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Relatively speaking: David and Rachel Saligari of Active Health Solutions in Holywood


Double act: David and Rachel Saligari

Double act: David and Rachel Saligari

David and Rachel Saligari relaxing with twin sons Quinn and Luca

David and Rachel Saligari relaxing with twin sons Quinn and Luca

Double act: David and Rachel Saligari

Husband-and-wife team David and Rachel Saligari are joint owners of the health care clinic Active Health Solutions in Holywood, Co Down. They balance running the business with looking after twin sons Quinn and Luca.

Name: David Saligari

Age: 44

Occupation: Co-owner of Active Health Solutions

Relationship to Rachel: Husband

I met Rachel on day one of our Masters class. She came in late, which I was soon to realise was the norm for her - she's always late. The more I got to know her, though, the more attracted I became to her. She was so friendly and warm and I loved how she had loads of different friends from different walks of life. She is often the common denominator of five or six friends.

She is funny and grounded and 10 years on I still love all these things about her. It did surprise me that I ended up living in Northern Ireland but I had travelled a lot by the time we met and was ready for a new adventure. I just didn't realise it would bring me here. I've got to say, though, that I still haven't got used to the weather here, it is rubbish. In fact, I'm hoping for some vitamin D for Christmas, as we aren't going home this year.

We are very blessed to have twin boys, who are the result of IVF treatment. We had our trials and tribulations along the way to have them so we count ourselves exceptionally lucky.

Life is certainly never boring and there is never any spare time to wonder what to do for the day - the boys take up all our time when we are away from work. But being a parent is so rewarding and fulfilling.

When I proposed to Rachel I had an engagement ring charm to go with a charm bracelet that she already had, but she made sure she had the real thing by the time we left New York. That's Rachel, she is a doer. While I am a thinker and a navel-gazer, she gets things done.

Over the years I have learned that often I have to apologise, even if it isn't my fault. Now I choose my battles more wisely.

It is good sharing work with Rachel. It means she understands what I am going through and if I am frustrated she calms me down. We aren't together 24/7, as we see our own clients and work on different sides of the business.

With the business and our boys we have to work hard to find time together but we are lucky we have plenty of good babysitters."

Name: Rachel Saligari

Age: 38

Occupation: Co-owner of Active Health Solutions

Relationship to David: Wife

The last thing I expected to do when I went to the other side of the world to study was to meet someone and fall in love. It certainly wasn't what my poor mum wanted either. I met David, who is Australian when I went to Perth to do a Masters in manual physiotherapy - he was on the same course. I had been working in New Zealand for three years prior to that.

Initially, I was attracted to David because of his bald head - I had always loved bald heads. When I got to know him I realised he was a very kind person, too, though. He always went out of his way to look after me and to make sure I was happy.

We got engaged in New York during a long weekend away when we were taking part in a fun run called Tunnel to Tower. A relative of mine died in the 9/11 bombings. He was a firefighter coming off duty, and his car got stuck in the tunnel on the way home that day so he put on all his gear and ran through the tunnel to the tower to help, but sadly he didn't make it. Friends and family do this run in his memory, and David and I took part in 2008.

He proposed in the middle of the Great Hall in Grand Central Station, which was very romantic. By this time I had persuaded David that Northern Ireland was a better place to live than Australia. It is, however, an ongoing debate with us, particularly at this time of year when it is summer in Australia and we are getting battered by winter here.

We do try to go back once a year to see friends and family and David's family come to us once a year.

We have 19-month-old twin boys called Quinn and Luca and I still have nightmares about the flight, so I don't know when we will venture over to Australia again.

With the business and the boys, life is very busy - great fun but incredibly hectic and I'm finding that we have to be exceptionally organised.

That's where David and I complement each other. He is the organised one. He loves to plan and know what we are doing and have everything arranged. I tend to do things at the last-minute and am very much about just getting something done. That approach works well in the business, particularly, as David will plan and organise and I will put things into action and move forward.

At home David likes things to be neat and tidy so he does his fair share of the housework while I look after the boys. He is very much a hands-on dad and is great with the boys.

I think we work well together, both at home and at work.

Spotting a gap in health market

  • Active Health Solutions is a multi-disciplinary therapy and treatment centre in Holywood, providing physiotherapy, Pilates, podiatry, chiropody, massage, personal training services and nutritional therapy
  • The business was started in 2006 by husband-and-wife team Rachel and David Saligari, soon after they moved from Australia
  • David and Rachel were struck by some key differences in the provision of therapy services in Northern Ireland compared to those in Australia and New Zealand, which led them to recognise a unique business opportunity
  • Today the practice consists of 12 practitioners
  • For details on the practice and its work, visit www.activehealthsolutions.co.uk or tel: 028 9042 1188

Belfast Telegraph