Clare Nasir is no stranger to our screens having presented the weather for GMTV for many years. Today, I meet up with the self-confessed ‘glam geek’ in Wilmslow, her family’s new home town and discovers there’s much more than meets the media eye
Clare, her husband Chris and their daughter Sienna moved up to Cheshire two years ago as part of the BBC’s relocation to MediaCity and it couldn’t have proved a better decision: ‘Moving from Islington wasn’t on the radar until Chris’ job offered the opportunity.’ Clare is married to Chris Hawkins, DJ and presenter for BBC Radio 6 Music.
‘We looked at all the options but commuting or renting up here really wasn’t an option as it would be splitting the family up so we made the decision to move from Islington to Wilmslow.
‘I’m a city-girl so I thought it would be a struggle but it’s perfect for us, apart from I can’t get used to driving everywhere and keep picking up parking tickets!
‘Sienna (aged 4) loves it and the schools are amazing, she’s already learning French… with a Cheshire accent. What I do love is that our road is a gated dead end and all the kids play outside together – which is how I remember growing up.
‘The air pollution is much, much less up here too which was on the plus point list for moving. Sienna has suffered with her breathing since she was born really and since we’ve moved she’s only needed her inhaler once or twice I think. That’s wonderful.
‘The space is great too. Since we moved I feel like I’ve had time and space to think, rather than keep running on that treadmill.’
Which brings us to Clare’s latest venture Colin the Cloud – a book aimed at Keystage 1 all about a cloud with big dreams who realises the only way to reach those dreams is through thunder. Refined over the past 5 years the book is part of a five-part deal and combines Clare’s passion for atmospheric physics (‘it’s my baby’) with a love of sharing knowledge.
‘Knowing that you have taught something is an amazing feeling. My daughter knows how rainbows form: ‘its rain and sunshine mummy’. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated. Plus, we managed to find a great illustrator, Adam Stanway, who’s only based down the road in Stockport who’d got these fresh, savvy ways of making the characters come to life.
‘I love weather. I’m the glam geek that studies the dynamics of the ocean for fun.’
For those dreaded questions on weather that every parent faces the books also have notes for parents or teachers. Every day is a school day.
Gone is the widespread misconception of a TV weathergirl. With a degree in maths, a Masters in applied marine sciences, diploma in environmental science, producing, presenting, hosting CERN debates, writing and being a wife and mum, the tempo may not be at London levels but Clare has found the space in Cheshire to pursue new avenues and love them.
Educating and travelling are the two things we talk about most (beyond Clare’s family) and the ability to combine the two is Clare’s cloud nine. Her books, whilst concentrating on the science behind weather also travel; there’s a monsoon in India and air pollution in Hong Kong.
Beyond the books however, Clare happily regales stories filming for the CBBC Fierce Earth show of frozen eyebrows in the coldest place on earth at -39 degrees in the Yukon to the hottest place on earth, Death Valley.
‘Science and travel are my passions especially visiting and understanding extreme environments. It’s my driving force.’
What about travel for pleasure I ask. ‘My first holiday with Chris was to the Maldives and that was just paradise being able to walk into the water and start scuba-diving.
‘Then there’s a place in Australia called Coober Pedy. It’s the opal capital of the world and they’re just lying there on the ground. It’s also known for its underground residences, built due to the scorching heat. All you can see is aerials from the top, it’s like something out of Star Wars. In fact, I think Mad Max was filmed there.
‘Closer to home we love Abersoch as a family and often can be found surfing or looking for seals. Chris has been gong since he was a baby and we’ve adopted it now too.
‘Having said I’m a city-girl I’m also very much an outdoor living person. I love the ruggedness of Lyme Park. Chris isn’t a fan though but I’m still working on him.’
Colin the Cloud by Clare Nasir. Published by Rudling House. Available from high street book stores from 1 September 2014, RRP £6.99. Illustrated by Adam Stanway.
For The Cheshire Magazine, 2014