Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Quinny Zapp & Maxi-Cosi Pebble

As much as I adore the Maxi-CosiMura Plus, for taking out in the car it just isn’t a practical option for me every time. For instance if I’m popping to the shops with Baby A, the Mura Plus chassis and the Folding Carrycot takes up all my boot space, so I’d have to put my shopping in the car itself.

It’s times like this that the Quinny Zapp comes into its own. I have a 2010 Limited Edition Black Zapp chassis and like all Zapp’s, it came as standard with the adaptors to use the Maxi-Cosi carseat with it. The original style Zapp isn’t suitable from birth and there isn’t a carrycot accessory for use with it, so the only way of using this product for a baby under six months is to use in combination with the carseat. Please Note: Original style Quinny Zapp is no longer offered for sale in the UK. 

Baby A travelling in style; Maxi-Cosi Pebble 2015 Denim Hearts with matching Footmuff
Used in combination with Quinny Zapp 2010 Limited Edition Black chassis

Included in the box with Quinny Zapp is the Zapp raincover, Zapp shopping basket and Zapp adaptors which are used for Maxi-Cosi carseats only – There is no carrycot option suitable for use on the Zapp chassis.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m not a fan of babies being in carseats too much – they’re designed for safe car travel, not for baby to be crammed into all day every day, and Maxi-Cosi recommends no more than 2 hours in the carseat before baby is given the opportunity to lie flat, stretch about and generally wiggle freely for a minimum of 20 minutes. However sometimes, it is handy to attach the carseat to a chassis. It saves me struggling to carry the carseat for a start – my back doesn’t take kindly to carrying it too much; and it provides a smoother journey for baby, rather than the bouncing of the carseat being carried about.

The Quinny Zapp chassis folds down very compact and is incredibly lightweight, thus making it the ideal ‘car’ pushchair for me. I leave it in the boot and basically forget it is there. Those times I need it though it is invaluable.

With hard rubber compound wheels the Zapp is notorious for the ‘clunk clunk’ noise as you’re pushing it – every change in surface, every crack in the pavement, you can hear with this one; subtle and quiet it is not. However the three wheel design with front rotating swivel wheel (which can be locked if preferred) does make it lovely and smooth to push over smooth surfaces. If you’re in a shopping mall it’s like cutting through butter with a warm knife, and you can turn a full circle on a ten pence piece – if you’re off for a trek through the woods or live in an area with a lot of cobblestone streets, possibly not the wisest choice. You do have to be careful with the Zapp; it is very lightweight, so don’t try to go up or down curbs by tipping it onto the front wheel unit – again, I would say common sense dictates that you tip it onto the two back wheels to distribute the weight before attempting curbs, but it’s a habit I got into years ago when using the pushchair with J and perhaps not something everyone would automatically think of. Quinny do not recommend that you hang any items over this chassis, particularly because it is so lightweight there is a very real risk of additional weight, particularly over the hand grip connector bar, making the product tip. Again I will hold my hands up and say that I have hung a nappy bag over the handlebars many times, in fact when J was pushchair age I deliberately overloaded the Zapp without him in it to try and make it tip, and I failed to do so until I literally pulled on the weight hanging from the handlebars, but to err on the side of caution Quinny will advise you strongly against doing this. I hang bags on the chassis at my own discretion and when in use  I would not let go of the handlebars.

The Zapp has a small shopping basket which to be honest isn’t particularly useful for carrying much more than your raincover and perhaps a small drinks bottle, but hey we’re not talking about a pushchair designed for walking to the supermarket and doing your weekly shop with, we’re talking about a compact, lightweight run-around designed for convenience and ease of use.

The Zapp model I have is the 2010 model so it has three steps to fold / unfold – newer models have an additional fourth step to make it easier, but to be honest I’ve never had an issue. Despite not being used since J was three, when I got the Zapp chassis out of storage I gave it a thorough clean with furniture polish and a soft cloth and it was as good as new (Note: Do not use oil based lubricants to clean your chassis as they can leave sticky residue which can then attract more dirt and debris which causes friction, creating problems with fold / unfold action) I have developed quite a neat knack with my Zapp chassis of clicking button one, pressing button two and flicking the chassis outward snapping both side knuckles locked solid and bringing number 3 section up and into locked position in one fluid movement.

The Zapp chassis has left Brake Off pedal and a bright red right Brake On pedal. I’ve always found the brakes on the Zapp very strong and reliable, but sometimes the Brake Off doesn’t release the brakes the whole way and as you start walking you notice the pushchair feels heavier than normal and the rear wheels aren’t turning properly. Whenever this has happened I have just put the brakes back on again and then pressed the Brake Off pedal more definitely and it has resolved the issue.

