eight, 12 and 16 weeks as well as their MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella at one year and three years and four months of age, among others.
So what do their family make of their off-grid choices?
“They’re very accepting, but at the same time I think they do question the same as everyone else. I think it’s fair to say that they’re curious,” Adele says, revealing both she and Matt have lost their dads and their mums still live in Hertfordshire.
“I’m not sure that anyone would ask for any advice, but we plant seeds with people to make them think about their own actions and definitely make people reconsider things like vaccines.”
The couple do have some boundaries when it comes to behaviour – but would never raise a hand to their children.
“When they’re getting intense in a certain behaviour, we’ll talk through with them how that’s affecting everyone so that we can meet everyone’s needs in the family,” Adele says.
We also don’t tend to use suncream and conventional medicine
“We don’t do corporate punishment at all. We see every behaviour as having an un-met need.
"We aim to get to the root of the problem rather than try to control the behaviour.”
Regarding the This Morning incident, Adele insists Ostara was merely the victim of a leaking nappy.
She adds: "Ostara stole the show."
After "vindictive trolls" voiced concerns over the children’s welfare, the couple got a visit from social services, but they left satisfied they were happy and healthy.
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