Celebrate is a book by Pippa Middleton (Kate Middleton's younger sister). The book (hardback) was released in the United Kingdom in 2012 and so is very recent. The book is currently available to buy from Amazon for £14.00 which I do think is quite expensive, although it is much cheaper than the price it was initially selling for when it was first published (over £25!!). Whilst the book is expensive; it's also expensively made; the pages are very thick and clearly made from good quality paper. I know they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I just have to comment on the cover of this book. It's so nice!! It has a very 'happy' cover which just encourages you to open the book!
Fair play to Pippa, she starts off the book with: "It's a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that's the right word) before the age of thirty, on account of your sister, brother-in-law (and bottom). "I know many of you will have picked up this book out of nothing more than curiosity. I can assure you that it feels even stranger to me than it probably does to you". In a way I kind of feel sorry for Pippa because she cannot do anything without the mention of her sister, yet at the same time this is the reason why she is able to do a book like this. So I do think that it was good of Pippa to acknowledge the fact that she is only where she is because of her role in 'that' wedding. I had never really taken much notice of the Royals until the Royal Wedding. Since then, I have become a huge fan of Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa. So when I heard that Pippa was releasing a 'party' book I could not wait to see what it was all about. I was especially curious when I read a load of 'bad reviews'. It make me think 'how bad can it actually be?' I'll be honest, I didn't actually want the book for the ideas, I just wanted to see what it was like because I am a Middleton fan. I could imagine all of the glamorous parties the Middletons have been to and hosted themselves and thought 'oooh I want to know all about it'.
The book is very organised and split into four sections; starting from Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer (I don't understand why it doesn't start with Spring though). The book is then split into further sections within those larger sections; each event we celebrate throughout the British year is covered. From valentine's day, Christmas, Easter, Bonfire Night, New Years Eve; it's all there. I think it is nice that the book covers all of the British themes occasions. The book features recipes, tips, craft ideas and little historical facts which I think is interesting as I learnt little facts such as where the idea of afternoon tea came from etc.
The book is beautifully presented with lots of inspiring photographs. There is lots of artistic pictures, and colour photos and also a lot of photographs of Pippa herself; taking part in the activities mentioned; she isn't afraid to look silly in the photos either; there's one of her being the 'wheelbarrow' in a 'wheelbarrow race'. I actually think that the photos are hugely inspiring and one of the best things about this book. Of course, Pippa fans will like looking at the pictures of her; especially to see what she is wearing. I like the illustrations, for example; the Christmas countdown is designed like a poster on a 'notice board' with pins etc. nicely designed and very attractive. I love how the book is very modern, yet still manages to be old fashioned and 'homely'.
This book is aimed at all ages as it features all the events that we celebrate throughout the year. I think that it would be especially good for someone who has just moved out into their first home and want to start entertaining guests at home. I also think that it is great for parents who are arranging parties for their children - it's even suitable for children, given them ideas of what type of party they would like to have. So all in all, I would say that it is suitable for everyone, as the celebrations the books covers are celebrated by people of all ages anyway. It is a 'one-stop-shop' for all the events which we celebrate throughout the British year. Such events include: valentines day, easter, afternoon teas and flowers, children's parties, barbeques, picnics, camping and homemade produce.
There are some great recipes in this book. Ones which don't have to be for a 'party' as they can be cooked just for 'tea'. Such recipes include: beef and Guinness pie and butternut squash lasagne. The recipes are simple and easy to follow; simple yet effective. The measurements are in grams which may be a problem for non-British people who don't cook in grams. If you have a lot of cookery books then this will probably just blend in with them, although if you don't have any then this is a good first book to start with. Also there is a 'prepare ahead' section which lists the food you can cook up to 3 months before Christmas and 1 month etc. along with the page numbers on where to find the recipes which I think is useful and helps with the time planning for Christmas. The book is mainly a cookbook - surrounded by tips and ideas.
I particularly loved the Christmas section of the book. I mean can you imagine what Christmas in the Middleton household is like? She also acknowledges the fact that people have no time these days. On the Christmas page she notes ; you won't have time to do everything from scratch, but pick and choose what you can manage yourself - she
also puts a 'time plan' for the Christmas countdown - what to do end of November, 4 weeks to go, 3, 2,1,a few days before, and Christmas eve. I love the little details - she goes down to the tiniest details - for example dusting the Christmas pudding with icing sugar to create a snowy scene; nice little tips which are simple and yet raise a smile.
Also makes use of 'leftovers' (especially Christmas ones) telling you to add turkey to curries and stilton to soup.
I love how 'family oriented' this book is. It obvious that Pippa (and Kate) are very 'family people' - always going on holidays as a family and helping each other out etc. and that shows through clearly in this book. I think it is great that Pippa encourages 'happy family time'. I think that this book is also great at encouraging family traditions that you can start. There is something very comforting and homely about this book. It is a really helpful book for families. It is a bit like a housewife's guide; a sort of 'how to be perfect' kind of guide. It's a great book for both children and adults. Those with children; you can use the 'children's party tips etc' for ways to entertain children in the school holidays etc...they're the kind of games you can play with the family so it's also good in that respect.
Without trying to sound mean....compared to 'nice Kate', I always thought that Pippa looked a bit 'b****y' and 'stuck-up' (sorry Pippa). Although I have to say that she comes across as being really lovely, honest, enthusiastic and down to earth in this book. Pippa comes across as being very prim and proper and lady-like; a domestic goddess who has a happy, calm and blissful family life. She seems likeable and I think I am a bigger fan of hers even more now after reading this book. I would have liked if there had been more information on Pippa; for example more stories from their childhood etc, although I guess she had to be careful with things like this due to the Royal connection.
