My Solemn Oath

My absolute solemn oath is that this is definitely my last post regarding formals.

For a while at least.

After the Valedictory Dinner where Arabella wore the vintage sparkly dress, and after the karaoke bus ride where Arabella wore the dress we originally bought for Val, and after the communal bathroom experience at the Kings Cross nightclub, and after both Archie and Arabella refused to disclose what time they arrived home, and after the 7.30am Farewell Breakfast, there was more.  There was a formal for the school Arabella once went to that is a girls’ school like her current school except it churns out Catholics rather than princesses.

What to wear?

Certainly not the same thing twice.

The Kate Spade dress finally gets taken out

So knowing I was down to my last few coppers, Arabella phoned a friend.  A friend who had worn a dress to Val that Arabella thought was stunning.  Yes, the girl was happy to lend it so Arabella had a ‘new’ outfit to wear.  She had her make-up professionally done but after the previous hair experience that left me totally underwhelmed and overcharged, Arabella agreed to do her own hair.

One of Arabella’s friends from Year 1

We arrived at the pre’s at 4.30pm that were held in a stunning home overlooking beautiful water views.  It was a mild evening and so the catered event was held outside.  Dateless Arabella had a fabulous time catching up with all her old friends and she was so warmly welcomed back into the fold.  One of the girls she enjoyed seeing is a current contestant on X-Factor, a show Arabella likes to watch, and so her friend had a lot of stories to share.

Happy times

After a couple of hours of mingling, it was time for the girls to head off to the event but the parents stayed on for a catered dinner.  Carl and I had a wonderful evening spending time with parents we hadn’t seen for quite some time.  It was lovely to talk with them about their daughters and what they hope to do in the future.

I know these girls and they are all awesome

Meanwhile, Arabella arrived at the formal and saw the teachers who had taught her just a few years ago.  She was overcome with emotion and burst into tears.  ‘Oh, no, the make-up!’ is what I was thinking when I heard the news.  They all hugged her and told her how lovely it was to see her.  She composed herself in the bathroom, stepped out and had the best night ever.  As soon as the music started she was on the dance floor and she danced until the lights went down.

She sent me a text saying, ‘Mum, I’ve had the best night of my life’.

And there could be a no better end to my posts on formals!



  1. wow, so many formals! This one sounds really lovely though. And goodness, Arabella looks stunning in that dress! Though she looked amazing in all of her fashion choices, as did you. Glad you all had such a nice time 🙂

  2. Hahaha Arabella is becoming a socialite 🙂 with so many events, formals and dinners ~ But it’s great! That’s how it should be for her! She’s 18 hehe best time to celebrate and have fun! It’s super nice of her friends to lend her their dress, because it’ll save you so much money and much more environmentally friendly too! Because I understand it is hard to wear the same dress twice, especially for teenage girls 🙂

    You are definitely a great Mother Charlie! Always so understanding and supportive 🙂 My mum tried to convince me not to go to my own formal hahaha not only once but twice, once in year 9 and the other time in year 11 😛

  3. How fun to have so many places to go while wearing a formal! I can’t remember the last time I wore a formal…I think it was to a fancy wedding in SanFrancisco many years ago. Arabella is absolutely stunning. And I’m so happy you were finally able to wear your Kate Spade dress! You looked gorgeous and happy!

  4. Glamorous Glutton says:

    Arabella looks amazing in that dress. How fabulous to be invited to a formal despite no longer being at that school. It’s all very carefully ‘policed’ here – perhaps your 18 year olds are better behaved than ours!? GG

  5. You and Arabella look absolutely gorgeous. It’s so nice that she was able to enjoy so many wonderful events.

  6. My gosh, Arabella looks stunning in that dress 🙂

  7. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Mother and daughter both look stunning. And that is probably the sexiest, most wonderful dress in the world that Arabella borrowed–and it looks fabulous on her!

  8. You’ve definitely racked up a lot of ‘great mum’ points with Arabella after shelling out money for all those proms etc. 🙂 And one day, when Arabella has similar experiences with her daughter(s) and comes to you with her stories of woe, you can remind her of these days.

  9. yummychunklet says:

    Such a good mom!

  10. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says:

    I love her dress so much!

  11. Oh my gosh you have been the best mum anybody could be during this period my friend 😀
    Arabella and her friends look so incredible!

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Arabella looks stunning in that dress!

