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KEEP WARM KEEP WELL This is a national campaign to reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths during winter. A free winter guide for families is available, giving practical tips on keeping you and your family warm and healthy during the colder months. Click here to read it.

Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

Where we're looking for some witty captions from you for the posters to publicise Toddlers: The Mumsnet Guide. Post your ideas and you'll be in with the chance of winning a whole bundle of lovely Bloomsbury books. There are still a few spaces left if you want to come along to the launch party where you can feast on Greggs sausage rolls and get your norks signed by Morningpaper.

Book club news: our January book club discussion is on Tues 27 Jan at 8pm. February's book club poll winner was The Enchanted April, so order your copy now and you'll have plenty of time to finish it before the chat on 24 Feb.

Now for this week's parenting news ...

Drink warning: Women who drink heavily early in pregnancy - possibly before they know they are pregnant - may raise their risk of premature delivery, according to a study of 4,719 Australian women. The researchers found almost an 80% higher risk for women who drank heavily in the first third of pregnancy and then stopped. However, experts warned it was possible the results were a "statistical quirk", and the study found no evidence of problems for women who drank low levels throughout pregnancy. The issue of alcohol and pregnancy is controversial, with some guidelines advocating no alcohol intake, while other specialists believe drinking small amounts is unlikely to harm the developing child (BBC Online 22.01.09).

Call for more male teachers: Parents worry about the lack of men in teaching because they fear their children lack role models, according to research commissioned by the Children's Workforce Development Council. Single mothers, in particular, lamented the fact their children had little contact with men in caring roles – 17% of children from lone parent families had less than two hours' contact with a man each week. Six in ten parents said their child's school had no male teachers at all (Daily Telegraph 20.01.09).

Other stories in brief

Some medicines routinely given to premature babies expose them to potentially harmful levels of chemicals linked to nerve damage, new research suggests (BBC Online 21.01.09); children as young as five are spending up to six hours a day in front of a screen, according to a survey from ChildWise (Daily Mail 20.01.09); the government has ordered a review of the rules covering the estimated 20,000 home-educated children, following mounting concern from local authorities that their duty to care for children is undermined by current rules (Times 20.01.09); finally, happy news - your children WILL appreciate you one day, but not until they reach about 22, according to new research, which found it's not until kids move out that they realise how much their parents have done for them (Daily Mail 20.01.09).

WORKING MUMS Find a flexible job that fits in with your family in 2009 with WorkingMums.co.uk -  full or part time, home or office based. Senior and support roles, covering a number of sectors nationwide, click here.  Also check out our guide to flexible working, click here.  

Hot threads

Obama - you would, wouldn't you?
Michelle's outfit, Aretha's hat - did you enjoy the sheer spectacle of it all?
Laugh? I nearly cried - what has been your most inappropriate giggling fit?
School run strategies - please help me to get the kids to school on time!
Holiday, schmoliday - is it really a big deal to take them during term time?

Competitions

This week's seriously-worth-having prizes are:

Get all the details about how to enter.

Quote of the week

notnowbernard on shopping trips to Ikea: "I always find it's a bit like childbirth. It starts off all exciting yet manageable. But by the checkout you're screaming for a caesarian. And you're walking to the carpark swearing 'NEVER again'. Only six months later..."

DEPT OF COMMUNITIES Looking to crunch your household bills? Our energy assessor and mum of two, Charlotte, shares top tips and easy steps to help make your home more cash friendly and eco-friendly. Click here to start saving the planet and see savings in your home.

Looking for a day out? Mumsnetters give the thumbs-up to:

Aitch's TV round-up: Jamie Saves Our Bacon, Channel Four, Thurs 29 January, 9pm
Our curly-tailed chums are big news right now, whether it's on this thread where self-proclaimed 'food-labelling wallah' Tigerfeet told us that 'technically any part of a pig counts as pork' (this means skin, people… in our 'nice' pork sausages… ack yack bleurgh) or on Channel Four, where Jamie Oliver is banging on about bangers once more. Read more...

Carmenere's recipe of the week: Superkat's mild sweet potato and chickpea curry
This week we've chosen a tasty and warming curry - just in case rotten weather and impending heating bills mean you need cheering up!


That's your lot, we're off to check we've invited Barack Obama to our book launch.
Love,
Mumsnet Towers


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