Now that Phoebe G is nearly 6 months old (crikey, she’ll be 1 soon), she’s been promoted to the “pushchair” bit of the pram. Up until this point we’ve used a lovely Oyster travel system which has been fab. A single base with car seat, flat cot and pushchair attachments is very versatile, however there’s a small catch. To fold the thing up you’ve got to detach the two components, which means when folded it’s not all that small and therefore takes up a lot of boot space – as if that wasn’t at a premium already!
Our friends recently got a forward facing Armadillo City Pushchair and Stroller from Mamas & Papas and love it for it’s dinky size when folded, so we thought we’d have a look at it too. We’re lucky enough to live near a Mamas & Papas factory outlet, so being the tight Yorkshireman that I am, we tootled off bargain hunting on Sunday. Prams these days are like cars. I read a review of the “Armadillo Flip XT” by fellow dad blogger Dadventurer and just imagined a 2 litre 4×4 off road beast when I read the model name. I guess the City is the economical equivalent, although it doesn’t get many miles to the gallon going up hill and tiring me out.
As we knew what we were going for it was to be a pretty swift visit (which was a good thing given the takeaway we’d had the night before was giving me issues – the less said about that the better), so we quickly found what we were after in the pram section and had a play around. Wifey of course wanted the colour that they didn’t have in stock (she wanted teal (so did I to be fair) and they only had yellow and black – so we either had the option of being a deranged bumble bee on wheels, or just boring), which actually turned out to be a good thing as we ended up buying it from Boots to get it cheaper. The RRP is £149, and this the selling price at both Mamas & Papas and Boots, however Boots currently have a 10% off over £100 spend online (use code BPCC10 at the checkout) which took it down to £134.10. We also got £25 worth of advantage points(!) with the purchase, so add this effective saving to the 10% off and we actually saved almost £40, bringing the price down to £109.10. Ok so the advantage points aren’t a ‘saving’ as such, but it works out the same as we’ll definitely need things from there in the future. Free online delivery too – and we received it two days later. It’s good until your child is around 3 years old, so a good investment at this price.
Onto the unpackaging. I got this delivered to my office as I knew it’d be pretty bulky and my poor neighbours often end up with all our parcels as Amazon or whoever seem to deliver when Wifey is always out, so I didn’t want to be lumbering them with something large and heavy.
It’s fairly well packaged and there’s various bits of that awful smelling foamy stuff wrapped around the handles, wheel attachments and in a few other places on the pram. Quickly whip that off and sling it outside, then reach for the air freshener to make your lounge smell nice again.
Putting it together is as easy as 1,2,3. Wifey was very concerned I wasn’t using the instructions as she wanted the little one to be safe (I get this, but it’s not difficult to clip a few wheels on). It was that easy Phoebe could have done it, and to be honest her hand-eye coordination is probably as good as mine so I doubt she’d have had a problem. A few clicks later we were ready to roll (pardon the pun, Phoebe loves her new wheels)
Phoebe watched in awe as I snapped the wheels on. She was super excited with what was in the box, and probably understood it was for her (mummy and daddy won’t fit in it that’s for sure, no matter how much we want to get pushed around!)
A point worth making here is that the arm straps on the 5 point safety harness don’t seem to go tight enough for small babies. Phoebe is safe in here and there’s no way she can fall out, but we can’t get the straps tight enough to keep her ultra firm. If anyone can answer this conundrum please let me know – it could just be us doing something wrong.
The hood on the pram comes a long way forwards which is good for keeping out the sun, and there’s a decent rain cover supplied with it that clips on nice and easily to keep your child dry (whenever this was attached to the Oyster Phoebe spent all her time in the rain poking rain drops making them move!). There’s the usual peep hole in the top of the cover so you can keep an eye on your pram’s contents – be that a baby or filled with shopping, we’ve all done it. There’s also somewhere to attach toys, something we all appreciate to keep the little one entertained when they’re not busy discovering at the world around them.
The Armadillo City is really easy to move from side to side – the wheels lock straight too, should that ever be required – and I was pleased too with how easy it was to control with one hand, while carrying a shopping basket in the other. Weighing in at just 7kg it’ll be manageable by anyone. Our trip to Tesco to get something for tea was a good test run. The basket underneath is big enough for a few groceries, not massive but that’s to be expected of a pram whose selling point is it’s size. On the subject of size, the seat does not compromise here, and Phoebe has got tons of room to wriggle around. even though this pram is really slim (perfect for getting through tight gaps or nipping between people in Ikea). The seat reclines fully to almost flat, so there’s plenty adjustment for different uses (sleeping, sitting up, and lots of places in between). It’s a little fiddly to get the seat to stay fully upright, and takes a bit of effort but we got there in the end.
When finished, the pram folds up really quite small, so much so that it fits in nice gaps in the home whilst not being an eyesore. Setting up and folding the pram up couldn’t be easier. A quick flick of the wrist is all it takes, the folding mechanism is designed so it pretty much puts itself up. If you don’t flick hard enough you might need to give it a polite prod with your foot, but that’s all.
I’ve not tried this in the car yet, and will update this when I do, but given the size it folds up to, we are going to have a load more boot space in both cars, so a big thumbs up here.
There’s a couple of niggles I have with this at the moment. The first is it’s lack of an extendable handle. It just feels ever so slightly too low for me (I’m 5ft 10in and would prefer it just an inch or so higher), but I can manage with it as it is. Remember this is designed to be small and agile, so certain things are bound to be missing. The second is the ride (I could write for WhatCar…). It’s a little bit bumpy unless the ground is totally smooth which, let’s face it, it isn’t anywhere in England. The wheels are a bit noisier than the Oyster and is something I definitely noticed while pushing.
I love this little buggy so far and we’re off to a flying start! I’ll update the post as we go if there’s anything useful to add. I wouldn’t recommend it for newborns and would always go for a proper travel system at birth as they are a bit more cosy, but certainly from 6 months or so this is ideal. A 4 out of 5 from me.