Category Archives: Graco Symbio b

Graco Symbio b: what I really thought

I’ve had real fun testing the Symbio b and despite some of my friends thinking I am in cahoots with Graco, I want to assure you all that everything I have written has been my very own opinion. I truly believe that it is a great pram. I think I have tested it to its limits and the results are there for you to read for yourselves. And yes, I would definitely recommend this pram to a friend.

So what did I do? Firstly, I wrotethis post, which was based on my initial impressions of the Symbio b following a c-section. I have sold a pram on due to its weight and the fact that I was unable to lift onto kerbs after a c-section, so this test was very important. The Symbio passed with flying colours as it is lightweight and can be steered with one hand easily.

Next, I wrote this post about shopping centres and whether or not the Symbio is up for the challenge. It is. I then moved on to this post, the Toddler’s Review. Converting the pram from newborn to toddler mode was not the easiest of tasks but I did manage it and the result was pleasing. The Symbio works well as a stroller and is comfortable and a good size. There is no need to buy another pram.

By this point in the testing period, I was keen to know what the other Graco testers thought of their Symbio b. I wrote this postwith the intention of finding out what other parents looked for in a new pram, with a view to linking up with the other testers to give their verdict on agreed criteria. The result was the testers’ review link up which enabled readers to read four other opinions on the pram too. As a parent, I felt this was a good way to get a more balanced view and it was really interesting reading the other reviews.

After six weeks of use, I decided to write a report on the wear and tear to the Symbio b, the results of which can be found in this postWe’ve clocked up the miles and it’s fair to say that the Symbio b still looks as good as new.

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Next I decided to make a few short films to demonstrate the practicalities of owning a Symbio b. These came in the form of challenges, links to which can be found on this post. Another film I made features The Big One demonstrating how easy the Symbio is to set up- so easy a child can do it!

With most of the tests finished, I wanted to write something a little more creative and so I took my inspiration from the news, with this post: graco symbio b: I’m just like Samantha Brick Next I wrote about some fun ways to ‘pimp’ your pram in this post

With light-hearted posts out of the way, I started to think about why it is I love prams so much. Because I do love prams, you know (in case you hadn’t guessed!). This post talks about the reasons why my pram (and now the Symbio b) is so special to me.

The last challenge for the Graco Symbio b had to wait until Easter, when I went home to visit my mum. The Grandparent Challenge.Again, it passed with flying colours.

I’m not going to repeat myself. If you like the sound of one of the posts, have a read and see what happened. I will say this though: I have thoroughly enjoyed testing the Symbio b for Graco and I hope my posts have been of some help to some of you.

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Graco Symbio b: The Grandparent Challenge

This is the final challenge for the Graco Symbio b and one that I thought was extremely important. Think about it. How many times have you seen grandparents in town struggling to fold/ unfold a pram they have been left in charge of? There is always a crying child to accompany this scene too. My mum says that prams are too complicated these days and I know of one grandparent who has laminated instructions guiding her as to the logistics of going for a walk!

I find the Graco Symbio b to be one of the easiest prams to fold and unfold. I tested my sister and she found it relatively easy too. But grandparents are a whole different kettle of fish. How easy would Ghostwriternanny find it to ‘sort out’ the Symbio b?

Unfortunately, my mum declined to be filmed (it would’ve made for great viewing) but she did agree to allow me to write this post. After giving her the instruction manual she asked for a practical demonstration instead. I am in agreement that some parts of the instruction manual are a little difficult to understand unless you are actually performing the task in hand. I think my mum is a kinaesthetic learner like me.

Ghostwriternanny

So, practical demonstration over, I left mum to it. After all, that’s what you do. You drop the kids off and you give a quick demo, then you rush off for some much needed child-free time. So that’s what I did. And what was the verdict?

My mum managed to set up the pram all by herself and enjoyed a blustery walk with her granddaughter. Living over three hours away, this was a novelty for more than one reason. Once back home, my mum managed to fold the pram once more, although with a little soft swearing and muttering. Despite the handily placed diagrams on the bottom of the chassis (mum wasn’t wearing her glasses) she found the folding a little tricky. You are required to press one part whilst lifting another and then folding the pram; this takes practise to achieve.

 

Overall, mum says that the Symbio b was not as complicated as it looked as easily manageable. This is from the lady who once drove all the way home from town with a stroller fully erect and squashed into the car after trying for over an hour to fold it. So: success!

