Michael Spicer 'Living With' the UPPAbaby Cruz
I’m Michael. I’m a copywriter in Kent with a lovely wife and a bonny son. I also write fiction ranging from comedy sketches to feature-length screenplays. I produce some of the scripts I write and put them online for people to enjoy. Quite a few do. Thanks to my Twitter account, I have thousands of followers who like and share my work. When I’m not indulging in my creative side, I go for walks with my boy through our beloved village and keep the house in order (I’m a tidy person. No I’m not obsessive. Okay I am a bit).
Living With Review
Jump to a Month: September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | Final Summary
The UPPAbaby CRUZ arrived at the door on Tuesday morning, half an hour before we were about to leave for the airport. We try to make our lives as stressful as possible you see. Thankfully, it was as easy to put together as a two-piece jigsaw. The last pushchair we bought (and sold on eBay in the space of a fortnight) had various buttons and levers that made folding the buggy feel as if one were operating a piece of oil rig machinery. The CRUZ is more streamlined. A two-trigger mechanism folds the travel system and a single catch keeps it in place. It’s as simple as that.
An interesting feature which caught my eye whilst unpacking is the back of the hood where a magnetic flap can be opened for viewing your child (if the system is facing outwards). Plus it’s light – much lighter than anything else I’ve put the wee one in – but not so much that it causes you to do impromptu wheelies down the street. A quick flick through the instruction booklet followed by the fitting of the wheels (which only required a simple ‘slot and click’ move), and we were off to Gatwick in twenty minutes.
It’s an attractive design and I’m particularly pleased by the way it moves. With just one hand, you can manoeuvre the CRUZ effortlessly – which can come in very useful if you’re carrying luggage (or fed-up offspring.)September the 13th 2012
We arrived home from Spain yesterday with the CRUZ safely intact though a little grubby now from a) the dustbowls of Spain and b) dirty cargo holds. Throughout the holiday it held up very well and tolerated uneven pebbly beaches and various rough terrains in the hills of Motril in southern Spain. Plus the brilliant flip-out UV sun-shade came in very handy in the Spanish midday sun.
Whilst on holiday, we wanted to see as much of Motril and the surrounding areas as we could, so the CRUZ was forever being collapsed and unfolded for the purposes of putting in the car. However, it showed no signs of buckling under the demands of an excitable new family on holiday. Plus the smooth movement of the CRUZ meant it was ideal for rocking the boy for siestas at the end of the day.
September the 19th 2012
Took Kipp through our village stopping off at the park to watch the (very) amateur football. The CRUZ proves the perfect vehicle for these regular trips because (despite the presence of our growing lad) it's incredibly light. One thing my wife and I noticed however is the lack of padding beneath the main belt lock to make the baby feel more comfortable, something a lot of other models possess. But this is a minor quibble.
September the 23rd 2012
Took Kipp for a stroll along Sandgate’s esplanade on Saturday morning, located on the South Kent coast. It was beautiful – not that Kipp appreciated it much. He seems to enjoy the CRUZ a lot now: If he’s a little tired, a quick five minute journey in the buggy soon sends him to the Land of Nod. Roberta and myself enjoyed the stroll though.
September the 28th 2012
Kipp’s mother has been poorly recently so one afternoon I came home to look after the little one to give Roberta a rest. I popped him in the CRUZ and we walked the length of Roman Road – the main road which the Romans kindly laid through our village. I unlocked the seat from its inward-facing position, flipped it outwards and reclined it all the way – a manoeuvre which took all of five seconds. Very impressed.
As the autumnal winds move in to herald a more unforgiving weather pattern from now until March, I’ve had to wrap Kipp’s legs in a blanket because the CRUZ doesn’t come with a foot muff or a ‘cosytoes’. This is a major flaw because as we all know, a comfy baby is a happy baby. We’re currently searching online for a universal cosytoes design to fit the CRUZ – something we’re a bit despondent about.
October the 9th 2012
Took a trip to London at the weekend for our anniversary. We sat the boy upwards in the CRUZ as we pushed him from St Pancras Station, all the way to Great Portland Street for a spot of lunch in a French café. It was most pleasant, though by the time we got there, he was ready for a nap and we rocked him to sleep just as our lunch arrived. He has excellent timing.