As I have the raincover for  the carseat (compatible with Pebble Plus, Pebble and CabrioFix models) this makes the Pebble and Zapp combination very handy, as even in bad weather I can add the carseat and off we go with no fuss and I don’t have to worry about Baby A getting soggy. As a rule he falls asleep in the carseat the moment we drive anywhere, and being able to remove him from the car and get to where I’m going without disturbing him is a definite bonus for me. The other week Daddy P and I had an appointment at the bank – Baby A fell asleep in the carseat in the front room before we’d even got him into the car; we drove to the bank, put the carseat on the chassis and went in for our appointment, came out and popped into a couple of shops, returned to the car and put him back in and drove home and he only woke up when we parked up again at home, so he didn’t even notice we’d been out at all.

The Pebble carseat has memory buttons on it, which means when you’re using it in combination with a Maxi-Cosi or Quinny chassis you can press the buttons and they’ll stay depressed until you lift it off the chassis – meaning you can do this one handed which is dead handy. When putting the carseat onto the chassis there is an audible ‘click’ noise when it is correctly positioned and locked in place, which is reassuring and gives confidence that you’ve got it all set up properly.

I’ll continue to use the Zapp combined with the Pebble in this way until Baby A is too big for the Pebble, when I’ll put the Zapp fabric back into the chassis and use that instead. It doesn’t have a recline or parent facing option, so it isn’t suitable for children under six months old, but it remains for me the ideal ‘car’ pushchair as the addition of the seat fabric and sun canopy makes little difference to the overall size of the pushchair when folded. You can also get a Zapp travel bag which keeps the product neat and tidy and can be used for the standard Zapp or the Zapp Xtra 2 model and which makes it easier to carry as well (the bag as a carry handle)

 Peace N Love

Mummy P

Maxi-Cosi Mura Plus

Thanks to the improvements on the Maxi-Cosi model upgrading from the original Mura to the Mura Plus was a no-brainer for me. All the niggles I'd had with the Mura - though I loved it - had been improved upon, and once again when I found out I was pregnant with Baby A the only choice I had to make was which colour to pick.

Maxi-Cosi Mura Plus 3 2015 Denim Hearts
The Maxi-Cosi Mura Plus offers foam filled wheels instead of air filled, so no need to pump up the tyres or worry about potential punctures wherever you’re adventuring to.

The sun canopy is enlarged and comes further around the seat unit, with an extra popper to unclip for even more coverage when needed, providing much better protection for baby whether from sun or wind.
There’s an elastic loop on the back of the sun canopy to hook onto the seat unit and hold it firmly in place. It’s much smoother and easier to unfold / fold than the older style, and it can be done one handed and quietly.

Back of seat unit - the small grey button for seat recline adjustment,
and the black surround where the sun canopy hooks in place

The seat itself remains about the same dimensionally but the change in design gives it a squarer, more spacious appearance than the original Mura, (though I found the seat unit ample size even once J reached the maximum weight limit of 15kg at almost four years old and being particularly tall) The seat adjustment clunky metal bar has been replaced with a grey button on the back of the seat that you grip and hold in to adjust the seat angle – it’s much quieter, smoother, and looks neater.  It still offers an adjustable handlebar so it’s easy for me to push as well as Daddy P, who is six foot something and when he’s walking has a very long stride (some pushchairs offer a high enough handlebar but then he trips on the rear assembly)

Included in the box - Mura Plus raincover, Mura Plus shopping basket and Maxi-Cosi carseat adaptors (which are also used to fit the Folding Carrycot to the chassis)

Baby A is 9 weeks old now, so I haven’t used the seat unit so far – though it is suitable from birth, I have the Folding Carrycot as it’s my personal preference and I will use that until he is too big for it. Already he is a long baby, and I don’t think it will be big enough beyond four months old. (That is the same age J was when he became too big for the old style Mura Carrycot).

Maxi-Cosi Folding Carrycot 2015 Denim Hearts

The Folding Carrycot is an additional accessory, but again my personal preference is for newborns to be in a carrycot. Much more compact than the old equivalent, it has a sleeker, more modern style and folds down for ease of transportation. The mattress is double thickness and feels very luxurious and comfortable – its thicker than the mattress in the Moses basket! You can remove the cover for ease of washing, though I always use a Moses basket fitted base sheet on it anyway. The carrycot is easily removed from the chassis by pressing the buttons on either side and lifting it off the adaptors – its very lightweight (4.65kg) so it’s not a great hefty thing to carry about. Once folded, it’s a compact 16.5cm thick, so very easy to carry.

