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GET CRAFTY WITH FAIRY AND KONNIE HUQ – AND WIN A DISHWASHER OR £250 SPACE NK VOUCHERS. Fairy Liquid turns 50 this year and, to celebrate, the iconic white Fairy Liquid bottle is making a return to the shops for a limited time. Also, Mumsnet has joined forces with Fairy and former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq to launch a competition to find the most creative 'junk modellers' among Mumsnetters and their children.

Hello from Mumsnet Towers...

Where we've just given birth (blissfully naturally, natch) to Babies: the Mumsnet Guide. A fab, funny, frank distillation of all your baby-raising wisdom, it's the only book to get you through your first year of new-mum life with your sense of humour (more or less) undented.

Hope you enjoyed our webchat with Douglas Alexander, secretary of state for international development: he's just posted some extra answers to the questions he didn't have time to cover. We've also just published the As to your Qs for Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation. And there's a new Q&A thread up now, all about digestive health, with Dr Sarah Brewer.

Ooh, and we've got video footage and the first pics from our 10th birthday party to show you. More to come once Justine's finished censoring the worst of 'em...

Now for this week's parenting news...

Kids miss out on first-choice schools: Pressure for secondary-school places is keener than ever this year, with more kids missing out on a place at their first-choice school when offers were made this week. In some English cities, including London and Birmingham, up to a third of pupils didn't get in to their top school of choice. And in some areas where applications were made online, the e-admissions website was out of action, adding to parents' anxiety. Children in rural areas were most likely to be successful at getting in to their favourite school: 95% of kids in Norfolk were offered their top choice, as were 89% of Sheffield applicants and 84% of Leeds children. (BBC News 02.03.10)

Best age for a baby?: Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel has ignited a new motherhood debate by claiming that the age at which women have babies is dictated by a male timetable. She said that society encouraged women to have children later in life because it fitted in with a timetable "based on a former era, when men ran the world and women ran the home". She told an interviewer that many young women would prefer to become mothers in their 20s and to put off further study and career advancement until their 30s. "Having sex and having babies is what young women are about," she said. "Their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society's timetable." (Guardian 01.03.10)

SAVE £4 PER DAY ON SUPER CAMPS MULTI-ACTIVITY DAY CAMPS for 4-14s. Activities include Sports & Crafts. 60+ Venues nationwide; fantastic facilities at leading schools. BOOK NOW and save £4 per day. Simply enter the code MUMSNET10 when booking. Code valid until 11th March 2010.

Other stories in brief

Hot threads

Quote of the week Buda finally realises why, no matter how much she stamped and hollered, she didn't win a ticket to Mumsnet's 10th birthday party: "I didn't know what a haiku was, so have been practising my haka for weeks..."

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).

MOTHERHOOD, the hilarious new comedy starring Uma Thurman, is in cinemas this Friday 5th March and is available to buy on DVD from the 8th March. Find your nearest cinema here or order your copy on DVD here. For more information visit

Looking for a day out? Mumsnetters say try:

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: Too Poor For Posh School, C4, 11 March, 9pm
Cutting Edge should just re-name itself MNTV and have done with it, for these sorts of 'pushy-parents-determined-to-get-their-kids-a-scholarship-for-posho-boarding-school' docs speak directly to the twisted electoral heartland that is the Mumsnet Mum. Of course, the children themselves are gorgeous beyond belief but yikes, once again, it's potential kiddie pain as entertainment. And their mums and dads put them up for it....
Discuss this show (and others) in our Telly Addicts Talk forum.

Recipe of the week: Mummyof2boys' roast rhubarb and apple crumble
A good old-fashioned, boarding-school pud, with a seasonal rhubarby twist. Serve with lashings of custard and a jolly-hockey-sticks smile.
You can review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all. We're off to eat the birthday cake we completely forgot about at the party...
Love, MNHQ

MARCH FOR BETTER MATERNITY SERVICES! The NCT, AIMS, Albany Mums and others are campaigning for better maternity services for all of us - and they're holding a lively, family-friendly rally and march in Central London on Sunday 7 March to get the campaign noticed. So grab your whistle and click here to find out more!

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