MOUNTAIN BUGGY BAGRIDER REVIEW: TRAVELLING THE WORLD WITH OUR RIDE ON, CARRY ON SUITCASE

Setting off on a family adventure, with the mission of circumnavigating the globe, sounded so fun and romantic. We were all so busy at home, with work, our eldest getting ready to start school, a three year old girl (need I say more), and a new baby! We wanted to slow down, to enjoy these precious young family years as best we could. We decided that we could achieve this by putting our everyday lives on hold, and see the world.  All we needed was each other right? - Wrong.

Always up for a challenge, Jono and I knew that we could get around the world, with three very dependent, walking impaired children and whatever amount of luggage we needed to survive.  We just needed to be wise about our choices.  We had already chosen to bring along all three kids, now we just had to work out how we were going to transport them all!

How we roll

How we roll

We knew that traveling with a cumbersome double stroller for such a vast journey would be too much work, and not always logistically possible.  We had packed our Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller and a baby carrier; which had two children covered, and although Meatloaf seems to think that 'two out of three ain't bad' it wasn't going to work for us!  After doing some research we came across the Mountain Buggy Bagrider. We were obviously planning on taking carry on luggage, so a suitcase that doubles as a stroller was exactly what needed! We had all kids covered and plenty of spare hands. The added bonus in our situation, is that the padded Bagrider travelling seat can hold up to 15kg/33lbs, and fortunately our three year old, is a petite little girl, and therefore was able to 'have a change of scenery' and switch up with our baby and ride on the Bagrider also.

Making 3am transits at JFK managable

Making 3am transits at JFK managable

I say change of scenery for her, but truly it was us offering the the change of scenery to all the other travelers at the countless airports around the world. Everywhere we went, whether it be an airport in the Caribbean, an Italian train station, or walking to a bus stop in Amsterdam, we had people staring at our suitcase stroller in fascination.  It always started an interesting conversation in an otherwise long boring customs line. 

(If we had a dollar for every time we heard someone exclaim, "How cool"...... )

Although we were 'Chasing Summer', we did encounter some rain, and being hard cased, meant the Bagrider was waterproof.  I also particularly liked the dual inside compartments with a zip cover separating them.  I found this useful in strategically packing our carry on items and ease of accessing them whilst in-flight. Going through security was hassle-free, as we would get called to the stroller line, and it converts back to a carry on case with a simple one handed twist of a button.

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We certainly set ourselves a challenge, and the Mountain Buggy Bagrider certainly helped us achieve!

To start your traveling adventures with your bagrider, click the links below.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary Bagrider in exchange for online exposure and our honest review.  As always all opinions are my own.

Disclaimer: The above are affiliate links. If you click this link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission.

KARON RESORT REVIEW: WHY WE PICK MOVENPICK

For a family of five 'Chasing Summer' nothing excites more euphoria than a week in the warm tropical climate of Thailand.

After seven whirlwind weeks in the hot European Summer, we were ready for some rest and relaxation, some 300THB massages, some tropical drinks by the pool, and the kids were so excited for Kids Club!

As much as we wanted to jump on long-tail boats and explore the amazing waters and islands of Thailand, we also really wanted to just slow down again and take a breather from all the busy touristy days that consumed us in Europe.  We figure when the kids are a little older and our recently crawling 9 month old baby is more suited to boat rides we will go again! So instead we chose to recharge for a week at Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, Phuket

 

Here is why we pick Movenpick........

1. FAMILY PLUNGE POOL ROOM

We have never had our own pool (and probably never will!) Having our own private plunge pool in our room was awesome!  It was private, it was fun, and it was helpful.  The kids could swim while baby Summer napped in our room.

The best backyard ever!

The best backyard ever!

 2. WATER SLIDE

Who doesn't love a water slide?! With a lifeguard always watching over, there were no age or height restrictions, and no wristbands required, just hours of fun for all!

Hands up who wants to join Lola on the water slide!

Hands up who wants to join Lola on the water slide!

3. STROLLER HIRE

For those that like to travel with less - and let's face it, when traveling with kids, less is more! For a stroll down to the nearby shops and restaurants, just pop to the lobby and they will happily loan you a stroller.