Our trip to London required a High Speed rail journey. We were aware there was a carriage with seats and spaces for pushchairs – we just didn’t know which carriage. As the train pulled in, we hopped on and looked around. We were in the wrong carriage. Luckily as we worked our way down the aisles towards the right carriage, the CRUZ was slim enough to pass through, avoiding all elbows. The CRUZ saved us!
October the 22nd 2012
Took the boy out to Dobbies, a gardening/bakery/delicatessen/
October the 26th 2012
Took a short break to visit my parents in Devon.
Before we left, our new Dimples footmuff arrived which we had to order
due to the absence of a footmuff with the CRUZ. It fit perfectly and kept Kipp
snug as we walked along the beautiful Byes between Sidford and Sidmouth. Kipp also
took his first bus trip which thankfully didn’t require the CRUZ to be collapsed
– as you can see!
Took Kipp in the CRUZ for a shopping excursion to Maidstone to navigate the shops. It was one of those harsh autumnal days - cold winds whipping up clusters of crusty leaves and driving rain. Luckily Kipp was very snug in the CRUZ and didn't complain at all about being left in there. He grumbled when we left the Early Learning Centre but that was only because he wanted all the toys.
November the 2nd 2012
Rolled the CRUZ to the park to watch the amateur football again. The wheels picked up a lot of freshly-cut, dewy grass. One thing I'm not a big fan of is the adjustable foot-rest on the CRUZ which requires a button to be pushed in on either side. Both buttons require a bit of pressure simultaneously and it can feel a little cumbersome at times. A minor complaint however!
November the 6th 2012
My wife visited the neighbours at the weekend to organise a gathering in
a few weeks' time, so I took Kipp out in the CRUZ to keep her company. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. I wrapped Kipp up in his
'cosytoes' and he seemed very happy. As you can tell.
Had to hose down the wheels when we got back as we had inadvertently took an autumn leaf collection home with us.
November the 10th 2012
Kipp has been crawling for a few weeks now which means he's taking an interest in the CRUZ too, often bombing down the hallway to investigate the bright red object resting by the front door and to touch its enticingly dirty wheels. To illustrate just how light it is, Kipp can move the CRUZ back and forth too. He doesn't get very far with it but the motion he makes seems to satisfy him nonetheless.
November the 14th 2012
Went to my first children’s birthday party which was as chaotic as you can imagine. Took Kipp in the CRUZ and was dismayed to find one of the tabs for locking the seat into place doesn’t lock on the first go anymore. It needs a little jiggling before locking which was a little annoying to discover as I was heading out the door to the party!
November the 18th 2012
Not sure whether it’s the build-up of autumn leaves on the ground or something wrong with the CRUZ’s brakes but it feels a little stiff from time to time, like there’s resistance on one of the wheels. Will need to investigate further. Kipp still sleeps like a…well, like a baby inside it.November the 22nd 2012
Had to run some chores at the weekend setting out in bright sunshine and returning briskly under a cluster of black clouds. Kipp stayed dry and snug in the CRUZ, though to get him facing me, I noticed the tab of the seat still needed jiggling to lock into place.
November the 26th 2012
shopping began this week so we took Kipp into town to see what we could find
for him and other relatives. The space
underneath the carriage for baby things soon turned into a very useful storage
space for accumulated shopping items. Top
marks to CRUZ for that. Sorry Kipp.
December the 4th 2012
Went to a Christmas craft
fair at the weekend which was chock-full with stalls selling knitted things,
wooden things, baked things and raffled things. We wheeled Kipp round in the
CRUZ, navigating the tight spots in the village hall of which there were many.
Thankfully it still handles well after taking a harsh winter battering recently.
Oh and we won in the raffle too.
December the 6th 2012
Took Kipp out to a Christmas party at one of his baby groups. The snow was falling and the pavements were rather icy but Kipp stayed safe inside the CRUZ. The cosytoes kept him warm and the hood sheltered him from the snow as the wind blew it diagonally and sharply against the buggy – and our faces. Still, the baby group had thrown a lovely party – and there was free tea, so one mustn’t complain.
