Monday, 9 January 2012

On party shirts and other things...

My husband normally dresses from a conservative colour palette of greys and blues; the shirt above is something of an anomaly in his wardrobe. I bought it nearly a decade ago from French Connection having fallen in love with it purely as a piece of reality seeing someone actually wearing this rosebed of a shirt wasn't as delightful as I'd first hoped as it tends to overpower the face somewhat. However, despite my reservations, it's a shirt that my husband took to with an unexpected zeal and enthusiasm and he has brought it out at every opportunity where one might find oneself dressing with the anticipation of celebration. I will often walk into a room in a flurry of house tidying, preparing for a party or guests to arrive, and find that instead of my usual husband, I find a man wearing this raucous shirt with a wicked grin on his face. It has become known as his party shirt.

This weekend it was his birthday - when he opened the door to greet our friends for lunch, they squealed at the sight of the shirt and instantly assumed that I'd made it for him. Shirt analysis decided that the word for it was 'jaunty' and debate established that I, Florence, felt it had a little too much 'jaunt' about it. However, despite the fact that it hurts my eyes, I'm quite delighted by his wearing of this shirt. It feels like the popping of a champagne cork in terms of what it represents when he chooses to put it on. I remember from childhood that my father also had a party outfit: he used to don a white tee-shirt with a large, pink, floral mushroom silhouette that my mother had appliqued onto it (apparently to cover a hole) and some super-wide denim flares whenever my sister or I had a birthday party. He would be particularly devilish when he wore this outfit and I secretly wished that he'd wear it all the time. I think my mother was relieved that he didn't.

I took these photos of his shirt this all good party shirts should the next day, it looks a little crumpled.

This year I made my husband a non-traditional birthday cake. It retains the standard two layers of sponge, although in this case they are highly flavoured with the juice and zest of lemons, while inside there is a thick layer of lemon curd and the cake is topped with an enormous dome of gently brown meringue which obscures the top layer of sponge entirely. I adapted this cake from a recipe for cupcakes which I saw in the very wonderful Primrose Bakery Book. I also whipped up just three or four of the cupcakes too, so that my little boy could take some with him when he went visiting grandparents briefly. 

I love the way these look when cut in half, even though I don't advocate sharing these cakes. I used Duchy Originals Lemon Curd which was excessively good and makes me want to write to Prince Charles himself to congratulate him on such a winning recipe.

I had a book voucher given to me for Christmas and was drawn instantly to this recipe book. I've owned it for far less than 72 hours, yet I may also have referred to it to make some chocolate cupcakes topped with a very thick layer of caramel icing for a different set of visitors which were declared by my husband as being one of the best things he'd ever tasted and didn't stay intact for long enough to be photographed. It is the most glorious baking book and I am having to quash my impulse to work my way through the recipes in just one short week for fear of making my beloved guinea pigs, less guinea, more piggy. If you wish to have a copy on your own kitchen shelves, you can find it here.

I should also say that the day before his 36th birthday, my husband, gave up the two days a week that he'd retained at his old job (following the initial leaping) and is now working five days a week for himself, designing apps. An event worthy of some rosebed shirt wearing. All that remains is for him to clear his desk and say goodbye to over a decade of work, which is what he is doing as I type. I'm feeling entirely positive about what the new chapter may hold.

Florence x

Ps. And in a blatant and unashamed piece of husband promotion, I hope you won't mind me mentioning that if your child is of the age for learning or practising their times tables, a very wonderful app sits in the Apple app store to help them do so. Just search for 'Squeebles' in the app store to find a creature-led educational learning system for iTouch, iPhone and iPad. I think that it would be 69p / $1 very well spent. Yours, promotionally, Florence x


  1. All good wishes to you and Mr Teacakes in your new venture - my husband 'jumped ship' and became self-employed, it was scary but well worth it. Quite agree about the Lemon Curd, just delicious, and that's a great cake. Love the shirt, my husband has a T shirt that quotes Shakespeare 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' the effect is interesting!

  2. yay! congrats Ian and enjoy the new freedom :)

  3. Love that shirt! I couldn't picture my DH wearing it though, hehee! And thanks for the tip on the cookbook, currently sitting in my amazon shopping basket, otherwise full of littlest pet shop characters...

  4. I've been meaning to post about the squeebles app, I downloaded a number of times table apps for my daughter enjoys the squeeble one the most.
    She takes great joy in a new creature being released and then proceeds to tell me all about it! Pass on my thanks to Mr Teacakes!

  5. Lovely shirt and the cake looks delish! I love lemon curd - my mum used to make lemon curd cupcakes when I was little which I still make today. If you like the Primrose Bakery cookbook you might like to have a look at the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days (if you haven't already) - their recipes are amazing and the Sticky Toffee cupcakes are to die for.....!!!!!! x

  6. Those cupcakes look FABULOUS!

  7. So it's kind of like a lemon meringue pie but with two cakes instead of pastry? Ingenious! Cake is obviously better than pastry. Boyfriend has no party shirt and now I feel like he needs one - although we're both very un-partyish people. My dad likes to don a bow-tie occasionally, which is possibly a bit more subtle but I think has a similar effect.

  8. The cakes looks delicious and the squeebles are currently being downloaded to my phone! Perfect for my two: thanks!

  9. Oh my! Cake, lemon curd AND meringue!
    What heaven.
    I so wished you hadn't cut that cupcake in half though, I'm drooling now.


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