Dear Janice, my young daughter-in-law has always taken great care of her appearance however, so far she has gotten Botox, hair extensions, huge false eyelashes, sunbeds, veneers, and now god-awful lip fillers and she looks ridiculous.  She was a bonnie young woman before all this, but now looks like every other cosmetically enhanced female. I’ve said nothing until I saw her latest procedure and told my son that I thought her lips looked awful and way out of proportion, and although he agrees with me and has told her enough is enough, she won’t stop. What can we do to make her see sense as she just doesn’t see what the rest of us see?  Grace.

Dear Grace, to quote Rabbie Burns “Oh the gift that God could give us, to see ourselves as others see us.” Unfortunately, sometimes we only see what we want to see when we look in the mirror and your daughter in law obviously does not see herself the way you do, so telling her otherwise is only going to offend and upset her.  

Apparently 80% of women don’t like the way they look and like most young woman, she will be constantly bombarded with filtered images of perfect looking females whom she is clearly trying to emulate. I have no doubt in years to come she will regret some of her decisions, but for now instead of focusing negatively on her, you both need to focus and highlight the positive aspects she has in her life and do your best to improve her self-esteem to love herself as she is without so much cosmetic intervention. 
Don’t get me wrong, cosmetic enhancement can and does improve lives but if it goes to extremes then its worrying. Botox, fillers, and sunbed tans all fade in time, hopefully by then she’ll have confidence in herself to accept and enjoy who she naturally is.  

Dear Janice, I’m 53 and I feel like an old woman. I am starting to feel the effects of the menopause and I’m already feeling down and sad about the whole situation. I have no energy or enthusiasm to do anything, and my moods swings frighten me and everyone around me. I have read a lot on the subject and my friends tell me I could feel like this for years which is such a depressing outlook. Any advice would be welcome.  Lorna.

Dear Lorna, you’re certainly not alone in thinking and feeling the way you do but let’s get this into some sort of perspective.  First things first. You must visit your GP and find out what your options are. You may be suitable to start taking HRT which can be life changing and make you feel like the old you again without the mood swings, flashes etc. If not, there are holistic medicines to try too. Lorna, no two people will experience the exact same symptoms and duration of the menopause, so don’t fixate on everything you read and hear. Your experience may not be as awful as you are predicting. Talk to your husband, who I’m sure will be as fearful and concerned about this as you are. Together I’m sure you’ll both ride the storm (if there even is one!).

Dear Janice, my friend and her partner of five years bought a house together and she doesn’t seem to realise just how controlling his behaviour is. 
She tells me he moans about her daughter whom he says is spoilt and that their relationship is not normal because they are so close. He also admits that he wants to spend time alone with her all the time, especially when my friend and her daughter have their monthly chick-flick night. He hates it. Best of it is, her daughter doesn’t even live with them!

Whenever she goes to evening gym classes, he insists on going with her and even joins her and her girl chums afterwards for a coffee. What guy wants to sit and listen to girlie chat? 

She pays her way, but he still comes across as very selfish and controlling. I know she loves him, but they are arguing a lot these days. How can I advise her? Karen.

Dear Karen, I guarantee your friend is aware of his controlling behaviour but just doesn’t know how to deal with it. Bit by bit it’s easy to chip away at someone until they become completely submissive. It seems like an easier life to accept and agree with everything, but often it turns out to be the opposite, and your friend could end up isolated with only her partner for company. Which no doubt would make him happy.

Next time he joins you for post-match coffee, make a light-hearted joke about him not having any guy friends to hang out with and that surely, he must be bored listening to your girlie chat. Your friend needs to stand firm when it comes to her relationship and time with her daughter, but perhaps rather than having flick chick nights with him hovering about, they could arrange a monthly treat and have a bite to eat and a drink in a restaurant or pub.  I’m sure as restrictions lift, this will be much more appealing, and means he won’t be there to put a dampener on their fun with his tutting and moaning.  
You’re right to be concerned, so keep an eye on her.