SnoozeShade Plus Deluxe – the baby sun-shade and portable blackout blind – our review

Snoozeshade is a baby sun-shade or portable blackout blind, ideal for travel and when you are out and about. It has been designed to protect babies and toddlers (ideally from six months plus) from sun, wind and insects.

We were sent the Snoozeshade Plus Deluxe to review for baby Georgia who was six months old on her trip to South Africa with her parents. Here’s what mum Bronwyn thought of it…

I was pleasantly surprised with the Snoozeshade, it is made of a high-quality material. It is very well made and fits on most strollers/push chairs.

We went to South Africa in the height of their summer and so it was very sunny! We did a lot of walking and the SnoozeShade offered great protection for our little one from the sun. It fastens around the frame of your pushchair with poppers that are very good quality (didn’t pop open once). It also has a mesh ‘window’ which zips open so little ones can see out.

It is a must-have for summer holidays if you’re going to be outdoors. It completely covers the baby but can have the front portion opened if needed. It doubles as a mosquito net too. A bonus!

We used the SnoozeShade from day one of our holiday, it was perfect when we wanted to let Georgia have a nap in the garden. We put her in the pushchair and zipped up. It was lovely and cool and she was protected from the sun. It was very easy to attach and remove from the pushchair too. Our pushchair was a foldup style and we were still able to do this with the SnoozeShade attached.

I loved that I could keep it on my pushchair all the time, even if it wasn’t sunny (just zipped open the window). If Georgia fell asleep whilst in her pushchair, I could zip it up and it created a cool, shaded place for her to sleep.

The SnoozeShade Plus Deluxe is a little bit genius! I love it! Bring on the sun!

Pros –   Small and easy to pack (i kept mine on my pushchair)

Doubles as a muzzy net/cover

Mesh window is a great feature

Easy to attach/detach

Cons –  None!

– Functionality / usability – 10

– Aesthetics and design -10

– Value for money –  9 –

At GBP34.99 this is one of the more expensive shade covers on the market but it is well worth paying for. There are also cheaper versions in the SnoozeShade range starting from £19.99, same quality, just with less features.  I would pay full price for this product.

– Quality – 10

– Innovativeness – 10

SnoozeShade was created by mum Cara. It all began when Cara had her daughter- she was looking for a baby sun shade to help her sleep when out and about. The ones on the market at the time were either fiddly parasols (we know how annoying they can be), or were just a bit too bulky to carry around. Cara wanted something that was safer than a blanket, less fiddly than a parasol, kept insects out, was portable, and helped her daughter sleep through distractions and so Snoozeshade was born!

The SnoozeShade range has grown since then with shades for prams and pushchairs, infant car seats and for travel cots and cots. There are products for both stages of your baby’s life Stage 1 for babies 0-9 months and stage 2 for babies 9 months+

You can view the whole SnoozeShade range here:

 

Win a short family break in Brittany in one of these toddler friendly holiday cottages…

For your chance to win a holiday in Brittany for a family of four just visit our competition page on Holiday Tots.

There are seven stunning child-friendly holiday cottages to choose from all with a different character, situated in acres of farmland perfect for a toddler holiday in Brittany.

Located  only 10/15 minutes from the sea and several lovely sandy beaches they offer a fabulous base for a family holiday. Many have enclosed private gardens safe for toddlers with wonderful countryside views.

Just 3km away is the owners farm restaurant and the children will love the animals and pony rides.

From funky to romantic and everything in  between…

Travel info

Roscoff 1 hr 15
St Malo 1 hr 20
Brest 1 hr 30
Cherbourg 3 hrs 20

Enter Here.

Terms and conditions apply – see competition page. Competition closes midnight 23rd March 2017

Good Luck!!!

Cornwall’s Family-Friendly Beaches 2017 Part 1

Blue Flag beaches are awarded not only for water quality, the award criteria also is concerned with the beaches facilities such as disabled access, life guards on duty and toilets etc. It doesn’t mean that there are no other beaches worth visiting in Cornwall with the family,(far from it, there are lots of tiny coves and sandy escapes)  this is just the tip of the iceberg and we will be featuring some hidden gems in our next Family-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall series.

Here is a snapshot of a small collection of beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status in Cornwall, and overview on what they can offer for families looking for little bit of seaside fun…

Polzeath Beach

Image: Jamsta @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Polzeath is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The beach here is sandy and safe, gently shelving into the sea. At high tide Polzeath beach is very small but at low tide it turns into a fantastic sandy haven for all the family, extending about half a mile in all directions. Not only does Polzeath beach boast fine golden sand but it is also fringed with rock pools and if you are lucky you could well spot the odd dolphin or puffin.

