My life - Natalie Cleur
Natalie Cleur is the Client Director at Smart Digital TV Limited. She is also one of the coolest women on Instagram. She is creative, funny and very likeable. Natalie talks about free will, inspiration, and advice to her 14-year-old self.
Tell us about yourself
I am a 48-year-old married, child-free woman living in London. I am a video content producer working in the world of trade shows. I love art, colour, and doggies (although still don’t have my own).
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Locate my earplugs that become dislodged in the night and can usually be found stuck to my face. Having slept on them, I then wait for the life to return to my arms so that I don’t have to roll out of the bed.
What is happening in your life at this minute?
Currently, my life is somewhat dominated by work... Mustn't grumble as we're a small company so better to be busy than wondering when the next job will come in. I'm planning various filming jobs at events in London, UAE, and Europe in the healthcare, casino, aerospace, telecoms and energy industries. As I am sure is the case for many of us in January, I'm also planning a few long weekends away with the hubby and mates - work to live, right!?
Impossible to give one answer.
Day time: Peppermint tea.
Mealtime: Red wine.
Party time: Old Fashioned.
Wintertime: Baileys – Christmas Milk, you should try it on Cornflakes.
Summertime: White port punch – summer tipple by the pool at my folk's place in France.
Anything spicy or barbequed. I lost my sense of smell over 20 years ago and since then I definitely require more ‘kick’ to food. I love it but cooking is really my husbands' passion and he rocks at it and has more time to do it and is exceptionally good at grilling anything – I’ve promised him an outdoor kitchen for his 50th - wood-fired oven and a fancy pants Argentine grilly thing.
We live in London, so have the world’s cuisines on our doorstep and we love discovering no-frills eateries – Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Szechuan are favourites.
I have a sweet tooth so anything chocolatey. Still, to this day, when I’m with my Dad in a restaurant I order something chocolatey, take a mouthful, smear it on my teeth and grin at him like a toothless hag. It gets him every time – he loves it. I always do the dancing napkin trick in restaurants. I will never stop doing this.
I also happen to make the world’s greatest Tiramisu – a recipe passed to me from my Italian cousin and great aunt, but pimped with chocolate. Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’… my version does that, spins you around then gives you a hangover.
What is your most treasured possession?
Hmmm, for all my love of the finer things in life my most treasured possession are my albums, boxes and hard drives full of photos. I genuinely am a little worried about my fading memory so I started my Instagram account a few years back to capture my life in pictures and I do look back at them to remind me what I've been up to. I lost my Mum 20 years ago so the older photos are there to remind me of times gone by and other loved ones no longer with us. I would be heartbroken if I lost them.
What is your best quote?
I don’t have any stunning quotes of my own, I’m not as wordy as I’d like to be. My sister and I both are afflicted (gifted?) with what we refer to as ‘Mumisms’. Having been brought up by an Italian woman who never 100% grasped the English language but just went for it anyway - an example being,
Me: “Mum, what did you eat at the restaurant?”
Mum: “I had some squid but I really didn’t like the tiny testicles.”
Other favourite quotes: "Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.", Samuel Johnson.
I also like “Maybe I’m not too sensitive, maybe you’re just a dickhead.” - ANON
What are you most proud of?
Managing to carve out and maintain a life in what I believe to be the world’s most vibrant, inclusive, exciting, cultural city.
What keeps you up at night?
Work mainly and back pain, all topped off with a slathering of overthinking!
What is your greatest fear?
- Losing my mind or memory and therefore becoming a burden to those around me.
- Sharks – I blame Jaws. To this day I feel uncomfortable in a bubble bath as you never know what lurks beneath.
- Spiders – just ahhhh!
Describe yourself in three words.
- Colourful – literally and in choice of language.
- Silly – rather that than stupid.
- Special – in every sense of the word.
Can women have it all?
I was privileged to be raised in Europe by parents who allowed me to grow into the woman I am today. I have female friends of all ages so lucky to be surrounded by strong women who are raising families, holding down careers, starting out on their adventures and generally being fabulous and rocking it at life. I have always been fiercely independent and self-sufficient so I’d say 'yes' we can have it all.
Destiny or free will?
Good question, although I am not sure I’ve understood it! I do believe that all of us have something that we’re meant to do with our lives (destiny/fate) and that some lucky folk know very early what that is, some people can’t quite figure it out (me), some never know and some don’t get the opportunity to find out – all of these are influenced by either free will and/or circumstance. I am also a strong believer in the power of positive and negative thought. If you think something regularly enough good or bad, then it can become a reality.
Who inspires you?
Off the top of my head - Greta Thunberg, what an amazing human being and role model to kids and adults alike. Then it would be artists & photographers who inspire me daily and lastly anyone who promotes body positivity. This wasn’t a thing when I was growing up and I truly feel one of the best bits of social media.
What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
- Don’t listen to the teacher who told you that your T-shirt with the words ‘Heavenly Body’ emblazoned across your chubby chest was inappropriate to wear on a school trip. You did have and will continue to have a Heavenly Body.
- Moisturise from head to toe, bend at the knees when lifting and start paying into a pension NOW!
What book have you read that positively shaped you?
I hold my hands up; I’m not making the time to read enough. I use to read on my commute but now I’m based at home it has fallen by the wayside. That said, I do have a number of books on the go that I can dip into depending on my mood. I love a good thriller but my current book is The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff. What a mouthful I hear you say but it’s a jolly fascinating examination of how our data is being unwittingly mined and traded by corporates and governments and how our behaviours are being shaped and modified as a result. I used to work in publishing and I remember working on financial titles covering futures and options (betting on the future price of pork bellies and other commodities). Now we are the commodity - our choices and lives being traded and betted on, all with the intention of influencing how we spend our time and money.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Bit of a sweeping statement here... RELIGION. I respect that some people need faith or something to believe in, I just have a huge problem with folk thinking that their belief is somehow better than someone else’s - to the point of fighting and killing over it. If I had my way, we’d all be pagans, running around in the nude, worshipping and looking after Mother Nature.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Painting a still life or a landscape with a doggy sitting to one side and John feeding me chocolate covered brazil nuts on the other.
How do you do to relax?
Walking on my Wanstead Flats & Park; taking photos of literally anything; practicing pilates and pottering around the house with John. I also love art but that doesn’t always relax me.
To follow Natalie, her Instagram page is https://www.instagram.com/nataliecleur/