Little Darling Diner and…My Daughter is Wonderful

To all those who have contacted me concerned for my cyber-whereabouts, thank you!  Rest assured, everything is just peachy here at Hotly Spiced Headquarters, it’s just I’ve had a few unexpected events thrown at me that have consumed me and these have arrived on top of an already jam-packed schedule.  So I’m doing a bit of juggling.

Now, where was I.

Yes, that’s right, I was about to explain to you why my daughter is wonderful.

One of the very pleasant scheduled events I’ve had recently was a get-together with Tanya from My Kitchen Stories (we hadn’t yet met), Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella.  We planned to meet at 11.30am in a restaurant in Balmain called Little Darling Diner which is a French-inspired diner with lots of old world charm.

Little Darling Diner, Balmain

I had my whole day planned.  I would drop Alfie at school, race to Chatswood, buy fabulous new shoes that are an absolute ‘must’ for an event two days later, relax and browse around the shops and enjoy my own company for 60 minutes, then head in a no-rush manner over to Balmain, some half hour away.

It’s my fault I know, I should not have vocalised my plans, but I made the mistake of telling Alfie, as he was tying his shoes, that we wouldn’t be walking to school, instead I would be driving him because immediately after school drop-off I was heading to Chatswood.  Arabella, like she’d been shot out of a cannon, suddenly sprang from her coma, emerged from her bedroom and appeared in front of me.  ‘Did you say Chatswood?  I’m coming with you’.  And I knew why she wanted to come; it’s because ‘Chatswood’ means shopping.

‘No, you can’t come; you’re not even dressed.  And I’m not coming back here; I’m going out for lunch’.

‘I’ll make my own way home.  I’m ready’.

‘Arabella, I’m going out to the car now; Alfie cannot be late for school.  If you’re not there in five minutes I’m driving off without you’.

But she was there!  She made it.  Somehow she went from pyjamas to shorts and a T-shirt in less than five.  So now I had company.  On my morning of solitude.

We arrived at Chatswood and I bought some shoes.

Give me new shoes with a pedicure and I’m happy

But Arabella got some too…

And she wanted to look at all the new summer stock like the skirts and the dresses and the jewellery and the hand bags and before I knew it my ‘me’ time had been absorbed and I needed to rush to Balmain.  ‘I’ll come with you’, said Arabella.

‘I thought you were going to the library to study’.

‘I know.  I am.  I’ll get a bus to the library from Balmain’.  So Arabella tagged along with me.

Incredibly, we arrived at the Little Darling Diner on time and Lorraine was there to greet us.  I introduced her to Arabella and said, ‘She’s not staying, she’s about to get on a bus to go to the library to study’.  But the waiter was there and he poured me a champagne and one for Lorraine who then realised she couldn’t drink it because she was driving so it was handed to Arabella who smiled gleefully and plonked herself down on a sofa beside us.

A beautiful setting for a high tea

Arabella’s champagne

Then Celia and Tanya arrived and I introduced them to Arabella and Tanya and they were thrilled to meet her.  Tanya asked her all about how she was going with the HSC (fine if you ask me – sitting there swilling down her champagne) because her son is also doing the HSC so there were plenty of stories swapped.  And Celia wanted to talk to her about her plans post HSC because her eldest son is now at Uni and so Celia had lots of great advice for her about how to get into all the universities even if you don’t quite get the mark required (which just might be Arabella’s scenario).

Salted Caramel Macaron, Passionfruit Chocolate Macaron, Pistachio Macaron, Passionfruit Curd with Raspberry Gel Tart, Strawberry Custard Tart, Lemon Meringue Tart, Chocolate Orange Mousse on Dacquoise, Cointreau Golden Truffle Chocolates, Choux Chantilly Cream, Almond Cake, Three-Cheese and Walnut Quiche, Tomato, Onion and Leek Quiche, Ham and Aioli Sandwiches, Smoked Salmon with Sour Cream and Chive Sandwich

So you know where this is going.

Arabella didn’t go to the library.

She joined me not only for my shopping expedition but also for my lunch with friends.

And she charmed the pants off them.

