I'd like to think in the last few years, motherhood has made me a wiser woman and as such, I am more practical with my purchases... er erm. One of the biggest expenses you'll face when your little bundle of joy enters the world is a new travel system. After several unsuccessful purchases, I can now say with total confidence that what I am about to tell you should be at the forefront of your decision making process when choosing your buggy!
You first of all need to think about your lifestyle and when and how you will use your buggy. Ask yourself the following and do not sacrifice:
Are you an off-roader or a towny? Clarifying this to yourself will automatically halve your options making the search much more bearable! To simplify this - it basically comes down to the wheels...
Will you be driving a lot? If yes, then considering the weight of the buggy is essential - you will be lugging that thing in and out of the boot of your car more than you can imagine. It's also nice to be able fold it in one and not have to take it apart.
Where will you store the buggy? If you plan on keeping it in the house, you need to check it fits in the door - more relevant to a double buggy but I have been stung by this one and it was a NIGHTMARE lifting out sleeping babies! You will probably want it to be free standing when folded if you plan on keeping it indoors.
What kind of car do you have? Boot space is critical with kids. Yes you might just be able to squeeze the buggy you like into the car. But where will the scooters go? And the helmets? And the toy prams that you'll need to take everywhere? And the picnic blanket for just incase? And the wellies? And the (you get the idea)...
Do you have other kids and what are their needs? Scarlett was 18 months when Savannah was born so a double buggy was essential for us. But from about 2.5yrs old a buggy board should be sufficient for shorter walks. Also if you have other kids, you'll need to comfortably be able to steer one handed whilst you drag the resistant sibling. When you test for this, make sure the buggy is weighted with a child - it makes a huge difference!
Are you having a summer baby? If so, an oversized shade makes all the difference. Those little umbrellas look sweet but can be a real nuisance so it's handy being able to rely on the attached hood for total protection from the sun.
If you can break your requirements down like this, then I suggest taking your answers to a recommended retailer and seeing what they offer as suitable options. I'm obviously carrying out a search of my own with the imminent arrival of baby number three and after extensive research and sampling, these are the top buggies of 2015 that I personally recommend giving a go!
Stokke Scoot, £529
Best for: URBAN LIVING
It is easy to get blindsided by how seriously cool this pushchair looks but I promise you, it ticks every other box in my 'essential must-haves' too! It is total luxury to push and so easy to manoeuvre which is number one on my list of things to consider with two other small people in tow! It has a large basket which since moving to a town centre is a real necessity for my shopping as we tend to walk everywhere. It folds without having to remove anything which is honestly all I will consider since experiencing the alternatives, and it can comfortably be carried with one hand when down which just makes life easier when getting it in and out of the car.
Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT, £479
Best for: COUNTRY LIFESTYLE
The Flip XT is the latest in the Armadillo collection and is of the highest spec making it suitable for you outdoorsy types with its chunky wheels, but it's how wonderfully compact this buggy is when collapsed which is the real selling feature. It is the world's most compact fold and is unbelievably lightweight for such a sturdy buggy that is suitable from birth. This particular pushchair (as the name gives-away), allows you to flip the seat to be forward or rear facing and actually collapse in either direction without having to remove anything which is a total timesaver! Whilst this buggy is marketed at being suitable for outdoors, this really is one of those rare all-rounders and there isn't anything negative I can say about it.
Baby Jogger City Mini Double, £499
Best for: THE ULTIMATE DOUBLE
I can't rate this buggy enough. The folding mechanism makes collapsing the buggy really easy and it is incredibly compact when folded so takes up very little space in the boot. It is narrow enough to go through single doors and pretty much all department store shopping aisles (essential), has really great hoods that completely cover the girls come rain or shine (with little windows so they can see me!) but the best thing for me is that the girls are sat side by side which greatly reduces the 'I want to sit there!' 'NO I WANT TO SIT THERE!' scenario... I actually bought ours in Boots on a triple rewards offer and had enough in points to get a load of matching accessories so this is definitely one worth shopping around for!
For more on style and advice during pregnancy, please check out my other blog over at Scarlett and Me!