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Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

...where the team has spent the past few weeks either dodging showers, escaping to warmer climes or marvelling at Olympian feats from the sofa. If you were lucky enough to holiday somewhere with actual sunshine, please share the blazing hot details by submitting a travel review. Ditto if it was you and the kids in a soggy caravan park in Cornwall.

Before the holidays are a dim memory, can you tell us about your summer reads for the Mumsnet book club awards? Whether you rate them as a work of literary genius or something that took up valuable shoe space, we want to know.

In this week's competitions, you've got a chance to win all the goodies you need to throw a luxury baby shower, or to scoop one of three Highland Spring rucksacks with a Head tennis racket and Fred Perry gear inside.

And, finally, thanks to all those who filled out the Home Front survey. It's closed now but we'll keep you posted on the results.

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

UK daycare patchy: Many British children are being looked after in childcare situations that are only of 'average' quality, according to a three-year study by Ofsted. Just 3% of care was judged to be outstanding, while 40% was rated as satisfactory or worse. And the most serious complaints made in 90,000 inspections included adults looking after too many children or not being properly vetted, and nurseries with no first aid kits. Four out of ten childminders, nurseries and after-school clubs still rate as 'satisfactory' or 'inadequate', categories that mean Ofsted requires them to improve (Guardian 27.08.08).

Mothers willing to accept risks for natural birth: First-time mothers-to-be are more willing than doctors to accept greater risks of pain, discomfort and tearing to achieve a normal birth, according to research in Australia. Researchers asked 102 women, as well as 84 midwives and 166 obstetricians, what complications would prompt them to opt for a caesarean and found that pregnant women were far more likely to accept complications ranging from prolonged labour and tearing to incontinence, vaginal prolapse and serious tears. Professor Philip Steer, editor of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in which the study was reported, said doctors were "biased" because they had seen how things go wrong (BBC Online 27.08.08).

Eve magazine has 2,000 FREE sample copies to give away to Mumsnetters. To claim your free copy, simply call 0844 848 7375 now, quoting MUM08. Calls are charged at local rate. Please don't forget to read the terms and conditions before you call.

Other stories in brief

A toddler in Florida has been diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an aggressive form of eye cancer, after a woman in Manchester spotted the signs on an emailed picture (BBC Online 28.08.08); children born by caesarean section have a 20% higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes, researchers claim (BBC Online 26.08.08); three and four year olds are inherently selfish, according to a Swiss study, but by the time they're aged seven, most have acquired the ability to consider others' needs and feelings (Daily Mail 27.08.08).

Hot threads

Quote of the week

Quintessentialshadows on what not to say to your children when you're in the mountains teaching them survival skills:

(The fact that QS meant midges rather than midgets makes this an even worthier contender for QOTW in our opinion.)

Looking for somewhere to take the kids before they head back to school? Mumsnetters recommend:

Blog of the week: We are not meant to be fighting

shinny28 is angry, VERY ANGRY, that no one was honest with her about this pregnancy malarkey - and more than a little concerned about the effect on her husband: "It has gotten to the point now where the hubby creeps in the front door and whimpers 'hello' to judge what mood I am in. I'm hoping the child is a magician otherwise with the combination of my life being turned upside down and a severe lack of sleep I will turn into the antichrist."

Want to record your own pre/post-baby musings? Start your own Mumsnet blog.

Carmenere's recipe of the week: Cazmo's apple and blackberry crumble

One of the nicest things about this time of the year is the opportunity to enjoy sweet, stodgy desserts. Served piping hot and accompanied with cool ice cream, Cazmo's crumble recipe is the perfect not-quite-summer, not-quite-autumn pudding.

That's your lot for this week. We're off to compare our holiday snaps.

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