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WIN 20,000 NECTAR POINTS - AND A DAY OF SPECIAL TREATS! Nectar is celebrating the launch of its Savvy Shopper Search by offering Mumsnetters the chance to win 20,000 free Nectar points and an eXhilaration Choice Voucher for Her – which you can redeem for a day of pampering or adventurous treats of your choice.

Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

Where we're buffing our bumps for the arrival of the Department of Health's Maternity Tsar, Dr Gwyneth Lewis. She'll be here on Monday 27 March (10-11am) for a live chat about all things pregnancy-and-birth-related. Post your questions here.

Talking of important maternal issues, you've just a few days left to get your nominations in for Mumsnet Mum of the Year. Yes, we know some of you are yet to be convinced about the whole thing but we have put our fingers in our ears think the chance of a freebie family getaway at a top luxury family hotel is worth a punt, non?

Don't forget for our April Book of the Month discussion about Jeffrey Eugenides' gender-bending novel Middlesex on Tuesday 28 April, starting at 8pm.

Now for this week's parenting news ...

Parents warned on sickness bugs: Parents are making children with vomiting and diarrhoea more sick by giving them flat Coke and lemonade, experts at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said this week. It's a myth that sugary drinks could help ease bouts of gastroenteritis, it said. Instead, bad cases of stomach bugs in children under five needed to be treated with rehydration drinks, with prompt action needed to avoid hospital admission. Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has warned that one of the most popular treatments for mouth ulcers, Bonjela, should not be given to children under 16 as it could increase the risk of them developing a potentially fatal brain and liver disease. (BBC Online 22.04.09; Guardian 23.04.09)

Primary school places squeeze: Parents opting for state rather than independent primaries, plus a baby boom, has meant an urgent shortage of primary school places, London councils said this week. The trend for parents to move out of the capital once their children hit school age has all but ended due to the freeze in the housing market, putting yet more pressure on schools places. Councils in the capital say there's a shortage of 2,250 places for this September, but that the shortage could reach 5,000 places next year. Some schools have already been forced into temporary buildings and bigger class sizes. (Guardian 20.04.09)

Other stories in brief

GET 10% OFF KIDS' CROCS with our new discount partner, stella b. And bag other bargains from all our Mumsnet discount partners: we've got money-saving offers on everything from holidays and clothes to flowers, food and more. 

Hot threads 

Competitions

This week's prizes are:

It's easy to enter (and keep an eye on winners' corner to see if your name has come out of the hat). 

HAVE YOU SEEN HAIRSPRAY YET? For one week only from 4 May, kids go free on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights! Or, if you can't make that week, you can take the kids free with Mumsnet every Monday night. 

Quote of the week

OrmIrian muses about where she places herself on Mumsnet: "I suspect I belong to the 'Oh-FFS-does-it-really-matter' splinter group. MN is a broad church. Or is that a broads' church?"

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters say try:

Find more Mumsnetter recommendations for great days out near you in Mumsnet Local

Aitch's TV round-up: Professor Regan's Nursery, Thursday 30 April, BBC2, 9pm
Well worth watching, this: it's like one of the better baby threads on MN where the science heads duke it out with the lentil weavers. Prof Regan has twin girls aged 16, so she admits to being completely out of touch with wha's happnin' wiv the kidz these days, so she puts her ginormous research brain to work separating the facts from the marketing. Oh, OK, she mostly reads the nutrition boxes on the side of the pack, but it's a start...

Blog of the week: You've Got Your Hands Full
estar shares her patience (and patient)-sapping battles for a new asthma inhaler: "It's not that I think doctors' receptionists are deliberately awkward. It's just that they always seem to think I understand the system better than they do. Which may be true, but not what you expect when you ring up for help. I think one day I'm going to ask them to perform a triple heart bypass over the phone and see if it stumps them any less than a simple but life-saving repeat prescription..."
Why not join the MN bloghood yourself?

Recipe of the week: Countess Dracula's Soda Bread
Here's something to coax those reluctant school-goers out of bed of a new-term morning: yummy homemade bread, served warm with lashings of butter and honey or jam. Makes more than enough to pop in a lunchbox, too. Or, if you're a bit of a reluctant get-upper yourself, it's the perfect mid-afternoon snack for those afterschool rumbling tums.

That's all, we're off to nab some discounted Crocs...
Love,
Mumsnet Towers

HAVE YOUR READ A GREAT BOOK THIS YEAR? Then tell us about it! Or have you yawned your way through one you'd like to warn other Mumsnetters to avoid? We're now collecting reviews for the Worst and the Best Books of The Year. Once we've collected a few, we'll be publishing them – a great resource when packing for your summer hols.

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