4. KARON BEACH SQUARE AND FREE CHILDREN'S MEALS

Karon Beach square is located at the front of the property across the road from the beach, and has a variety of restaurants and bars. One afternoon during happy hour Jono & I chilled on the daybeds at MINT sipping a tropical cocktail, while the kids played happily at kids club! They offer free children's meals (Including dessert!) with every adult main meal. The friendly staff will also drive you there in a golf buggy from the lobby. Although it is only a lovely 5 minute stroll through the pristine resort gardens.

5. KID-SIZED BUFFET STATION

With five of us, getting set up to eat at a buffet, often takes ages, as one of us parents usually goes and fills up the kids plates first, but here there is a cute kid-sized buffet station, where the kids could easily reach and select their own food, and carry it back to the table without the worry of smashing plates all over the restaurant, as they have cartoon character plastic plates, cups and cutlery.....simple but genius!

6. CHOCOLATE HOUR

Yes that is right, chocolate hour! Not only does the resort have your standard happy hour, they also have chocolate hour!  Being Movenpick Resort, each afternoon right around the time you need sugar hit, pick me up, they have an array of delectable chocolate treats on offer, for FREE!

7. POOLS

Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach, offers three pools, however we spent all of our time at the main pool.  It had everything we needed, and more.  The watersilde, a swim up bar, kids areas, with fun bubbling fountains. Pool side food and beverage service, and here's the 'more'..... a call bell button at your sun loungers to ring for service!

The main pool.

The main pool.

 8. BEACHFRONT

Although we spent hours in the amazing large pool, we loved that for a change we could walk directly across the road right on to the famous golden sands of Karon beach.

9. PROXIMITY TO SHOPS, RESTAURANTS, MARKETS AND ATTRACTIONS

The resort is located on the main beachfront road along Karon Beach.  Within easy walking distance there are a string of shops and restaurants with everything that you need and expect in Thailand.  Massages, suits, markets full of designer knock-offs, street food, restaurants with sharks, octopus and all sorts of other weird and wonderful food on display! Of course many a tuk-tuk and tour operator just waiting for you also. We took a tuk tuk up to the Big Buddha, who you can see perched on the top of a hill from the resort lobby.

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10. LITTLE BIRDS KIDS CLUB

Our kids (and okay us too), were so looking forward to Kids Club, and it did not disappoint.  So much so that when we went to pick the kids up they often wanted to stay longer! The kids have tried out a few Kids Clubs around the world, and this would definitely rank as number one on theirs and our list.  With engaging carers, they always came back with fun stories to tell, braids in Lola's hair and pieces of art. Little birds kids club also run fun daily activities, and Bodie and Lola became Little Chefs one afternoon and made delicious healthy caterpillar sandwiches!  For over 4's Little Birds club is free, for under 4's you can hire a babysitter to attend with them.  Alternatively there is a large room next door, with a whole lot of toys, balls, books and games, where parents and little one's can hang out together and play.  Amazing for rainy days!

The founder of Movenpick once said "we aren't doing anything extraordinary, we are simply successful because we are doing quite normal things in an extraordinary manner"......... and this is why we pick Movenpick!

Movenpick Resorts are currently running a special where you can save 25% on your family room.  To book your Thailand holiday and secure this great deal, click here.

To book your flights to Thailand click the link below.

 

DisclaimerWe were guests of the Movenpick Resort & Spa at Karon Beach, and offered Media Discounted Rates, however all opinions are my own.

This article contains affiliate links. If you book a stay with Movenpick by clicking through our site, we may receive a small commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Buddha  

Hotel Review: Sonesta Maho Beach Resort

A romantic weekend away to celebrate your wedding anniversary, with a five, three & seven month old in tow might sound like wishful thinking....however Sonesta Maho Beach Resort was the perfect place to celebrate our seven years of marriage. Jono and I first came to St Maarten on our honeymoon. While only being there for a day, we fell in love with the half French half Dutch Island, Caribbean Island, and knew we had to come back. So here we are now as a family of five, back where it all began. We are spending a month on the island, and decided to break up our time at our HomeAway condo with a luxury all-inclusive resort stay, so headed to Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, situated on the edge of the famous Maho Beach, which is right at the end of St Maarten's airport runway. 

