Study Camp

It’s been a more quiet week and a somewhat more drama-free week with Arabella being on study camp.  But Arabella is homesick.  And that’s amusing given when she’s home she continually mouths off about how much she hates being here – We all annoy her –  deliberately apparently.

Tonight is the last night of the camp.  Instead of studying, they’re having a talent quest followed by a disco.  There’s a Mexican theme and prizes are given for the best decorated table and the best costume.  Before she left for the camp Arabella and I went to the bargain bin shop and bought a few things we thought looked Mexican.  Arabella’s not a die-hard fancy-dress enthusiast so she won’t win any prizes but she will look like a slight effort has been made.

The Local, Neutral Bay

Everyone has to have a date and this is organised by the camp leaders.  The first boy’s name on the alphabetical list has to go with the first girl on the list and this is worked out all the way down through the alphabet.  Arabella thought she was in with a good chance of being partnered with the very gorgeous Hugo.  Missed out by three places.  She found a ‘love letter’ on her desk asking her to the dance.  It was from a tall and lanky guy she says has bald patches and continually stares at her.  She’s not happy.

And so the text messages began.  The first wasn’t so bad.

‘Mum, I’ve eaten a packet of Tim Tams, 12 Caramello Koalas, a jar of Nutella and two chocolate bars all to myself not to mention all the cake they give us for morning and afternoon tea.  Please remove all junk food from the house prior to my arrival’.

I might mention that prior to leaving for the camp, Arabella took me shopping on a mission to buy all the junk food you absolutely must take with you to camp.  It’s just sometimes people share it.  And the text messages continued.

‘Please force me to go to the gym three times a day’.

‘Mum, can you pick me up on Thursday night at 6pm.  We don’t have study that night because of the talent quest and disco.  And then you’re supposed to be picking me up the next morning so there’s no need for me to stay the night.  Can you do that?’

‘Sorry Arabella but I can’t.  I’d have to drive in the peak-hour traffic and it would take me too long to get there.’

‘Can dad?’

‘Dad thinks you should stay and enjoy your Mexican night’.

‘Seriously?  Does dad understand that I have to spend hours and hours going to a talent show and then a disco where everyone will be dancing except me because I can’t dance because I’ve got your rhythm?  I’m not in the mood to be kept up beyond midnight and I would really appreciate a home cooked meal’.

Can you believe she’d like a home cooked meal?  This camp has been so worth while.

The bar at The Local

‘Mum, I need to be fresh for drama tomorrow and ready to start early so can you come and get me now?’

I took a leave of absence from my phone.

‘And I really, really, really want to go on a run.  I’ve put on so much weight with the glange and the junk they serve here.  I can’t help but eat it because there’s nothing else.  My lack of self-control is becoming a problem’.

‘Mum, I’ve just spoken to the boy who has to take me to the dance.  He keeps staring at me.  He’s making me uncomfortable.  I don’t want to go with him’.

‘Earth to mum’.

‘Sorry Arabella, I just can’t come to get you.  It’s too far to drive on this wet night and we’ve been invited out for drinks’.

‘Who invited you?’


‘Where are you going?’

‘A wine bar.’

‘Get maggot for me!’

‘Thanks for that Arabella.  Sorry I can’t get you and try to enjoy the night.  I’ll see you tomorrow morning’.

‘Sure thing.  See you in the morning’.

Study camps are not only valuable for the study benefit.  They are good for letting teenage girls know how good it is at home and how lucky they are to have a home-cooked meal.

Meanwhile, I had a lovely night at The Local Bar.  The bar is owned by George Gregan, ex-Wallaby captain.  Do call in for a drink or two – you might just see him there!

Me with George Gregan. I might add, he voluntarily put his arm around me and his hand on my shoulder. There was no coercion involved.

And I’m so disappointed that this is such an appalling image of me.  And my nose is red not from alcohol abuse but because I have the flu.  But George was happy to give me a cuddle regardless!

The Local Bar,  8 Young Lane,  Neutral Bay

Ph:  9953 0027

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  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    Excellent that camp served more than one purpose for Arabella, even if she is unaware.