And they said to me, ‘In your next blog post, you need to say some nice things about your daughter.  She’s lovely and she’s been much maligned by your blog.  I don’t see a drama queen at all.  Look at her!  She just offered to go out to your car and check that you haven’t been fined.  She’s a great teenage girl’.

And Arabella looked at me with her champagne in her hand and threw her head back and laughed.

And she laughed all the way home and said, ‘Mum, your blogging friends are so much fun.  I had the best time.  Next time you get together with your blogging friends I want to come’.


The Little Darling Diner is at 485A Darling Road, Balmain.  Ph:  9810 5255

High Tea costs $37.00 and includes a glass of champagne.

Thanks for a lovely day Tania, Celia and Lorraine xx


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  1. Your daughter really is wonderful, even if she took over all your “me” time and friends time. Sounds like you had a fabulous time with the gals and that tea looks gorgeous!! I need to find some blogger friends in Colorado.. Nazneen xx

  2. Good. Arabella is completely gorgeous and didn’t even baulk at our carrying on. You must bring her next time, Charlie! 😉

  3. Glamorous Glutton says:

    I know ‘me’ time is important but what a compliment that your teenage daughter wants to spend time with you and your friends. How wonderful! GG

  4. I just love that Arabella wanted to spend the day with her mom – and got ready in five minutes to do it! This diner sounds delightful and those shoes (both pairs) are awesome!!! Reminds me I need a pedicure too. 🙂

  5. I can understand why Arabella was so charming … new pair of shoes, clothes ‘shopping, high tea and champagne with adult females who sound like they doted on her. What’s not to be agreeable about? 🙂

  6. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Yes Charlie I have to say it’s true… quite a compliment that she wanted to spend the day with you and then lunch too! I love the shoes by the way! I think I would have crashed if I’d seen that delicious looking food.

  7. GourmetGetaway says:

    Lol!! So funny! What a great catch up with new blogging friends

  8. yummychunklet says:

    How fun that you all were able to meet in person! So great to cross that cyber-divide!

  9. Aww what a lovely day to get together with some food blogger pals! Love both your shoes you bought 😀

  10. I am laughing and laughing Charlie – what a turn on your planned day!! I am so glad you had a nice time out though, including with Arabella, and that photo of you both in shoes does not look like a photo of a mother and her daughter but of two teenagers the same age (I speak in terms of the shoes and of the legs!). Your tea looks wonderful too.

  11. I think I have just found one good thing about having all boys, I cant imagine that as teenagers they will find lunch with my friends more appealing than a surf lol. How good is that diner – I have been there a few times now and I just adore the atmosphere and everything about that place, even the fancy loo 🙂 xx

  12. I wondered what had become of you and now I’m green with envy. Not only did you have lunch with my faves, Arabella was there too. I might have to move to Sydney 🙂

  13. Hahaha I’m sure Arabella is a charming, fun and great teenager girl 🙂 She may just be a little bit demanding at home but that’s normal ahahha I was probably a lot worse when I was her age ~

    it sounds like so much fun to catch up with fellow bloggers hehe can’t wait until we meet! Only a couple of days LEFT!!! SUPER Excited xoxo

  14. kitchenriffs says:

    Really funny story. And sounds like a great time. And now Arabella has witnesses that she’s kind, charming, and “great.” You really do have a great family – always enjoy reading about them and your adventures.

  15. Jennifer Cullen says:

    Love the image of Arabella throwing her head back and laughing. It is kind of special to have some no-stress time with a kid. I got some of that this weekend with Julia (13 yo). Wondering how long until she reverts back to normal!

  16. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    What a lovely experience–good for Arabella. I feel like I know you and Lorraine through your blogs, but will have to check out the others. Beautiful high tea as well.

  17. Two things I love: spending time with my mama, and spending time with my blogging loves. Oh, and new shoes. And sweets. This post is golden!

  18. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Isn’t it nice? When I was growing up, most teenagers didn’t want anyone to know they even had parents. Teenagers apparently sprang up half grown out of nowhere. It’s nice that the young people today seem much more willing to hang out with their parents (on occasion anyway).

