The Tailor’s Dress

On the day of the Formal Arabella woke to a phone call from the tailor advising that his daughter, who was going to deliver the dress to us, now couldn’t as she had been caught speeding through a 40km school zone and had her licence torn-up on the spot.  He asked if Arabella would prefer to collect the dress from Ryde where one of his daughter’s would be starting work at 2pm (45 minute drive) or from Parramatta at 3pm (60 minute drive) where the other daughter would be.  Arabella went slightly tense as she advised the tailor that at 2pm she would be having her make-up done at Mac Cosmetics in Paddington (further away from both Ryde and Parramatta) and at 3pm she would be having her hair done at Valonz Haircutters, also in Paddington.

Having her make-up done

Arabella asked the tailor if the dress was ready and he said, ‘Yes,’, but you would all know that things can be lost in translation.  She then asked if it would be okay for her and her ‘special friend’ to drive out to Liverpool (90 minute drive) to collect the dress.  He said, ‘Yes’.  The special friend was given the keys to my car and off he went with Arabella for an extended tour of Sydney.

Meanwhile I took Alfie to school and then headed off for a swim squad.  I explained to Arabella that it was essential for my health and well-being to have a 60-minute time-out from her life that is drama-central,  ‘So don’t phone or text me, I’ll be under-water’. The time-out was short lived as my phone was pinging and vibrating as I entered the change rooms.

Arabella had made it to Liverpool.  The tailor had been up all night.  The dress was not ready.  He made Arabella try it on and then pinned and re-pinned and unpicked and re-sewed and Arabella was getting stressed.

It’s so hard to put away your phone!

The plan was that they would drive back here, carefully hang up the dress and then we would get back into the car and drive to Cockle Bay where I had been promised a refund on the tickets I had purchased for the after-party, then we would make our way to Paddington for the hair and make-up sessions.  Now there was no time to pick me up.  ‘Mum, could you catch a bus and meet us in the city?  We’ll pick you up from Cockle Bay’.  How much would I love to catch a bus!

‘How are you getting to Cockle Bay?’

‘Fred’s driving and I’m navigating’.  That’s not good.  Arabella has no sense of direction.

‘It’s really hard to get to Cockle Bay.  I’ll meet you in the city.’

‘No mum, I know where it is.  I’ve been there before.’

‘Okay’.  I was wearing high-heeled boots and hobbled to the bus stop and caught a bus to the city then ran across to Cockle Bay which took about half an hour.  My new boots were killing me.  At the venue I was given my refund then waited for the pick-up.  And I waited and I waited, where it was blowing a gale and was freezing cold.  I phoned Arabella.  ‘Where are you?’

‘We’re nearly there, we’re just coming down William Street’.  William Street?

‘Are you in Kings Cross?’

‘Well we were, but we’re on our way back.’  Kings Cross is not on the way from Liverpool to Cockle Bay.

‘What were you doing in Kings Cross?’

‘Mum, we went the wrong way.  Just wait where you are.  We’re nearly there.’

Next thing I saw them speed past me while I frantically waved and chased after the car.  I called Arabella again.  ‘Did you see me waving?  You were in the wrong lane.  You just sped right past me.  Where are you now?’

‘We’re in North Sydney.  We’re just coming back now’.

‘North Sydney?  Did you just go back over the bridge?’

‘Mum, we couldn’t help it.  We got stuck on some sort of a freeway and we couldn’t turn off.  We’re heading back over the Harbour Bridge now.’

‘Well don’t come to Cockle Bay, you’ll never find me.  I’ll go over the over-pass and head back to the city.  Get onto York Street and stay there.  I’ll run.’  So in my brand new boots that were killing me I ran back across the over-pass and into the city where I waited in York Street for Arabella and the special friend.

Finally they arrived and I moved him into the back seat and took the wheel.  Hmmm, with all that extra driving going via Kings Cross and North Sydney there now wasn’t a whiff of petrol left in the tank.  And there are no petrol stations in the CBD.  Excellent.  Someone call on the Lord for mercy!