December the 12th 2012
A new park has opened near our home specifically for toddlers and although Kipp isn’t toddling yet, we took him in the CRUZ to show him his new playground. The CRUZ is still handling well in this bitter weather, though I’ve noticed a few more squeaks and creaks have occurred since we first got it. Sometimes it sounds more like an old-style pram.
December the 18th 2012
Kipp’s mother is under the weather so I took him to see his grandparents who live nearby and offer peaceful surroundings for a delightful Sunday afternoon stroll with the CRUZ. Loaded the storage compartment with tea and some snacky items so I could stop for refueling. Well, who says parents can’t make the most of it too?
Stepped out into the grim Christmas weather with Kipp in the CRUZ, rolling it through the muddy puddles and clumps of dirty leaves. My father-in-law accompanied us on our journey into town and, being a tall man, was glad of the extendable handle. The light handling of the CRUZ meant that at no point did he want to relinquish his pushing duties, leaving me free to carry the heaving shopping. Oh wait. I see what he did there.
New Year’s Day was a corker. Not a cloud in the sky all day. So I took Kipp to the cemetery. Yes, I know, it sounds morbid, but the reason for this is that I found myself walking so far with the CRUZ in the morning, that unfamiliar ground was covered – some of that ground just happened to be the location of a few hundred headstones. The CRUZ handled this mammoth trip as well as I’ve come to expect, and Kipp was as comfortable as he always is.
January the 11th 2013
The CRUZ is still holding up, well, despite the constant driving wind and rain of the New Year. As mentioned before, it squeaks and creaks a little more than I would expect of such a modern travel system but as we were pushing it through the town centre to get Kipp measured up for his first pair of shoes, it didn’t bother us. Kipp is now more alert and doesn’t instantly fall asleep like he used to. Now we angle the chair upright, pushing the hood back and allowing him to get a good view of his surroundings.
January the 15th 2013
Before Roberta went back to work after maternity leave (has it really been nearly a year?) we went to the supermarket for one of those ‘big shops’ – you know, when you’re not just buying food for the week but also clearing the shelves down, the kitchen and bathroom aisles – as well as filling up with things needed for the baby. Good job we had the CRUZ because – when folded – it only takes up about half the boot space. See you in a year, Tesco’s. (Hopefully.)January the 21st 2013
Took Kipp in the CRUZ through the village to a friend’s house for the last bottle of mulled wine this winter. We had received 24 hours of snow previously and our estate was rather icy and treacherous. Luckily, the CRUZ piled through the snow safely as we trudged to our destination, with the wheels gripping the terrain rather than sliding motionless along the surface!
January the 22nd 2013
Had lunch with friends in town. They chose an independent café which I’d been to before but never with Kipp because it’s such a small venue tucked away in a modest side street. Luckily, as Kipp’s mother took him away to meet our friends at the table, I folded up the CRUZ and left it by the entrance. Once folded, it ceases to be an obstruction. A delightful lunch had by all.
February the 3rd 2013
Took Kipp to see his child minder on Sunday who lives in the next village, so we braved the cold winds and put Kipp in the CRUZ. He enjoyed the journey more than us.We had to manoeuvre the CRUZ around and over the fresh potholes and cracks in the roads which had appeared as a result of the icy conditions we’d been suffering recently. It was a bit of a bumpy ride but this never fazes the boy when he’s in the CRUZ.
February the 16th 2013
Took Kipp with me today, as I went for a quick walk around the supermarket to pick up essentials. Somehow I managed to steer the CRUZ round the aisles one-handed as I carried the basket with the other hand. The lightness of the system meant this was easy to do but as I don’t really like food-shopping (or shoppers much) I won’t be doing it again in a hurry.
February the 19th 2013
A visit to the in-laws meant a quick trip through the fields opposite via a public footpath with Kipp in the CRUZ. I pushed it through the fields to show Kipp the newly-arrived lambs and their naturally very protective mothers. The CRUZ coped pretty well with the uneven, bumpy and occasionally muddy earth and Kipp certainly enjoyed his first experience of the beautiful, young lambs close up.
