Q&A with TV presenter, Channel 5 weather-girl and children’s author Clare Nasir and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Chris Hawkins.
Photos by Shay Rowan Photography
Clare Nasir, daughter Sienna (7), Chris Hawkins wearing limited edition HomeSense aprons designed by celebrated British photographer Rankin to support Red Nose Day 2017 and help people living incredibly tough lives across Africa and here in the UK. The apron is part of a Red Nose Day 2017 range of products available in HomeSense stores nationwide.”
Why did you choose to support Red Nose Day this year?
It’s a real honour to be involved in such a tremendous cause and be a part of Red Nose Day. Having seen the transformation that Comic Relief’s support delivers to projects in the UK, we are very passionate supporters of the charity. I hope people will be inspired to buy an apron and bake as a family to raise some dough and help transform lives, here in the UK and across Africa.
Do you find time to cook as a family?
We cook every night as a rule, and try and have a family meal altogether. Chris cooks a mean roast and if I have time, I’ll dedicate a good few hours to making a curry. Sienna loves helping, and her chopping and stirring skills are excellent.
What is your favourite recipe?
I love making American flurry pancakes, with extra caster sugar and butter – once flipped we pile them up as a mega sandwich with blueberries, ice-cream, maple syrup and bananas. We never get through a whole stack but the process of measuring, poring, and sieving is great fun.
I have to admit, I am more the household taster than baker.
If you were to bake a cake, what kind of cake would it be?
Clare – A red velvet cake, it’s Chris’ favourite and would definitely put him in a great mood.
Chris – I heartily support the baking of a red velvet cake.
Do you bake with your six-year-old daughter Sienna?
We have a family baking session about once a week. There is no expertise here but a lot of fun. Sienna LOVES baking chocolate brownies, and tends to eat half the mixture before it goes in the oven. A lot of mess is made, and a handful of bakes are produced.
What is your fail-safe bake sale recipe?
I am always happy to churn out the chocolate chip cookies. They are so easy to make and turn around in record time.
Please share your top tips for hosting a fundraising bake sale?
Keep it simple and don’t be too experimental, family favourites always sell well. A good display goes a long way, extra fruit, icing sugar, little flags and a nice tiered cake stand.
As a child what was your favourite subject and why?
Clare: I loved maths. It opened a new and fascinating world. I think learning maths and geometry was very empowering to such a young mind. I ended up studying mathematics at university.
Chris: English. I loved reading, writing and making up stories. I had a fantastic English teacher who had a way of making you want to read all the time and pushed hard to make us think creatively.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Clare: I wanted to work in maths or geography, focusing on oceans, rivers or weather. My Masters degree was Marine Science and then went into meteorology at the Met Office. In nutshell, a dream come true.
Chris: I wanted to play in midfield for Shrewsbury Town. I still do.
What does being a parent mean to you?
Clare: The most magical world of love and companionship. It’s amazing. I feel lucky everyday.
Chris: The world. Little else comes close.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Clare: Don’t take yourself too seriously, but be grounded in everything you do.
Chris: That life’s short and the older you get the more your realise it, especially watching your child grow up so quickly. Where possible, be positive and try to make something good out of every precious day.
Clare, you are the author of the Colin the Cloud series of books, what motivated you to write a children’s book?
Colin the Cloud is a rhyming story for 4 to 7-year-olds. As well as being packed full of fun and adventure it has some key learning points about weather and simple atmospheric physics. My fifth book in the series, The Space Clouds’ Mission is published this spring (2017) – like the last four titles, this is a fun book about the weather with some nice clever science mixed in. The 6th book will be published next year.
Each one has a key weather theme, from thunderstorms to seasons to space weather – the final title will touch on the world of monsoons.
Why do you think it’s important for children to understand the weather?
Weather is such a tangible science, it’s all around us, and a great way of explaining tricky scientific concepts, such as fluid dynamics in a practical way. The weather is science in action – and a wonderful tool for igniting kids passion for the subject.
Is your daughter Sienna interested in science?
Sienna has a wonderfully inquisitive mind – she loves delving into her imagination and asking the most strange, yet inspire questions. I hope she continues to enjoy learning about science – in all its different aspects.
Do you still enjoy presenting the weather forecasts?
I have a huge passion for weather and never tire of being asked what the weathers doing today. Forecasting weather across the UK remains a challenge, as it is continually changing, and so for me every day is very different, I couldn’t think of a better a career choice for me – I still love what I do!
What was your favourite book as a child?
Clare: Enid Blyton The Twins at St Clare’s. This was the first set of books I read to myself. I felt so grown up and loved the stories of two girls at school. I begged my mother to send me away to boarding school. It sounded like so much fun. I also really enjoyed the Secret Garden – my mother used to read it to me at bedtime. My love of mysterious, intriguing plot lines grew from there.
Chris: I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and recently bought Sienna her first one. I also remember loving the Choose Your Own Adventure books but my favourite from childhood is my autograph book. It’s full of legends; from Big Daddy to Bob Carolgees and Jessica Muschamp (Sharon from Neighbours) to Timmy Mallet.
What do you enjoy doing as a family?
We spend our weekends doing fun stuff together, whether it be cycling, swimming, going to a lovely beach or just an evening of games in the lounge. Sienna is highly sociable and so we quite like hosting the occasional junior disco in our front room with Dad as DJ, obviously.
What are you up to at the moment?
Clare: I am about to launch the fifth clouds book for children, The Space Clouds’ Mission as well as enjoying my new role as Channel 5’s weather anchor.
Finally, what will you be doing to support Red Nose Day this year?
Putting on an apron and having a cake sale and tea party. Together let’s make this the best Red Nose Day ever.
Please provide a recipe we can share for cooking or baking as a family
- 375g butter
- 375g dark chocolate
- 6 large eggs
- I tblspn vanilla extract
- 225g plain flour
- 500g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees.
- Line a brownie tin Beat eggs in a bowl with sugar and vanilla.
- Melt the butter and chocolate then add to mix.
- Add flour and salt.
- Beat to combine smoothly and pour into brownie tin.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
Clare Nasir Clare Nasir is a fully qualified meteorologist and tv presenter. She has presented the weather for ITN, BBC and the Weather Channel, although most known for her 11 years as GMTV weather anchor. She also co-presented the much-acclaimed Children’s science documentary series Fierce Earth for CBBC, now in its second series. Clare currently presents the weather for Channel 5 news and is a filmmaker for the Met Office.
Clare is also a bestselling children’s author. Her fifth title, The Space Clouds’ Mission, in the Cloud Academy series, is launched this Spring. Previous books include Colin the Cloud.
Clare lives in Manchester with her husband and 7-year-old daughter Sienna.
Chris Hawkins Chris presents the Early Breakfast show on BBC Radio 6 Music and the weekend Playlist on Radio 2. He is a regular on Radio 5 Live and presenter of Radio 4 documentaries. He appears on BBC Breakfast TV; The BBC News Channel and has presented films on BBC Inside Out. He recently appeared on Celebrity Mastermind and Christmas University Challenge, captaining the winning team. Chris is an experienced festival and awards show host; successful voice-over artist and has written blogs for the BBC website, The Huffington Post, Music Week and UK Music.
The recipe, Q&A and images courtesy of:
HomeSense has partnered with renowned fashion and portrait photographer Rankin to create exclusive aprons for Red Nose Day 2017 and help people living incredibly tough lives across Africa and here in the UK. The apron is part of a Red Nose Day 2017 range of products available in HomeSense stores nationwide and online at T.K.maxx and Red Nose Day. With at least £5 from every adult apron sale going to Comic Relief, the money will help people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and across Africa.