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Hello from Mumsnet HQ...

...Where we've been awe-struck by your collective designs for the first-ever Mumsnet Christmas cards, which are available to download now. There's still time to vote for your favourite and we'll get Boco to colour the winner in so we can send it to all our MN friends at the Child Mogelling agencies, not to mention Schezza and Gina.

Mindful of general belt-tightening, we're giving three Mumsnetters the chance to win £160 worth of Big Discount Store vouchers. All we need in return is for you to complete a short survey on how crunched your Christmas will be by the current economic crisis.

Make sure you're around next Tuesday at 12:45pm, when we're welcoming children's allergy expert Dr Adam Fox to MNHQ. Adam's a top consultant paediatric allergist at Evelina Children's Hospital, part of Guy's & St Thomas' Hospitals Trust, and can answer your questions on peanuts, other allergies, tests, treatments - you name it. Post your questions here and please join us next Tuesday.

Now for this week's parenting news ...

No IVF-breast cancer link: Fertility treatment does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to a study of more than 25,000 women in the Netherlands. There had been concerns among some women and experts that the powerful hormone doses involved in IVF might put them at risk of breast cancer in the future (Guardian 13.11.08). Separate research has found that the chances of successful IVF could be doubled using an embryo quality test which identifies embryos with 'normal' complements of chromosomes (Times 10.11.08). And, according to yet another piece of research, using frozen rather than fresh embryos during IVF reduces the risks of stillbirth and premature delivery (Guardian 11.11.08).

Parents to be paid to walk their kids: Overweight parents will be paid to walk their children to school under new plans to tackle national obesity. The plans, to be tested in towns including Manchester and Halifax, will involve giving parents supermarket-style loyalty cards which collect points that can be redeemed against healthy food, sports equipment or gym sessions. Parents will be able to swipe their cards after walking their children to school. Under the same scheme, Sheffield is to become 'breastfeeding friendly' and breastfeeding 'champions' will teach mothers about its benefits (Daily Mail 11.11.08).

Other stories in brief

The physical effort involved in breastfeeding may leave babies with stronger lungs, research suggests (BBC Online 09.11.08); the number of failing nurseries in the poorest areas of England has nearly doubled in the past year, but there has been a marked improvement in the wealthiest districts, according to new figures (Guardian 10.11.08); a 38-year-old woman has given birth to a baby girl after undergoing the world's first successful ovary transplant with an ovary donated by her identical twin (Daily Mail 12.11.08).
GET YOUR KIDS TO CHANGE THE WORLD We're loving Teach Your Granny To Text, the children's sequel to the global action bestseller Change the World for a Fiver. Its aim is to inspire children to use everyday actions (such as smiling or taking a parent for a walk) to change the world. Read more about Teach Your Granny to Text and order your copy (beats anything with batteries as a pressie).

Hot threads


This week you could win:

Quote of the week

BoffinMum on the funniest comment said to you while breastfeeding: "My funniest one was my dad (an engineer) looking carefully at me expressing some milk with a battery pump, and then commenting, 'Well, that looks pretty inefficient to me. You got two outputs and only one input.' He had a point!"
3 x FREE CHILDREN'S BOOKS FOR EVERY READER Three fabulous books - Christmas Books by Charles Dickens (a collection of five seasonal stories), Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. These books are yours FREE... you just pay p&p of £3.25. Click here to claim your books.
Looking for somewhere to take the kids? Mumsnetters recommend:
Lookout Science Centre in Bracknell. Great for little ones, says nannynick - "forest walks, plus playground".
Lapland UK in Lamberhurst, Kent, is a great winter treat but Cocococo "wouldn’t recommend paying the full amount - it’s better to go off-peak".
The Horniman Museum in south London, which gets the thumbs-up from charmkin. "Free...gardens...lots of hands-on...very good."

Carmenere's recipe of the week: Bealos' spicy celery chutney

Make this delicious chutney soon to allow it to mature in time for Christmas and you'll have a lovely festive-foodie gift. Perfect for spicing up leftovers at home, too.

That's your lot for this week. We're off to do our Xmas card list.

MN Towers

DAYS OUT AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY: the perfect antidote to the madness that is Christmas shopping. The Sainsbury Wing has Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian until 18 Jan 09 (admission £5-£10) and the Sunley Room has Sisley in England and Wales until 15 Jan 09 (admission free).

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