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MAGICAL BALLET FOR ALL AGES! Northern Ballet Theatre offers the perfect family entertainment, with their magical shows for all ages. Enjoy their Christmas season in Leeds, or catch the enchanting Peter Pan complete with fairies, pirates and flying at a venue near you soon. Click here for more information.

Hello from MNHQ...

Where we've just re-booted our laptops after our live webchat with David Cameron. If you missed it all, check out here.

Not ones to rest on our webchat laurels, we've got Gabrielle Palmer, author of The Politics of Breastfeeding, at 1pm on Friday. And then, on Monday (23 Nov, 12-1pm), it's caustic columnist Charlie Brooker.

Please do spare a moment to take our breastfeeding survey (whether or not you're a BF-er or not) – there's £200 vouchers from lovely leisurewear site Me&Em to be won, plus a 15% discount for all Mumsnetters. And (cue extra Christmas-shopping fanfare) for one week only, you can also all get an extra 12% off from our discount partner GLTC by quoting XMS09. Hurrah!

Now for this week's parenting news...

Kids losing touch with dads: One in three children permanently loses touch with a parent – usually the father – after a divorce, according to a new study commissioned by family lawyers at Mischcon de Reya. The research found that one in five parents said their primary objective during separation was to make the experience 'as unpleasant as possible' for their former spouse. As a result, a fifth of children involved said they 'felt used' by their parents, with a third feeling lonely and isolated. The research, the biggest of its kind to date, involved interviews with 4,000 parents and children who had been through divorce. (Times 16.11.09) 

Private schools feeling the pinch: Private schools are being forced to discount fees, allow postponed payments and offer free laptops to retain students during the recession. And nearly a third of teachers in the independent sector report falling pupil numbers in the past year. These effects of the recession, revealed in a survey of 1,422 private-school teachers by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, will heighten concerns that state schools could be left to find places for thousands of children who might, in better economic times, have gone to private school. (Guardian 16.11.09)

Other stories in brief

DREAD BABY JABS? New research, conducted on behalf of AstraZeneca, shows that 48% of mums worry about taking their child for routine immunisation, while a significant 43% think immunisations affect the parent more than the child. Click here for more information on combating the pain of needles.

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). 

YOUR VIEWS ON PLANS FOR EXTENDED FREE NURSERY PLACES FOR 3 AND 4-YEAR-OLDS? The Department for Children, Families and Schools are interested in hearing parents' views on how they want to use their free, extended early education entitlement. The consultation closes on 8 Jan 2010. You can view the consultation here.

Quote of the week

David Cameron on whether in The Thick of It accurately represents the Conservative publicity machine: "I love The Thick of It. V funny... but only true about the other lot (not)."

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: How to Look Good Naked Over 60s, Mon 23 Nov, Channel 4, 9pm
As part of Channel 4's pre-Christmas season of quick-do-something-worthy-before-all-the-festive-degradation-kicks-in programmes about the elderly, Gok gets his hands on 72-year-old Sue. She's delightfully feisty, sweet, articulate and intelligent but, since her husband died, she feels she's invisible. Oh, the skill with which this programme manipulates the emotions: I was weeping from the moment this brilliant, brave, humorous woman referred to herself as "just a lump". Even Gok cries, and oh boy, you will, too.
PS: "I call them Harvest Festival knickers because all is safely gathered in" – best line ever!

Blog of the week: Morrissey
bluedogs remembers a love lost: "N was really into the Smiths. He was not the big love of my life but he was one of the loveliest men I ever knew. A year after we split up, he died in an accident. He was 24. At the wake, his mother greeted me warmly. I was thinking about this last night. About N, about college, about youth. About life before babies and about a woman who had to bury her baby. How do you ever get over that?"
Bursting to blog? Why not start your own?

Recipe of the week: penguinmum's creamy fish pie
Smokey, seasonal fish in a creamy white sauce with grated, rather than mashed, tatties on top: an all-round-yummy supper dish of the highest comfort-food order.
Review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all, we're off to get that Gok on for a webchat...
Mumsnet Towers

HEATHROW'S ONLINE GIFT GUIDE. Helping regular travellers and those flying to foreign destinations over the festive period, Heathrow has launched an online gift guide to give passengers top tips on what to buy at the airport. Click here for Mumsnet's foolproof suggestions for stocking stuffers with the wow factor.


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