Polzeath itself is a small village located on the headland opposite Padstow. There are lots of shops lining the beach front here for family holiday-makers. Within the village itself you will find a number of restaurants, cafés and pubs.

Polzeath beach is very popular and can get busy during the summer months. It is great for rock pooling, sand castle building and is also a fun beach for learning to surf or body board. It is located in a nature reserve and so home to many interesting wildlife species.

Trevone Bay

Image: Evans1551 @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Trevone Bay is a rural secluded un-spoilt beach located in north Cornwall close to Padstow. This beach has golden sand and little coves and is home to good marine wildlife. Dogs are welcome here except between Easter Sunday and 30th September when the seasonal ban comes into force. The sea is quite strong here making it popular with surfers. Trevone Bay is a popular little beach with families, it has rocky ledges either side of it, home to lots of rock pools. Apparently if it’s rock pools you are after though, you should visit the Rocky Beach (Newtrain Bay) next door as it has both fab rock pools and a big tidal pool too for splashing around in.

Porthtowan

Porthtowan is a large west-facing beach fringed with granite cliffs. The beach is sandy, perfect for sand castle building and children will also love exploreing the rockpools for life.

Being a Blue Flag beach means that the amenities here are good. There are also a range of cafes and shops within close proximity including the Blue Boar a fashionable beachside café bar. Blue Boar Facebook Page

Porthtowan (Cornish Porth Tewyn, meaning cove of sand dunes) lies on Cornwall’s Atlantic costa just over a mile west of St Agnes, it is a family-friendly beach and is popular with surfers too.

There is a thriving local community here visit the Porthtowan website need more inspiration? visit the Porthtowan online video

Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay is located just one mile east of St Ives. It is privately owned by the Carbis Bay hotel but open to the public. The hotel provides beach facilities including washrooms, and food and drink outlets.

This wonderful golden sandy beach in Cornwall is about a mile long and the water is generally quite calm, not great for surfers but perfect for families with toddlers! There is a host of wildlife here, with occasional sightings of dolphins and other sea animals like seals and spider crabs.

Dogs are welcome here (except between the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September when the seasonal ban is in place, however dog walks are allowed between 5 and 8 am).

Image by Lantographer under the creative commons license

Gyllynvase Beach (Falmouth)

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall is Gyllyngvase Beach (AKA Gylly) with its  wide golden arc and beautiful blue sea it is easy to see why.

Gyllynvase Beach is a south-acing family resort beach with something for everyone, from water based activities to sand castle building. The award-winning, Gylly Beach Café is built over the beach with lovely views, and prides itself with using local produce wherever possible and offers a fresh contemporary menu (shellfish, fish, tapas, salads etc). There are lots of amenities here, along with a beach café selling ice cream and beach goodies next to Gylly Beach Café throughout the summer months. Gylly beach is located to the south of Falmouth town centre which is a 15 minute walk away. There are also Green Flag Award winning gardens making the area well recognised for its environmental quality.

Image: Tony Atkin under the creative commons license

Coming next: Hidden Family -Friendly Coves in Cornwall

We put the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat to the test…

On holiday we take our own car seat, it is a full, high-back side-impact car seat designed for kids ages 4 to 11. The advantage is that it is with us wherever we go, with peace of mind as we know it is comfortable and safe. There are however times when this just isn’t practical (we are often negotiating our luggage with car seat stacked on top!) and so when I heard about the Mifold Grab-and-Go Car Seat I was intrigued to try it out. We were lucky enough to be sent one to review for use with Freddie who is 7…

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The Mifold is described as the ‘Grab-and-Go Booster seat, and it certainly lives up to its name. Its designers say that the Mifold “is the first real innovation in child car booster seats in over 50 years” – we have tested a few in our time, like the BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat with positivity and there are others on the market that claim to be good for travel like the Trunki BoostApak. So how does the Mifold stand up to the test?

When I first received the Mifold I instantly questioned its safety as it is soooo small! On opening it felt well made and I liked the bag it came with too. I took it along to school pickup to see what other parents thought and they unanimously had the same safety concerns, especially with all the new regulations surrounding child seats. I was intrigued to find out more.

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The Mifold is thin, compact and robust, maybe calling it a ‘booster seat’ isn’t quite the right term to use. A ‘booster seat’ is generally designed to lift a child, whether it be at a table for dinner, at a cinema or in the car to be in the correct line for a seatbelt fitting. The Mifold is designed to do the opposite – instead of lifting a child up it lowers the seat belt down to the correct shoulder height.

