Ain't no party like a P-Middy party
Pippa Middleton's book Celebrate offers inventive tips to hosts everywhere – such as throwing a bonfire do on 5 November. What other gems, sorry, crown jewels does she dish up?*
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Halloween! Children love being scared – why not download a picture of me from my book, print it onto cardboard, attach a bamboo stick to the back and hold it in front of your face? Having all the party guests appear in the darkness with grinning "Pippa" faces will terrify small children!
Dress your food for the occasion with some hair-raising extras. Mashed-up blackberries with flavoured butter looks nice and horrid, but for real "shock effect" why not add some real blood? Simply apply something sharp to your forearm, carving the words "Pippa 4 Harry 4 Ever" (to leave you with an attractive "tattoo") and lightly drizzle over the fruit and cream. Simple to prepare and costs hardly anything!
That old favourite the "Worm-ridden jelly bowl" is easily made with layers of lime and blackcurrant jelly, and coloured jelly "worms" from Hope & Greenwood. Add some extra (and inexpensive) scary fun by having Pidge Fothergill's gardener dig up some real worms, weevils and woodlice in the grounds of his lovely, 300-acre place in Warwickshire.
This is a time for families, for coming together in peace and harmony, singing lovely songs and giving each other amazingly expensive presents. But most of all it is a time for warmth. So if you have any sense, you'll bugger off to one of the lesser-known Caribbean islands – the Turks and Caicos, the Grenadines – and throw a party there. All you'll need is a beach, an awful lot of rum, some swimwear (tops optional!) and some really naughty boys from Eton and Marlborough with a 90ft cabin cruiser, on loan from someone's stepfather, to take you to Paradise!
Spring is all about the bursting-forth of nature, funny hats and sweet animals. So let your imagination gambol about the hillsides! Try something unconventional with an Easter Party. Make "Easter eggs" for the children by taking real eggs, painting runny chocolate (you can get it at British Home Stores) all over them and letting it dry. Then the kiddies can smash them over each other's foreheads until the yolk runs into their eyes. Too priceless! Celebrate Easter bunnies by capturing six (6) rabbits, have the children dress them up in pastel bonnets and little skirts and re-act scenes from that Cranford thing on the telly with Judi Dench.
You could do something similar with Easter lambkins, but I'm not sure I could be arsed, quite frankly.
Who can resist the sights and smells of summer – the smack of leather on willow, the braying of the rarely fit young surfers in Padstow and Rock, the smell of cordite at the pheasant shoot in Gloucestershire? For a Glorious Twelfth Kiddies' Party, who not let your imagination run riot?
The tiny guests can dress up as beaters, shooters or pheasants (shouting "You can't shoot me, I'm flying away!" as they run for it), mini-eclairs can be adapted to make miniature chocolate Purdey Sporting Rifles, sherbert lemon tubes can stand in for .12-bore cartridge cases and, of course, Ribena greatly resembles an excellent 1959 Chateau Petrus, served at the children's "Hunt Tea Party", while the "bag" is spread all over a lovely picnic blanket on the lawn…
*as imagined by John Walsh
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