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Hello from MNHQ...

You've still time to join in the 2009 Mumsnet Census (and have a chance of winning a fab family break to Villars Gryon in Switzerland, a Merlin Family Pass or an 02 Joggler). We promise to publish the nice bits our findings when it's done.

We've got a new addition to our Reviews section: Days Out/Attractions. Please tell us all about your favourite, child-friendly aquariums, zoos, museums and theme parks, so we can build a bumper stash of Mumsnetter-rated places to take the kids. 

And, following last week's literary love-in with author Patrick Gale, we've two live webchats to tickle your fancy next week. First up, on Monday (22 June, 1-2pm), Waitrose fish buyer Quentin Clark and executive chef Neil Nugent will be talking all things piscatorial. And then on Tuesday (23 June) lunchtime, journalist and TV producer Daisy Goodwin will gamely try to explain why she called Mumsnet a bunch of "vituperative bloggers". That should leave you just enough time to finish off Oryx and Crake in time for our Book of the Month discussion on Tuesday week (30 June, 8-9pm).

Now for this week's parenting news ...

'Have babies by 35' call: Women should become mothers by the age of 35 to escape the infertility, miscarriage and problematic pregnancies that are much more common after that age, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warned this week. "Delay in childbirth is associated with worsening reproductive outcomes," said a statement from the college. Women "need to know how fertility and pregnancy outcomes change with age. Biologically, the optimum period for childbearing is between 20 and 35 years of age". (Guardian 16.06.09)

60,000 to miss first-choice primary place: More than 60,000 children have been turned away by their first choice of primary school, following a sharp rise in demand for places. Cash-strapped parents who would have otherwise sent their children to private schools are choosing state education, increasing pressure on the system. According to government figures, state-run nursery and primary schools are having to cater for an extra 23,000 pupils this September. Across London, 18.5 per cent of children were refused a place at their first choice, while the figure for the rest of the country was 9.5 per cent. (Daily Mail 15.06.09)

Other stories in brief

HUNS ALERT! A little pushchair birdie tells us there's a Bugaboo warehouse sale (up to 70% off) under London's Vauxhall railway bridge on Fri 26 June, noon to 6pm, and Sat 27 June, 9am-5pm at The Beaconsfield, 22 Newport St, London SE11 6AY. Better Gecko-ver there, sharpish!

Hot threads


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). 

CHANGE YOUR WORLD Swap just one car trip between 29 June and 4 July '09 and walk, cycle, use public transport or car-share instead. If we all take this one small action together we'll cut car traffic by 10%. Take your first step now at and for a chance to win great prizes.

Quote of the week

norksinmywaistband takes talk about the food police a mite too literally: "A helicopter is hovering over my house. It's been there nearly ten minutes. Is this what happens if you let the children have two ice creams in one day?"

Searching for a great day out? Mumsnetters suggest:

Find more Mumsnetter recommendations for great days out near you in Mumsnet Local - and once you get home, please add a review in our new Days out/Attractions section.

Aitch's TV round-up: Psychoville, Thurs 18 June, BBC2, 10pm
Watch closely when Reece Shearsmith, as Mr Jelly the one-handed clown in this blackly amusing thriller, screams in the face of a young girl. What an actress that child is, you're thinking to yourself, what composure for one so young. Why is she not running away screaming, prior to filing a lawsuit against the BBC for her next 12 years' worth of horrifying nightmares? Truth is...

Blog of the week: Grandparents should be banned
whistlejacket clears up the psychological mess after the in-laws have gone: "I'm left with two children wondering why I can't give them non-stop attention. After all, that's what Granny and Grandpa do. In an ideal world, we would ban grandparents from staying. Children can't cope with it. Plus, I don't want to do conversation every night. I want to read Heat or watch rubbish telly..."
Bursting to blog? Why not start your own?

Recipe of the week: MaureenMLove's BBQ Moroccan Lamb
What with it being Father's Day on Sunday and all, we reckoned the dad in your life might need roasting over hot coals like to be let loose with some in-season lamb and the barbecue tongs. And because it's mostly cooked in the oven first, he can look all
Gordon Ramsay without actually doing that much.
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off to ponder fish.
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