The raincover for the Folding Carrycot was incredibly difficult to get on the first time I used it. However, I’ve now used a couple more times, and it’s a lot easier, so I think it was just where the raincover had been folded since production and the crease lines had taken out valuable centimetres of space. (Top Tip – Hang raincovers out on the line to drop out the crease lines and get rid of that horrible plastic smell before you use it on your pushchair / carrycot) It now fits on very easily and provides excellent cover. It has waterproof navy fabric around the base of the carrycot and over the sun canopy, and then a see through section over the front of the carrycot. There’s a zipper around the edge of the sun canopy to be able to open the raincover easily while it’s fitted; I find this very useful when I’m in shops so Baby A doesn’t get too hot in there, without having to remove it completely every time you go into a shop when out and about.

The Mura Plus is my ‘walking’ pushchair, so I haven’t used it with the Pebble carseat but it is compatible with the adaptors included. As the carrycot folds so compactly (and very easily with the grey handle on the underneath) the times I have gone out in the car and wanted to take it with me both the Mura Plus chassis and the carrycot fits into the boot of my car. I do have to remove the rear wheels of the chassis, so a carrier bag is a must for containing them after a muddy walk! When he was four weeks old we went to a local fun day and I took the Mura Plus and carrycot, and he was warm and comfortable for hours – even the uneven terrain of the field we spent the afternoon walking around didn’t jostle him too much and he slept contentedly the whole time. I love that the apron has zippers attached instead of poppers as its much quicker to undo / do up, and you can’t loose the apron as it’s attached to the carrycot and can’t be forgotten anywhere. The sun canopy has an additional sun visor section at the front of it which is really handy for these autumnal days with the sun low in the sky. The top of the apron has poppers to do it up on the inside of the sun canopy hinges and provides an extra three inches or so up from the level of the apron, and this combined with the low sun visor means no sun is going to disturb baby’s sleep.

Maxi-Cosi Folding Carrycot with sun canopy and additional sun visor down

The Maxi-Cosi Pebble is also purchased separately, and it’s important to get a physical fitting done prior to purchase. As I’m carseat fitter trained myself I confirmed that the Pebble fits using the 3 point seatbelt as well as when using the EasyBase2. I don’t have IsoFix in my car, so the EasyBase2 makes it simpler for me – instead of fitting the carseat with the seatbelt every time, I fit the base with the seatbelt and then click the carseat on and off. The EasyBase2 is suitable for use with Pebble or CabrioFix carseat models. As this was previously used in my old car, I had to re-confirm suitability for the base in my existing car, and as there is a fake floor I contacted Toyota to discuss with them. The Pebble is FAA approved for use on board aircraft, and is suitable for babies from birth to 13kg. (Note: Baby becomes too tall for continued use of the carseat if their head crowns over the top of the carseat shell)

You can find my Maxi-Cosi Pebble review here.

The Mura Plus chassis itself is a fairly chunky 15.5kg (including seat unit) so not ideal for lifting in and out of the car boot on a frequent basis, but as I say I use it as my ‘walking’ pushchair so I’m rarely lifting it into the boot anyway. On the times I have, I’ve wheeled it up to the car before folding, removing the rear wheels, and lifting into the boot, to minimise how long I’m carrying it for.

In town, despite its size, the Mura Plus is easy to steer thanks to the rotating front wheel unit – this can also be locked in position if you prefer which is very good for travelling on sand, shingle or in the snow. Even though the Mura Plus is a chunky beast the foam filled tyres, rotating front wheel unit and foam padded single handlebar keeps it feeling lightweight and easy to control. The shopping basket offers a fair amount of space, at the moment I keep the carrycot raincover folded in it, and the rest of the baby stuff is in the nappy bag hanging on the handlebar (Remember, Maxi-Cosi do not recommend hanging a bag on the chassis at all as it has not been tested / approved for this – I do this at my own discretion and do not let go of the handlebar while baby A is in the product)

On rough terrain the Mura Plus comes into its own, gliding over bumps and lumps easily and your baby isn’t getting rattled about like mad no matter where you’re heading. The single handlebar means I can push it one handed on more even ground – handy for the school run, as it means I have a hand free to hold onto J! – but on rougher terrain you’ll need both hands to keep it under control or it will bounce off the direction you’re heading in.

I recommended the original Mura as I loved it so much, and I have to say, particularly with the improvements, I love the Mura Plus even more.  Highly recommended from Baby A and myself!

Peace N Love

Mummy P

Maxi-Cosi Mura

When I was pregnant with J (born August 2010), I’d been working for the company for a few years, and before I saw two lines appear on a test I knew if it happened that I would choose the Maxi-Cosi Mura pushchair. When it happened, I ordered the Tango Red colour from the 2010 Collection, and as well as the Mura I had a Mura pram body for when he was new-born and a CabrioFix carseat to be used with EasyBase2.

