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Hello from Mumsnet HQ...


Where we're all a-flutter in anticipation of our shiny new server, due to be installed tonight at 10.30pm! (That's Thursday, so if you read this tomorrow it's either already done and dusted or we're no longer here.) Hopefully, this will mean an end to the evening sluggishness that's plagued Talk recently - thanks to all for your good-humoured (mostly) patience - and apologies in advance for leaving you Mumsnet-less for A Whole Hour (take deep breaths).

Book of the month is back, you'll no doubt be tickled to hear, and to celebrate the Booker Prize's 40th anniversary we're asking you to vote for one of six previous Booker winners (the poll closes Tuesday 30 September at 8pm) and then join us to chat about the chosen book on Tuesday 28 October, between 8 and 10pm. If you're new to book club, here's how it works.

Know what the Kraamzorg scheme is? We thought not. But never fear - we're here to educate as well as to entertain you. Just fill in this survey (open to any parent in the UK who's had a child in the past ten years) and not only will all be revealed but you'll be entered into a prize draw to win Revilo Toys vouchers worth £150. And if you're a clever clogs and know already, go on, fill it in anyway. (Pretty please.)

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

China milk scare hits UK: The scare over Chinese dairy products has reached Britain, with Tesco announcing it has removed milk sweets from its shelves as a precautionary measure. New Zealand authorities warned the White Rabbit brand contained "unacceptable" levels of melamine. At least 12 countries, from Indonesia to Colombia, have banned Chinese dairy imports amid fears sparked by tainted milk powder that has killed four Chinese babies and made tens of thousands ill, including five in Hong Kong and Macau. Around 100 babies are still in a serious condition (Guardian 24.09.08).

Free school meals plan: Every primary school pupil in England could receive free school meals under a scheme set to form a central plank of Labour's election manifesto. If introduced, the £1bn programme would include almost 4 million children and save families more than £300 per child per year. In a speech to the Labour Party conference, schools secretary Ed Balls announced a £40m two-year pilot programme, which will test whether the scheme should be introduced in all schools. "We want a healthy lunch at school not just for some, but for every child," said Mr Balls. Under the pilot, free school meals will be given to all pupils aged four to 11 in two areas over two years, to measure the impact of healthy eating on health, behaviour and academic results (Independent 25.09.08).

We asked 100 Mumsnet mums with kids aged 6-plus to try new LISTERINE Smart Rinse mouthwash. What did they say? "This product has made teeth-cleaning time something to look forward to, instead of a battle." For more about LISTERINE Smart Rinse and answers to your most pressing dental care questions, click here.

Other stories in brief

Government health advisors say pregnant women should be offered the flu vaccination, after a new study found it reduces flu cases in babies as well as expectant mothers (Daily Telegraph 25.09.08); women who have had a miscarriage could be at greater risk of miscarrying again if they are obese, research suggests. (BBC Online 21.09.08); parents need lessons in how to manage their children's hyperactive behaviour, new guidelines say (BBC Online 24.09.08).

Hot threads


This week we've got not one, not two, not three (ok, you get the idea), yes, we've got FOUR fab new Dysons to give away. Death to all dust bunnies we say.

Quote of the week

SmugColditz recalls her extreme PFB neuroses: "I rubbed neat Johnson's shampoo into my eyes to see if it really is tear free (it's not quite as painful as you would think)."

Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters recommend:

Fancy winning £60 worth of Worlds Apart toys for Christmas? All you have to do is fill in this simple survey about parenting. Five lucky Mumsnetters will win a Cherry Blossom Store, Go Glow Time or their choice of other great Worlds Apart toys.

Blog of the week: The problem with pregnancy is other women

killerkitty is having issues with unwanted advice and has come up with her own pregnancy 'rules'. Number 7 is: "Wear pretty underwired bras. Ladies in John Lewis - if you like the maternity bras so much, YOU wear them, because quite frankly, no one's going to be looking at yours!"

Why not start your own blog to record your musings about retail staff, pregnancy or doing the school run in heels.

Carmenere's recipe of the week: OverMyDeadBody's chicken korma

This is a great basic recipe for korma. It's mild enough for kids, adaptable if you want it spicier and only contains good, natural ingredients. It's also going to cost at least 50% less than if you ordered a takeaway.

That's your lot this week, we're off to cross our fingers and hide under the duvet.

Mumsnet Towers

Oxfam would like to say a big thank you to all Mumsnetters - and Mumsknitters - who contributed to their maternal mortality campaign. If you helped make the video, you can see it here and if you knitted squares for the blanket, check out the pictures.

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