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HELP KEEP YOUR LITTLE ONES HEALTHY THIS WINTER WITH HALIBORANGE KIDS PROBIOTIC MULTIVITAMIN. It helps maintain natural immune defences, and each complete multivitamin tablet tastes delicious, making life easier if your child's a fussy eater. Click here for more info.

Hello from MNHQ...

Where we're still rather flushed after coming back from Red magazine's Red Hot Women bash with their very shiny Internet Award <sheepishly proud on all our behalfs emoticon>.

Things are heating up, too, on the book front. We've a live webchat with bestselling children's author Anthony Horowitz on Tuesday (Nov 10, 1-2pm) and our November Book of the Month is hot off the server: do have a look at the contenders and vote for the one you're burning to read most.

Now, much as we're loath to mention Christmas before we're even done with Bonfire Night, we thought we'd urge those of you whose present-buying bells are already jingling to click through our Shopping page – it won't cost you any more but it may send a few pennies our way. (And help finance some really top-notch biscuits for all our exciting webchat guests.)

Now for this week's parenting news...

'Cheating' parents condemned: Parents who 'steal' places for their children at popular schools should face tougher penalties, the schools' adjudicator said this week. Dr Ian Craig said too many tried underhand tactics such as using a false address or moving into a property close to a school just to get a place. He said many councils would like powers to prosecute these parents – and schools secretary Ed Balls has asked him to compile a report setting out sanctions, including criminal prosecution. (Times 03.11.09)

Free nursery places under threat: Thousands of families could miss out on free preschool education because of a funding crisis that is squeezing state nurseries in many areas. The crisis has been caused by new government rules designed to distribute funding more fairly between state and private nurseries. But experts warned this week that state nurseries are likely to lose out, and that some may have to close, reducing the number of free nursery places available. (Guardian 03.11.09)

Other stories in brief

CROCODILE TEARS is the eighth title in Anthony Horowitz's internationally bestselling Alex Rider series. To celebrate, Anthony is taking part in three live Q&A events across the country, suitable for a family audience. The events in Edinburgh and Dudley are already sold out but tickets are still available for Anthony's final event at the Apollo Theatre in London on Saturday 14 Nov at 4pm. Click here for info and to book tickets. 

Hot threads

Competitions

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). 

STOCKING FILLERS! Go to timetospa.co.uk to get some pampering stocking fillers and, while you're there, don't forget to check out the mother-to-be collection! It offers a collection saving of 36%, and the best thing is, you can use the code AFF119 to get another 10% off! Click here to shop!

Quote of the week

CaptainNancy on her family's (admirably succinct) rules: "Don't be a dingbat/duffer. Keep calm and carry on. Dream big. Shut up and get on with it."

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: When a Mother's Love is not Enough, Tues 9 Nov, BBC1, 10.35pm
Anyone who has so much as glanced at the MN Special Needs board will already be aware of the gob-smacking awkwardness of the system designed to support children with disabilities in this country. In this touching but infuriating documentary, the Hon Rosa Monkton (pal of Princess Di, wife of Dominic Lawson, SIL of Nigella Lawson – lawksamercy, the dinner parties!) meets 'ordinary people' struggling with much-loved but sometimes very-difficult-to-care-for children. David Cameron also appears to talk about his son, Ivan, and the camera has the good grace to pull back when he starts to cry...

Blog of the week: Time after time
serenedays does bathtime and finds cleanliness is next to gross-out-ness: "DS2 weed in the water with a big smile on his face. And then drank it while I was cleaning DS1's teeth. Not quite as delightful as the moment when, lying on the nappy mat, he stuck his finger up his bum ('I touch my poo!') and then stuck it up his nose. I will see if I can get him to stop doing that before he wants to go out with girls..."
Bursting to blog? Why not start your own?

Recipe of the week: Carmenere's cinder toffee
Sweet, sticky, made-in-five-minutes toffee squares that'll spark off a few 'yums' among the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of your little fireworks-watchers.
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off to cool down a bit.
Love,
Mumsnet Towers

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