LIFE is certainly not cheap when you have 22 kids – but spare a thought for Sue and Noel Radford who fork out £400 a WEEK on groceries.
The busy family lifted the lid on their hectic life in lockdown for their new Channel 5 Show 22 Kids and Counting, which aired tonight as the start of a four-part series.
Sue revealed that the weekly food bill has nearly doubled in lockdown as the children are constantly eating – and their food bill has risen from £300 to £400.
The Radfords use 16 pints of milk and four loaves of bread a day, and each week they go through 80 yoghurts, three tubes of toothpaste and 24 toilet rolls.
And if sausages are on the menu that evening, Sue will need to ensure she puts a staggering 56 under the grill.
People were quick to take to Twitter to share their shock at the whopping food bill.
One said: “£400 on a weekly shop!!! Are you mad?!”
Another added: “£400 a week on the food shop, OH MY CHRIST.”
When you've already had 21 babies, you'd think that the novelty of the first scan would have worn off – but for Sue, hearing her daughter Heidie's heartbeat is still a "magical" experience.
While filming their new show during lockdown, 45-year-old Sue – who has been pregnant for over 16-and-a-half YEARS – welcomed her 11th daughter with husband Noel.
Sue said: "That first scan is always very exciting. That moment where you get to see the little heartbeat flickering away.
"It’s magical. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve had one pregnancy or 22."
Describing how her shortest labour was just 45 minutes and her longest 36 hours, Sue added: "So many people always ask, ‘does it get any easier?’ No!"
Before welcoming Heidie in April 2020, Sue and Noel, from Morecambe, Lancashire, had already spent over £1 MILLION raising their bumper brood.
Reflecting on this eye-watering figure, Noel said: "I try not to think too much about what it costs. What could I have had instead?
"A nice flash car. A Porsche on the driveway."
Meanwhile, Sue joked: "We could have been living in a mansion!”
Instead, the couple – who support themselves with a bakery and don't rely on benefits – have squeezed their large brood into a 10-bed former care home.
After meeting his baby sister for the first time, 13-year-old Josh said he hoped his parents would stick to their word and not have any more children.
He joked: "I feel like we’re running out of actual rooms in the house. She’s got to stop eventually, right?”
With 18 of their children still living at home, Noel is under pressure to provide for his enormous family through his pie shop business.
He said: "It’s about £30,000 just to keep the house going and feed everybody. So it’s a lot of pies we’ve got to sell to support us all!
"It’s a huge responsibility having 22 kids. I try not to let it get to me."
Although Noel was forced to close the pie shop at the start of the pandemic, his second eldest daughter Chloe suggested they take the business online – and since then, sales have more than doubled.
Full-time mum Sue also has her work cut out for her at home with all the kids- and spends hours every day tidying the house and doing multiple loads of washing.
She said: "If I could say the one thing that really does drive me insane in this house, it’s got to be the laundry.
“An average day, I can be doing four to five loads of washing. It's never-ending."
However, the couple did invest in an 18-kilo industrial-sized washing machine for their basement and Noel treated his wife to a robotic hoover in the first episode of their documentary series.
Sue also revealed that fajita night includes a staggering 5kg of chicken, 1kg of cheese and four packets of tortilla wraps.
What's more, Sue estimates that the family have celebrated 288 birthdays over the past 31 years.
She said: "That's a lot of wrapping of presents. And even though we have a lot of birthdays throughout the year, we always make sure the kids have their one special day."
For four-year-old Phoebe's birthday, the couple spent £350 in total on her presents – and Noel estimates they've spent up to £90,000 on birthday presents since their eldest son Chris, 31, was born.
"That's an insane amount of money," Sue said. "And that's not even including Christmas!"
Meanwhile, Noel added: "Our luxury is the kids really – and money can't buy what we've got."
With nine children under the age of 10 living under one roof, bed-time can be a struggle for Noel and Sue.
Describing how they're "up and down the stars like yo-yos", Sue said: "You have to sit there [with the younger ones] until they've gone to sleep."
Before the pandemic, Noel said the family relied heavily on routine – but acknowledged how the younger children have struggled in lockdown.
He added: "We often get asked, ‘how do you run such a big family?’ And it’s usually down to routine. But there’s just been none of that [in lockdown]. We’re really clutching at straws trying to think of things to do to keep them occupied.
"Six or seven weeks for summer is hard enough but we’re getting on to six months now. It’s just a nightmare."
For more Radford Family stories, Millie Radford gave a peek at Radfords’ new access-all-areas TV show from £400 food shops to using 16 pints of milk a day.
And mum-of-22 Sue Radford was stunned after Hallie, 5, gave her sister Phoebe, 4, a disastrous DIY haircut in latest lockdown drama.
Plus Britain’s biggest family the Radfords gave fans an update on their home renovation including colour-changing bedroom lights.
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