Tag Archives: Baby transport

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.

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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


The Graco Symbio b: what do you look for in a new pram?

I’ve been busy testing the Graco Symbio b pram since the baby arrived and I have to say that I am most impressed. I’ve posted about using it following a c-section, how we got on in a shopping centre, and how the toddler rates the stroller once converted from newborn mode. I’ve also filmed a couple of short videos showing how easy the pram is to push with one hand and how easy it is to change the direction of travel. I’m going to be filming some more later this weekend.

But I’m not the only one who is testing the Symbio b and so I thought it would be a good idea to ask the other testers to give their opinion and rating on the things I find important when looking for a new pram. That way, you get to read more than just my take on things. After all, when you’re deciding on which pram to buy, its a big investment and one which you are going to want to think long and hard about. I’ve been caught out before with prams and have found myself taking selling them on after a short while.

So here is my list of essential check points to consider when choosing a new pram. I would love to hear about the things you find are important too- leave me a comment and I will make sure they are included in the link up post.

  • Price. Having a new baby is an expensive time and the pram is often the most pricey item on your shopping list. I don’t have enough of a budget to spend ridiculous amounts on a pram. I also couldn’t justify spending as much as you would on a car…
  • Ease of use. No point having an all-singing, all-dancing pram if you can’t fold it. Even less so if grandparents can’t fold it either. Think of all the missed baby-sitting opportunities, not to mention school run rage when you can’t get your pram back in the car!
  • Looks. Ok, it may be slightly shallow, but I like a pram to look good. There are so many lovely, stylish prams out there on the market that I feel this point is not too much to ask for, don’t you?
  • Practicality. Bit like the ease of use one, but more about how practical it really is. Is the seat big enough? Is it going to last until your baby no longer needs to be pushed around? Can you fit your shopping in the basket and will it cope on all terrains? Will it fit in the car boot?
  • Customer service. What if something goes wrong? Can you get in touch with the manufacturers easily? Do they have a user- friendly website? Is the instruction manual easy to follow? These are all important points. Again, I hark back to my early parenting days: I had a pram which insisted on losing a wheel each time we went for a walk and getting it repaired/ exchanged was a nightmare. 

So those are my five check points when looking for a pram. If you have any more to add, please let me know! Hopefully I can persuade the other testers to write their own post based on the same check points and link them up here so that you can get a wider picture of the Symbio b.

To make sure you don’t miss the round up, subscribe to my blog, join me on Facebook  or follow me on Twitter: @ghostwritermumm

 


Graco Symbio b: the toddler’s review

We’re half-way into the Symbio b testing and so far its a huge hit with the baby and I. I must add that other mums at school have also been admiring our wheels and one mum-to-be has just ordered one for herself, which just goes to prove how valuable personal recommendations really are.  Anyway, I decided it was time to convert the Symbio b and let the toddler have a turn…

symbio b toddler seat

Before I start, I have to point out that I am terrible at following instruction guides. I find the diagrams tricky to interpret and I have to read the written instructions several times before I can actually do the task. I am a kinaesthetic/ visual learner so I need to see something being done, whilst at the same time actually doing it myself. I think this is why it took me 20 minutes to convert the Symbio from newborn to toddler mode. Subsequent practises have been much faster and once you have the process under your belt its really quite easy.

The best thing about the fitting of the seat is that it is all secured with poppers. This means that it is all snug and secure and that there is little chance of getting things in the wrong place. Yes, first time you do it will take  a little longer than normal, but once its converted, the majority of us won’t need to do it again.

The baby nest is removed quite easily and the zips need to be done up again. Then its just a case of following the instructions to construct the seat. The seat cover is well padded and soft and as it is easily removed with the poppers, it can be easily washed if needed. This is a huge bonus for me as my last pram seat fabric was fitted to the seat unit and never really got clean again once the toddler had been let loose with a sausage roll!

symbio b toddler hood

There are three different height options for the harness so the seat really grows with your child and will last right up until they are ready to walk more. Another great point is the hood- its massive! The toddler doesn’t like having the hood up at all but if he was to fall asleep, I would be happy that the hood would provide more than ample shade for him- great in the summer, and it eliminates the need for an extra sun shade or parasol.

The seat can be reclined easily by pulling the handle at the back of the seat and again, you can swap the direction of travel with one easy motion.