 

As this is the last challenge I will perform for the Symbio b, I decided to write an additional round up post later today, with the results from all the challenges posted there.


Graco Symbio b: Is your pram special to you?

This isn’t another review post. I’ve had a post brewing in my head for a while and I wanted to get it written before the end of the testing period. It’s about sentimentality- do you have any?- and the emotional journey of motherhood.

When my eldest was born, we saved various bits and bobs for her ‘memory box’. We added things like her hospital bracelet;  the CD single of the song at number one the day she was born; a newspaper from the same day; her first cinema ticket; her first tooth and other important-to-us artefacts. She loves this box and always asks to see it. We have a smaller one for her brother and an even smaller one for her sister. It’s about keeping real, solid things for her to lay a claim to. They don’t make her her but they build a picture of her life. They give her things to think about, questions to ask and memories to dream of.

Our memory boxes aren’t unique. Parents all over the world collect and save precious things to help them keep their memories close. And they don’t have to be real, solid artefacts either. For me, scents, feelings and colours are just as important. I remember events based on what clothes I was wearing that day (that’s why this post was so special to me, because clothes help me to remember certain, special days) and the people who were with me. I think remembering special events is so important- in the end it doesn’t matter if you remember something because people keep telling you about it, or because you actually have it in your memory bank.

I remember the first time I ever pushed a pram with my baby inside. It was October. It was warm enough to wear just a t-shirt and jeans. I remember the feel of the pram under my fingertips and the weight of her tiny body inside the carrycot. I remember walking through the dried leaves that had fallen to the floor and I remember that feeling of pride, elation and  joy that came with pushing a pram.

Sound silly? It’s not supposed to be. I can’t fit a pram inside a memory box, but the memories are there all the same. I remember the pram I had for the toddler and how difficult it was to get up the kerb after my horrific c-section and other injuries. I remember the feeling of desolation that swept over me as I realised I would have to sell this pram. This pram that I had spent so long choosing and had spent so long gazing over before he was born. This pram that I had trusted to carry my baby. It was an emotional time, believe it or not.

I remember the day I learned I was to be one of five lucky Graco Symbio b testers. My daughter was less than two hours old. I was lying in a hospital bed with her beside me. Her beautiful, warm body was close to mine and we were watching her in awe. We were overwhelmed at how easy her birth had been and how precious the memory of her birth was going to be. I was thinking at last I know what it is like to think of the birth of my child and smile.

I remember the day we took the Symbio b out for the first time. I wasn’t allowed to push it but we took a photo of me with my hands on the handle anyway. I remember marvelling at how small my baby looked inside the carrycot- and yes, I remember what I was wearing.

Someone once told me to make the most of the time I have with my kids and to make sure that I make memories with them each and every day. That’s what I’m doing. So when I ask you if your pram is special to you, what will you say? The Graco Symbio b is special to me- it’s my baby’s first pram. It came on a special day. It was chosen for me and it has- so far- been one of the best prams I’ve owned. But it’s actually a lot more than that too. It’s a place where I can lay my baby and I know she will be comfortable and I know she will be safe. It’s a way of ensuring I can leave the house every day for a bit of me time too. It’s a way of making memories.


Graco Symbio b: what would yours look like?

With the testing period drawing to a close and the final challenge about to be reported on, I thought I would post something a little different. I’ve been thinking about the ultimate pram. The one that ticks all the boxes and makes the other mums on the school yard wish they had one too. The pram that caters to mum, dad, baby and more. The pram that is creative, innovative, fun and different. What would yours look like?

The Symbio b is a fantastic pram. It has many fabulous features that genuinely sets it apart from other prams that I’ve owned. It is stylish, light-weight, easy to use and reasonably priced. But if I was a pram designer, I think my ultimate Symbio b might be a combination of the following models:

The Roller Buggy. How cool is this? It’s like a buggy board for parents. Yes, Graco- take note. Its not only toddlers that want a faster ride. How about adding this feature to the Symbio to enable us to get where we want to be even faster and with a bigger smile on our faces? Scooters aren’t just for kids- us mums want to have fun too! 

Or how about the Babyoom? It’s a pram that converts to a bike then to a shopping cart. Or something like that. Its more than a pram. Its a lifestyle on wheels. It transports parents and helps them to shop. That’s good, right? But is it as good as the bike stroller? Forget the shopping cart bit. This is a bike with the stroller bit attached to the front. The Symbio could rock this look, no problem.

