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Hello from Mumsnet Towers...
Where we're girding our suitably blood-spattered loins for the Halloween gore-fest to come: whatever kind of horror 31 Oct fills you with, check out our love-it-or-loathe-it Halloween survival guide and vote our the spookiest namechange on MN.
Coming up after half-term, we've a Q&A with Desmond Morris and an evening webchat with Dawn French (threads opening soon) – not forgetting, of course our Book Club discussion of the grippingly funny, deficit-detangling Whoops! on 2 Nov with author John Lanchester.
And, if you'd like the chance to work for a UK-based charity – and get paid for your time – do have a look at our thread about Vodafone's World of Difference project. Big Society in action or what?
Now for this week's parenting news...
Coalition announces £81bn cuts: Chancellor George Osborne has defended the "fairness" of the spending cuts he revealed this week. He said that, once you include the Budget measures he'd already announced, the top 10% of earners would be hit hardest. Labour called the cuts – the biggest since the 1970s – a "reckless gamble" with the economy. (BBC News 13.10.10; read our Spending Review summary; join the discussion on Talk)
Sperm donors 'deserve greater recognition': Men who donate sperm for IVF should be given "at least the same payment, if not more" than women who donate eggs, a leading fertiliy campaigner has suggested. Laura Witjens, who chairs the UK's National Gamete Donation Trust and has donated her own eggs, says most people are not aware of the "serious commitment" involved in sperm donation. Women who donate eggs have hormone treatment and then an operation to harvest the eggs; men who donate sperm are asked to avoid sex and alcohol for several months while making regular visits to a clinic. (BBC News 20.10.10)
SKI FAMILLE makes taking children to the mountains simple and fun. Their catered chalets with inclusive in-house childcare are located close to ski runs, and many offer a hot tub or sauna. This is family skiing with no compromise to either comfort or service.
Other stories in brief
Quote of the week: bigkidsmademe scoffs at those boring sorts who arrange books alphabetically: "I arrange mine by which authors I think would be friends. So, Jilly Cooper next to Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford, Evelyn Waugh; DH's boring books on their own, as no one would be friends with them."
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Aitch's TV round-up: Getting On, Tuesday 26 October, BBC4, 10pm
It might only have lasted three episodes but this was the funniest, most touching, silliest and most serious comedy on TV last year, so I'm delighted to see it back (though rather surprised that it isn't broadcasting on BBC2). Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine have created an utterly believable hospital setting, inhabited by the unwell, the incontinent and the bewildered (and that's just the staff, arf), as well as turning in low-key performances that seem utterly credible to anyone who has ever spent any time in the peculiar NHS netherworld that is the General Medicine ward.....
Discuss this show (and others) in our Telly Addicts Talk forum.
Recipe of the week: MamaG's pumpkin and sweetcorn soup
A spending-review special this week, making thrifty use of that pumpkin flesh you'll be hollowing out for your Halloween George Osbourne effigy Jack O Lantern.
You can review this week's recipe here - or why not post one yourself?
That's all. We're off for our horror-strewn half-term break. See you in two weeks: just in time for Bonfire Night...
CUTICURA are inviting all MNers to talk about about hand hygiene. Add your thoughts, tips and questions for expert Dr Lisa Ackerley to our thread and one lucky contributor will win £50, plus a Cuticura goodie bag.
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