Auntie Ag and Uncle Ony

Counselling

FOR THE BABY WHO HAS EVERYTHING

I am currently on maternity leave from work, and have just given birth to an adorable baby girl. I came home from hospital to find a magnificent bouquet of flowers from my colleagues, plus an almost embarrassingly lavish gift and a card signed with about 30 names. I am wondering what is the best way to express my appreciation?

Selina, Milton Keynes

UNCLE ONY: Why not send a short home video of your new daughter using or wearing the gift that they sent? Make sure the bouquet is prominently displayed in the background! This will make your generous colleagues really feel part of your new experience.

AUNTIE AG: How super, angel, that you should have such caring workmates! Either that, of course, or they are going to sack you and they are sugaring the pill. In any case, a pretty card with a graceful note is all that is required, along the lines of "Thank you all so much for the wonderful bouquet and the delightful solid silver teething ring... etc" - no individual names are required. Send it care of whoever is in charge of the office noticeboard (perhaps the boss's PA?) with a word asking her to pin it up where all will see it. Under no circumstances send a photo of the baby or anything of that ilk; it is irredeemably naff, and if the picture is pinned up alongside the card it will have a inky moustache scribbled onto it in no time. No further gesture is required; after all, even if their present was so stupendous that you long to send a case of vintage champagne, angel, by the time you show your face again everyone will have forgotten your largesse.

ALL'S HAIR IN LOVE AND WAR

Having developed split ends as a result of repeated perms, I recently took my hairdresser's advice and had my hair cut into a bob. My new straight hair was greeted with delight by my children and husband (who showered me with kisses) but completely ignored by my friends and colleagues. (I told one colleague I liked her new hairdo and she replied, "You've changed yours too, haven't you?") Not only am I convinced that no-one but my nearest and dearest like it, I don't like it myself and feel dejected every time I catch sight of it. What do you think? Why do my family see me differently from the rest of the world?

Janet, Essex

UNCLE ONY: I suspect you have an underlying problem with self-assertiveness. Why do you need so much positive reinforcement to confirm your decision to change your personal appearance? After all, on your own head it be, as it were! Quite frankly, the significance that ladies attach to their coiffures is a bit beyond me; after all, it will always grow back.

AUNTIE AG: Don't be dejected, darling. Any drastic new haircut is like a strange dead cat on one's head until one gets used to it, and this can take time. And any hairdo that causes a shower of kisses from a husband cannot be bad! What a morose and miserable bunch of rotters your colleagues are. However, I suspect they are simply apathetic rather than unenthusiastic. If people make any comment at all to one's face it is generally flattering, whatever their inner feelings may be, so I think I would interpret their complete silence as lack of interest rather than lack of enthusiasm, angel. Although you didn't send a photo, I have never seen a perm that was as flattering as a sleeker, more shiny style, so I tend to believe that you will come round to it in the long term. And if you really, truly don't, keep sight of the fact that, as Ony so sagely observes, it will grow again.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A BOSS CLASS BUFFET

I have a medium-senior-ish position in a fairly prestigious company that has recently acquired a new boss. Much to my utter horror, this new man has decided to embark on a ghastly "getting-to-know-the-staff" programme by holding a series of informal buffet dinners at his home. Attendance seems mandatory and my ordeal is next week, along with a dozen or so of my colleagues. Please, please, any tips on how to get through it?

Marina, Chiswick

UNCLE ONY: Why is this such a potentially ghastly ordeal for you, Marina? It strikes me as a charming notion that your new boss would like to know a little about the real you. The very fact that he is holding this exercise means he is interested and friendly. Don't put up any facade, just be yourself!

AUNTIE AG: I can only agree, darling, that this does not sound like an evening of fun. And first and foremost, don't think of it in those terms. However much your boss may think he is hosting a delightful social soiree, you must look upon this as a formal work assignment. Dress as you would for work, even if your usual eveningwear would include a plunging decollete and leather trousers. Eat before you go, that way you will be able to nibble delicately on a dainty canape or two and concentrate on the conversation rather than falling on the buffet like a half-starved horse. Don't eschew the drink altogether, it looks terribly prissy, but restrict yourself to one or two glasses of wine; and don't let anyone top your glass up with too much alacrity. Your boss may claim he wants to get to know the real you but in fact you should concentrate on impressing him with your impeccable work persona, angel; if the real you is a hard-drinking, salty- talking wild-child, don't take this opportunity to reveal it. (Anyway, frankly, darling, the real you is none of his business.)

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Cover Supervisor

    £75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam