Category Archives: Review

Review stuff

The perfect pushchair…

Doesnt exist.

I’m a pushchair moron. Anyone who has ever seen me try to steer my pushchairs around anything will know that. The people who have had their feet run over by said bad steering will also know that.  Before you ask, yes my driving is awful too.

Anyway, having finally lost the last end of my rag with the Phil & Teds after a seat catastrophe and then a tyre catastrophe and being housebound for a week, we decided to go and purchase a side by side double stroller.

We went into Babies R Us at the weekend and looked at the Cosatto You 2 twin.  We had a short test drive and then came home to order the Polka Dogs version from Amazon.

So, today it arrived.

I took it out of the box, started to build it (sunhoods, adjust seats, footmuffs, test brakes etc) when Toddler brings me a small piece of grey plastic and asks “What’s that Mummy?”

Well, I’d heard a bit of a snap when I’d tested the brakes but I know that these things can make a noise when they click in, so didn’t think anything of it, but upon checking, one of the back wheels had cracked.  Not the most awesome start, I must admit.

I got straight on the phone to Cosatto and they were fab.  A new wheel is coming tomorrow, no questions asked.

So ignoring everything I know about health and safety and being a bad parent, I decided to take myself and my stir crazy kids out for a walk.

I have yet to brave the supermarket so these are early impressions.

Let me hit you with the Cons first:

1. It’s wide.  I can’t fit it in the house, but we expected this.  I’m a bit concerned about getting it through narrow doors elsewhere but I can’t think of anywhere I go regularly where I can’t either leave it outside or get someone to help me.  So more of an inconvenience really.

2. The wheels.  They are plastic, as is common with this type of stroller.  This makes for a bit of a bumpy ride as we have a lot of the textured paving around our way.  However, the pro of this is that the vibration seems to make the kids sleep.

3. The raincover covers both sides at once (although I don’t think this can be done any other way.)  It did mean that when she decided she absolutely did not want the rain cover on, it mean that he had to get a bit wet too.

4. It’s quite bulky – even when folded up.

Hmmm, I think that is about it for the moment.

Pros:

1.  My two love being next to each other and he really enjoyed being able to see everything and having the wind/rain on his face.

2. No possible way it could have a puncture.

3. She can’t kick, punch or poke him too hard from a sideways angle.

4. It’s not heavy to push.  Surprisingly, and even with a Toddler and a 3 month old seems fairly well-balanced (although you can feel the weight difference when going up or down hills.)

5. Goes very easily up kerbs and doesn’t feel like it’s going to tip at all.

6.

So there you have it.

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Catch.com

I have been using a noting app called catch for a little while now to write my blogs on my phone before copy and pasting them to WordPress.

You may be wondering why I’m not using the WordPress app direct. The answer is html editing. If you write your blogs on your Android device all in one go, it’s fantastic. If, like me, you write a few notes and then go back in and delete bits (which isn’t easy to do on a touch screen phone) add bits in and re tag, then it’s a nightmare. I also find I can’t change the categories on the WordPress App. It’s Uncategorized, or uncategorized. I don’t have a category called Uncategorized any more.

So, I decided to find a noting app. I was using Colour note for a while, but the only way to share to multiple devices (I needed something I could use on my laptop (Ubuntu) my Windows machines and my Smartphone) was to email myself, which became impractical.

I used Evernote, but the application only lets you upload in Linux, not view what you already have (at least I couldn’t get it to do this.) If I can’t get something to work pretty much first time, I lose interest, so this lost some Brownie points.

I then downloaded a load of the noting apps and found Catch.

It has an online log on, so you can access your notes from anywhere with a browser (bonus). it lets you copy and paste which I was unable to do using Google Docs on a Ubuntu machine running Firefox, you can use hashtags to group your note (double win for a twitter addict!). You can also share directly to WordPress, but again, this removes all formatting.