As I pushed the CRUZ up the hill last Sunday afternoon, I was reminded of how handy the sun shade is. The sun was shining directly into Kipp’s face so I pulled down the sun shade to give him the adequate cover he needed. It’s a very handy accessory that can be extended easily and scrunched away under the main hood without any difficultly. A great feature.
March the 14th 2013
Just when we thought the snow was behind us, another blanket falls upon Kent in mid-March. Nevertheless, I pushed the CRUZ through the sludge to drop Kipp off with his childminder at the next village. Barring one or two hairy moments as we encountered very icy conditions, I’m happy to say the CRUZ overcame the bad weather, manoeuvring over the slushy terrain like a little 4x4. With a boy in it.
March the 15th 2013
Another trip was taken to London with the CRUZ successfully navigating through the carriages of the High Speed 2 between South Kent and the Capital. Our train was cancelled so the next one scheduled was packed with commuters. Luckily we found a space for the CRUZ and positioned it out of everyone’s way leaving Kipp free to make awkward eye contact with everyone around him. We noticed a more bulky pushchair failing to squeeze through the aisles at one station and felt relieved we had the more slimline CRUZ.
March the 26th 2013
The freezing spring weather has meant trips through the village with the CRUZ have been few and far between. It’s just too cold. Kipp understands. He just occupies his time with books and Duplo. However, we visited relatives at the weekend in the car, storing the CRUZ in its usual space in the boot. I like how the CRUZ doesn’t dominate the space and leaves enough room free for two or three fairly hefty bags for life. Plus if you’re in a hurry to get out of the car and get moving, grabbing the CRUZ out of the boot and locking it into a mobile position can be achieved in under five seconds.
March the 28th 2013
Kipp is growing and shows no signs of stopping. My wife and I are both 5’11 and – along with the unavoidable curly hair gene – it seems Kipp will one day tower over us both. Luckily, the CRUZ still contains his wriggly body well. His long legs don’t drape over the sides and the ‘cosytoes’ continues to keep him warm without making him feel trapped. If he were to form words, I’m sure he’d say how pleased he was too.
With the sun finally shining and the cold winds subsiding, we took Kipp out in the CRUZ to the local park where he enjoyed the swings, the slides and those weird swinging hammock things. We live at the bottom of a steep hill with the park at the top so we put the CRUZ to good use, occasionally needing to brake with the handy foot-bar mechanism at the bottom.
April the 8th 2013
Dropped off Kipp at his childminder’s house earlier in the week and discovered that she had replaced the tiny pebbles in her driveway with bigger stones which meant it took a bit more effort on my part to push the CRUZ over them successfully but the wheels were big and sturdy enough to do the job. Saw someone having a tougher time than me to get their pushchair across. I’m too diplomatic to mention the brand.
April the 14th 2013
Kipp hasn’t been sleeping well of late and insists on standing up in his cot after bedtime milk and demanding we continue playing with him. We’ve found it very difficult to even keep him horizontal so as a last ditch attempt to get him off to sleep, we’ve been using the CRUZ to rock him back and forth. It’s not ideal but it’s the only thing to which he surrenders!
April the 20th 2013
April the 29th 2013
Changeable weather during a trip to a delightful little village called Tenterden in Kent. After 40 minutes play time in a toddlers’ playground, Kipp retired to the CRUZ to wrap up as the clouds gathered and rain started to fall. He was very comfortable in there for the rest of the morning, seat tilted upright, so he didn’t miss anything.
A nature reserve near us was holding a tour of the woods so we took Kipp in the CRUZ and followed our guide around, taking in 800 year-old oaks and thousands of bluebells. It was occasionally bumpy and muddy but the CRUZ coped and Kipp was suitably entertained – well, up to a point, he did take the opportunity for a quick nap too.
May the 15th 2013
Went to a rare breeds centre aimed primarily at children with invitations to pet and hold the animals everywhere. We let Kipp out of the CRUZ and put him on his reigns. He enjoyed the first few encounters with pigs, rabbits and horses but soon grew weary of the reigns and preferred viewing everything back in the CRUZ. We didn’t complain. He’s got to that age where if he’s on his feet, you have to watch him or he’s gone. We stopped off at a picnic area where he stayed in the CRUZ to eat his cheese sandwiches.
