THE Radfords have revealed the extensive planning which goes into family days out – with minibus hires, extensive packed lunches & it taking four hours to get out the door.
In an exclusive chat with Fabulous, thanks to Alton Towers, where the brood had a day out during half term, mum-of-22 Sue opens up about their chaotic trips.
She says: "Travelling with the children involves a lot of planning ahead.
"If all of the family want to come with us on a day out, we will usually hire a 17-seater minibus. Or we just use the two seven-seater cars that we have if that's enough seats.
"It can sometimes be hard work in the minibus, if we’ve hired one, keeping them entertained on the journey. We lose count of how many times we hear 'are we nearly there yet?'
"We’ve gotten pretty good at boarding and deboarding, as we’ve mastered the art of chaotic choreography.
"The usual tantrums we get are who is sitting where in the minibus and what music we listen to."
And if you thought it was hard getting your kids out the door, Sue has 13 kids under 18 to ferry, as well as one baby grandchild who lives with them in Morecambe, Lancs.
She says: "We usually have to plan way ahead of time, especially if the older kids are coming with us as we have to make sure everyone can get the same time off work.
"From waking up to making our way out, it can range from between two and four hours with all the packing, preparing, headcounts and not forgetting all of the double-checking.
"To plan a trip from scratch it usually takes us a couple of weeks.
"We’re pretty experienced by now but sourcing somewhere that can accommodate us can hold up our searches.
"But we’ve been creative in the past and had a lot of fun with it."
From waking up to making our way out, it can range from between two and four hours with all the packing, preparing, headcounts and not forgetting all of the double-checking
Sue also revealed what's inside the family's extensive packed lunches – which allow them to cut costs on days out.
The family have to take 48 packets of crisps, as well as sandwiches, pork pies and healthy snacks like cherry tomatoes, bananas, satsumas, bananas and apples.
She says: "Depending on where we are going will determine whether we take a pack lunch or not.
"If we are going to a theme park, we won’t take one as none of us want to be carrying that around with us.
"If we are going for a walk in the lakes, we will take one as we can sit near the cars."
Typical Radford family packed lunch
Sue says: "Last time we were out we took with us:
- 20 rounds of sandwiches
- 48 packs of crisps
- 48 bottle of water and juice
- 6 apples
- 12 satsumas
- 6 bananas
- 20 chocolate biscuits
- 12 pork pies
- 3 packs of cherry tomatoes
"That cost us around £50 to make sure all the kids were fed, happy, and ready to take on the day trip."
Sue also revealed the latest on the family's dream trip to Australia, which has now been pushed back to 2022 at the earlist.
She says: "The trip to Australia was cancelled due to Covid we do hope to be able to go again, maybe next year."
Despite their enormous family, the Radfords normally holiday abroad every year – as well as staycations to caravan parks and similar places.
Many parents have struggled to come up with fun family activities during lockdown – but Sue has some tips for us all.
She says: "Our tip for entertaining the kids is to be flexible, listen to them, and know that their imaginations help a tonne in keeping them amused!
"We can simply have a day in the garden or have a day in the park and the kids will make the most of the free time.
"But it also helps to have something big to look forward to and keep the kids excited.
"We recently visited Alton Towers which was absolutely fantastic, there was entertainment for all of the family from CBeebies Land for the younger ones to the Oblivion ride for the dare devils in the family.
"The hotel rooms are themed which made it even more fun to stay in, some of the rooms even sleep up to seven people which is great for families like ours."
The Radfords have an enviable garden set-up with a hot tub, DIY bar for the adults and play park for the kids.
Noel, 50, and Sue, 46, are parents to Chris, 31; Sophie, 27; Chloe, 25; Jack, 24; Daniel, 22; Luke, 20; Millie, 19; Katie, 18; James, 17; Ellie, 16; Aimee, 15; Josh, 13; Max, 12; Tillie, 11; Oscar, nine; Casper, eight; Hallie, six; Phoebe, four; Archie, three; Bonnie, two; and Heidie, one.
Millie's daughter Ophelia, one, also lives with them – while Chris and Sophie have had their own kids and live outside the family home.
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