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Normal booster

 

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Mifold

It is 10X smaller than a regular car booster seat too and is ideal for travel as it can be easily popped into a bag or backpack. It is well made and sturdy, designed for kids from 4-12 years old. Our first outing was to Kew Gardens with friends, there were three children ages 5 and two 7 year olds to fit into the back. We usually have trouble squashing the car seats in with them a little wonky and probably not the safest positions! The Mifold fitted nicely between the two seats and it was easy to fit. The Mifold is a great choice for three in a row…

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Freddie wasn’t too impressed initially with the seat for comfort to sit on (he is occasionally a bit of a diva!)  but he did say the actual seat belt fitting was really comfortable and sat nicely on his shoulder. On our next trip we popped a small cushion and this made him happy. Since then we have ditched the cushion idea as it defeats the object of having a true ‘Grab-and-Go’ style seat and our fussy little prince is used to it now!

I can see the Mifold being a brilliant choice for a spare quick seat, for school runs, family holidays, travelling, great size for grand-parents cars, adhoc pick ups and a brilliant space saver for three in a row. It is so small and compact it would be great for hopping around in a taxi too.

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Freddie is 7 now and most of his friends have moved on from the high back seat, I know we shouldn’t give in to peer pressure but the Mifold means he can feel more grown up and we can avoid some awkward moments. I still like the full back seats with side panels and for extra long journeys we still have it in our car. However the Mifold is now in my little run-around car and I feel safe in the knowledge that the seat belt is at the right height. I think we will be tempted to ditch our large cumbersome child seat on future holidays too. I am converting 🙂

Safety was my only concern but it has been designed to conform to EU regulations and beyond US regulations and I do really like the seat belt positioning. I like the way it is held in position close to the shoulder and around the lap and not across the tummy area.

You can see from the image that the seatbelt are held in place neatly

You can see from the image that the seatbelts are held in place neatly

 

 

The Mifold has been well designed with a choice of funky colours. The seat pad has been designed by car industry experts and it is robust with a strong metal chassis made from aircraft aluminium. So it looks like it is a product to last.

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All in all we think the Mifold is easy to use, fully adjustable and totally portable and gets a big thumbs up from us. It is a fab choice for a travel booster style car seat for children old enough and even fits in  a handbag. For more information, you can visit the Mifold website here:

http://www.mifold.com

http://www.mifold.com/faq/

The Mifold is available from many retailers in the UK including John Lewis and Amazon @ £49.95 and the carry bag is around £15. The bag is a good idea if you want to attach it to the outside of a rucksack etc.

The Mifold is great alternative to a car booster seat and we think every family with kids should have one!

 

Why not visit Inverness and Loch Ness for your next family holiday?

I have only ever visited Inverness and Loch Ness once before and it wasn’t a family holiday but a work trip but still the memories I have from this stunning part of the country are locked firmly in my head. It was spring, the day was fresh and bright and Loch Ness looked stunning. It’s no wonder that the city of Inverness and Loch Ness are two of the most popular destinations in the UK, however families in the south of the UK tend to head for the southern coast line maybe. If you are reading this and living in the south, this little overview will help change your mind and tempt you in taking a family holiday in the Scottish Highlands.

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I doubt there are many people of most ages who have not heard about the myth surrounding Loch Ness. Kids will love the adventure and mystery of searching for Nessie, a boat trip on the Loch is a must!

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There are lots of forts and castles in the area to explore. Urquhart Castle is located on the sore of Loch Ness and offers more than 1000 years of history! The Castle is open throughout the year; visit the Urquhart Castle website for details.

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The beautiful scenery and countryside is there for adventure, fun and exploration but if you are looking for something a little more structured, why not visit one of the many child-friendly attractions around Inverness and the Loch Ness area.

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Landmark Park is a Forest Adventure Park for all ages and is open all year (check the Landmark Park website for opening times). Climb aboard the Runaway Timber Train for a rollercoaster thrill ride or explore The Lost Labyrinth with its bubbling mud pools, dangerous creatures and magic waterfall. The Wee Monkey Trail offers a fab challenge for 2-5 year olds whereby The Tarzan Trail and Ropwrox will appeal to the older children and adults alike.

Getting back to nature for a while take the Funicular Railway, the UK’s highest, and grab a bite to eat at the top, or try your hand at one of the many snow sports on offer.

For sea lovers head to the coast and one of the local sand dune-backed beaches or join The Dolphin Cruises in Inverness to see the majestic dolphins in their natural habitat from land or sea.

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This is merely scratching the surface on what Inverness and Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands have to offer for a fun-filled family holiday. I know we will be planning a visit very soon!

