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Hello there from Mumsnet HQ,


...where we've been poring over your top tips on how to achieve domestic bliss. Now all we need to do is to get the work/life balance thing sorted. Or should that be work/life/Mumsnet thing?

Now don't tell us you missed Jonathan Coe on Tuesday night? If you did, or like some of us hadn't quite finished the book and couldn't bear to drop in in case you found out the ending, you can catch up here. Don't forget to send in reviews of your best book of the year, best light read of the year and worst book of the year in time for the Mumsnet Book Awards.

If you're still undecided about your summer and are looking for something a bit different then pop along on Monday July 7th to quiz award-winning family travel journalist William Gray, who'll be on hand to offer expert ideas on the less obvious holiday destinations. Post your questions in advance here.

On the competition front this week you could win a family break to Alton Towers and a flash new mobile phone with added brain power.

And now for this week's parenting news ...

Balls in exam row: Head teachers have expressed astonishment over the suggestion by schools secretary Ed Balls that the best way to prevent six and seven-year-olds from getting stressed about exams was simply not to tell them they were being tested. Mr Balls said he was angry with schools that had informed parents in advance when children in primary school would sit their Key Stage 1 tests. "I cannot believe they are doing that...they should not be doing that," he said. But head teachers said Mr Balls had little idea of the daily realities of running a school, and that rumours about when tests were being held meant it was better to just tell parents and children what was going on. (Times 03.07.08)

Pregnancy junk food warning: Eating badly while pregnant or breastfeeding could cause lifelong health damage to a child. According to studies on animals, the fallout of junk food is serious: the offspring of pregnant rats fed fatty, processed food had high fat levels in their bloodstream and around major organs into adult life, as well as a greater chance of diabetes. Dr Stephanie Bayol, one of the research team, said: "It seems that a mother's diet while pregnant and breastfeeding is very important for the long-term health of her child. We always say 'You are what you eat', but in fact it may also be true that you are what your mother ate." (BBC Online 02.07.08)

Other stories in brief

UK theme parks, museums and other attractions are serving child meals loaded with sugar, salt and fat, according to a new survey (BBC Online 02.07.08); children are not acquiring basic moral values because today's generation of adults are such poor role models, the Children's Society says (Times 30.06.07); Britain's first baby guaranteed to be free from hereditary breast cancer has been conceived via embryo screening (Sunday Times 29.06.08); children who eat a traditional family meal in the evening are almost twice as likely to get eight good grades at GCSE as those who never eat with their family (Daily Mail 27.06.08); children whose mothers are depressed during pregnancy are more likely to have delayed development (Daily Mail 27.06.08); and universities are being told they can make lower offers to state school pupils if they show more potential than private school pupils (Guardian 30.06.08).

Hot threads

Quote of the week

MsDemeanor on debating the hot issues of the day: "It's a good idea to be open minded, but not so much that your brains fall out."

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters recommend:

Blog of the Week: I blame the parents

Whomovedmychocolate (36 weeks pregnant) on how a 'spot of light nesting' went a bit wrong: "Just a few things, tidy the cutlery drawer, defluff the drier, clean the pond filters. Oh yes, the last one sounds really easy doesn't it. Just lift the lid of the pond housing and see where the blockage is, will take ten minutes I confidently stated to DH. He asked to watch and laughed a lot."

Aitch's TV round-up: Superstars, Five, Saturdays, 7pm and Extraordinary People: Outlaw Births, Five again, 9pm, Wednesday July 9th

Two things. One: Superstars is back. At 7pm on Saturdays, so at least we'll have something to do without David Tennant's twinkly ferret face to moon over. We'll never see the likes of Kev Keegan's cycling disaster again, but it might be fun. Might be. Two: Extraordinary People: Outlaw Births. Bonkers, utterly bonkers. And I say that knowing full well the doula massive will be after me. See you on the inevitable 'wtf?' thread, angry ladies. Read more here.

Carmenere's Recipe Of The Week - Buzzcock's Cajun Chicken Salad.

If you have access to a decent deli that sells rotisserie chicken, Buzzcocks recipe for Cajun Chicken Salad can be knocked up in minutes. Low fat and healthy, it is perfect for a light lunch or picnic but don't forget to tone down the cayenne if you are serving it to the kids.

That's all for this week folks. We're off to watch the tennis work on our blog.

Mumsnet Towers

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