May the 23rd 2013
Kipp had his first trip on the London Underground this
week and as the train pulled into King’s Cross St Pancras, my wife held our
increasingly heavy son while I flicked the triggers of the handlebar and
collapsed the frame in seconds. The only
snag is the cosytoes which we had to buy separately and therefore doesn’t stay
attached firmly to the seat so that when you fold the CRUZ up and carry it via
the handle, the cosytoes slips out. A
May the 31st 2013
Our new children’s playground was unveiled this week, so we took Kipp in the CRUZ to celebrate. Unfortunately, he has had chicken pox and although he was feeling no effects and displayed no more than around ten spots on his body, we thought it best to keep him in the pushchair rather than mingling with other children – despite one mother requesting he play with her healthy son in order to get it ‘out of the way’. We angled the seat upright so he could see everything which he was content to do.
Off to Poulton Wood for an
open day. There were lots of things for children
to do. Alas, Kipp – still with chicken
pox - had to stay in the CRUZ once more, just in case. But he was quite happy to be wheeled around
to take in the sights and sounds of the woods.
It was a beautiful day but overnight rain had made it a little muddy
which meant the CRUZ could only go so far.
Generally though, it was a nice day and hopefully Kipp hasn’t caused a
spotty outbreak in the village.
June the 26th 2013
Kipp to another country park (we’re surrounded by them) where he enjoyed lunch
and a trip by the lake in the CRUZ. We
now have the seat facing outwards as he tends to stay calm and relaxed when he
has a good view. Periods of calm are
necessary these days because his favourite pastime is frantically running
around and laughing.
June the 30th 2013
Drove into the town centre at the weekend and got sucked into a mini-shop at the Tesco Express, which wasn’t planned. This is the way Tesco manipulate you – you go in for a ‘few things’ and come out with the weekly shop. Anyway, we were most fortunate to have the CRUZ with us because most of the shopping fitted inside the space underneath the seat. It’s certainly bigger than it looks.
July the 8th 2013
We have two pushchairs. One is slightly smaller than the CRUZ and on occasion, when we have to cram baggage into the boot, the CRUZ is left behind in favour of the other. My wife and I are both 6ft and when we use the smaller pushchair, the feature we miss the most is the extendable bar-handle which allows us to push the pushchair without hunching over. If only the CRUZ was just a tiny bit flatter when you collapsed it! (Okay, a minor quibble.)
July the 13th 2013
Took a trip to meet friends in Cambridge with the CRUZ coming in very handy as I navigated the busy city centre streets with a toddler who had seen the sun before but couldn’t comprehend why it was so hot. We certainly put the CRUZ through the mill as we covered the city centre and weaved our way through the various colleges. Thankfully, the CRUZ continues to hold up. And Kipp certainly preferred the experience underneath the UV shade.
July the 14th 2013
Took a trip to the Kent coast at the weekend to make the most of the summer sun. The CRUZ couldn’t manage the sandy beaches but it’s light enough to be picked up and carried across the sands until we found a suitable spot. The CRUZ carried all our beach supplies and the UV shade came in very handy as we sat Kipp in the pushchair and fed him his lunch.
July the 19th 2013
Kipp doesn’t often take the bus but we decided to use it to get into town one day and he was very impressed by everything. Every other passenger was an adult and so therefore did not share his enthusiasm. This bus, like most buses, had ample room for a buggy at the front and the CRUZ fitted this space perfectly. I was worried about having to take him out and fold it up but this was not necessary.
July the 28th 2013
Went to New Romney fair in Kent, pushing Kipp around in the CRUZ as he took in the marching bands, cake stalls and tombolas. We found some new toys and books for Kipp and he happily sat in the CRUZ whilst admiring his new acquisitions. Sometimes he prefers to relax rather than squirm his way out of the CRUZ to go wandering.
August the 2nd 2013
Went to the seaside at the weekend. The sun still scorching as we walked around Folkestone with some friends. There were too many sights and sounds in the town that Kipp couldn't ignore, so the CRUZ turned into a general trolley carrying his nappy bag, toys, our jackets and other personal belongings. One parent pushed while the other one held the little hand of a tearaway toddler.
Despite this, I was very happy with how the Cruz adapted to different environments and was impressed by its sleek and creative design.