parental pride and first dates

The crowd is hushed, waiting

Breaths held for the magic moment

When she dives into a glaring light,

A golden times that glitters loudly

As the men from papers shout-

‘Look this way! Over here!’

But all she does is scan the crowd

Looking for the only man that counts.

Yesterday, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 10m platform diving competition. She is only seventeen so this is a marvellous achievement, but it has received more attention because she is the daughter of somebody considered to be a celebrity in Britain.

Her dad, Fred, is most well known for being the maitre d in the popular First Dates show. But it was Andrea that took the spotlight last night as she put in a brilliant performance in the pool.

But for me, it was the pictures of Fred, beaming in the stands that made me smile the most. There is something so special about the close bond between a father and daughter, and when a dad is proud of his girl it makes your heart feel fuzzy.

I spent a lot of my twenties feeling really awful about myself because of the drinking that I just could not kick. I tried to overcome this shame by doing stupidly difficult challenges like swimming the Channel – anything to make myself like a worthwhile human being.

I genuinely thought that my own father hated me and was ashamed of me. However, one day I was working at the gym and I was signing up this guy who I thought I recognised. It turned out he worked with my dad and I had remembered him from my parents’ wedding.

“You’re Dave’s daughter, aren’t you?” he said as he signed his membership form.

“I am,” I replied.

“I work with your dad,” he confirmed. “Your dad always talks about you and what you’ve done. You’re a bit of a legend in our office.”

I was lost for words. It’s very British of us, not to talk about being proud of each other, and my dad is VERY British. However, I wish he had told me that he was proud, perhaps it would have stopped me from beating myself up with alcohol.

I obviously don’t blame my parents for my drinking – that’s all on me – but I’m glad that Fred shows his pride so publicly. And I hope that Andrea appreciates it and has a far healthier mindset than I had as she goes into her adult life.

Much Love

Rachel xx

just let me do my job, please

burning newspaper
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on

I’m here to do one thing,

That’s what I’m paid for,

That’s what I’m trained for.

So why are we talking about things

Irrelevant and useless,

Draining the life from me?

We can all do better,

So stop with the sniping

And let me get the result that you want.

We have the Commonwealth Games going on in Birmingham at the moment and there has been a bit of a fight between the Australian press and the swimmers which I have found really interesting.

It is Kyle Chalmers, the Australian 100m freestyle champion, who put out a statement on Instagram asking the Australian media to just back off if they really want the team to perform to their best.

Now, I haven’t done too much research into what has happened but I think a lot of the attention that has been stirred up has come from the fact that Cody Simpson has joined their team. He is an ex-pop star who toured with Justin Beiber and dated Miley Cyrus and and one of the Hadid sisters.

I’m kind of torn about how I feel about the way press intrude on athletes, because Chalmers has a point – they are there to swim, and the press are riling them up and making that difficult.

On the other hand, these guys are professionals and I think that everybody in the world has a responsibility to manage how they react to others. These swimmers are trained to get on with the job no matter what is going on in the outside world, and I’m actually quite surprised that Chalmers has got so upset about it.

I’ve never had the press intruding on my personal life though, so I can’t really comment and say that I would handle it any differently. I do wholeheartedly believe that people should be respected though, and perhaps the press need to back off and just judge these guys on what they are paid to do.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the beauty of the opening ceremony

athletes running on track and field oval in grayscale photography
Photo by Pixabay on

It starts with just a single figure

Balooning out to all those dancers

Twirling in the drops of light,

A ceremony gluing us together for

A week, a month a year, that opening

Is just the starting point

For a legacy that stretches out for years

And changes lives in precious little ways.

Tonight is the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games which are being held in Birmingham. It is exactly ten years since we held the Olympics in this country and I think we are all hoping that these Games will bring us all together in the same way.

There is something so magical about the opening ceremonies for any kind of games and I remember a decade ago, sitting on my sofa and actually crying as I watched the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

I’m not normally that soppy, but I’d had a false start on my English Channel swim with the pilot calling me that day to say that I would be swimming the following morning. Unfortunately, the wind picked up and he decided against it so it got pushed back to the following Wednesday.

I went to watch the swimming the next day and I got to see Michael Phelps swim. Again, I cried as the crowd roared and I felt as though I was experiencing something so special.

Those two weeks were incredible and I did spend so much of it crying as my own nerves took a hit waiting for a good window to cross the Channel, and then I also had the joy of watching our athletes smash it at a home games.

I’m sure I’ll spend the next 11 days glued to the action on TV (unfortunately no tickets for me this time), and I hope that I can feel some of that overwhelming emotion I felt a decade ago.

Good luck to everyone competing!

Much Love

Rachel xx