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Hello from Mumsnet Towers...

Where Mother's Day is almost upon us. But before we gratefully receive our fingerprint-smeared cards and soggy breakfasts-in-bed, we'll be joining others at Westminster this Friday morning to lay white roses and observe a Minute for Mothers in memory of women around the world who've died in childbirth. If you can't join us (do come if you can), there are loads of other ways you can support the coalition to reduce maternal mortality.

Coming up, we've got a webchat with Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, and there's still time to post your Qs about secondary-school places for appeals expert John Chard.

Have we banged on enough about Babies: The Mumsnet Guide yet? Just in case you haven't heard, "it's the sort of baby book the world's been crying out for" (©hunkermunker)...

Now for this week's parenting news...

Cord blood warning: Parents have been warned over risky and illegal collections of umbilical-cord blood. The Human Tissue Authority said this week that, if proper guidelines were not followed, samples may be contaminated and safety compromised on maternity wards. The regulator has received reports of untrained and unlicensed people taking cord blood, which is a rich source of stem cells and is collected because of its potential role in combating disease. Louise Silverton, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said it was essential that midwives are able to concentrate on the birth and are not put under pressure to carry out unregulated and unlawful cord blood collections. (BBC News 09.03.10)

Quick-fix kids: Children are harder to motivate with traditional teaching methods in the internet age, as they expect instant results, according to the head of the Association of School and College Leaders. John Dunford said that websites and computer games have, over the past decade, made children impatient with the pace of steady learning, and they now live in a celebrity-dominated society where "success appears to come instantly and without any real effort". Children, he said, spend an average of 1.7 hours a day online, 1.5 hours on games consoles and 2.7 hours watching TV. (Times 08.03.10) 

EXTENDED SERVICES. Lots of families across England are making the most of extended services accessible through their local schools. If you haven't used them, we don't want you to miss out. Click here to find out more.

Other stories in brief

Hot threads

Quote of the week radstar reveals the bitterest bone of contention ever to mar her marriage: "Whether or not we would allow children to get down from the table while others were still eating. Him, yes; me, no. We fell out big style. Thing was, we didn't even have children then."

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).

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.

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: The Lady and the Revamp, C4, 18 March, 9pm
So the big debate chez Aitch is "can I recommend Cutting Edge for the third time in a month?" and I've come down firmly on the side of "yes, dammit, I can", because it's like they're making TV especially for us, what with the gypsy weddings and the boarding schools and now they're poking around the offices of The Lady magazine while new editor Rachel Johnson (sister of Bozza) compiles a 'death list' for the decrepit and generally useless staff who think The History of the Cucumber is a great idea for an article. Plus, you get to see her kitchen, which is very nice...
Discuss this show (and others) in our Telly Addicts Talk forum.

Recipe of the week: Anon's broccoli lemon chicken
Easy-peasy, and literally lemon-squeezy, broccoli-strewn stir-fry of back-pattingly healthyish proportions.
You can review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?

That's all. We're off to leave our Mother's Day dos and don'ts lying about in a strategic place.
Love, MNHQ

WIN JANE PACKER DELIVERED DESIGNER FLOWERS! To celebrate Mother's Day and its campaign against stereotyping, Gingerbread has organised for one "single-mum heroine" to receive a stunning Rose Sorbet Hatbox, courtesy of Jane Packer Delivered. To enter yourself or a friend, email your (or her) name and address to by 2pm on Friday 12 March.

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