In this book Pippa does have a tendency to state the obvious. Such tips include:
"Ice goes great with drinks" (although when you think about it, yes it's an obvious tip, but when you are running around like a headless chicken trying to get ready for a party, it is very easy to forget the ice, which causes embaressment when the guests arrive and you have no ice to put in their drinks). So yes, it is an obvious tip, but also if it is so obvious, how come people forget to do this? So by her 'ice goes great with drinks' phrase, I think that what she actually means is 'don't forget the ice'.
"Sunday is a great day for a lunch"
"Because of their size, turkeys are perfect for feeding larger gatherings".
"Use sticks and skewers for finger food - they are more practical for people with gloves on" (actually I don't think I would have thought of this one, so thanks for that tip Pippa).
Other advice includes: "Flowers are a traditional valentine's token and red roses are the classic symbol of romance" and telling you to make tea in a teapot when you have guests and not putting individual tea bags in mugs. So fairly 'common sense' and things you already know really. However, Pippa has hit back at her critics who have criticised her 'basic tips' stating that: "I could have written a book that showcased the most extravagant, or elaborate of occasions - after all I spend three years working for an events company planning parties - but I wanted to produce something that was achievable...something that was not too fussy , just simple and comforting." So in a way, I guess she is right; she could have 'aimed higher' and written about all the glamorous and expensive parties you can host. Although, that wouldn't then appeal to 'everyone' and also is likely to have caused further criticism. So well done Pippa for playing it safe. Another thing people have criticised her about is that how does she have any idea how to organise a party; well she has grown up surrounded by her parent's 'party' business, has attended a lot of parties and also worked for a table planning company. So I would say with her experience, she does actually know a lot about hosting parties. Also she has an English degree and so she can actually write and didn't use a ghost-writer to write this book which is great.
I think that the book is very Informative even if it is quite basic and covers obvious things. Such topics covered include: table settings, games, running order of events, foods and drinks to serve, and style tips and so basically is covers everything you need to think about when holding an event. I liked that the events mentioned were quite casual, yet Pippa gives extra tips on dealing with a larger crowd, and more formal events. About with regards to the criticism Pippa has received about the book being so basic; some of the things she says reminded me of simple things which I had read or heard about yet had forgotten about, so this was a great 'refresher' to some useful tips for me.
The book emphasises throughout how you should celebrate life; even the littlest things that aren't really 'events', such as breakfast in bed etc. normal everyday things which you can smile. It's all about 'adding little touches' to every day life. I also think that the book allows you to take part in the events mentioned as little or as much as you like. For example on valentines day Pippa says you can fry eggs using heart shaped moulds. I mean a lot of people may not have time to celebrate these such events (valentines day, bonfire night etc) properly, although these 'fast' little gestures can still allow you to celebrate in a simple way and help brighten up someone's day and put a smile on someone's face. It encourages you to be fun and youthful no matter your age, which I think is great. It's also great that it encourages us to celebrate life as much as we can; both casually and formally.
With regards to the content; there is nothing wow or amazing about this book, I mean you could easily find everything on the internet, however it is a lovely book which is beautifully illustrated. This book has over 400 pages; it's very organised and so easy to find the subject you are looking for. It's a practical and fun book which you can get heavily involved in. I wonder if there will be a sequel. It didn't take me long to read the book; around an hour in total, but it is the kind of book which you can flick through whenever you feel like it. The book is full of ideas. If you like entertaining at home - it's a great book. I don't really entertain at home and yet I still found it to be hugely inspiring.
There are some parts of her 'middle-classness' / posh that shine through; she speaks about inviting friends over for brunch, although I'm guessing this isn't something that 'normal' people do. I half expected the book to be all about 'expensive' entertaining although she seems to assume that the readers haven't got lots of money and so a lot of her tips are cheap to make and do. Her ideas are 'cheap' and she doesn't boast about her wealth nor assume that the reader has loads of money to spend which I think is good. Although I did think that with her her posh-ness - she could have added a lot more to this book. E.g. etiquette of hosting a party; sending out invites, when to arrive, when to leave, what to wear, duties the hosts should carry out, and duties a guest should carry out etc. It would have helped a lot of people who are new to the whole 'entertaining scene'. Somehow, I can't imagine pippa celebrating in this way - the amount of pictures in the celebrity magazines of her partying - don't think she'd say no to partying over baking a cake - she should have done a section on 'how to party - night on the town' and planning a big '18th birthday party' etc. to add a bit of 'wildness' to it. There isn't any mention of alcohol (well not a lot anyway) in this book which is refreshing and shows that you don't need alcohol (or a lot of it) to have a good celebration.
I love this book; its such a 'happy' and 'inspiring' book. It just makes me want to go out and celebrate, or invited a few friends over and have a dinner party. I love how it encourages celebrating; both traditionally and in modern ways. I also think that this book gives a great insight into British life to someone non-British. The book is a great 'coffee table' book which you can keep referring back to and pick up whenever you feel like it. I think that it is a lovely book to read (even if you have no intention of carrying out the recipes and craft ideas). Although it's nice to know that it is always there if you need any 'celebrating ideas'. It's a perfect book; the kind which makes you think that you too can live the luxurious millionaires lifestyle that the Middletons have. So would I recommend this book? Absolutely!!
Thank you for reading!
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