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Hello from Mumsnet Towers...
We've a webchat-tastic week ahead, kicking off tomorrow lunchtime (Friday 11 Feb, 12.30 to 1.30pm) with Fay Ripley, actor and author of Mumsnet Best recipe book, Fay's Family Food.
Then it's Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, on Tuesday (15 Feb, 1 to 2pm) and, the very next night (Wednesday 16 Feb, 8 to 9pm), Emma Donoghue, author of Room, our heartstoppingly brilliant Book of the Month.
Oh and, quick, last call for your most-asked cooking Qs for top chef Richard Corrigan and food writer Gizzi Erskine (thread closes Friday 11 Feb).
Now for this week's parenting news...
Nursery fees rise twice as fast as wages: The cost of a nursery place for a child over the age of two has risen twice as quickly as wages, according to a survey by the Daycare Trust. "These rapidly rising costs are particularly significant given the number of people not receiving cost-of-living pay increases this year, the increase in VAT and rising costs of other household goods, particularly food and fuel," says Anand Shukla, the Daycare Trust's acting chief executive. "Parents in the UK already spend an average of one third of their net income on childcare." (Guardian 09.02.11; join the discussion on Talk)
Unhealthy diet can affect a child's IQ: Eating a lot of highly processed foods (such as crisps, chips and cake) may adversely affect a child's brain development. So say British researchers, who've found a link between a diet that's high in processed foods at the age of three and a slightly lower IQ at eight and a half – even after taking into account other factors such as the mother's level of education, social class and duration of breastfeeding. (BBC News 08.02.11; join the discussion on Talk)
FIRST AID FOR CHLIDREN. Over 1 million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year. St John Ambulance is working with Mumsnet to help you make sure you've got the first-aid equipment you need to deal with accidents when they happen.
Other stories in brief
Quote of the week: Miggsie encounters competitive parenting on a mind-blowingly new level: "Child is rolling balls up a slide and laughing. Mother says, 'He knows he's breaking the laws of physics – and he just loves that.' Child is three."
Try your luck in 2011 with our February competitions. Here's what you could win:
Don't forget to keep an eye on winners' corner to see if your name comes out of the hat...
IT'S A SURVEY-TASTIC WEEK! Have you added your views on the family friendliness (or not) of your workplace and other places in the UK, and on your awareness of Ford on MN? Both surveys open to all UK Mumsnetter, with lovely vouchers up for grabs!
Aitch's TV round-up: Masterchef, Wednesday 16 February, BBC1, 9pm
It's back. I have to say I cannot stand this programme but, judging by thread acreage, I can see it is popular with MNers whose opinions I otherwise respect. Is it because John and Greg secretly love each other? Do we hope for a touching finale where the pair confess all, à la Maddie and David in Moonlighting? Or is it just because there's nothing else on? In the first episode, by the way, Greg actually cries because he has knocked someone out of the competition, and reaches out to hold John's hand for comfort. This is a fine bromance...
Discuss this show (and others) on our Telly Addicts Talk board.
Recipe of the week: Carmenere's Decadent French toast de luxe
Rich, chocolatey, breakfast-in-bed treatiness. Perfect for proffering to one's Valentine of a love-filled morn (insert <ahh> or <vom>, as appropriate).
You can review this recipe here - or why not upload one of your own?
That's all from us. We're off to be über-competitive about the prettiest combination of Customised colours on Talk...
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