To be able to fully explain why I love our Charisma so much, I firstly need to tell you about our debacle with our initial travel system purchase. It was from a well know company, not sounding dissimilar to 'Brotherwear'... we purchased an 'Xtreme' (yes its so much cooler sounding without the 'e') a good six months before our bundle of doom was due to arrive. Good job too, because we had to change it four times. Yes, you heard correctly.
I wont bore you with details of how many times we called customer services or visited the store, but to cut a very long story short, the first one we received was damaged, the second was covered in scratches and looked like it had been previously used, with the third the break mechanism was faulty. By the time the fourth one started making the familiar clicking that we had heard with a previous one, we knew it was definitely time to ask for a refund. One thing I will say, the staff were extremely helping and sympathetic, so we were grateful for that much. After rigorous internet surfing, I discovered that the Charisma had everything I was looking for (of which I will go into loving detail soon), so I hastily made my purchase. Don't get me wrong, I love my Zia, but I really love the Charisma for reasons which I will happily divulge with you now.
It wasn't long before Thom renamed it 'the Tank' for it's ability to withstand him smacking it into anything from shopping aisles to innocent bystanders, and our precious newborn would stay sound asleep, safe from the big bad world and Thom's awful steering. It then subsequently became a hit with his mates (boys and their toys!). I personally loved the fact that it came with pneumatic tyres, which meant that I could run across open fields with Shyloh comfortably buffered from the rough terrain. Ok, I haven't actually run anywhere since having her. But I could. If I wanted to.
Although the thing is built like a proverbial outhouse, it is possible to collapse it with a single hand (believe me I've done it on many an occasion!) and the tyres can also be removed for easy storage. Yes, me and Thom have actually made this into a game and timed each other... we don't get out much. When we first got it, we used to lay Shyloh down flat, but as she's growing and wanting to see more of the world around her, it's possible to raise her according to what particular mood she's in (this ranges from anything from 'I can't see where we're going, raise me up mummy!' to 'I've had enough for one day, I need my beauty sleep!'). It's also got a handy peek hole so I can watch her, which is great for pre-empting said mood swings. At the moment though, it comes with a free carry cot, which I would have loved - so if you don't want yours, I'll send you a box big enough to post it to me!
There are definitely benefits to the Charisma over the Zia - although each has its purpose and are entirely different pushchairs, the Charisma boasts a larger shopping basket (hurrah!), and I must say I prefer the footmuff; it's much softer and plusher, and Shy loves snuggling up inside it. The car seat is also extremely easy to attach and remove - unlike my previous purchase where me and Thom would spend ages trying to line it up into the holes (cue five minutes worth of 'is your side green?', 'nope, it's red, take it out and do it again'), this one you just plonk on top and it fits. The only downside I found was that the seat didn't see deep enough once used in the car and the car seatbelt would go across Shy's legs, but to be honest, this could just be my car (or Thom's ability to
fit the car seat, I just know I am definitely not at fault).
All in all, I love my Charisma (the pushchairs not bad either, boom boom!), and I really mean that. Apart from maybe having a bright pink version, I don't think I could ask for a better travel system, especially after all the hassle I had with the other one. It's definitely something that we'll be using for years to come!
(If you have any stories or pictures of your little one with your Charisma, please post them on my wall, would love to hear from you!).