Sporty models aside, I think Graco could take a lot from this last pram. This was sold for a mere £6, 000 and has to be the most sparkly pram I have ever seen. Could the Symbio carry this off? You bet!

So in an ideal world, my ultimate Symbio b would have the following features:

  • a parent buggy board
  • a bike/ granny-shopping-cart converter
  • a separate bicycle attachment
  • a tonne of gold

What do you think? Perhaps I should leave the pram designing to Graco, they seem to know what they’re doing…

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Actually, I think that the Symbio b doesn’t really need any of these far out features at all. I’m all for creativity but there has to be a reason for it when it comes to prams. In fact, basic pram designs haven’t really changed all that much since they were first introduced way back when. And the things that parents look for in a pram don’t really differ all that much from family to family either.

According to Which, Graco are one of the best pram manufacturers around and “the first pushchair manufacturer to create a travel system pushchair, which allows parents to add a car seat to the pushchair frame”- which just goes to show that they have always been in touch with what parents actually need in a pram. Forget the scooter attachments and the bling. A pram needs to be practical and it needs to do its job efficiently.

So with this in mind, the Symbio b doesn’t need re-designing all that much.

symbio b toddler side view


Graco Symbio b: “I’m just like Samantha Brick..

… except my troubles are no fantasy”

It’s really hard being such a good looking pram. Before you switch off, let me explain with a scenario or two. There was one time when I arrived at the school gates ahead of schedule (since I am so easy to push) and to celebrate I did an extra circuit or two of the playground. Ok, I admit- I did catch a glance of my shiny wheels reflected in the mirror but I was not posing. Honestly. Another pram appeared up the hill and saw me standing there (perhaps I was gleaming in the sun?) and that’s when the bitching started.

‘Oh, look at the Symbio! Arriving for the school run looking like she’s ready for a royal parade!’

Things like this happen all the time; jealousy permeates from other prams like a bitter fog most days. Another occasion, a  sightly older pram arrived at the school gates wheezing and creaking and I couldn’t help but wince. Like a flash, this older, much much shabbier pram clipped my wheels in a blatant attempt to derail me.

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Of course, I’m made of tougher stuff than that old wagon- the vicious attack did not harm me one bit. I’ve been built to last, built to physically withstand such brutal and un-provoked attacks.

I wish I could say the same about my emotional strength.

I know why other prams hate me. They don’t have the same qualities as I do, but it’s not my fault I’ve been made this way. Other prams dread new mums buying a Symbio b because they know they’re going to be outshined. They know their day has gone- there’s a new pram on the block.

Perhaps it is my shiny, strong chassis? I’m sleek and agile. Perhaps that is why they hate me so? Or maybe it is my bright, bold, chilli red coat? Admirers have pointed out that I do come in other colours though (the super sleek Urban and the gorgeously sublime Boysenberry) and sadly these models are just as envied by other prams.

Fast asleep- she is in there, honest!

The beautiful Symbio b says her fiery red coat makes other prams jealous

Setting my obvious physical attraction aside, it has to be my unique intelligence that makes all the other- dare I say it- *ordinary* prams quiver with rage when I enter a room. I mean, if they could reverse direction as easily as me, or fold as swiftly and smoothly as me, then I suppose they too would be shunned from parks and play groups as I am.

I’ve learned to live with my superiority. I am proud to be such a smooth ride and to provide a safe, comfortable place for my precious baby owner. I know that all the other prams are jealous old carts who can only dream of being as fantastic as me.

It can be lonely at times, when rooms fall silent and lift doors close when there is more than enough space to fit me in (I’m super compact, you see. Unlike many other models). It can be terribly isolating too, when I speed past slower prams with my easy to control wheels and super-light frame. It’s hard being the only pram on the market with such obvious skills and talents.

Symbio's obvious fantastic features, such as the handbrake, make her an easy target, she says

I will learn to live with my excellence. After all, I am truly gifted and it is only right to celebrate what is great in life. One day, all the other prams will accept this and will be beating on my door begging to go on extended pram walks and the like. And do you know what I will do then? I will open my arms in welcome- for I am truly great. I am one of a kind.

 

I am the beautiful Graco Symbio b.