Visiting with babies and toddlers couldn’t be easier either, staying at one of these fabulous cottages featured on the Holiday Tots website.

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This collection of child-friendly holiday cottages offers the perfect base for exploring the area of Loch Ness, Inverness and beyond. The owners are fully committed to the principles of The Children Welcome Scheme and have been approved by Visit Scotland to cater for the needs of children. They provide stairgates, cots, baby bath supports, sterilisers, the list of baby and toddler equipment really is extensive.

Within the grounds there is an enclosed play area with sunken trampoline, swing and sandpit plus an ice cream bar and café for an end of day treat after a day of sightseeing. If you do not want to cook, the owners provide a home-cooked meal service and also have a stock of frozen meals available. More details on the Holiday Tots website.

We think that this area of Scotland, Loch Ness and Inverness, is an overlooked little gem of a location for a family holiday. Full of adventure, magical mysteries, history and stunning scenery, it promises to be an amazing holiday destination for all ages.

Spring to West Sussex for a short family break

West Sussex is perfect for a short spring break with the family as it is located less than two hours’ drive from London and an easy train ride , just. 1 hr 10 from Victoria  to Shoreham-in-Sea.

Boasting beautiful countryside and coastal scenery, West Sussex is also officially the sunniest country in the United Kingdom according to the Met Office records.

There are plenty of child-friendly beaches here, perfect for a brisk walk in wellies wrapped up with scarf and hat on a fresh spring morning. As the weather warms the layers of clothing can disappear and the kids can rummage in the rock pools looking for interesting sea creatures and build sand castles too!

 

West Wittering beach

West Wittering beach has been a family favourite of ours for years. Boasting Blue Flag status, West Wittering offers high quality water, shallow lagoons when the tide is out, and plenty of sand for castle building, all making it perfect for toddlers and young children as well as older members of the family. There is ample parking, especially during the spring, and a dog-friendly section too. During the winter the beach café is generally open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ( do check before you head off if this important to you).

littlehampton beach

Littlehampton beaches in West Sussex offer an alternative family vibe to West Wittering. Littlehampton itself is a bustling seaside town with award-winning architecture, stage by the sea, award-winning beaches and a seasonal miniature railway. If you are looking for family-friendly events they seem to kick off in April. The Littlehampton beach is a mixture of sand and shingle and there are plenty of amusements for all ages.

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West Sussex is also home to some beautiful and historical market towns, villages and stately homes. Steyning village stands out as possibly one of the prettiest towns in West Sussex with lots of charm and full of independent retailers. The children will love browsing through the interesting shops looking for a gift for a friend or family member back home.

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Arundel Castle is a popular  family-friendly day out, the castle and gardens open on 1st April

Late summer evening shadows on the Downs near Goodwood

The South Downs National Park is perfect for a family adventure. It offers 1,600km2 of amazing views, rolling hills, ancient woodland, market towns and villages, lowland heaths, country pubs, rivers and attractions for everyone.

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Springtime in the South Downs National Park is such a beautiful time to visit with plenty of bluebells to be found!

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Why not get the kids involved in the John Muir awards. Children and adults of all ages are encouraged to explore and create their very own National Park. There are lots of missions your family can take part in. For details visit the John Muir Mission Explorer page of the South Downs National Park website.

Child-friendly holiday cottages in West Sussex

If you are looking for a child-friendly holiday cottage for a short spring family break to West Sussex look no further. These two child-friendly cottages are located within walking distance to this area of the South Downs National park and the River Adur with its woodland trails and miles of beautiful countryside and only 10 minutes’ drive from Shoreham-on-Sea.

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There are two cottages both of which are ideal for families of up to four. They can also be rented together to offer accommodation for up to eight as the interlocking door can be unlocked to create a four bedroom holiday cottage. Within the gardens there are toys, swing, animals to feed and there is also a tea barn and artisan bake house open at various times throughout the year (and swimming pool open May to September)

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/211-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-steyning/

Steyning is located just 5 minutes from here and the owners also have a lovely cottage in the heart of Steyning itself. It has two bedrooms and is ideal for a family of six guests who are welcome to use the facilities at the main house.

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The owners can offer babysitting and beauty treatments in any of their cottages. All the cottages are baby and toddler friendly with stairgates, cots, highchairs, baby bath, monitors, toys etc.

Child-friendly holiday cottage in Steyning, West Sussex

More family days out in West Sussex…

Here are some more ideas for a fab family day out during Spring (or any time of year) in West Sussex, all are close to the holiday cottages above:

 

Lambing at Coombes farm

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Stans Bike shack is fun for a pit stop before a lovely walk or cycle along the downs link.

