In Depth

Pippa's party book exposes the hellish reality of a Middleton do

No wild nights out with Wills and Harry – but nights up ironing autumn leaves for table decorations

IF PIPPA MIDDLETON thought she was going to escape snarky reviews for her party book, Celebrate, then she doesn't know her perfectly-shaped arse from her well-connected elbow.

First problem is the sheer banality of her advice. "Flowers are a traditional Valentine's token and red roses are the classic symbol of romance." No!

"Tea bags should go in the teapot, rather than individually in mugs." Getouttahere!

Inevitably, this has led to a Twitter parody @PippaTips which the Evening Standard has helpfully deconstructed so that we might know which are genuine Pippa tips and which are fake.

"Hungry but lacking energy to cook? There are literally lots of restaurants you can call with a phone who will deliver food to you"... Fake.

"Breakfast in bed can be anything from a simple pot of tea with a few digestive biscuits to a tray laden with early-morning goodies and flowers"... Genuine.

The New York Post was particularly unimpressed by Pippa's "cheesy ideas" for Halloween, among her suggestions being the use of tomato ketchup as "fake blood" and the sticking of lollipops into a pumpkin to make a centrepiece for the table.

"All this treacle", wrote the Post, "could have been gleaned by reading an issue of Family Circle, circa 1982."

Banal advice aside, the main complaint is that Pippa's parties sound hellishly dull.

Jennifer O'Brien of the Irish Sun was, not unreasonably, expecting a blow-by-blow account of wild nights out with Wills and Kate and Harry. "The bleak reality contains a recipe for Toad in the Hole and a bizarre idea to hang doughnuts from a tree.

"The fact is she comes across as an awful bore ... If you ever get invited to a party Pippa is throwing, you should run in the opposite direction."

Carol Midgley in The Times says she has no problem with Pippa cashing in on her royal connections. "If someone offered me £400,000 to write a book in which I impart the news that potato crisps are good for 'nibbles', I too would bite their hand off..."

It's Pippa's deadly parties that are Midgley's problem. "I've scoured the book and find NO tips on refereeing drunken political rows between guests, how to mask your horror when someone vomits in your bath or how not to fall about laughing at the two people found shagging like dogs on a pile of coats in the back room. Which happens at the best parties."

At the dependably royalist Daily Telegraph, Xanthe Clay said she couldn't hate the book and would keep it because it's "a nice compendium of very British jollity".

But even Xanthe found she wanted to "throttle" the writer. "Sunday lunch, says Pippa quite rightly, is 'essentially unfussy'. To me that means I might stretch to a tablecloth but to Pippa, it's nothing less than handmade place name cards using autumn leaves."

Pippa's book is currently at No 71 in the Amazon bestsellers list – and, like the autumn leaves, falling.

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