Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, has finally released her self-penned guide to party planning, but the 400-odd page glossy tome has been panned in the media.
Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Family and Friends has been described as "brimming with cheesy ideas for ho-hum fare and goofy tablescapes" by NY Post writer Carla Spartos, who says the "jet-setting It girl is reduced to doling out family-friendly party advice that shows her clearly out of her depth".
"For a DIY child's-bowling party, she casually suggests using small drink bottles as pins. And filling them with "white gloss paint and a drop of paint thinner," plus some gravel for heft," Spartos writes.
"Because nothing livens up a grade-school event like 10 paint bombs with a stony shrapnel surprise inside!"
The book was hardly better received on the other side of the Atlantic, with Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir taking potshots at the youngest Middleton's first foray into publishing.
Pippa's painstaking descriptions of how to play conkers, how to hold a sparkler and how to correctly toast marshmallows, interspersed with "family memories" have certainly not fared well with the critics.
"Certainly, a few might think that some of what the ambitious younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge actually writes here must be aimed at some sort of halfwit hostess who has never thrown a party before, can't bake a potato without laddering her tights and has lost the recipe for making ice," Moir said.
"On Bonfire Night, she suggests having a bonfire. For Hallowe'en, how about pumpkin soup served in a hollowed-out pumpkin?
"To stop cakes going stale, she advises storing them in something called 'an airtight tin', while hot drinks for picnics should be poured from flasks into 'mugs or paper cups'."
While Spartos says Pippa seems to be "aiming at mediocrity, Moir is slightly kinder, deciding she is "modest and kind, if a little deluded about her prowess as a domestic goddess."
Aside from explaining how to play conkers: "Each player has a conker threaded onto a piece of knotted string and pairs of players take it in turns to hit each other's conker. "The conker should hang perfectly still, ready for your adversary to strike. The game is won when one conker is destroyed or knocked off its string" Pippa explains that her expertise has been gleaned from writing a blog about her parents' online business Party Pieces.
She also inexplicably addresses her new found fame and her derriere, saying although she is trying to come to terms with it, she's forging on with her career and making the most of it. Most of it being a reported $640,000 advance for the book."It is a bit startling to achieve global recognition before the age of 30 on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom," she writes.
"One day I might be able to make sense of this. In the meantime, I think it's fair to say that it has its upside and its downside.
"I certainly have opportunities many can only dream of, but in many ways I am a typical girl in her 20s trying to forge a career and represent herself in what can sometimes seem rather strange circumstances."Despite all the criticism, Celebrate is already on the Amazon top 50 bestsellers and is expected to be a big hit at Christmas.
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