A cup of tea and a chat with Claire

A Cup of Tea and a Chat with Claire

First things first. How do you like your brew? And would you like a biscuit for dunking?

I love a cup of milky coffee in the morning (my 90 year old grandad, who works with us at Focus, always makes me the best brew). Then I drink tea for the rest of the day. Has to be weak and white with no sugar. Love a biscuit (or 3!) and you have to dunk them – makes the drink and the biscuit taste better! But chocolate biscuits are my absolute downfall! Love them!

What’s your favourite song ever, and why?

My absolute favourite song is ‘Make you feel my love’ by Adele. I used to play this and sing it for two whole years (very badly) to my youngest daughter (whilst rocking her) at least 3 or 4 times a night when she wouldn’t sleep. I think the words sum up exactly how I feel about both of my daughters. I even have the words in a frame in my bedroom.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I desperately wanted to be an Air Hostess. I used to idolise the Dan Air cabin crew (showing my age now!). At the end of the flight they used to give me all the plastic trays, cutlery and cups and used to take them home, line up chairs in rows and pretend to serve my dolls, family and teddies. I even wrote to them when I was 10 to find out what the criteria was for getting a job – it mainly focused on how to wear your hair, makeup, weight and height!

What was your favourite subject in school?

I enjoyed a few actually – business studies, sociology, psychology and art.

We used to debate a lot in Sociology and Psychology so think I just liked the sound of my own voice ;)

When you were a child, what was your favourite toy?

I had a big pink My Little Pony Castle. My mum used to spend ages tidying it and setting it up neatly and I’d run in from school and mess it up straight away. It had a drawbridge that when you turned the handle it would go up and down.

I also loved my purple bike. It was called Bianca had a bag on the back and I used to pack myself up with a picnic and flask and meet my friend at the park and eat our sandwiches. We felt very grown up!

As I got older and began to get into music, I loved my record player. My parents would buy me records and I’d play and dance to them in my bedroom.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?

Mrs Sutcliffe, my sociology teacher. She was the first teacher who actually listened to me. She got so much out of her class, she’d start a debate, sit back and listen to us debate over a point, for instance, corporal punishment. We’d argue the pro’s and con’s and she’d just steer us to make sure we were considering everything. I was quite shy until I joined that class, she made me think I had an opinion worth listening to (my dad had always said children should be seen and not heard!).

My worst teacher was actually a primary school teacher who put the fear of god into me over subtractions. It took me ages to understand the concept of units, tens etc but if you ever asked him a question or told him you didn’t understand he would scream in your face. I was terrified.

What makes you smile?

Without a doubt, my daughters. They are my greatest achievement. They will be 10 and 6 this year. I watch them and can’t believe they have come from me. They amaze me. They are so different – absolute polar opposites - but both intelligent, talented and beautiful inside and out. I’m excited for them – they can be anything they want to be.

If you were a colour, what colour would you be?

I would be white. I think white is a fresh, clean and positive. Although I actually wear a lot of black (probably because I have 2 children who like to hug me a lot even if they have chocolatey hands!). In fact, my entire house is pretty much black and white and I love black and white photography.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Someone once said to me I was a very good business woman. They said they had met lots of people in business but I was excellent. I had a natural ability and was quite amazing.

When you work for yourself or in a family business, you never really sit back and take stock of how you’re doing personally, it’s more a focus on sales, customers, revenue, profit, staff satisfaction etc. For someone to see this and actually say it – made me feel really good.

Tell us something about you that we don’t know.

I am actually a shy person. I never give that impression but my idea of hell is public speaking! My knees literally knock together. However, give me a drink and I love karaoke (only infront of friends and family) and you cannot get the mic off me! (I am absolutely horrendous though).

I also nearly studied to become a dentist. I actually looked into the course and at the last minute changed my mind and decided to study Psychology.

I hate lying, fibbing, embroidering the truth – whatever you call it – I hate it! However, my oldest daughter still think her hamster, Rosie Billington ran away to be with other hamster friends (when infact it escaped and was found dead on the lawn). I hate that she doesn’t know the truth but I can’t bear to tell her. One day… 

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