Rosanna Davison shares her advice in her latest agony aunt column.
Q. I proposed over Easter and it took about 10 minutes for my previously lovely laid back girlfriend to get on the bridezilla bus – I am not going to be railroaded into an extravaganza so I need to be clear about that to her and her mother and sisters and third cousins she hasn’t seen in two years.
I could talk to her but she is not listening right now – would an email seem too aggressive or business like? I can’t start married life taking part in some sham ceremony that has zero spirituality and is all about showing off.
A. Congratulations on the proposal. It’s such an exciting time of your lives, and the opportunities and choices when it comes to what type of wedding to have are literally endless.
So it’s understandable for your fiancee to be getting a little bit carried away while she looks at all of the options, but reality soon hits when the budget is drawn up and she sees how expensive it can be to get married.
If I were you, I would continue to be kind but firm with her and make sure that you’re involved in all of the decisions made, big or small. I feel that an email is probably a bit too much right now, it is formal and the tone might seem harsh – also it’s likely she will relax a bit as the planning continues.
You will need to reach a compromise though, and that may involve inviting more relatives than you had anticipated. There can be a lot of politics involved in weddings, so make sure that you are involved at every step of the way and know exactly what’s happening.
Q. I've put on a bit of weight since having my two children – it will probably come off in time – but not in time for our holiday this year.
I’m now a size 16 and realistically I aim to be between a half stone and stone lighter come June through healthy eating and walking.
What I want are some good tips on how to dress for the beach and the heat in general. My tummy is what I want to hide the most and then my thighs.
My arms are wobbly but I think I can get over that as otherwise I might as well go for some ridiculous all over cover up and what I really want to do is enjoy my holiday without getting too hung up on my flaws – and I don’t want to sit on the beach comparing myself to all the thinner women out there.
A. It certainly sounds like you’re taking a healthy approach to weight loss by doing it gradually through healthy eating and regular exercise. This is by far the best way to lose weight, as people on unhealthy crash diets inevitably end up gaining more weight than they lost once they go back to eating normally again.
But while you’re in the process of returning to your ideal post-baby weight, you can do a lot to dress in a way that makes you feel most confident. As your belly is a problem area, I would suggest you focus on investing in shape wear swimsuits rather than wearing bikinis. There is a good range of online stores than specialise in swimsuits with hidden tummy control panels.
Dark colours like black and navy are more flattering, although bright corals, pinks and reds are so summery and perfect for the beach.
Shops like River Island and Monsoon Accessorize offer a good range of sarongs and other stylish and flattering beach cover-ups, which would be ideal for concealing the areas you feel least confident about.
Q. My teenage daughter has started hanging around with boys at weekends – they meet up in the local shopping centre and spend the day doing nothing from what I can tell but she could be gone for hours on a Saturday and Sunday and I worry not knowing what she is up to plus I think she should be keeping up with other interests.
She explodes if I try to talk to her about it as she is so afraid of missing out on something if she is not there – but they do nothing all weekend and they are on social media all the time anyway.
So how best to compromise on her wishes and our need to make sure she is safe and not making herself vulnerable hanging out with these boys. She seems to think she has an equal say in the matter but I think we need to make it clear that there are lines she can’t cross?
A. As worrying and frustrating as it must be for you as a parent, your daughter is just trying to find her way and this newfound freedom is just part of her figuring out who she is.
At her age, she feels the need to follow the crowd and be involved in what others are doing. It’s a normal teenage drive, before they develop properly as individuals and stop worrying so much about what others think.
It is a shame that she’s wasting so much time hanging around, but once she’s safe then that’s the most important thing. She’s building friendships and learning more about who she is.
My advice is not to force her to stop hanging around with these guys, but keep an eye on her and if the moment is right, then suggest that she invests a bit of time in her other interests so that she doesn’t lose any skills that she’s built.
Also ensure that she’s always available by phone and you agree on a time to expect her home at, as there still need to be boundaries.