We made it to Paddington and dropped Arabella off while the special friend and I looked for a park and we managed to find one right outside Valonz.  We ran back to Mac where Arabella was having her make-up applied and they did a great job.  Arabella and I were both happy.  Special friend was bored.

The hairstyle that will not detract from the dress!

We ran to Valonz for the hair appointment.  Arabella showed them the photos of the dress and Diane, the most experienced up-do hairdresser who mostly does the hair of models for editorial shoots, said, ‘With a dress like that it’s all about the dress, not the hair.  You’ll wear it pulled back from your face and done up so nothing detracts from the dress’.  Right then.  So Arabella sat up and her hair was done and she and I were very happy.  Special friend was not only bored but now looking exhausted.

We hopped into the car.  It was 3.45pm and we were hosting the pre-pre’s at 4.30pm.  We came home via our local petrol station and thanked the Lord we’d made it without a break-down.  We then picked up the corsage special friend had ordered earlier that day.  I noticed I had parked across the road from a bottle shop and remembered I needed some champagne for the pre-pres.  With such sore feet I gave special friend some money and asked if he would mind going in and buying a couple of bottles of sparkling.  A few minutes later he was back empty-handed.  They wouldn’t let him buy anything because he didn’t have ID to prove he’s over 18.  He’ll be 20 next week.  So with time being of the essence I got out of the car and marched into the bottle shop and you won’t believe it but they wouldn’t serve me because they said I was ‘a secondary’ and as they couldn’t prove special friend was over 18, I could be buying it on his behalf.  It took two of them to deliver me this news.

‘The alcohol is for me.  Doesn’t it look like I need it?’

‘We’re very sorry ma’am, we cannot serve you’.

We’re dealing with a world gone made.

The Tailor’s Dress

We made it home.  Archie went to the bottle shop (a different one) with ID and bought the champagne.  Special Friend had a shower while I ironed his shirt.  Arabella slipped into the dress.  We had the pre-pre’s, then took her to the pre’s, then drove her and special friend to the Taronga Function Centre for her night of nights.

Arabella and ‘Special Friend’ and the corsage and the back of the dress

They arrived home late last night and Arabella said it was her best formal EVER.

So it was all worth it then.

Me and Arabella. Yes, I’m standing on a step!

But there’s no rest.  She’s already started talking about her plans for the other formal she’s going to in two weeks time.

Where’s the rest of that champagne?

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  1. Oh my gosh, she looks like a supermodel.  So beautiful!  The fabric looks incredible.

  2. Gorgeous! Now YOU need a rest! 😉

  3. Oh My God!!   I love that tailor!!  He might have a crap timetable but he puts together a fantastic dress.  Charlie she’s beautiful and has a million dollar smile. 

    I hope you sleep so well tonight.  Nobody deserves it more than you do.  

  4. Denisetyrrell1 says:

    Oh goodness I am exhausted and my feet are sore just reading, kids eh!

  5. Wow, look at you and your angel.  You should have put more bubbly in your glass, or did you gulp it down already?  The dress looks fantastic.  Can’t wait to hear how the whole night goes off!

  6. What a beautiful ending.
    Arabella is devine in her specially made dress & the photo of you both is precious. Thanks for sharing such a huge story, it was such a joy to read. Loved the laughs. X

  7. Amazing dress!!!!!! She looks great!

  8. She looks beautiful.  Thank goodness you both survived the madness.

  9. Hi,
    Wow, she looks fantastic, the dress is Divine, and what a beautiful photo of the two of you together.
    It all worked out in the end, but after all that you had to go through, at least now you can relax. 🙂

  10. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. You, my dear friend, are a rock star of a mother. Incredible.

    However, I cannot stop laughing at the debacle with the champagne. I remember being so annoyed when I went into a liquor store a few days after turning 18 to proudly show my ID, and no one carded me. They never get these things right, those stupid alcohol-selling people…

  11. Arabella is absolutely stunning in that gorgeous dress. But what you had to go through to get her into that gown and off to the formal… How you managed to maintain your composure I can’t imagine.