  19. Aw your daughter is definitely the sweetest my friend – an afternoon tea like this is not the same without bonding 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. says:

    A lovely story and a great re-enactment of the facts. It was apleasure to meet you and Arabella …a fabulous teenage girl!. Good luck with the Maths exam Arabella

  21. I wish(ed) to join your amazing meeting too 🙂 I loved your shoes… Everything seems so beautiful, you are amazing mother and daugther. Blessing and Happiness, Thanks and Love, nia

  22. I would love to meet both you and your daughter. I would have done a lot to have a daughter, tantrum and all, lol! It sure sounded like a blast.

  23. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Arrabella is so cute – makes me re think why I dont want to hang out with my mother with her friends. And this also makes me question if I am a horrible daughter haha 🙁

  24. Loud laughter! Waiting for Lorraine’s ‘take’ of the fun get-together!!

  25. Barb Bamber says:

    I love this! That is the perfect mother daughter day! Katie and I do this all the time and it’s just the best! I get much needed fashion advice (“Mom, that’s so old-fashioned.. are you kidding???) and she gets.. well, she gets my credit card:D Well, not always, she now pays for most of her purchases, but I love to treat now and then. I can just imagine all of you there and am pining to be in your country, lounging on the sofa with all of you. This post was the next best thing! xx

  26. That high tea looks so good – pleased to see two layers of sweet offerings and only one of savoury. They have their priorities right. Our kids know how to charm when they need to. It’s a pity they don’t do it at home.

  27. That tier of cakes etc. looks relish, no wonder Arabella stayed and stayed, how could she resist.

  28. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Arabella was a real darling and so sweet and helpful. Actually all your kids are really wonderful and I think a big credit to you and Carl too! Yes bring her along next time 😀

  29. What a charmer. Well at least she was well behaved and not having a drama moment out with your friends.

  30. InTolerant Chef says:

    Oh no you don’t Charlie! Promise this is a one off, my daughters are charming too and I love them dearly…… But I need some ‘grown up’ friends of my own, just for me- and I assume other mums do too. Every now and then I need a play date of my own, with out the kiddies 🙂

  31. How fun! I can just imagine the giggles at meeting Arabella, the source of so much hilarity and consternation, depending on the day! The tea looks to be exceptionally nice, too, but the company must have been delight! So fun to hear of your lovely engagement, Charlie. Great shoes and pedicure, too! 🙂

  32. Aw, what a sweet story. Arabella has grown up into a nice young woman…mine are always so much better behaved in the company of others 🙂

  33. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    What can I say except this: Too funny.

  34. Hi Charlie,
    Your daughter is wonderful. I hope to have these fun shopping trips and manicures , pedicures done with my daughter( she’s only 6) too in the future. I hope she would still want to hang out with me, then.
    Those shoes are gorgeous!!!

  35. Ha! This cracked me up. I will agree with your previous blogs that Arabella is definitely “high maintenance”….but of course she’s a gorgeous girl and sweet and loves to be with her mom. Aren’t they all high maintenance until they are about 25? Love your new shoes!

  36. Juliet Batten says:

    What a fun story. At least you have a daughter who wants to hang out with you (a lot don’t at that age), and knows how to get on with your friends, and enjoys a good time. Now that’s pretty good I would say.

  37. Lovely day! I have no daughters but adore it when my boys want to hang out with me.

  38. Haha when I was Arabella’s age, I wouldn’t have voluntarily agreed to hang out with my mum and her friends. Then again, my mum didn’t do ‘cool’ things like go shopping for shoes or go to high tea 😀

    PS. Those are gorgeous shoes. Can I ask you where you go them from, please? 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Libby, I got them from David Jones. And they had a special going so yes, it was a good day at the shops!


  1. […] had teddy and your toys as guests, you actually get to eat the food.A get together between Celia, Charlie & Tania was scheduled a few weeks prior and our destination was Little Darling Diner, a cute […]

  2. […] she didn’t appear to be taking the year too seriously.  Remember the post I did, ‘My Daughter is Wonderful’  about her intentions to study at the library but she ended up joining me and Celia and Lorraine […]

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