I tend to write my notes, make sense of them either on the phone or laptop and then copy and paste them straight into a new post on WordPress using a computer. This works well for me and my style of blogging.

You can find out more about catch by going to www.catch.com

Phil & Teds update 2

Ok, I believe my last update on this contraption was when we were still using it 1 man.  Since then, we have expanded the family by one and are unable to wuss out and use the Mothercare jobby.

Obviously being forced to use a product automatically puts it into the dislike category for me however I’m starting to learn that it’s not all evil. For starters it can turn on a sixpence.  It’s totally easy to double back on yourself in Sainsburys without needing an entire aisle. This is, of course, provided there are no steps, kerbs or badly laid paving slabs…but more on this later. It also holds two children and barring that third wheel (which actually seems to be the bane of most of its faults) is around the same size as a normal pushchair.  I do love the width. I used it with one of the panniers on today and still found it cleared doorways with ease.

When we first got it, I loathed the baby under configuration and I’m still not totally convinced by the baby in footwell idea, but for a laying down baby and toddler, baby under works.  When she is in the top seat, he is cozy and mostly covered.   I would even go as far as to say that he loves it because it is almost womb-like.  When the pushchair is moved, or she moves, the cot part swings gently. This caused a little concern for me at first but it is such a soft swaying that again I would say it imitates the motion felt in utero.

There is still sadly not enough space for my shopping, the top seat seems a bit flimsy when madam is pulling around in it, there are too many buckles, zips, catches and fastenings and it makes you look like a twat when you’re trying to put it up.  There are also so many bits to it and they don’t fit in the shopping basket and panniers.  If you had to take it in its entirety somewhere, you would need to drive.

Then we have that front wheel.  Wheels on my previous pushchairs have caused some issues if you land on them while they are pointing at a ninety degree angle but I’ve found this easy to push through with minimum distraction to passengers.  Today a ninety degree angle wheel forced us to a grinding halt…in a road. Pushing through caused the whole pushchair to judder, waking O.  It is most likely my driving style and a partially flat tyre, but aren’t I the kind of idiot they really want slamming this thing into kerbs?  I seem to be awesome at slamming it into other people’s feet!

I also had a problem getting it out over the standard seal on our standard pvc front door.  I decided to go backwards so as to not risk having it resting on the third wheel at all and the back wheels refused to go over the seal. There must be a knack to it (I bloody hate knacks) but I couldn’t get it to budge.  It doesn’t appear to be practical to lift the back end using the handle due to weight distribution so I had to bend down and use the chassis to haul it over.  Ok, this is doable in your own home, but not great if you’re out trying to get into a shoe shop.

Having said all this though, I WOULD recommend this pushchair if you have 2 under 2. I’m finding it is endearing itself to me and I’m so much more patient with it now I know what we (the pushchair and I) are capable of. I know I’m not and never will be able to push it to its limits but it is doing a good job of keeping my children comfortable when I feel the need to walk somewhere and even loaded with Toddler, newborn, all their associated crap and some of my crap I can still drive and steer it with one hand!  It’s also wise to keep in mind that we have an older second hand model that has already been heavily used and sat in by three children, so I would expect it to have developed a little personality.

Damn you Phil & Teds, you are winning me over!

Phil&Teds – an update.

After scrubbing this pushchair down, both the OH and I have been avoiding it.  Every time we’ve gone out, we’ve found an excuse to take our big Mothercare pushchair.

I took The Toddler out on Thursday afternoon and thought I would give the Phil &Teds a go as I didn’t much fancy lifting the other one into the car, so I put it up in our hallway.  I seem to have got the hang of putting it up and taking it down which is an improvement.  I then tried to put the hood back on it.  For half an hour.  I didn’t mind lifting the Mothercare one into the car after that.

Saturday we went out again and OH got the hood back on.  I actually got a chance to drive the three wheeler and successfully steered it around the shop without tipping it.