    Wonderful pic of you and your girl.

  12. How absolutely beautiful she looks and how proud you look.   

    Hate to ask, but if ‘special friend’ had no ID to show at the bottle shop was he driving without a licence?  

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That didn’t occur to me until I read your comment. Yes, I guess he drove my car without his licence! Teenagers! xx

  13. It was all worth it … Arabella looks gorgeous!

  14. Oh Thank God! I read your yesterday story at the tailors house and I was bummed!
    Your Arabella is a doll and the dress looks amazing on her.
    Now you my friend Charlie, you are so cute and look so relaxed! 😮

  15. Arabella looks beautiful but I’m not sure I could handle the stress!  Boys definitely have it easier at the formal.  GG

  16. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    How sweet you too look together!   The dress is amazing!

  17. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    All’s well that ends well!  Lovely photo of you and Arabella.  You Charlie, are the mother of all mothers – hope you got the kings share of the bubbly – you richly deserve it!
    Enjoy the weekend – hope you get loads of R&R.
    🙂 Mandy

  18. Sigh. Arabella looks gorgeous, as you do! Did you tape the dress on like the supermodels do? It’s the long weekend now, and you deserve an entire day in your pjs! 🙂

  19. Choc Chip Uru says:

    Arabella finally got the perfect formal day – she looks stunning in that dress 😀
    You deserve now a lie-in weekend 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. Just reading the events of your day was exhausting! Thank heavens it’s over with.

  21. Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella says:

    I’m so glad that it worked out in the end! now I need a stiff drink because that was so stressful! 😛 I don’t know how you do it Charlie! 🙂

  22. Juliet Batten says:

    Wow! What a drama, but the result is just stunning. Let’s hope that you can have a quiet life for a bit after all this.

  23. What a traffic… I am so glad that everything was fine at the end… Dear Charlie you are amazing, I wouldn’t have been like you… Your daughter seems  so beautiful, her dress, her make-up and her hair wonderful…Blessing and Happiness, Thank you, love, nia

  24. Barbara at winos and foodies. says:

    The dress is such a pretty colour. You both look fabulous.

  25. ChgoJohn says:

    That’s a great color for her, the occasion, and season. She looks beautiful — and so does her friend. I hope she has a wonderful time at The Formal and her friend finds some time to relax a bit with a glass of wine. Both deserve it.  🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks so much John. She was really happy with how well it all went off and I think I’m more relieved than she is! xx

  26. The dress is perfect!  So pleased Arabella was well enough to go–I know the GLANGE worried you.  She looks lovely and so do you.  Glad to see you enjoying a bit of well-deserved bubbly.  

  27. Catherine Seaglove says:

    Truely stunning x

  28. Arabella looks stunning. What a day, so glad it all ended well.

  29. Oh so beautiful! I hope she had a wonderful time! 

  30. So glad that all’s well that ends well. The dress is spectacular and so is Arabella. Glad she had fun. Hope your feet have healed. You need to treat yourself to a little reflexology. I think you’ve earned some pampering.

  31. OMG Arabella’s soooooooo pretty in that dress 🙂 I think the tailor did a wonderful job ~ Even though it seemed like a really crazy night for you ~ it’s all worth it because Arabella had a wonderful night woo hoo! 

  32. Nice dress, sorry about the licence!!

  33. What a day. What a week / month / ?? in the lead up! But she looks absolutely amazing – in every photo really but the dress clearly is gorgeous – and I’m glad the night was worth it for her if, perhaps, not for you!