The ever modest Symbio knows that she is a keeper- transforming from newborn to toddler mode. She is proud to be one of the family


Graco Symbio b: the challenges

We’ve been having some family fun with the Symbio b this weekend. As part of my testing, I decided to set a few challenges which involved the whole family. They are a bit of fun, but they also serve a purpose too. Each challenge has been filmed so for the first time ever I can introduce

Ghostwriterdaddy

Ghostwritermummy

Ghostwriteraunty

Ghostwritertoddler (briefly)

Ghostwriterbaby (even more briefly)

So what are the challenges?

First we have the Blindfold Challenge. This is where I put Ghostwriterdadddy to the test, to see whether or not he could set up the Symbio b with a blindfold. The aim of this challenge is to show how easy (or not) the pram is to set up.

The next challenge is the Instruction Manual Challenge, starring Ghostwriteraunty. Being young and carefree, she does not have kids herself and has only limited knowledge of prams and setting them up. The test here was to see whether or not the instruction manual that comes with the Symbio actually makes sense or not.

Ghostwriteraunty’s second test was the Toddler Seat Challenge, to see how long it takes to convert the Symbio b from newborn mode to toddler mode. I followed the instructions for this and found it a little tricky, so I wanted to see how a ‘complete beginner’ would find it too.

Lastly, we have the Race Challenge. Ghostwriterdaddy and I are both well practised in setting up the Symbio b but I wanted to see how quickly we could do it. This would give an indication as to whether or not the pram can be set up in a rush, such as when its raining or when you need to make a sharp exit… Anyway, we were given two minutes to see how many time we could unfold and set up, then fold the pram back up again.

We had lots of fun making these videos but I think they are quite informative too. They aren’t supposed to be instructional, more a chance for you to see how the pram works and how easy it is to use. Enjoy!


Graco Symbio b: a road well travelled- wear and tear report

The Symbio b and I have clocked up some miles so far. I’ve estimated that we’ve done almost 80 miles since it arrived last month. That’s walking to and from school, strolling around town and my beloved power walks. I love pram walking, almost as much as I love prams themselves. So I thought I would blog about wear and tear when a pram is well-travelled (well-loved).

For me, how a pram copes with daily use is a really important factor when I’m choosing. Did I tell you about the pram I had that kept losing a wheel? Prams need to be able to cope with being used a lot in my opinion- I walk every single day with the Symbio b and I’m not about to change that just so that it can stay in pristine condition. BUT I don’t expect a pram to fall apart or to look shabby after six weeks. So… how does the Symbio look now?

Wheels:

Back wheel

Front wheel

You can tell they’ve been used. They aren’t worn by any respect but they have been used. The silver parts are still clean looking and the tyres themselves are still fully inflated and sturdy. The front wheels are the same- the mud guards are a little dirty but I’ve been wheeling through mud!

Handle bar:

I’ve noticed that when I fold the pram (see this video for a demonstration of how to fold) I sometimes catch the handle on the floor. There are some scuffs as a result, but they are nothing to worry about and I’m not sure they even came out on the photo really well. It certainly doesn’t spoil the look of the pram.

Chassis:

When I collect the big one from school I take her scooter with me. To do this, I position the scooter across the top of the pram close to the handle bar and secure it with a strap. I also hold it so that it doesn’t slip. The other day, I knocked the scooter and it slipped down, leaving a small scratch on the chassis. Again, its not much of a mark and you can only see it if you really look.

Fabrics:

There are no marks or stains on the fabrics at all, and the apron has been accidentally dropped a few times. It’s made of really durable fabric and washes easily anyway.

Folding mechanism:

Being at the bottom of the pram, this part is prone to mud splashes. There is also a scratch there, again caused by scraping on the floor during folding.

Shopping basket:

Usually I need to detach and wash the shopping basket on prams regularly but so far I haven’t needed to. Again, its made of durable fabric and any mud splashes have wiped off easily.

Verdict:

You can tell my pram has been down a road well travelled so far. You can tell it has been loved. You can tell it’s part of the family. So what? A pristine pram tells me that it’s owner doesn’t enjoy walks like we do. I take good care of the pram but certain small signs of wear and tear are inevitable. The main thing is that the Symbio b is in as perfect working condition as when we first received it, and that’s after 80 miles worth of use.

For me, a pram is more than just a vehicle to move my child from A to B. Pram walks have saved my sanity; they give me time to unwind, to think, to listen to music, to enjoy being outside, to finally get the baby to sleep. A pram is a cherished possession and I like to see them well-loved.


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