EVERY mum in Hillingdon should be a member of the website www.netmums.com /hillingdon.
If you've not discovered the joys of being a Hillingdon Netmum yet, let me fill you in.
It's a brilliant concept that was the brainchild of a couple of very clever mums in Harrow and is now a national force to be reckoned with.
Each area around the UK has it's own Netmums neighbourhood website and as Hillingdon was one of the first netmums sites, it's one of the best around as it's so well established.
I like the noticeboard area best - basically mums in Hillingdon post useful advice for other mums as well as answering questions posted by others. It's helped me out of a hole many a time!
A superb new netmums concept is the Meetups where local Hillingdon volunteers are arranging regular informal get togethers in the borough, whether it's a picnic in a local park or a cup of tea at a local coffee shop.
There are currently Meetups being organised in Uxbridge and Ruislip/Eastcote as well as Hayes and the recent Pinner one had over 40 mums involved! If you want to find out more simply register at www.netmums.com/hillingdon and look in the Netmums Coffee House at the Meet-Ups thread.
I just know this is going to be a real lifeline to those finding themselves stuck at home with a new baby and mums who have just moved into the area as well as mums just looking for something different to do.
Netmums is often the reason I'm running behind, as I pop on to the computer to see if there's any interesting news or if someone has answered a question I posted and before I know it I'm late again.
However I have to tell you my morning school run is a lot calmer due to a wonderful new invention I've discovered - cordless hair straighteners!
Those Mummies with naturally poker straight hair or tumbling natural curls will be scoffing at this point, but anyone who looks in the mirror on a weekday school run morning and sees wild kinks and a bed-head will know what I'm talking about.
It's bad enough trying to get Alex's sticking up bits of hair smoothed down, let alone deal with my own.
Well not anymore! Freedom 24:7 have launched a fabulous cordless hair straightener that although slightly smaller in size is just as powerful as regular straighteners.
They are going to be great for travelling as they come with a special charger pack that has adapters for other countries.
My favourite part of this brilliant invention (which incidentally must have been dreamt up by a woman) is the car cigarette charger!
Now I'm not recommending you drive on the school run and straighten your hair at the same time, but it does mean you can charge and go and finish off your hair in the car park before getting into work!
Now they are not cheap at £99 but with Christmas a few months away it could be something to put on your list.
Oops, I mentioned the C-word again. Since the large photo of Father Christmas in last weeks column and the discussion about Christ*** I've had a lot of abuse from Mummy readers of this column bemoaning the fact that it's just too early to mention the dreaded C-word.
My humble apologies!
Cathy's website recommendations:
* www.netmums.com/ hillingdon The netmums website for Hillingdon has loads of really useful information in it but these are my recommended, don't miss parts of the site:
1) Noticeboard - The noticeboard should always be your first port of call. You'll regularly see me and lots of other local mums posting advice on great things we've found in and around Hillingdon or answering each other's questions.
2) Household Help - This board has lists of recommended tradespeople, eg cleaners, plumbers, builders etc. Rather than just flicking through the telephone directory, you can get an independent point of view on a local tradesman from another mum.
3) Clubs & Classes- This section contains an exhaustive listing of every type of kids club and class you can imagine, many of the postings also have personal comments and recommendations from mums that have actually taken their children along.
4) Parties - Whether you are looking for a hall to rent or a children's entertainer, all the local party options are listed here.
5) Coffeehouse - This is a great place for a general chat with other netmums members up and down the country or some of the local mums.
Other good parenting websites are:
I really like the product review section. I often refer to the best toys and gift section and the recommended travel section. I also enjoy the weekly email round-up of the best comments on the chat boards as it's always laugh out loud funny. There are lots of unique acronyms used on mumsnet, my favourite being Fanjo!
If you are pregnant this website delivers a weekly update on how your baby is developing, directly to you inbox every week. I found it really reassuring throughout my pregnancy.