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The wetlands centre in Arundel is a great day out, with family friendly events throughout the year including Puddle Jumping Championships – spring half term 2017!

Petworth Park has wild deer and the house is national trust and always runs great fun events in school holidays and also nearby Knepp Castle has wildlife safaris which are great fun, they do dawn/dusk/bees and other animals. The owners of the cottages went on a deer rut safari there in Oct and say it was great fun!

West Sussex is beautiful any time of year. Springtime here is just as stunning as other seasons, you can just feel everything waking after its long winter sleep, buds on the trees, bluebells in the woods and spring lambs popping up in the fields and maybe some puddles to splash in too!

What are you waiting for!

 

 

Babyzen Yoyo+ pushchair review – Baby’s very own stylish travel system is just a delight for travel and city fun.

The BabyZen Yoyo+ is a multi-award winning pushchair that ‘converts in a flash into hand luggage dimensions’. Ideal from birth it comes in a variety of colours and weighs between 6.2 and 6.6kg, depending on the version.


For babies from birth Babyzen Yoyo+ comes with a flat carry cot with a 3-point harness and lies parent facing. Moving to 6 months using the same frame the fabrics are swapped and baby then faces the world. The backrest can be reclined to 145 degrees and has a 5-point harness.

The Babyzen Yoyo+ also has car seat adapters, a shopping basket and storage pouch and boasts an ultra-padded seat, 4-wheel suspension, canopies for solar protection and rain covers.

Could this be the best travel all-round pushchair on the market?

At the end of 2016 we were fortunate to be given a Babyzen Yoyo+ to review. We sent it off with the Hufford family to South Africa and here is how it faired…

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Reviewer: Bronwyn Hufford WITH baby Georgia #HolidayTotsandGeorgia

The Babyzen Yoyo+ is in my opinion, a really good quality product. After three weeks of travelling, three flights, different terrains – it is still like new and even withstood a red wine spill, with the wine just running off due to the coating.

We found it extremely easy to use. It does what it says on the box and after travelling with my normal pram/travel system – this was a godsend. It folds up small enough to fit in the overhead locker which was amazing as you knew the baggage handlers weren’t going to damage it and we could put our baby in it whilst still on board, making it a quick and easy exit.

The 5-point harness is easy to use even while Georgia slept. If you need to recline the seat, you just loosen the strap at the back, and you tighten it to bring the seat back up. It comes with most well-known brand car seat adapters which is great (we did not have an opportunity to use these). It is also machine washable which is great of anything associated with a baby!

As a compact pushchair, the Babyzen Yoyo+ is amazing. It is small, compact and easy to use. We loved it whilst out and about too, on and off planes and our family were extremely impressed with it.

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The fact that we could take it on board for us was amazing, as not only could we put Georgia in it before leaving the aircraft, but we also knew no one was going to damage it. It is so easy to push and is extremely light even with baby in it. Pushing her around the airport was simple and whilst away in South Africa she even joined us on a 4-hour shopping spree a few days before Christmas. The shops were chaotic but having the Yoyo meant she was easy to manoeuvre and she was more than happy to look out at the world for hours on end – which means it must be comfy too! We did use the parasol when out and about in the sun but it was a little fiddly and tricky as you had to keep moving/bending it whilst out walking.

I love how compact this pushchair is. It is easy to push and small! Just what you need when travelling. The canopy is large which is great in the sun and when baby is sleeping. The peephole is uncovered which was a bit of a pain in the sunshine, but not a major issue as ! just put a muslin over it.

Pros:

  • Compact (First stroller that is fully compliant with IATA guidelines for cabin baggage dimensions)
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Machine Washable
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Hard to find anything bad to say really! Not really built for rougher terrain but that’s not really what is for! If you are looking for an all-terrain pushchair they also have the Zen
  • Uncovered peephole on canopy often left sun shine onto my baby’s face and head.

Rating:

Functionality / usability – 10/10 

Aesthetics and design –10/10

Value for money –  8/10 – At approx GBP370 this is a more expensive pushchair but I feel worth the money.

Quality – 10/10

Innovativeness – 10/10

The Babyzen Yoyo+ was developed in France by five forward thinking French men who thought that families needed a more stylish travel Pishchair on the market to choose from. They also have the all-terrain Zen and a good selection of accessories for both pushchairs: footmuff in a variety of colours to go with the style of stroller you choose, car seat adapters, Parasol, Magic Stroller Bag, Babyzen cup holder, Babyzen mosquito nets and Yoyo+ travel bag.

For more details and where to buy, visit their website http://www.babyzen.com/en/

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