Thursday, 22 November 2012

Book Review: Celebrate by Pippa Middleton


Last night I read Celebrate, Pippa Middleton's new book on entertaining, cover to cover in one sitting after it arrived on pre-order from Amazon this week. Not sure why I had it on pre-order, I was under the misconception that it would be up there with Amy Atlas' book or even Tori Spelling's party book. Let me tell you, it wasn't the most difficult of reads, in fact all the content and ideas were beyond basic. You probably would have read all the bad press written about this book with rumours Pippa actually enlightens us all on how to make ice cubes and even boil and egg. Well the rumours are correct,  I can actually confirm she does give instruction on how to make ice!

The book explores the different seasons of the year and their correlating celebrations that go with them (a bit weird to read given we celebrate all the events she mentions in the opposite seasons, but anyway!). Some of the celebrations however I wouldn't classify as celebrations, nor even entertaining. Her chapter on camping left me somewhat puzzled as to how this could be categorised as an event you would cater and make crafts for? Not to mention I wouldn't have thought that Pippa Middleton has ever even camped in her life! Her tips in this section though are complete 'no brainers' like ensure you take shelf stable milk camping as fresh milk won't keep........well der! The funniest bit of this chapter though was the list of camp fire songs (complete with lyrics!) to sing on your next camping expedition......seriously?

But aside from the camping, she covers all the usual holidays, Halloween, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years and Easter, all which seem very basic, with her even telling you when to make the all important purchase of the Christmas presents in her Christmas planner (like you need to be told!). And of course there is the important note on freezing meals between Christmas and New Years as if all stores shut up shop for the week......come on! The chapter on Easter did share some good ideas though, however they weren't things I would probably ever refer to again.

She also covers 'celebrations' (and I use that word loosely) such as breakfast in bed, dinner parties, picnics and supper. But to me it read more like a housewives guide than an entertaining manual. Do you really need to be told to remember to put a jug of water on your dinner table when entertaining guests? I think not. But Pippa provides all the essentials needed for your celebrations such as  decorating ideas, suggested menus, crafts (which are a bit of a joke - the 'seaside jewelery' for a beach picnic made me wet myself a little) and even games! Each celebration, whether it be a casual Friday night supper with friends or formal Christmas lunch with family, comes complete with a set of games that you and your guests can participate in! Egg and spoon races, bobbing apples, tug of war......should I go on?! There are even suggested poetry recitals for a Scottish celebration! How very proper!

The section I was most interested in though was the kids parties, surely she would have something good to contribute here, but again.....epic fail. The ideas and concepts were old school and the tips were beyond basic. Given all the great kids party ideas out there I would have at least thought there would have been a cake pop or designer cupcake in there somewhere, but alas no. My husband kept reminding me as I was reading to remember that these are all British ideas on entertaining.........but to me they weren't even ideas, just housewife basics. But even then there were some ideas in there that no housewife would embrace. Sure we all have emergency stashes of party napkins and tealight candles, but I'm pretty sure no one I know has a 'party cupboard' for all those 'emergency parties' that you have to throw where you would need party hats, blowing bubbles, balloons, balloon weights and dress ups at the drop of a hat.

So given all that, how did I rate it? A dismal 2/10. Pippa, I'm sorry, but you are not the Amy Atlas of the U.K, nor will you ever be.

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