We felt welcomed immediately upon entering the lobby, and while checking in we were offered cold towels and champagne, and fruit punch for the kids. 

We arrived slightly before check in time of 4pm, however were given our all-inclusive identifying wristbands and were told we could start using all the facilities, and even enjoy some lunch and rum punch by the pool.

The main pool .

The main pool.

We decided to use the restaurant reservation system in the lobby in order to book in at the a la carte restaurants, rather than the buffet, however unfortunately all five restaurants were fully booked that evening. As it wasn't our wedding anniversary until the following night we weren't concerned and were happy to try out the Ocean Terrace Restaurant Buffet and managed to book in to The Point Restaurant for a more intimate dining experience the next night. If you don't want to miss out on reservations, it is recommended that you email guest services prior to your stay to book well ahead. As, although the Ocean Terrace has a wide variety of lovely food, The Point is a much more refined, high quality dining experience.  

By the time we made our reservation, to our surprise, our room was ready (much earlier than expected). 

Note: A few months after our stay, Hurricane Irma destroyed the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort however it has re-opened, fully renovated and better than ever. The layout and views are the same, so this review is still rather accurate. For images on the new look, and rooms click here. We hope to return soon to experience the new resort, and do a follow up post. While the staff were out of work during the rebuild, they were all put through a hospitality course, so I imagine their customer service will now be even more amazing!

We were fortunate enough to have one of the newly renovated rooms on the 8th floor. It was large and bright with modern fresh decor and a good sized balcony over-looking the pool, and had great views of the aircraft making their final approach, and landing overhead of the adventurous plane-spotting beach goers below. 

Our mini bar was stocked with beer, juice and soft drinks, and being in a Premium guest room we also had complimentary full sized bottles of rum, gin & bourbon! We could have sat back and enjoyed a drink and the view for hours, but this wedding anniversary weekend wasn't all about us, and the kids were itching to get to the pool. 

They kept saying we had a room with a great view, and boy were they right!

They kept saying we had a room with a great view, and boy were they right!

We headed straight to the new children's pool, known as the Aqua Park where the kids played for hours over the next three days. With seven slides, and sea creature structures to entertain them. The pool was shallow enough for the kids to play in, while we relaxed back on the sun loungers with a Piña Colada! This is the only resort on St Maarten to offer a dedicated children's pool, however they are still allowed in the main pool, meaning us parents aren't exiled to a kids pool the whole time, making it a perfect place for families! .  

The kids enjoying the Aqua Park.

The kids enjoying the Aqua Park.

The next day we took advantage of the kids club for a few hours, which caters for children aged 3-12. As soon as the kids entered they were swept up by the staff and added right into a came of chase. There is a large air conditioned indoor area complete with an inside slide from a a safe mezzanine level, and outdoor playground. We  were instantly assured that they would be happy here while we had some child-free time at the swim up bar!

Celebrating sevens years with some adult only time at the swim up bar.

Celebrating sevens years with some adult only time at the swim up bar.

Later that afternoon, after collecting the kids we strolled down the beach to get an up close view of the planes landing and taking off. (Note, for safety reasons it is not recommended to go anywhere near the fence or directly in the firing line of an aircraft powering up for take-off. Certainly with kids) We did however stand under as they landed and all got enough of a thrill out of that). As previously mentioned, you do have great views from some of the rooms, and their are many vantage spots around the resort itself. 

Taking the fly like an aeroplane game to a whole new level.

Taking the fly like an aeroplane game to a whole new level.

Each night after dinner we enjoyed the live music out on the deck on the edge of the ocean. The kids danced and the performers interacted with them.

All in all Sonesta Maho Beach Resort has something for everyone, and is an ideal place for a family getaway, with a wedding anniversary celebration thrown in the mix! 

To book your stay at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, click on the links below.

DisclaimerWe were guests of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, and offered Media Discounted Rates, however all opinions are my own.