Pushchair Review: Joie Nitro

Alexandra and Dylan modelling the Joie Nitro!

Alexandra and Dylan modelling the Joie Nitro!

When Alexandra was first born we were kindly given a Hauck Condor travel system which we used lots of times – the car seat she’s still occasionally using now and the carrycot part got plently of use. But because it was second hand (but in good condition!) when we got it and because we used it pretty much daily, I didn’t feel confident that it would stand up to the job of taking us through the next stage ie using just the pushchair part now she’s big enough to be sat up on journeys. So off to Mothercare we went with the intention of just testing out a few and seeing what we liked and didn’t like.

As it was, we ended up buying that day after an hour of trying out the Joie Nitro and a couple of others. While we were in store I also googled and read reviews of the Nitro on a few different sites including Amazon and Mothercare’s own website. My Google search also revealed that the discount they had on the Nitro meant it was cheaper than most sites and I couldn’t see it for any less elsewhere so we thought we’d go for it.

The things we liked about the Nitro included:

  • How lightweight it is: I want to be able to take a pushchair everywhere, load it into cars, take it on trains and buses, push it along easily even with baby and various shopping bags and changing bags in it. I don’t want something clunky! The Nitro is incredibly light, so much so we queried whether it was up to the job but so far I don’t think it’s flimsy at all.
  • Steering: We tried a Maclaren pram and a couple of others too – none of them felt as good to push along as the Joie did. I think the main reason it steers so well is that it’s so light (see above point!). Our Hauck had two handles rather than a bar across and I could only ever steer it using two hands, so I worried a little about picking another one with two handles, but I can actually steer the Joie single-handedly (shall I just say hand a few more times in this sentence?).
  • Easy use: We practised putting the Nitro up and down in the shop and determined it really was as easy as pie. To get it up you unclip a little lock on the side and it pops open and clicks when it’s fully up. Then there’s two things (technical description there!) to press to get it down and again it clicks when locked into place. It couldn’t be much simpler really.
  • Colour: This clearly is way down in the list of requirements when looking at a pushchair. But really, I’ve got to push the thing around and I want to like its appearance. We’ve got the grey/cerise colour Nitro and in my opinion, it strikes a great balance between those which looks too classy and those which look too plain. It’s colourful without being in your face and girly without shouting about it.
  • Height: At just over 5″8 I’m not the smallest of mommies so I don’t want to be stooping over getting a hunchback pushing Alex around. I find this is the perfect height for me!
  • Price: Without sounding like complete tight-arses, we didn’t want to shell out hundreds and hundreds on a pushchair, it just didn’t seem necessary when there are so many decent, low-cost options around. We still tested out some pushchairs in the middle price bracket but found that none compared with the Joie in terms of steering and where there were features we liked (such as a transparent window in the hood of a couple), it really wasn’t worth paying an extra £200-£300 for them. Clearly, with a cheaper pushchair you run the risk of it falling apart more easily, but reviews said it was fairly durable, we have a one-year warranty on it and we figured even if we did have to replace it once before Alex is finished with pushchairs, we still wouldn’t have spent as much as others do on just one pram.

So all in all, a couple of weeks into our use of the Nitro we’re very happy with it. I’ve taken it around town, we’ve taken it to National Trust properties and gone round the gardens (although on a bigger walk we’d probably take the sling rather than a pushchair), it’s been on the bus and it’s not let us down yet.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Best Buys

Try getting out of that Houdini!

Try getting out of that Houdini!

On Tuesday I wrote about buying regrets (here), so to balance things out today I’m sharing a couple of things we definitely couldn’t have lived without!

Muslin cloths – so many people told me we needed loads of these and I’m so glad we listened to them! Alexandra hasn’t quite mastered the art of feeding without dribbling so we tend to go through a bib and a muslin every time she has a bottle. They’re also really handy for pretty much everything! Mopping up spilt bottles, wiping dribbly chins, putting down under baby if you need to change while you’re out etc.

Baby gym – ours cost us £35 from Mothercare and is one of the best things we’ve bought. We got it a few weeks ago when Alex started needing a bit more entertainment and started being awake a bit more. She loves rattling all the little toys on it and we have some toys which have been bought separately which also fit on it. We play with her in it but she’s also very content to play on her own for a while in it. The best is when she falls asleep and then moves and sets the toys jangling, completely startling herself in the process!

Sleeping bags – for the first two months while she was really tiny we used cellular blankets in Alexandra’s Moses basket. But once she was a little bigger we made the transition to sleeping bags (with a blanket on top if really cold). They are so much easier! Not least because it gives her the freedom to kick her legs around without making herself cold and it means we’re not worrying about the temperature and constantly tucking her back into the blankets. The current ones she’s got should last til around six months but I can see us continuing to use them until she can be trusted to stay tucked up!

Harriet and Alexandra X

Buying Regrets

Unsure about this whole hat thing!

Unsure about this whole hat thing!

Today I thought I’d have a little ramble about some of the things we bought which we probably didn’t need plus things I really wish we’d bought!

