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Late availability offers for August in wonderful family-friendly properties. For families with children of school age: Mallorca, Casita de Voramar, 2-bed apartment in Port de Soller, walking distance to beach and restaurants. From £520pp.For those with pre-school children: Corsica, Le Sirocco, 3-bed villa with private pool, walking distance to St Florent. From £690pp. For other late availability offers, click here

Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

...Where we spent the weekend lying around in the sunshine indulging in our chosen summer reads. If you've got a piece of literary genius worth shouting about, don't forget to send in a review for our book awards.

Our Home Front campaign has taken flight, but we still need your input to keep it airborne (enough air-travel metaphors already; we're just over-excited about our holidays). So please do fill in our survey and pop your head in on the Home Front talk to add your tuppence-worth about working families today.

If that isn't enough, there's a luxury family weekend complete with a wildlife 4X4 tour up for grabs this week.

And now for this week's parenting news ...

Parents 'lack skills': Many parents lack the skills to raise their children properly, and the Government is palming off the responsibility to schools, a teachers’ leader said this week. Philip Parkin of Voice, the union for educational professionals, said there had been a "downward spiral" in the quality of parenting and a disintegration of moral boundaries that would affect generations of children. "The shortening of many relationships, the creation of more step-families, the emphasis on parents going out to work, and the consequent perception of the reduced worth of the full-time parent have all changed the way we behave and the character of childhood," said the former primary school teacher. (Times 30.07.08)

IVF fears unfounded: Fears that having a baby by IVF increases the risk of complications before, during and after birth are unfounded, according to a study of more than 1.2 million births in Norway. Previous studies had suggested risks including lower birthweights, premature birth or stillbirth. The new study excluded twin and triplet pregnancies because these are already known to be at greater risk of problems. (Guardian 31.07.08)

Other stories in brief

The body of four-month-old Christopher Blum is to be buried – 21 years after his parents refused to sign a death certificate, arguing that a routine vaccination had contributed to his death (Independent 28.07.08); a five-year-old boy has been given two legal fathers in a landmark ruling: the father who has raised him, believing himself to be his parent, and the man who, after tests, turned out to be his biological father (Daily Telegraph 30.07.08); some independent schools are at risk of closure because parents can no longer afford fees, education experts have warned (Daily Telegraph 30.07.08); couples should not have more than two children, if they want to save the world from global warming, the Optimum Population Trust said this week (Daily Mail 25.07.08); and millions more parents are to be given the right to take time off work for family emergencies (Daily Mail 28.07.08).

Do your kids keep losing stuff? De-stress the Lost Property box search with Easy2name's unique range of personalised stickers and iron-on name tapes. The innovative range of labels can be used on every children's item, including clothing, socks, shoes, lunchboxes, stationery, bottles and more. Click here to get a 10% Mumsnet discount.

Hot threads

Quote of the week

Kimi surmising on the identity of a certain well-loved race driver (if you like that sort of thing):
"I know Stig is not a mumsnetter, he never uses the P&C parking spaces."

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters’ top tips include:

Win John Lewis vouchers! There's still the chance to win £150 of John Lewis vouchers and an annual subscription to Eve magazine by letting rip about how you feel about your life since having children.

Aitch's TV round-up: The Genius of Charles Darwin, Monday 4th August Ch4 9pm

Richard Dawkins celebrates the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species with a fascinating three-parter on Charles Darwin's life and work. (Please don't add another "the" to the book title, by the way - it will make Big D very cross. He's got a first edition don't you know. And he's married to a Dr Who assistant, so he's very good at Science.) Well worth watching, especially for the bits where he goes a bit pink in the face when confronted with a high-school class full of creationists.

Blog of the Week: Yummy Mummy goes shopping

New blogger Sazzerbear drip-dries her buggy's raincover after a wet and frazzled shopping trip and tries to remember what her pre-baby life was like: "I got home with frizzy hair and not-best-pleased ds to a Jack Russell with separation anxiety. Then cooked curry for dh before babysitting for a friend. Hoped to read OK! in peace but her dd kicked off. Oh what happened to those days of carefree abandon?"

Want to record your own post (or pre) baby musings? Get blogging with your own Mumsnet blog.

Carmenere's Recipe Of The Week: MamaG's Courgette and Ham Scones

'Loads of mners will be heading off for the family hols this week. So we thought MamaG's easy recipe for a healthy, tasty snack (that'll use up yet more of your bumper courgette crop) might be the ticket for long car journeys or airport waits. You don't have to admit they've got courgettes in them...

That's your lot this week - and for the next few weeks (we're off on hols). Catch you at the end of August (and do be good while we're away)

Love,
Mumsnet Towers

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