Tuesday 9 March 2010


Spring has sprung ! Well, OK, that's a slight exaggeration. I made everyone go for a stroll along the seafront on Sunday and despite the coats, scarves and woolly hats, we were all frozen solid with bright red wind-whipped cheeks within ten minutes and ran back to the car to defrost ! But the daffodils are definitely starting to sprout and, to cries of delight from the girls, the park at the end of the road opened its gates on 1st March after the annual winter-closing period. It closes at 5pm but that gives us half an hour to chill out (in more ways than one, it's still blooming cold !) on the way home from school every day.

I've been thinking about what to write in this review for the past few days so I almost laughed out loud when I wandered into the park and the first thing I saw was a pram with a big blanket draped over the top ! It was quite windy too so it kept blowing off or falling into the pram. After exchanging sympathetic glances with the mum who kept running off after the blanket, I wanted to tell her all about Snoozeshades but I was summoned to the "big girls' bit" to watch Juliette climbing up the climbing wall instead !

But there you have it ! Proof, yet again, that all the best baby/child products are created by real parents because they know exactly what the problems are and how to get round them. And the creator of the Snoozeshade, Cara, is a real mum (and a lovely one at that, you can talk to her on twitter @SnoozeShade !). As she explains, "SnoozeShade was borne out of my own personal experience of the difficulty of keeping my daughter napping in her pram or pushchair when I was out and about. I didn’t want to be trapped at home whilst she slept but needed to make sure she got the sleep she needed. Coats and blankets were unreliable and didn’t always work in breezy or sunny conditions. Many of the covers available on the market pride themselves on the fact that baby can see out whereas a mum needs baby to switch off to nap. I looked everywhere for something that would help and when I couldn’t find a product that existed already, my friends and family told me to stop whining and do something about it." So she did !

I have to admit that I don't have much of a problem with Pierre napping, mainly because he often goes in a baby-carrier and falls asleep on the move, but I've still found the Snoozeshade useful when he's in the pram. I spent months last summer fighting with a parasol and failing to ever find a position and angle that protected him for more than a few seconds at a time. The Snoozeshade offers UPF50+ protection, stops the sun from going in his eyes and avoids constant battling with the parasol. It's also handy for keeping flies, wasps and annoying wellwishers who keep coughing all over him (particularly of the Juliette's friends-sized 5-year-old variety) at bay too ! It also protects baby from the wind, cold and drizzle so it's great to keep with the pushchair or pram at all times.

I thought Pierre would freak out at being in the pitch black and not being able to see out any more but that's not the case at all. The pinprick sized holes allow baby to get just enough light and have just enough vision to feel safe but optimise conditions for sleeping. I love the zip that you can use for sneaking a peek at baby while he's asleep too - it's one of the little touches that shows that this has been designed by a real parent.

I also love the fact that when it's time to go home from the park, the Snoozeshade is brilliant as a quick holdall for wrapping up hats, gloves, scarves, conkers, packs of tissues and whatever else miraculously materialises at hometime, ready to shove under the pram or in the buggy bag ! The polyester material is quite resistant and soft and feels like football shirt material to me. I love the funky fluorescent green trim (and I keep meaning to take it out in the dark to see if it's reflective - but I'd look a bit silly using a blackout out shade in the pitch black !). It's machine-washable and can be packed away easily into a small 20x15cm pouch that will fit easily in any changing bag or under a pram. I'd say it's as essential a piece of kit as a pram/pushchair raincover and it's a universal one-size-fits-all product so buying it is a piece of cake too.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £19.99

SnoozeShade launched in the UK on 26th February and is available from Kiddicare, Jo Jo Maman Bebe and other reputable nursery retailers.

For more information visit http://www.snoozeshade.com/.

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