I am not, by nature, a frugal type. My credit card seems to have a mind of its own, insisting on jumping out of my wallet at the first sign of the Boden sale, cheerfully tapping in the digits and sitting back to await the postman, his arms full of lovely parcels.
It's surprising therefore that, unlike nine out of ten of my parent friends, I have been remarkably restrained in the buggy department. Before T arrived we coveted a Bugaboo, but pretended we didn't as we couldn't really afford to spend the best part of £800 on a travel system. Anything three wheeled was dismissed by my husband, and finally after months of test-pushing we settled on the wonderful Micralite Fastfold. It was only afterwards that I realised the pushchair element is top of the Consumer Association's 'Best Buy' charts. It kind of explains the secret smug smile us Micralite parents give each other whilst negotiating around shopping centres, museums or parks.
The buggy is still in daily use for T, and has survived the first almost-two years intact, from carry cot mode, to travel system and now as a lightweight pushchair. Whilst friends abandoned their unweildy prams and joined the Maclaren club, we pushed onwards, on more than once occasion chased down the street by people anxious to get a closer look at the Micralite.
But, no matter how much I love our current wheels, there's no arguing that they're not entirely suited to our extending family.
I don't want a double. I spend enough time pushing my changing bag around in the empty buggy to know that T wants to walk a lot of the time. I do however know that he has little legs (meaning getting anywhere takes an age) and gets tired quickly. So what to do for the best?
The Micralite isn't officially compatible with a buggy board, although there is advice online on how to make one fit (this doesn't fill me with confidence, my husband not being the best at DIY!) and I've bought a cosy newborn sling for the baby. T is fond of jelly-legged tantrums though, and I can almost feel myself struggling along, wriggling toddler under one arm, whilst pushing the pram home on those dark winter afternoons. Abandoning the carrycot and putting the baby in the buggy isn't an option, as it doesn't recline completely flat. I have a toddler sling, a kind loan from a very generous friend, which would make a great backup, but having to remember the pushchair, buggyboard and sling on every journey out, plus all the assorted paraphenalia that comes with two children, is filling me with dread.
Sorry, reading that back has made my head hurt, and it's MY pushchair dilemma. If you're still here I promise I'm getting to the point right now.
A lovely big box arrived this morning by courier. A box which may well contain the solution to my buggy woes. I've been kindly loaned a brand new Silver Cross Halo to try out in return for telling the company what I think. The pushchair reclines fully, meaning it could hold either of my children (no carrycot required) with the other walking alongside or slung for the journey.
First things first, the Halo was super easy to put together. On clicked the two front swivel wheels and the hood and ta-dah I was ready to go. Bonus points to Silver Cross for providing two sets of instructions, one with pictures and one with words. It's a stylish looking thing, although a little heavier than the Micralite, and folds up into a neat square which they claim will even fit in the back of an old-style Mini Cooper.
We've had a little dance round the dining room, the Halo and I, and in its current state it's remarkably easy to push and steer. A full review will have to wait though, as T is at nursery for the rest of the day! In the mean time I keep sneaking a little peek, and sniffing that lovely 'new buggy' smell and wondering whether it might be time to say goodbye to the Micralite which has served us so well in favour of a more flexible, and younger model.