Watching her three lively sons run around the manicured lawns of the family's Mediterranean villa, Carolyn Radford feels more relaxed than she has in years. The glamorous football club boss, who became one of just a handful of female chief executives in British football when she took over at Mansfield Town in 2011, has swapped the boardroom for the beach as she strives for a better work-life balance and makes more time for her boys.
Carolyn and her husband John decided to relocate from Nottinghamshire to Portugal's sunny Algarve coast last summer after realising how much their working lives were affecting family life. As the couple invite HELLO! into their stunning home for this exclusive photoshoot and interview, Carolyn tells us why she felt it was time to put her children before work and how she is relishing being a hands-on mum for the first time.
The family relocated to Portugal's sunny Algarve coast last summer
"I'd taken on too much," says the 37-year-old as she dips her toes into the heated swimming pool. "We are all trying to be superwomen and being everything to everyone – a good friend, a great wife, a loving mother, a good businesswoman. None of us is perfect yet we are striving for perfection. You want to leave a legacy in business, but the real legacy is the amount of effort and nurturing you can do for your children, and my boys and my family are the most important thing."
Carolyn, who regularly shares updates about her glamorous and seemingly perfect life on Instagram, reveals that, behind the scenes, all was not as it seemed. For while she and John, 54, who is chairman of Mansfield Town and the founder of insurance company One Call, enjoyed the trappings of their wealth, including their 19th-century country mansion, helicopter and wardrobes full of designer clothes, they felt torn between the demands of their businesses and the needs of Hugo, six, and five-year-old twins Rupert and Albert.
"I'd taken on too much," Carolyn admitted of her previous work/life balance
"The quality and balance in our lives wasn't right and we were thinking: 'What can we do about this?'" explains Carolyn. "I never had my own kids – I felt obliged to go out to work because there were so many people in the house looking after them, including a live-in nanny. Children grow up so quickly, and we were so busy we were never seeing them. And I'd like to have another baby."
Pick up the new issue of HELLO! out on Monday for the full interview.
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