Another important point- looks. As a buggy, the Symbio b is just as lovely to look at as it is in pram mode. It’s stylish and compact and moving it is just as easy. The only drawback, once more, is the size of the basket. It’s easier to access with the seat unit in toddler mode, but its still rather small, especially once the raincover is in the basket. Also, the foot rest at the bottom of the toddler seat seems to be a little short. The toddler’s feet already reach the end but I suppose he can always rest his feet over it when his legs get longer.

symbio b toddler side view

I can’t wait to use the Symbio b in toddler mode. Once the baby is 6 months, she is ready for the conversion, but until then we are perfectly happy using the newborn mode. Which brings me nicely to my last point. Converting the Symbio b from toddler back to newborn is so easy. Simply lie the seat unit flat, un-popper the seat fabric, unzip the zips at the back and insert the baby nest. You also need to re-attach the hood. That’s it!

And the toddler’s review? He told me that he likes his ‘fire engine’ pram (its bright red, like an engine) but on this particular day he was more interested in digging up the soil from my Yucca plant in the hallway- hence the grumpy face!

 


Cosatto You2 twin stroller: a review

Before the baby was born, I was extremely lucky enough to be sent a Cosatto You2 twin stroller to review. I even got to choose the design and since we didn’t know the gender of the baby, I went for the scrumptious Owl and Pussycat model:

It truly is a gorgeous looking pram. But I wasn’t totally convinced that the side-by-side design was the right one for me . The fantastic Emma at Cosatto had a few things to say about this and so I shall quote directly from her if I may:

I must admit I was one of those parents wanting to cut corners and convince myself I didn’t need a double side-by-side pushchair! However 4 months of baby in a sling breaking my back and then having to disturb baby and take out of the sling when got home convinced me a double buggy was indeed a necessity. Aswell as having a toddler that still enjoyed an afternoon nap, a twin side by side seemed a ‘no brainer.’  I am a huge fan of babies being stimulated by the environment and seeing the world, and the relationship building between an older sibling is second to none when they are’ journeying’ side by side… Side-by-side strollers are essential and ‘oh-so’ convenient… us mums need convenience!”

She puts across a very good argument,doesn’t she? I’d been thinking on a purely selfish level about this type of stroller. I didn’t want to have to bash granny ankles in the supermarket with a wide vehicle, when actually I should’ve been thinking about the benefits for the children instead.

On our first outing, it did take some getting used to as the stroller is inevitably wider than any pram I have used before. BUT- and this is a massive but- the toddler really enjoyed seeing his sister in the seat next to him and decided that he was going to look after her. And just as Emma promised, he took great pleasure in pointing out cars, trees and mack-macks (ducks, to you and I). He also became a little concerned when the baby slept through it all and actually complained that she wasn’t talking to him!

SO yes, the You2 twin stroller is fantastic for encouraging siblings to converse and certainly helps with the bonding between todders and newborns. This was the best thing about the stroller and something you just don’t get with the tandem designs.

The toddler also loved the owl and pussycat designs and I think the cosy-toes etc are just beautiful- fun, bright and really cosy. The only problem I had with the stroller over all was the cosy-toes themselves, despite them being so gorgeous. We found that the toddler was unable to sit with his legs straight when the zips were fully closed. Luckily, the weather is warming up so cosy-toes aren’t a necessity, but it is a shame because they are so lovely.

In conclusion, this is a gorgeous stroller and it has some really lovely details- the cosy-toes, the seat belt covers and the bottles bags, for example. The shopping basket is of ample size and the stroller itself is really lightweight and easy to push. It also folds like an umbrella so would fit into most boots easily. I think that the stroller is fairly wide but it isn’t bulky with it, which is another good point. The only fact I feel should be noted is the size of the seats if you are thinking of buying this stroller for a toddler and a newborn. In my opinion, it is better suited to twins so that you can get the full use of the cosy-toes.

Since recieving the Cosatto You2 twin stroller, I am definitely a side-by-side stroller convert! It really is lovely to see the two little ones sitting next to each other and I think our pram walks will help them to bond as siblings- that can only be a good thing!

 

 

 

*I received a You2 twin stroller for review; no other payment was received and these are all my own views!


37 weeks: officially full term and panicking…

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant and here are the things that are kept me awake last night:

 

1. The toddler. Top of the list, since I was sleeping fine until he decided to wake up and whine for a couple of hours. He didn’t want to get up, but he didn’t want to sleep either. I even went down to prepare a bottle at 5.30, thinking it was get up time finally and figuring that since he went to bed with no dinner and no bottle, he was probably starving. By the time the bottle was ready, he was asleep. And I was awake!