I wish we’d bought…

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep: I’ve heard so much about these and seen a huge amount of people raving about theirs, but Dylan just couldn’t be persuaded this machine (which prepares a perfect temperature bottle in two minutes) was worth buying. They are pretty pricey but if you can get them on offer they’re not too bad. It just seems to easy and saves the hassle of having a crying baby while you boil water, then get it cooled back down to the right temperature. Luckily Alexandra is pretty consistent with when she wants feeding but for those times she catches us unawares and goes from fine to STARVING HUNGRY in the blink of an eye, I do wish I had one!

Isofix: This handy little device which stays in your car and enables you to pop the car seat in and out within a second is again something which we didn’t really consider buying. However, having seen people use them since and spent many a minute waiting for Alex to be strapped into the back of the car (with my hand I’m pretty useless at anything like this so it’s not normally my job!) I think they’re well worth forking out for. The only downside I guess is that it stays in your car and Alexandra tends to go in a few different cars when friends and family drive us anywhere so its use would be limited due to that.

I wish we hadn’t bought…

Hats: A lot of the hats we bought were part of a set with other items of clothing so I don’t feel too bad, but those little cotton hats which every newborn has went pretty much unworn in our house. She wore a couple the day she was born and a couple once or twice since, but I’ve got a stack of about 15 which never went near her head and never will now she’s grown out of them! However the thicker winter hats she’s got have proved much more useful and certainly will do over the coming months. Maybe it’s because she’s got so much hair and always gets compliments on it that we shied away from hat wearing!

Scratch mitts: I feel like scratch mitts are one of those items everyone tells you the baby will definitely need, however she’s never worn a pair and again I have a stack of brand new ones. In the early days she didn’t seem to go near her face and now she’s started discovering and using her hands a lot more, we’ve had a couple of scratches (before my sister kindly cut Alexandra’s nails for us!) but it seems such a shame to cover up her hands when she’s so interested in them! We didn’t even use the built-in mitts on her sleepsuits although I can see how they’d come in handy if you were using mitts and your baby had worked out how to get the loose ones off.

Next time I’ll have a little chat about the invaluable items we bought and why I love them so much! Come back on Thursday for that.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Maternity Wear, Where?

My possible future. Image from www.littleluxurylist.com

My possible future. Image from www.littleluxurylist.com

Before getting pregnant (how many of my posts have this phrase in them?) I hadn’t really thought about the practicalities of clothing yourself while pregnant. I mean, sure, I’d noticed that you change shape and obviously I’d walked past maternity stands in the shop (in fact, they seemed to be everywhere a couple of years ago?). But I’d never really seen pregnant women running around covering themselves with leaves to stay warm and I’d always assumed those with their bump proudly hanging out in a teeny tiny top which probably didn’t even fit them before they were up the duff were doing so purely of their own choosing. Now, I pity all fellow preggos.

My first foray into maternity clothing came very early on, about seven weeks into my pregnancy. I had what one would call a ‘massive bloated belly’ and therefore couldn’t fit into any of my jeans. No bother I thought, I’ll buy jeans now and then I’ll get loads of wear out of them before baby. So I purchased a pair of ‘under bump’ jeans – first big error right there. In the shop they felt and looked okay, for about ten seconds when I first wore them they were okay, all of the times I’ve tried with them since have been horrendous (ie I have to pull them up about even seven milliseconds). Maybe I’m an odd shape (one of my many worries includes if my baby’s going to come out all bulgy in weird places cause my bump certainly isn’t smooth and perfectly rounded), maybe it’s just me but I cannot get the buggers to stay where I want them to be. I’ve now banished them to the top of the wardrobe and feel a bit angry every time I catch sight of them (so as not to leave you on a sad note jeans-wise, I’ve recently bought two over-the-bump pairs from the same shop and I love them! Total comfort).

Aside from one pair of maternity leggings, in the intervening weeks I’ve basically been squeezing myself into my normal leggings with long tops, hoping for good enough weather to wear an empire line dress and ignoring the fact jeans exist. But then about two weeks ago, Dylan pointed out the baby had far more clothes than I did and, especially given our upcoming holiday, perhaps buying some clothing for myself might be in order (other options included stitching together many of her tiny clothes or reverting to ‘leaf style’ as mentioned above). Easy I thought. Not so. WHERE are the maternity clothes? Granted, I haven’t gone to any major cities to try and find some. But the town I live in has a massive shopping centre and loads of surrounding retail parks and there’s hardly a stitch. There’s a Mothercare and about one rail in H&M but aside from that I really can’t see anything. I’ve reverted to shopping online which isn’t my favourite thing – I want to go into a shop, try stuff on and buy it in the knowledge it fits okay. Even then it’s been hit and miss and although I’ve now got a few lovely dresses to take on holiday (which I’ll share soon) I currently have no shorts and time is running out!

I just can’t understand this lack of maternity-wear out there (and some of the stuff when you do find it is extortionate, maybe I’m a cheapskate but the idea of paying close to £50 for shorts I might get three months’ wear out of isn’t on) – do retailers not ever go out and see how many pregnant people there are in this world? Why has no one set up a maternity-only shop where we can all relish in the sight of comfy waistbands and extra material? We’re already putting up with swelling, sickness, aches and pains and the prospect of a small person emerging from our hoo-ha – why can’t we have nice clothes during this process?!

Please do share if you have any tips for maternity wear…or if you just want a bit of a grumble like me!

Harriet and bump x