Bottom-line secrets of Pippa -- her Royal Hotness
Having the enviable figure of Miss Middleton doesn't have to be a fantasy any more, says Judith Woods
Right, ladies, it's time to draw up your wish list for the new year. Close your eyes and conjure up your favourite money-can't-buy fantasy. You know the one: the magnificent, life-altering, destiny-changing transformation from mortal to globally-Googled goddess. Might I be correct in guessing that at top of the list would be The Bottom?
Yes, Pippa Middleton's pert posterior. The derriere that launched not merely a thousand ships, but a billion internet searches and Facebook appreciation pages. And it can be yours.
There it would be, prompting spontaneous applause wherever you went, sashaying in your wake, encased in satin, demurely peeking back at you every time you contorted yourself in a mirror.
"What I wouldn't give!" you cry. Well, how does one easy payment of £16 (€20) or so sound? Yes, it's true. The fitness Svengali behind Pippa's behind has launched a DVD sharing the secrets of Her Hotness's ravishing rear.
Pilates teacher Margot Campbell, the woman credited with honing Ms Middleton's show-stopping bottom, has just launched The Perfect Pilates Bum. It's not the most delicate of titles, and Pippa's not mentioned by name, but we know who it's really about.
After all, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge contributed a glowing testimonial on Campbell's website: "As someone who is always 'on the go', Pilates has been a wonderful escape from my busy lifestyle in London," she said.
"Whether it's 7am in the morning or 7pm at night, I always leave feeling calm, refreshed and invigorated. Over the past few months I have noticed a huge difference in my core strength and posture and couldn't recommend Margot more highly as an instructor."
I think it appropriate to flag up that there's nothing amiss with my bottom, if I say so myself. It doesn't resemble tripe squeezed into a mesh shopping bag (much), or spill over onto the adjoining bus seat (very often).
Frankly, having broken my back in a riding accident and spent a week weeping and praying and wondering if I would ever walk again, I feel so blessed that my body works at all to get hung up about aesthetics.
But -- and some might say it's a major butt -- I am past 40, have had two children, and a disproportionate amount of time sitting on it. Research published this month revealed deskbound workers have got bigger bottoms as the weight causes fat cells to cluster.
Yes, I too leapt up like a scalded cat when I first read that. Anyway, I think it fair to say my derrière is not in the same league as Pippa's. But it could be. Allegedly.
Lights, camera, action! Campbell turns out to be a slip of a Scottish lassie, with a concave stomach and an irreproachably firm backside.
"In order to achieve the perfect Pilates bum, we need to strengthen and tone the surrounding muscles," she begins. Really? Do we have to? I suppose she has a point, but really I was hoping to start hammering away at my indolent glutes immediately.
The DVD assumes a working knowledge of Pilates, which focuses on strengthening the deep abdominal muscles to build up core strength. There's a 'tutorial' section in the main menu to help civilians who don't know what neutral spine position is, so newbies in search of a Pippa posterior would do well to watch and learn this lesson a few times or they may be baffled later, when told to "flare the ribs and funnel it down".
I get stuck in to the DVD, and am immersing myself in all the right moves; lengthening my body, connecting with my ribs, rotating my ankles and so on. It's not easy and I'm just congratulating myself on my comprehensive-and-exhausting exercise session when Campbell announces: "Well, that completes your warm-up. When you're ready, let's begin your first workout."
Ah. I didn't realise. There's more. Much, much more. 'sculpting and toning' is followed by 'strengthening up' before -- ta-dah! -- 'the perfect Pilates bum' section, which promises to lift and improve the shape of my rump until the congregation in Westminster Abbey is slack-jawed with wonder and admiration.
There are shoulder bridges to work the glute muscles, leg lifts, clams, forward kicks, and all manner of smiling tortures to a backdrop of tinkly music. Then comes 'total combo', followed by 'cool down' -- presumably because at this point I will be Hot. So Hot.
But not so anyone would notice. Admittedly, I only did one session, but it did afford me a glimpse of how things could be. If I could only be bothered.
And there's the rub; the key to a toned-and-tiny Pippa Middleton tush isn't a DVD, it's a killer combination of fabulous genes -- cherchez la mère -- and sheer effort.
With determined application, we could all compensate for an absence of the former by racheting up the latter.
Now, ladies, I don't know how you feel, but I don't think it would be fair of me to steal Pippa's glory. After all, she is just starting out on her life of glamour and excitement and £400,000 book deals, and if she is to end up marrying wolfish Prince Harry, as we all hope she will, and living happily ever after, as indeed she must, she has more need of a perfectly proportioned seat than I.
So with great selflessness, I am bowing out of the race and leaving the field clear for Pippa to continue upstaging womankind in general, and her sister in particular.
I have the perfect bum DVD, she has the perfect bum. It may not be a strictly equitable divide, but it's the inescapable bottom line.
The Perfect Pilates Bum DVD With Margot Campbell is in shops today, RRP €15.99 Margo's new book Pilates on the Go, Hodder and Stoughton, is published on January 5