Rachel is the Newsreader for the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio. She’s also a mum of three, wife to comedian Alex Horne, dog walker to Loky, and a big fan of books, 90’s music, slow cookers, stretching and manicures.
Rachel made her way into her current job via presenting from around the world and on the red carpet for Newsround, championing small businesses and putting the ‘personal’ in finance on Working Lunch, shaking down the stock markets on the BBC News Channel and BBC World, and reporting on the roadworks for Radio 2.
My alarm goes off at 0430 – I get organised the night before to maximise the sleep – have my shower (ending with as long as I can bear on freezing cold!) clothes laid out in the bathroom, rucksack by the front door with work pass and face mask next to it. So I’m up (one alarm buzzing on my watch so as not to wake my husband Alex, second back up 5 mins later on my phone but in 2 years I’ve never needed it), into the bathroom, teeth, face, clothes, tinted moisture, mascara and a spritz of perfume. Creep downstairs past the reassuring snuffling from the kids rooms, into the kitchen to grab a coffee in a keep cup, empty the tumble dryer (v tactical- if I leave a full basket on the kitchen table Alex sorts it while doing breakfast) grab my fruit/veg shake made the night before, and I’m out the door and on my way 20 mins after my wrist buzzed! I spend the commute catching up on the news so I’m across the latest when I walk into the building. Having done years of the school/nursery drop off, often while on the way to work, I really appreciate just being focused on getting myself out of the house in the morning.
My day kicks off with what I can’t really describe as a “job”- working on the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show is an absolute JOY – yes it’s early starts but it’s 4 hours of pure adrenaline- juggling headlines with a-list guests, incredible live music experiences and breathtaking fits of giggles. It’s a privilege to work alongside one of the UK’s greatest broadcasters and a stellar team – and having thought my career was pretty much stalled after babies – I never thought I’d get this second chapter and I am grateful every single day.
I usually get back home around lunchtime – most days I have plans, PT once a week, yoga once a week, dog walks, some days I cycle, some days I go for a run, some days I sleep! And then all the general admin of house and family. I try and get all my ‘jobs’ done in the hours between work and school pick up.
We’ve got 3 boys – in Y3 and Y5, so that’s a drive and pick up from primary school, and our Y7 gets the bus home. Most afternoons (pre lockdown) there was some sort of play date/sports club/music/tuition pickup/drop off – I try not to let them get signed up for too much – but when they are keen it’s hard to say no, and even with just 2 or 3 things each, once you’re in multiples of three it all adds up!
Some afternoons are more quiet (especially at the moment) -I’m quite strict about “wash your hands, put away your bags, shoes, water bottles, coats!” as soon as we walk in the door – then it’s a cup of tea/hot choc and biscuits while I try and drag information about their day out of them. If I’m knackered (most days) I try and find a TV programme that we can all watch an episode of together/I can grab a sneaky sofa snooze (they want to watch YouTube – I try to win them over with The Worlds Toughest Race).
Dinner is usually all together about 6pm – when the kids were younger, eating with them was more about crowd control – but now they are older eating together is a chance to chat – we go round the table and each person says one thing they have enjoyed and one thing they struggled with in their day – The peak and the pit- I saw it on the Kardashians when I was pregnant with our eldest!
Our favourite dinner is the chicken trio triumph – Roast a massive chicken on a Sunday, stock and leftovers for risotto on a Monday, eek out the remains for a pie on a Tuesday.
Covid hasn’t really changed our day to day – I’m still in London mon-fri, Alex is still writing/filming – he’s probably home more afternoons and evenings – doing meetings on zoom rather than travelling into London, and v few gigs – but that is great for us as we get more time with him.
School night bedtimes are 8pm for the 8 year old, 8.15 for the 9 year old and 8.30 for the 11 and 41 year old! I read for half an hour – we get sent lots of books to read for work and I LOVE it. In the last week I’ve read Dawn O’Porter, June Sarpong and Graham Norton, currently on Dawn French and about to start Ian Rankin.Chris (Evans) has started a podcast called How to Wow and i love listening to that – my other favourites are Fortunately with Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, and Newscast with my lovely friend Adam Fleming.
SLEEP is how my weekends differ to my weekdays!!!I I sleep in until 7ish – such joy – there’s a LOT of football and dog walking – there would usually be a lot of seeing friends – that’s obviously a bit different at the moment.
Knowing what I know now, the advice I would give myself at the beginning would be enjoy THIS – whatever you’re doing, wherever you are at, whoever you are with, appreciate what is happening right now. I heard Ruth Jones say “I’ll never be as young again as I am today” and that spoke volumes to me.
Also – I would tell myself to stop and sit down more – I was, and often still am, always rushing and planning and worrying. I’d also introduce myself to “the worst case scenario game”- where you say out loud what your worst possible fear is in any given situation. My head ALWAYS goes to the dark place – but if you can say your fears out loud that can often either help you realise how unlikely they are – or help you think of how you would cope if it did happen, making it less scary in the first place! I’d also tell myself to take up running and yoga about a decade ago and sort my pelvic floor out earlier!!
What’s your favourite way to pause?
Run with a podcast in one ear / yoga / read / or the ultimate – have a massage!
What’s your favourite way to play?
Date night with Alex, time with the kids – escape rooms are BRILLIANT- holidays with extended family – I love to CHAT – Time with friends, putting the world to rights over tea or wine – long walks, lots of food, and making plans – I still haven’t quite cracked being 100% in the moment.
Listen each weekday between 6:30am and 10am for The Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Listen on DAB, online or search ‘Virgin Radio UK’ in your app store.