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GET YOUR KID SQUASHING CARTONS - FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A HOLIDAY OR A TV! Fancy a trip to Panama? Or maybe a cool eco TV? To encourage more people to squash cartons before they recycle, Tetra Pak is offering one of these prizes to the most imaginative entry. Upload a video of you or your kids squashing cartons in a creative way and you could win!

Hello from MNHQ...

Where we're getting busy with the bleach and the mop bucket before Tuesday's webchat with Kim Woodburn, Aggie's beehived partner-in-grime from How Clean is Your House. Pull on your Marigolds for a different kind of MN dust-up on the 22nd (12-1pm) or post your advance questions here.

We're hard at work updating our car seat reviews. We've done the car seats from birth but we'd love your help with the car seats from nine months and four years. Do review any new models you love (extra points for those with straps that really won't let a toddler squirm out).

And don't forget to post on our summer-borns and school thread. We've told Ed Balls we'll send it on to him.

Now for this week's parenting news...

Health boss apologises: The Health Protection Agency has admitted that Godstone Farm in Surrey, which is at the centre of a major E coli outbreak, could have been closed down earlier but for an apparent blunder by officials. The agency's chief executive has ordered an independent inquiry into reports that the first case of the illness came to light earlier than was previously claimed, and that the farm might have been closed sooner. He also telephoned the parents of the most seriously ill children to apologise for delays in handling the problem. Thirteen children are being treated in hospital for complications linked to the bacteria: four are said to be seriously ill; six stable, and three improving. New guidance will be issued for future handling of E coli outbreaks associated with petting farms. (Times 16.09.09) 

Families benefits changes urged: Families earning more than £30,000 would have their entitlement to benefits cut under far-reaching reforms to the welfare system proposed this week by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith's think-tank. The Centre for Social Justice called for a radical simplification of the system which, it claims, would help lift more than 200,000 children out of poverty. The report concludes that, under the present system, some claimants are worse off if they take a job paying up to £15,000 a year, as they face the loss of benefits. Under the proposals, low-income households would benefit by a total of nearly £5 billion but some families on more than £30,000 a year and receiving child tax credit would lose "modest amounts". (Independent 16.09.09)

Other stories in brief

DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE PROBLEMS WITH BEDWETTING? Drynites are launching a new site called Bedwetting Buddy to address this issue. They also want to create a page of frequently asked questions and answers on Mumsnet. Please post any bedwetting queries you might have here. Answers will be up on Mumsnet from 12 October. 

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). 

LAST CHANCE TO TELL US THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER HAD - YOU COULD WIN £100 M&S VOUCHERS! Breakthrough Breast Cancer want to know the best piece of advice you've ever had (about anything). And, in return, they'll enter you into a draw for £100 M&S vouchers. Also, their panel of experts is happy to answer your breast cancer queries. Post your top piece of advice here and your breast cancer question here.

Quote of the week

JeremyVile on why mirrors just don't reflect one's true loveliness: "God yeah, I spend the entire time at the hairdresser's squinting and avoiding eye contact with myself. It's like being on a really shite date."

Looking for an early autumn 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 Days out/Attractions section.

Aitch's TV round-up: Strictly Come Dancing, Fri 18 Sept, BBC1, 8.30pm
IT'S BACK! Wait, hasn't it been back for weeks? I'd assumed from the wall-to-wall coverage of Jo Wood's crying jags and Natalie Cassidy's rehearsal tights that I'd been putting the children to bed when it's been on. So, good news: Strictly's back, and it's on Friday and Saturday for the first couple of weeks, before settling into a post-Merlin Saturday slot designed to upset Simon Cowell and any licence-fee-payers with the gall to want to watch The X Factor as well.

Blog of the week: Things you can do while breastfeeding
onsafari takes her latest baby on a nursing voyage of discovery: "You can: cook dinner; fill the washing machine (unfortunately); feed animals; do Step aerobics; play on the Wii, and take a bath or a shower. But you probably shouldn't: hang washing on the line; attempt papier mâché; eat soup; chop veg; drive; iron, or swim..."
Bursting to blog? Why not start your own?

Recipe of the week: Ponymum's carrot and apple muffins
Sweet, moist and perfect for perking up weary progeny at the school (or nursery) gate.
And all that seasonal fruit and veg inside makes 'em healthy(ish) enough to qualify as a weary-parent perk-up, too. 
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off to take a damp cloth and vinegar to that dodgy mirror...
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