  2. A_Boleyn says:

    Sounds like Arabella needs to take more trips away from home so she can appreciate everything she has already.

    It’s also amazing how competent you get when you have to do everything on your own as my own nephew found when he went to uni on the east coast, half way across the country as we live in the relative center of Canada. His next move was almost at the opposite end. Then he ended up in Europe. Now he’s in New York.

  3. You don’t know what you have until you go away for a few days hahaha but be warned that after two days being home she’ll start hating it again!!! You probably already know this anyway!!

  4. Mary Bergfeld says:

    I loved your post today. I’m far enough removed from those years of angst, that I had forgotten what my girls were like back them. Thanks for the smiles and the walk down memory lane. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. Glad it worked out for Arabella (I keep forgetting to mention I think it’s such a lovely name). And you look great, didn’t even notice the red nose, Rudolf, I mean Charlie ;-). How sexy that George put his arm around you! That’s a great scarf Charlie. Have a lovely day/night.

  6. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    This post made me laugh aloud. For all of their individual difference, of which there are obviously legion, it is amazing how similar the teenage experience is worldwide. I didn’t think your nose was red from drink; I thought it might be a wee blush because of the hottie giving you a cuddle.

  7. Nice photo of you with George! I’m sorry to hear you have the flu!

    Arabella, Arabella, Arabella…oh how happy she’ll be to come home! Did she get a lot of studying done? 🙂

  8. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Maybe Arabella will remain happy to be home for at least a week or so.

    Love your scarf; you look great.

  9. I’m sure Arabella will be too happy to be home (impressive candy list though :D)
    And OMG you met him, you met him!!!! *dies/melts*

    Cheers 🙂
    Choc Chip Uru

  10. George Gregan is my hero! I think he’s the cutest thing ever!! You lucky thing for getting a cuddle. All women will hate you now. 🙂 You two look SO cute in that photo and I think it should go on your office wall. I could send you a nail.

    Every time Carl does something you don’t like, just point to the photo and say, “you’re not the only fish in the sea, pal.”

    Looks like a lot was gained from study camp and Arabella is returning with a plan. Her text about home cooked food proves there’s a lovely human underneath the teenager.

  11. InTolerantChef says:

    Isn’t it interesting that she didn’t accept any excuses until you said you were including alcohol? Obviously Arabella has the typical teenage girls urge to party-hearty and understands, or knows only too well her mothers affinity to alcohol and doesn’t dare stand in the way 🙂
    I certainly hope the new found appreciation for home lasts, mums deserve a great big medal!

  12. Otto von Münchow says:

    Your Arabella sounds like a regular teenager. All those big problems they have to fight. I know, but at least my girl is passed it now – sort of…. (And by the way sorry for having been absent lately, I just haven’t had time to comment the last couple of weeks).

  13. Yes, I went to study camp. Loved it. Made a few life long friends. Love your blog Charlie and you are my hero of the week for refusing to pick up Arabella. To bail early, would not have been in the spirit of the camp.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Pip and I wish I’d gone to study camp. These camps are brilliant. Arabella went at the end of Term I. She was able to get in on a cancellation this time and she is booked in for the end of Term III. xx

  14. Nice pic, Charlie – but where was your hand?
    Also – I think god made off buttons on mobile phones just for mothers of teenage girls. We’ve also had those calls from camp from our eldest who was under the impression that we had nothing better to do than listen to her whine and/or relieve her discomfort.

  15. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m glad you went out, despite the flu, and had a drink or two. You certainly deserved it and Arabella will do just fine spending another night. Your kids really crack me up — and I appreciate my Mom more with each of your posts. I’m just glad blogs weren’t around back then. There’s no written record of what I put her through.

  16. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Well it seems like you guys won’t annoy Arabella quite so much when she returns! I know the feeling of craving home-cooked food. When I had to go to camp I was a super fussy eater. I’d come back absolutely starving from eating practically nothing all week (because the teachers always found out stash of junk food).