Maxi-Cosi Mura 2010 Tango Red

The Mura isn’t for everyone, but it was definitely the right choice for me. Our town is close to our house and there’s plenty of off road exploring to be done quite locally. It’s a chunky beast, but a small folding product to fit in the boot of my car wasn’t a priority for this – my main, ‘walking’ pushchair. It had large size air filled wheels, and I took it through town, off road, through mud, snow and sand, and never had an issue with it coping. For times when I did want to take it in the car, despite the size of it and the fact that I owned a VW Polo at the time, it did fit. I had to remove the seat unit and the rear wheels, it was a weight to lift so for the first few weeks after delivery it wouldn’t have been possible (but I didn’t drive for 6 weeks afterwards anyway) but once the chassis was in the wheels dropped in at the side and the seat unit laid over the top.

Maxi-Cosi Mura 2010 with Mura Carrycot Tango Red

As a three wheel model, the turning circle was small and neat, even though the Mura itself is a fair sized chassis. I know a lot of people complain about three wheelers not seeming stable, but I never once had an issue with the Mura – you just have to remember that as a three wheeler you can’t drop it down forwards, which is common sense really – when going up and down curbs, push down on the handlebar and spread the weight over the two rear wheels, and it won’t tip. The Mura always felt solid, good quality and it survived much – I used it with the pram body until J was four months old, but as a long child he then needed to use the seat unit. The pram body was suitable for use up to approx. 6 months, 10kg or when baby can sit up, whichever comes first, but as I say J was very long from the start and had to stop using both the pram body and the Moses basket at four months old.

The shopping basket was a good size, and I could fit two very large drinks bottles in there along with a bag of shopping. I frequently went to the local shops and got a few bits each time, though I wouldn’t have fancied trying to fit a weeks worth of shopping onto it and carry the remainder, but again that wasn’t something I needed to do. I had my car for going to the shops if I needed to, or else I’d order online.

Maxi-Cosi don’t recommend hanging anything on the handlebar as the product hasn’t been tested / approved for use with additional weight hanging on the chassis, but I must be honest and say I did. I would never have hung a bag on it and let go of the handlebar, but I would regularly hang the nappy bag over the handlebar and if I went shopping the bags would end up in the shopping basket or tied to the handlebar.

The Mura seat unit is lie flat, which means it is suitable from birth – my personal preference was to use a carrycot for the first few months, but this isn’t a requirement – The first time we took J out in the seat unit was the 1st Jan 2011. It was a cold day and he wore a snowsuit as we walked around town alongside the river.

The sun canopy wasn’t great – it wasn’t the easiest to open and you couldn’t do it one-handed, which was a pain. After a few months the framework buckled and it was replaced; it wasn’t a particularly deep sun canopy, and while it was great when the seat unit was sitting upright, as soon as it was reclined it didn’t offer much protection and I often felt it could have done with being larger, to shield the child more from sun and wind when they were reclined (and so, more often than not, when they were sleeping)

There was a bar across the back of the seat unit which you lifted to unlock the seat for recline / sitting upright. I found it quite stiff and loud – if J dropped off to sleep and I had to drop the seat unit into a lying position the loud ‘clunk’ noise and the jerking of the back of the seat as the stiff bar was moved normally woke him up again.

To go with the seat unit I also had the Mura Footmuff. It was a quite different design to other footmuffs – it had legs, a wrap over top and a hood. Zips on the Footmuff opened up the sides of the top if you wanted the child’s arms to be free, and the legs could be unzipped to free their feet as they got older, allowing it to be used for longer.

Maxi-Cosi Mura Footmuff 2010 Tango Red

While the CabrioFix carseat can also be used on the chassis as well this wasn’t something I did; if I was going to the shops I’d take a smaller chassis as it would only be a quick journey and if I was going somewhere for a walk I’d take the carrycot or seat unit because I don’t like relying on the carseat too much for things other than car journeys.

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix 2010 Tango Red

The raincover was a bit of a faff to get right. In sudden quick downpours it could become the stuff of nightmares but I became adept at doing it after a while (though others struggled through lack of practise) It fitted well but had lots of Velcro ties to do up, which made doing it slow process and more difficult in gusty weather as you just couldn’t grab hold of it all quickly enough. Once in place it covered well, and J never once managed to kick it off (despite his best efforts!)

I used the Mura regularly until J started nursery, a few weeks after his third birthday. It was used maybe once a week after that for long walks up until he was a few weeks away from his fourth birthday. The tyres needed pumping up quite often to keep the pSI correct and make sure it was as easy and light as possible to push, but we never had to patch a puncture or change a tyre / innertube.

When we stopped using the Mura I did feel quite sad. Packing it away after cleaning it I noticed it was still in really good condition, despite the years of heavy use. I really rate this product and when I saw Maxi-Cosi had updated it with some improvements I knew I had to get a Mura Plus for Baby …

More Coming Soon ...

Peace N Love

Mummy P x x x x