Buying a Buggy…

As any long time readers of Florence Finds will know, or those who see me on Instagram, you’re much more likely to find me carrying my kids in a sling than pushing the buggy. We are huge fans of a woven wrap both for it’s closeness and convenience and before Cora was born the most use our Uppababy got was when my mum came once a week to look after Bea. However, once Cora arrived it started seeing a bit more action, although more as a pushchair with Bea than to put Cora in, as I think I would always choose to sling a baby and push a toddler. We were lucky and Bea became quite keen and proficient on her scooter when she started preschool and we started walking every day but prior to that when she was younger and less reliable both in terms of walking and behaviour, it was handy to be able to strap her in somewhere.

Now Bea is 4 and Cora is approaching 19 months and our travel system is once again gathering dust. Aside from my preference for slings I do resist using it because it’s heavy, cumbersome and inconvenient. I dislike getting it in and out of the car, I don’t like seeing it in the house and we have no where to store it easily (the cellar is the usual spot where it lives between mums visits but that means it’s much harder to whip out when we need a quick trip out.) It’s also really big for my mum who is quite petite and suffers with arthritis in her hands which makes it more difficult to manoeuvre up and down the three steps into our Victorian house where the cellars mean our ground floor is 1m above ground level. I should say, I’m not trying to be negative about the Uppababy. If you want a proper travel system and like a bigger pram I think it’s great but for me any of the travel systems or prams of that size don’t meet my needs as well.

We had been vaguely considering a Maclaren type pushchair for a while but not got around to doing anything, when I spotted the Babyzen YoYo+. A favourite of bloggers and Instagram it’s a good looking little pushchair, and folds up ridiculously small and light – in fact it was designed for its ability to fit in the hand luggage on an aircraft so if you’re into travelling with your little one it could well be worth the investment. But there’s the catch. An investment it certainly is, at around £370 for the pushchair (suitable from 6 months) and an extra £100ish for the newborn attachment to make it useable from birth, it was the priciest option that we looked at. For our needs it seems a bit excessive, but if you happen to be looking for a pram from birth it actually compares favourably with most of the travel systems (the Uppababy for example is around £900 these days for the full kit of frame, pushchair, bassinet and car seat adapters) – just check the car seat you have or plan to buy is compatible with the Babyzen as it doesn’t fit with all of them. The other major negative is the basket – it’s so ridiculously small that you’d struggle to put much in there at all, maybe your pre-baby handbag, which lets face it you probably won’t be taking out with the pram much, and I felt the frame seemed a bit light to hang a full changing bag off too. So despite my lust for it we started looking to see what comparable options were around but didn’t cost quite as much. I thought I’d share this as people often review their pram or buggy on blogs but don’t have much to compare it to which is a bit of a biased review imho.

On our first stop in John Lewis we were shown the Mountain Buggy Nano V2. This was £209 and very similar in terms of the fold down mechanism and size, although not quite as small so I don’t think it would fit in the hand luggage compartment. It was actually a few grams(!) lighter but to me I didn’t like the way it looked compared to the Babyzen (more like a Maclaren,) and it reminded me of a stripped out racing car where all the comfort had been removed in favour of reducing the weight. It did lie flat, so was suitable from birth, but didn’t take a car seat. It also felt a little sturdier than the Babyzen to me but I still didn’t love it, the basket was similarly small to the Babyzen and by comparison with other umbrella fold buggies it still seemed pricey so I kept looking.

Next stop was Mamas and Papas that I happened to wander into and asked what they had that compared to the Babyzen. By now I had refined my priorities and knew I wanted something that folded small for storage and was light enough to carry up and down steps/put in and out of the car with ease, but it didn’t need to be super small for travel. I also wanted a single push handle rather than two, to make it easy to steer with one hand. First I was shown the M&P Acro, which is super light, also folds really small (similar to the two above) and came in under £200 with the Bank Holiday discount they had on at the time. (RRP £179) Again, I liked it but it felt a little bit stripped out and basic, plus it was a bit flimsier and harder to put up and down.

Next we looked at the Armadillo City2 and I loved it! Again, with the BH offer it cost just £141, (and it’s currently in their mid-season sale at £139!) but weighed in at 7.3kg and folds in the same way as all the ones above to a very slim standing position for storage. The folding mechanism was easy (I found with some we looked at the sales person even struggled doing it!) and it felt sturdy despite its featherweight. The basket is a more reasonable size (although don’t expect much from any that fold in this way and you won’t be disappointed,) and it’s got a single bar handle so is easily steered one handed. It comes with the rain cover – I was surprised by how many considered a rain cover an extra, and a cup holder. The seat lies flat so could be used from birth which is handy to know as you never know when you might want to lie a baby in there even if you’re out with a toddler, and the hood even unzips at the back for a bit of ventilation in hot weather.

After quite a bit of use in the last month since we bought it, I feel confident recommending it to any of you looking for a light weight, slim folding multi-age group buggy. I’d love to hear if any of you already have it, or if you looked at it and opted for another alternative?

Rebecca x

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