  17. HAHAHAHA Arabella is so funny lol she ate all that food now she feels bad but still wants more food and wants you to force her to go the gym hahaha even though i love sweets/desserts and CHOCOLATE I don’t think I could eat 12 Caramellow koalas hehe so funny 🙂

    Oh wells I guess it must’ve been nice for your Charlie to have a few days to yourself and go out for drinks with Carl ~

  18. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Now I thought being a parent was easier once they were grown up (in terms of independence) but perhaps not! GG is hot-even I knew who he was and my knowledge of sports people is so limited 😛

  19. That is not an appalling image but I am sorry you have the flu!

    Arabella is clearly good at keeping you entertained / busy / frustrated (I imagine it’s a mix of the 3 a lot of the time?!) even from afar. I wonder how long her new love of home will last? Perhaps you can remind her of the camp experience when she is expressing that Annoyance at everything family 😛

  20. yummychunklet says:

    Hope you feel better!

  21. ChopinandMysaucepan says:

    Dear Charlie,

    I met George once in his cafe on George street although he didn’t put his arm around me.

  22. If anyone derserves a night out with a few bevvies and a handsome Wallaby it is definitely you Charlie! Hope you enjoyed it.

  23. cityhippyfarmgirl says:

    Oh I hope she gives you lots of love and attention, and is happy to eat what ever you serve up with her lovely new appreciation of home 🙂
    I’ll bet she had a hoot of a time at the Mexican night too.

    (ps. hope you are feeling better soon!)

  24. Juliet Batten says:

    Good on you for staying firm and giving yourself a good night out. Arabella has to learn to solve her own problems and not having mum-on-tap!

  25. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Right, finally back after all my internet drama!
    Great photo of you and George Gregan!
    Hope it is smooth sailing when Arabella gets home.
    😉 Mandy xo

  26. The continual texts from Arabella seems like reason to drink. 🙂 … OK … what was your wine of choice on this night?

  27. That’s the way it always is…I miss my mother until the second I arrive home, and then we have to argue about something. Anything. It’s necessary. 🙂 Hope Arabella enjoyed the dance in the end!

  28. lisaiscooking says:

    How great that camp brings a craving for a home cooked meal! I hope she did have a good time at the dance. And, I hope you’re feeling better.

  29. So funny … I love residential camp for exactly this reason. It makes the girls appreciate what they have at home, and suddenly my cooking tastes so much better.

  30. Cucina49 says:

    I am loving the story of your daughter’s calls for camp. I hope she had a good time, but I seem to recall making a few similar calls in my day.

  31. Juliana says:

    It is nice when kids appreciate more home meals or in general when they are away from home…most of the kids including us take for granted what we have 🙂
    Have a great weekend Charlie!

  32. TheSquishyMonster says:

    Arabella has got to be one of the prettiest names EVER! =D

  33. George Gregan sounds like a lovely bloke.

    I hope Arabella came back from camp, having learnt something apart from appreciating her mother’s home-cooked meals!

  34. My guess is you’re never washing your shoulder again? Oh, Arabella’s junk food list is kinda like my life was every day during the last few months of workhell!

  35. justonecookbook says:

    Oh what a fun post! I feel like I’m kind of in between you and your daugther… I still feel like I’m a kid who does similar things like your daughter, while I’m also a young mom who started to understand how appreciative kids should be (because I work hard!!). I feel like I’m seeing my future through your post. =)

  36. I loved it.. reading your daughter’s texts and seeing a bar instead of a dish you’d made.. it reminded me of receiving similar texts while enjoying a relaxing meal out. I must remember to stay calm.. and not text back right away:)

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Barb and yes, sometimes it’s okay for a mother to switch off her phone and have a time out!

  37. I think you’re right…having Arabella away from home for a bit has given her an opportunity to reconsider all you have to offer her at home! I am really glad you didn’t change your plans, Charlie. You need time out with friends to move beyond some of the high drama! Love your comment that you didn’t coerce George to put his arm around you. That’s hilarious! Great photo of the two of you!

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