As an expectant mother, I imagined that I would buy one buggy and it would last me from the time my son was born right through until we no longer needed a buggy. However five years on and I've just got my fifth buggy. So what happened to my one perfect buggy? Well read on as I explain how my buggy journey evolved.
Buggy #1 - Quinny Buzz
I bought my first buggy when I was seven months pregnant. I knew very little about buggies at the time and as it turns out I was very naive about what I thought I needed from a buggy. At the time I was living in a coastal village in the UK and knew that I would be walking to the local shop with my buggy and taking it to the beach to walk my dog. I also knew that I wanted a buggy that included a travel system so I could transfer my baby from the car to the buggy without disturbing him. Having done very little research, I came to the conclusion I needed a three wheel buggy (cos I thought they were best for all terrain) and one that looked awesome! So I bought a second hand Quinny Buzz in a bright lime-green shade and must admit that the colour was a key factor in my decision making process.
Although I loved the travel system element of my Quinny, I soon discovered that the buggy I had bought didn't really do what I needed it to do. The small front wheel would rotate and swerve as I changed surfaces - very frustrating in shops and I bumped into door frames and aisles on several occasions. Also, the tiny shopping basket could only just hold a loaf of bread and a large bottle of milk simply did not fit - not great for a trip to the grocery store. I also realised that the small front wheel really didn't work on sand - a major headache for the daily dog walk which meant I ended up dragging my buggy backwards across the sand. Disappointed with my buggy, I struggled on for about 9 months before I decided that I needed something new.
Buggy #2 - Britax
After selling my Quinny I needed another buggy but as we were now a one income family with a growing baby to support, money was tight. I again turned to the second hand market and I bought a Britax. This time I was more committed to choosing a buggy that would meet my lifestyle. The key criteria was a large front wheel which would lock into place to handle the beach terrain and a large shopping basket to save me the hassle of lugging extra shopping bags around. I also chose the Britax as it had a travel system and although my son had outgrown baby capsules by then and I wasn't planning a second child yet, I was trying to future-proof my purchase.
However when my buggy arrived, it appeared that I still hadn't done enough research. The Britax was larger than my Quinny when folded and it only just fit my car boot and there certainly wasn't room for any other luggage. Also, it weighed a tonne. It took all my might to lift it into the car boot and was a pain to fold too. So I ended up getting a stroller too.
Buggy #3 - Mamu Stroller
I got my stroller when I still had by Britax. We were planning a holiday and wanted a cheap, lightweight stroller that we could take on holiday with us, knowing that we could also keep it in the car at home so I didn't have to fold and lift my heavy Britax. Money was still incredibly tight, especially as I had only bought the Britax a couple of months before so it was actually my mother in law who choose the stroller and we got it for my son's first birthday.
The stroller she bought was an umbrella style and although I expected it to be very basic in design, it was much more basic than I expected. The seat only had one position, upright, so when my son fell asleep, his head often fell forward and he looked uncomfortable. The small plastic wheels were OK on pavements but gravel and anything other than very short grass stopped it in its tracks. I was also disappointed that although the airline let me have it in the terminal building at the airport, it was taken off me at the gate as I boarded the plane and I didn't get it back again until luggage claim at the other end. Getting through customs and immigration was a nightmare with a grumpy eighteen month old on foot.
Buggy #4 - Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle
When my son was two and half, we emigrated to New Zealand. There was no way I was going to ship my large, heavy Britax buggy so I sold it and moved with just the stroller. A few months after our move, I was due to have baby number 2 and knew that the stroller I was still occasionally using wasn't suitable for a newborn, and still didn't meet my needs. So after a considerable amount of research, I got an urban jungle . It had a large front wheel I could lock for trips to the beach, a full recline on the seat for sleeping children, a large shopping basket that would easily fit bread, milk and a changing bag, had a sun hood and storm and sun covers. I also bought a carrycot for added convenience, a rear facing seat to maximise bonding time and a nifty buggy board that turned into a scooter called a freerider for my son, who would be 3 when baby arrived. In fact I wrapped the freerider up and gave it my son on the day his sister was born 'a present from the baby' - it was something special, just for him and he loved it. I couldn't fault my urban jungle and wished that I had had it as my very first buggy.
Buggy #5 - Mountain Buggy nano
Almost two years after getting my urban jungle, we wanted to take a long road trip on our camper van. Our urban jungle was simply not going to fit in the limited space we had available for the adventure so out came the mamu stroller again. However after a couple of trial runs in the run up to the holiday, I was more frustrated with it than ever. There was no way I was ever going to be able to take it off the pavement at any point, my daughter just wouldn't sleep in it, it didn't have rain cover, or even a hood and my son, who at this point was 4 and a half kept wanting to sit in it as there was no buggy board. The stroller certainly wasn't going to lend itself well to a stress-free holiday. And then I discovered nano , the new stroller from Mountain Buggy.
I had loved my urban jungle so the decision to buy another Mountain Buggy was easy. It had a reclining seat which my daughter ended up sleeping in every day, a hood and covers for rain and sun, a generous shopping basket, a handle bar so I could push in one-handed, was lighter and folded smaller than the umbrella stroller plus I could attach my son's freerider to it. Having used the nano for my entire holiday, I'm thrilled with it. It was good on many terrains including the beach and rough tracks and the compact fold which includes an integrated shoulder strap meant that it went everywhere we did. I so wish Mountain Buggy had launched it years ago.
With an almost 5 year old and a 2 year old, I think my buggy adventure is coming to an end. I rarely use the urban jungle any more as my daughter likes to walk but if we're going off-road for a day out, I often take it with us. My nano is used virtually every day. I keep it in the car and pull it out for trips round the supermarket or carry it when I know my daughter isn't going to make the distance on foot. For any new parent who is looking to buy a buggy, I implore you to look beyond style and colour and look for a buggy with features that will allow you to live life without limit.