2. The pram situation. Some of you have very helpfully recommended some fabulous double buggies/ double buggy substitutes over on Twitter this week. I have left this so late. I assumed I would be fine with a buggy board or sling and I might have if a) it didn’t rain a lot where I live (wrong side of the Penines, some would say) b) the toddler wasn’t a feisty little mr. who I just know will jump off and into the path of on-coming traffic and c) I know that I will want to take them both for long pram walks soon. So I need a double buggy. BUT

I don’t want one that has a low seat at the back and it’s occupant has to stare at it’s sibling’s back all day. I also don’t want one that is too wide to get through doorways. I want a tandem one with a view. I want one that will convert to a single buggy once the toddler is a little bit older and more able to understand why he needs to stay on the buggy board. Plus the weather will be nicer then and the sling a better option for the baby. SO

this gives me the option of 2 models: the Baby Jogger City Select double and the icandy Pear. None of which I can get my hands on in less than 2 weeks and for less than it costs to pay my mortgage. In other words, this is keeping me awake!

3. The bed. I decided to co-sleep and I ordered a baby bay co-sleeper cot, delivery of which was promised before the baby’s section date. It is now promised for the day after the section date- cutting it fine, but should be ok if they stick to that date.

4. The decorating. Why do I always decorate numerous rooms right before babies are due to be born? This weekend we shall be stripping (wallpaper) and generally living in chaos. Not good for the nesting instincts and the next item on my list…

5. My back. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. It hurts. Yes, I’ve been ‘over-doing’ it perhaps but MAN it hurts. I don’t like just sitting but you know…

6. My baby. Yes, I saved the best for last. I am so excited! In less than 2 week’s time I get to find out if I have a new son or daughter! I get to come home with a new baby to hold and to love. I can’t wait and it’s keeping me awake! But that’s a good reason, isn’t it?


Mamas and Papas: I am in love!

Is it possible to be in love with a pram? I only ask because today I have met the gorgeous Mylo and I truly believe that I am in love!

I feel incredibly lucky to have been invited into the Mamas and Papas  headquarters today, to view some exclusive new ranges and to drool over the existing beautiful products which make the brand so fantastic. Can you tell I had a great day?!

Firstly, Lynne and Nicola at Mums Panel deserve a big fat thank you for inviting me and for arranging such a fabulous event. Secondly, my husband deserves a bit of a rest now because I have been bending his ear since he got home- so I thought I would blog about it instead now!

Ok, so the Mylo. Wow. Look.

The lime Jelly is my favourite colour but it is also available in Plum Pudding, Dove Grey and Black Jack. The carry cot is amazingly soft and luxurious and the selling point for me is the fact that it fits neatly onto a stand for those times when baby falls asleep on a walk and there is no way EVER that you will wake them… Also, good for refluxy babies: the mattress can be set to an incline! Hooray! Additionally, the carry cot can be adapted whilst on the floor and used to rock the baby to sleep. The pushchair variation for this model is also gorgeous. Look!

AND another selling point for me is that the Cybex Aton car seat fits onto the Mylo, which is the car seat we already have for the baby. So, what’s stopping me? Um, the price. This is Mamas and Papas top of the range model and the entire set costs £695. But it is SO funky and SO pretty (I hope Ghostwriterdaddy is reading this…)

 

 

Next on my wish list is the Urbo. Gorgeous, lightweight buggy/ pram:

As with all the pushchair ranges, the colours are divine and the one we looked at was a gorgeous, vibrant blue. This model is really compact and perfect for smaller car boots. I want one. I told you I was in love, didn’t I?

 

Finally, we looked at the Sola, a model I already have (in the grass colour) and one which is the reason why I initially jumped at the chance to attend the event today.

The Sola is such a fantastic, durable pushchair and when we bought it I promised my husband that I would never ever need another pram again, ever. And you know what? I don’t. We’ve had the Sola for almost two years now and there is practically no wear and tear to speak of at all. The fact that the buggy has lasted so well, particularly given the fact that the toddler and I enjoy daily power walks, is a massive indication as to the quality of the Mamas and Papas products.

Luka in his Sola!

So I don’t really need another buggy for the new baby. I’ve ordered a buggy board to fit on my Sola and I intend to wear my baby in a sling for a while too (We were lucky enough to view the new range of slings and carriers too, which I will post about this week.). BUT I came away today with the feeling that any amount is worth paying for the Mylo. Really. Truly. It’s fantastic. Did I mention that?!

In conclusion, the fabulous Mamas and Papas put on a fantastic show for us today and I am well and truly sold on practically everything. More than this though, we learnt today just how wonderfully family orientated the entire company is. I’ll blog more about this later. For now, I am off to dream… of lime jelly wonderfulness…


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