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Hello from MNHQ...

Where we've barely swept Gordon's biscuit crumbs off the webchat table (do check out his follow-up answers and Justine's behind-the-scenes digestive digest) before it's time to lay in fresh supplies for Cristina Odone on Friday and Will Young on Monday. If you haven't already, please do post your questions (snack-related or otherwise) as soon as poss.

A big thank you to everyone we asked to comment on our new Special Needs content. Covering everything from diagnosis to statementing, with all sorts of other helpful stuff in between, we hope it's the very thing to complement our brilliant Special Needs Talk boards. It's very much still a work in progress, so do please keep the feedback coming.

Now for this week's parenting news...

IVF couples 'should cut out alcohol': Couples trying to conceive through IVF could significantly harm their chances if they share the equivalent of just one bottle of wine a week, experts warn. If both partners drink six units a week (equivalent to half a bottle of wine each), their chance of a live birth is cut by a quarter, the study of 2,500 couples from Harvard Medical School in Boston suggests. Doctors said couples may want to 'play it safe' and not drink at all to maximise their chances of success. (BBC Online 20.10.09).

Dads finding it hard to have it all: Working dads find it tough to juggle family and career, according to a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which suggests that 42% of fathers felt they were not able to spend enough time with their children. That figure rose to 54% for dads with babies under one. In general, fathers were more unhappy about their work-life balance than mothers, with only 46% feeling they spent about the right amount of time at work, compared with 61% of mothers. (Guardian 20.10.09)

Other stories in brief

It's the final episode of THE EVERYDAY KITCHEN, the Waitrose web series featuring Mumsnetters. And, this week, the theme is catering for special occasions. Click here for the latest video and tell us what you've thought of the series as a whole. What was your favourite episode? And have you tried out any of the recipes?

Hot threads


This month'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). 

Quote of the week

AitchTwoOh is intrigued to hear that Gordon Brown re-read his Mumsnet webchat over the weekend: "I have visions of Sarah reading it over his shoulder and going, 'See?!! This is what I have been TELLING YOU.'"

Looking for an 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: Life (again), Mon 26 Oct, BBC1, 9pm
It's not an inspiring week, TV-wise, so I thought it best to remind you that if you're not recording Life, then you are missing out on a genuinely awesome natural-history series. This week, Sir Dave's doing mammals, which means lots of cute big-eyed furry babies battling for survival with only their ferocious mothers to protect them. If only they had Mumsnet for support: 'My useless partner sits around all day like the king of the sodding jungle. He makes me bring home all the food and I have to look after our children 24/7. AIBU to just pad off into the savannah and see how he likes it?'

Blog of the week: Science Museum
bluedogs goes all soppy over a bunch of posh kids on a school trip: "Despite my woolly liberal beliefs, there is something about private-school uniforms – the boaters, the blazers, the badges, the whole shebang – that makes me go, 'Aahh!' It seems to denote a more innocent age, when children were children, men wore tank tops and women were on the gin by 10 in the morning..."
Bursting to blog? Why not start your own?

Recipe of the week: PeachyTentativelyPosting's Christmas cake for lazy bakers
Yep, now's the time to slosh brandy on dried fruits, scrabble around for last year's half-used bag of molasses, and stir your wishes into the festive mix. And, as it's half-term, you're bound to have lots of annoyingly messy willing little helpers.
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off to find out if Will's a Garibaldi man... 
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