  34. The dress is absolutely gorgeous! Just stunning. Arabella looked amazing! Congrats on a job well-done mom. And yes, I’d say you deserve a bottle all to yourself. 🙂

  35. Having just gone through Prom season here, I can soooo relate! For us, though we finally got the dress taken care of, our daughter’s date was a real let down, telling her 1 week before the dance he wasn’t going. (hubby could have strangled him.) Drama beyond drama … however, in spite of such a huge disappointment, she had a fabulous time.
    Arabella is stunning, she is so beautiful she would make a gunnysack look amazing, but that dress is gorgeous. So glad it all turned out well for your girl. 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh Judy, aren’t these events just packed with drama. We had the same situation last year where Arabella’s date canceled at the last minute. It was a fancy dress formal (being Yr 11) and I had already driven miles to collect the fancy dress costume for her and her date and I’d bought his non-refundable ticket. I thought his mother owed me a phone call at least and a year later I’m still waiting. Arabella was a mess and couldn’t think of who else to invite so she went on her own and had a horrible time, left early and came home in tears. Like you say, ‘drama beyond drama’! xx

  36. Wow, you really have a lot of drama in your life Charlie. The dress is stunning. Hope she had a marvellous time at her prom. To be honest, I think I passed on mine (I was already dating JT and they wouldn’t let him come to the prom!). Sigh.

  37. InTolerant Chef says:

    I think I need a stiff drink after living this saga second hand through you Charlie, so you at least deserve a whole bottle to yourself 🙂
    I’m glad it turned out all right on the night, and Arabella certainly looked stunning!

  38. Lordy, formals are a special kind of hell, really.  What with the pre-pre’s. the pre’s, the post’s and all the bloody carry-on leading up to the day they drive me mad!  My daughter decided that she didn’t want to go to her formal this year and I was thrilled to bits. Sadly, her mind was soon changed and we were launched into the whole drama, although we took a very unpopular decision and refused to let her go to the post party. She had only just turned 16 that week (she’s the youngest in her class) and anyone who has formal-aged kids knows what goes on at those parties.  She pretended to be upset for about 10 minutes or so, but was not at all convincing – even her aunt noted that she seemed to be sulking insincerely – and we got to avoid getting up at 3 in the morning!

  39. Waw, Your daughter looks just stunning & beautiful in that georgous dress! You & your lovely daughter rock! 🙂 What a story!

  40. Yes, the hair was just right for such a stunning dress. Glad it all turned out well in the end.

  41. Very beautiful dress….. was she pleased?. I really dont know how you cope. Is this year 11 or 12…. hope you dont have to do it again!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Fortunately Tania, it was Year 12. It should all be over except for the fact a boy has invited her to his formal. I’m having a week’s rest then we start the whole thing over. Surely this is the last?

  42. Nice dress, she looks so tall for her partner.

  43. Well done Mom … and I hope her evening went well.

  44. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    The dish turned out beautiful. I think you might want to buy a case of bubbly…I don’t see life slowing down anytime soon.

  45. Gorgeous dress! And, I knew about Kings Cross because it’s mentioned in Downton Abbey!

  46. SHe looks stunning Charlie, I am glad everything turned out great in the end

  47. Well doesn’t she scrub up good?! 😀 The dress turned out really well – glad it all worked out smoothly in the end!

  48. justonecookbook says:

    She is GOOOOOOOOOOORGEOUS!!!  You two look beautiful together.  I enjoyed your post Charlie!

  49. Oh no…you need a rest before the next one! How delightful! She is a beautiful girl, Charlie, and I think the hair is secondary to the dress, and the dress is secondary to her beautiful smile. That’s a wonderful photo of the two of you and I hope Arabella had a wonderful time…and that you didn’t get ANY texts or phone messages the entire time she was out 🙂 Debra

  50. She looks stunning. Man though you live a crazy life Hun, long live the champas 🙂 xx

  51. Nuts about food says:

    I got tired just reading this…

  52. I am out of breath…. Glad all went well in the end. I love the colour of the dress. Your daughter looks lovely.

  53. Arabella looks absolutely beautiful! (and you too, of course, Charlie!) I was also exhausted reading this, but it looks like it was worth it! 🙂


  1. […] for her formal only to decide that she  needed two dresses and could Charlie dash her off to a tailor on the other side of town who would make this gorgeous dress she had imagined in her head.  As any […]

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