  13. Arabella looks truly amazing in that beautiful dress!!!! Hugs, Terra

  14. You’re both stunners! 🙂

  15. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Aww that’s so cute! So pretty!

  16. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    The End.

  17. aww, I got all goosebumpy at the end. Nothing makes my heart go all soft than hearing “I’ve had the best night of my life.” How absolutely cool is that?

    And if you could afford it, more formals posts would be just fine, please. 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Maureen but that’s just the problem. I just know we absolutely couldn’t afford any more formals. The formal season continues until the end of November and I’m terrified some idiot boy will invite her to his formal – if anyone does I’ll positively burst into tears!

  18. She’s a knockout!

  19. Barb Bamber says:

    That is indeed the perfect post.. but I hope not the last.. the dresses have been so fun to see:) Your daughter is stunning!!

  20. Wow! Your daughter looks so beautiful!! That dress is a show-stopper! You must be such a proud mum on her grad day! 🙂 Congrats!!

  21. I think Arabella has had the best week of her life (to-date…no doubt there are many more to come). And mom – you’ve outdone yourself. You have a beautiful daughter and pulled off a crazy week with style and grace. 🙂 Congrats to you too Charle!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I know. What a week. Who would have thought so many events could fall all in the space of just a few days. As fabulous as it was, I’m so relieved to be able to put it all behind me – too exhausting!

  22. Dear Charlie,

    What an amazing dress and Arabella looks absolutely stunning in it!!

  23. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    And you have school holiday’s coming up too so you should be able to put your feet up for some much needed R&R.
    🙂 Mandy

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Yes Mandy, the holidays have just started and Arabella is soon heading off to study camp. That will be my downtime and I’m so looking forward to it!

  24. Juliet Batten says:

    Could not have been better! Whew! What a relief to have a happy ending, without too many dramas. Sounds wonderful.

  25. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Hehe there’s no post formal formal? Arabella looks great-she looks like she towers over everyone! 😮

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh, don’t talk it up. She doesn’t need any more ideas! And yes, she’s so tall – six foot but about six five with those platform heels they all wear.

  26. What a stunner Arabella is indeed! I see that the new-dress-per-event doesn’t extend to Mothers too 🙂 Haven’t we seen that lovely size two dress before, I bet you’re just rubbing in the fact that none of the rest of us could possibly fit into it! 🙂 xox

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Ha, ha. Yes, the Chinese dress-makers did a great job of giving that dress a good stretch. I’m so exhausted now and I’m just so pleased I can put the week behind me. I don’t think I could have survived another day of parties/formals/graduations.

  27. says:

    Arabella sure loves a formal doesn’t she. That is dedication to a cause. She looks beautiful. Good on you Mum

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Yes, Arabella and her friends are soooo social. They just love to kick up their heels. As fabulous as it was, I’m so glad to put the week behind me – exhausting!

  28. justonecookbook says:

    So many formals at such a young age – and it’s a great practice to act like an adult. We don’t have this kind of events in Japan and wished that we have so we get to wear gorgeous dress!! Arabella looks super gorgeous! You did a wonderful job, Charlie! Congrats to you both!

  29. Amen to that. No better end, indeed!

  30. I bet you said thank goodness – time to get back to normal life! You both looked gorgeous in all your outfits.

  31. Arabella looks amazing (and you do too in your size 2 by the way), definitely more a princess than a Catholic ;o)

  32. You are both looking so beautiful and also so elegant. I loved your dresses… With my best wishes for you both. Thanks and Love, nia

  33. Looks like Arabella was stealing the show with her outfit. She looks great! Rather her than me though – I hated events like these. When I was finishing school I think I showed up for 30 minutes just to put in an appearance and the took off. Doesn’t really help that I didn’t actually like my class-mates very much 😀

    • hotlyspiced says:

      It sounds like you had a difficult time at school. Arabella’s schooling has been tumultuous to say the least but one thing she’s never been short of is friends – quite the social butterfly as you’ve probably already realised.

  34. You both look gorgeous – absolutely love Arabella’s dress/makeup..she looks like a total celebrity!!

  35. What a joy to see your daughter so beautiful and enjoying life! And she probably thinks that this is the pinnacle of it all…and she undoubtedly has so many lovely times ahead of her. Congratulations to the whole family…getting her to this point had to be a family project! 🙂

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