I’ve found that I do like how agile it is and how light it feels to push with 1 child in.  I think it’s starting to grow on me, however, a couple of things I noticed today annoyed me.

The first of these is the harness.  5 little straps. It’s not the amount of straps nor the width of the straps, but more the way that if The Toddler is wearing a skirt, they expose her nappy to the world.  That and the fact you have to remember to pull them all out before you put the child in otherwise they sit on them.  Once the child is sat on them, its a bit of a faff to get them from under, around and behind the child, meanwhile said child has managed to launch herself halfway out of the pushchair again shouting “WALK WALK MUMMY!”.  Not a deal breaker but still something new to remember.

The other problem I have with the pushchair is the size of the shopping basket.   With our Mothercare pushchair, I can do a basket load of shopping, pack it up and chuck it underneath.  Not with this one.  It does have two small rucksacks you can attach to each side, but we didn’t take them and they don’t like they massively extend the capacity.  This lack of space lead to an argument in Sainsburys as he looked a bit lost at being unable to pack everything up and I had to find space to shove things so we could move out of the way of the tills.  The couple behind us were not best pleased nor impressed.

I’m going to try taking her for her walk in this pushchair on Tuesday.  I’ll be doing it alone on mixed terrain, so we’ll see how we get on.  That is of course if it doesn’t annoy me before we leave the house!

Phil & Teds double buggy e3 sport

Ok, this is not a review.  It cannot be classed as a review.  Everything here is personal opinion and based on experience.  I’m not a pram expert.  I’m no good with the damn things in general.

Omg, this pushchair is awful!  Haha.  I know loads of people love them but I just can’t get on with it.  At all.  Maybe its me being useless with pushchairs (the Toddler actually has “crash” and “oh dear” as part of her vocabulary!) but this one just seems to be full of “knacks”.

When we were picking a pram for the Toddler, this was one of the ones we looked at as OHs sister swears by hers (which is now ours!).  First of all, I couldn’t be dealing with all the attachments and clips.  Secondly, it took me half the length of Mothercare to flick the damn thing open.  These two things alone were enough to put me off.  However, the thing I hated most about this pushchair was the baby under baby thing.  Like you’ve just chucked baby 2 in the shopping basket underneath.  Now, to me, (and this is me being a little over sensitive) this seems like it may give way to some confidence issues.  Baby no 2 is restricted in what they can see, mum kicks them with her feet…well, clumsy big foot me would anyway, and the poor thing will end up with shopping dumped on its legs.

Needless to say, I opted for a Mothercare travel system.  Its bulky and heavy and the clip that holds it closed when it’s folded snapped in the first few months but I can put it up and steer it with one hand.  I can also put it down one handed.

However, it only holds one baby, and no matter how many times she protests otherwise, the Toddler is not ready to walk everywhere and won’t be for a while.

OHs sisters children are just old enough that she now only needs a single buggy, so we part exchanged our Red Kite single buggy – which is barely used but also a very good value lightweight but not flimsy buggy- for her Phil & Teds with all the attachments.

It was cheap.  I mean a steal cheap.  I needs a bit of TLC and the Toddler and I have been out in the garden scrubbing it down this morning.  We have just about every attachment going for it.  Its worth probably around £450ish new. And I WANT to love it.  So much.  But even this morning it has annoyed me.

First of all, neither the OH nor I could get it to go up.  Then undoing all the zips and fastenings in order to get it open enough to scrub was a complete pain.  I’ve already managed to almost tip it over on that third wheel and had a serious issue pushing it through the front door.  Luckily, empty, it is lightweight enough to lift.   However, the real kicker for me is the brake.  I have SPD which means the strength in my legs is very limited.  Not a problem with my pram, but I can’t even budge the brake bar on this one without bending down and flicking it on by hand.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed by faffing and the Phil & Teds just seems to be one huge faff.  I’m hoping once I’ve had a few tantrums over it and thrown it a few times I’ll finally get it.  I’ll let you know how I get on.