Page 1

ellelifestyle 3 : ? ? = ,A 0 7

=:,/ ?=4;

ELLEʼs Kerry Potter and her boyfriend jump in a Mustang convertible and go wild on a classic US road trip I was thinking Thelma & Louise, he was thinking Vince Vaughn in Swingers, but my boyfriend Rich and I were agreed on one thing – you can’t beat an all-American road trip for a holiday adventure. We chose the West Coast – flying into Las Vegas and out of San Francisco. And the car? It was a no-brainer – a red Mustang convertible, as American as apple pie. Rich was delirious with excitement and took more photos of the car than he did of me. I forgave him, though, for reasons that will become clear around Napa Valley…

WL^aPRL^OLd^ OK, so Vegas is across the state line in Nevada, but you can’t do a West Coast road trip without stopping off at Sin City. You may love it, you may hate it, but you have to see it. Vegas is one big neonflashing, high-rolling, heavy-drinking, hard-living, all-night party, and we soon realised that it’s best enjoyed in a rowdy gang of friends rather than as a romantic break. Luckily, our rowdiest friends were in town, so after checking into the 2,700-room Wynn Las Vegas, with its 140ft manmade mountain at the entrance and a Picasso in reception, we hit the town. The boys made a beeline for the blackjack tables and slot machines –

Clockwise from above: Las Vegas strip; Wynn hotel; Pure at Caesarʼs Palace

every hotel lobby has rows of them that stretch as far as the eye can see. We girls headed for voguish club Pure in Caesar’s Palace. It was like being an extra in a 1980s Duran Duran video – all glossy white walls, flashy cocktails and beautiful people. We drank vodka and surveyed the scene, marvelling at the fake boobs and sunglasses worn by night. Mystifyingly, I got told off by security for taking my shoes off. Lindsay Lohan was in attendance the night before – I bet she was allowed to take her shoes off. The next morning, we woke with raging hangovers – but where better to have one? Our room at the Wynn was outrageously luxurious – plasma-screen TV in the bathroom, curtains opened at the touch of a button. We were on the 37th floor of the giant, curved bronzed tower, with floor-toceiling windows making for an incredible view over the Strip and the desert beyond. It was hard to believe that this palace clocked in at just over £100 per night, thanks to a very favourable exchange rate. Another 48 hours of drinking, gambling, dancing and shopping (there is a Ferrari dealership in the Wynn’s shopping arcade, but we resisted) and our aching livers and empty wallets told us it was time to skip town. Vegas had its wicked way with us, it was fun while it lasted but we were through!

ellelifestyle YL[LaLWWPdOLd^  great thing about the road trip is the random The


_LSZPOLd^$ We hit the road and headed north-west to Lake Tahoe, an area of outstanding natural beauty, mountain-crisp air and outdoor pursuits – Vegas’ polar opposite, essentially. It’s a good eight hours’ drive through endless desert – and we did the whole 500-mile slog in one long, hot day. If you have time, a detour toYosemite National Park (100 miles south of Tahoe) would break up the journey. Straddling the California/Nevada stateline, Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and situated at 9,000 feet, so take a sweater. We stayed in South LakeTahoe, incorporating Heavenly ski resort. Even in June, we found snow on the ground when we took the cable car up the mountain to see the stunning lake views and hang out with the chipmunks. Healthy types will enjoy Tahoe’s hiking, mountain biking, rafting and golf, but we were happy to just take in the scenery, lazing on lake-side beaches with pines behind us and snowy mountains in the distance. Pope Beach (off Highway 89) was our favourite cove – a mellow spot with communal barbecues, hidden down a dusty track. Stop off on the way home at Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe (3125 Harrison Avenue), a delicious organic health food joint. We stayed in the Embassy Suites, a hotel with classic American motel-style rooms and friendly staff. After a few days of country living, we retrieved the Mustang from valet parking to head for – joy of joys – wine country.

Top right: beautiful Lake Tahoe. Right: Kerry and Rich

bits you stumble across along the way. The 1950stimewarp diners, the cheap-as-chips designer outlet malls and a flea market with ancient copies of Rolling Stone, vintage brooches and sinister machetes. After a 3.5-hour drive, we reached Napa Valley. With its rows of grapevines along a 30-mile corridor and 300 wineries, it looks like the south of France. We stayed in a 19th-century chintzy-chic B&B called Sunny Acres in St Helena. A clapperboard-shuttered house, it has a vineyard, the best blueberry pancakes and four-poster beds. We hired bikes and cycled around the local wineries doing tours and tastings. Robert Mondavi Winery (7801 St Helena Highway, Oakville) was our favourite. All very educational, but being hammered in charge of a bicycle in 100degree heat was rather foolish. More sensible people can hire a driver to ferry them around. We checked out the fabulous Calistoga Ranch hotel and spa (580 Lommel Road, Calistoga), and got pampered with mud baths and massages, interspersed with sipping fine local wine in the Jacuzzi. It’s relatively expensive, but worth every dollar. Napa Valley is brilliant because it specialises in wine, world-class food and spas. It will also forever hold a special place in my heart, because it was there, in a nice Italian restaurant calledTraVigne, that Rich proposed. He’d sneakily bought a ring at Tiffany & Co in Vegas and had been waiting for the perfect moment – a balmy summer evening in Napa. He may have loved that goddamn Mustang, but he loves me more! ¢ Above: superstylish Calistoga Ranch hotel and spa. Left: Sunny Acres B&B in Napa Valley

ellelifestyle ^LYQ]LYNT^NZOLd^  It takes a 90-minute drive due south to reach the city, and we arrived in style via the Golden Gate Bridge, whooping as we drove across. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which towers above Union Square, right in the centre of things. Ask for a high-up room – we had a stunning view over San Francisco bay, out towards Alcatraz, the infamous prison on the rock. Our two days here passed in a blur of celebratory champagne (we loved the lobby bar at sleek Ian Schrager hotel Clift, 495 Geary Street), excited ‘we-have-news!’ phone calls home and copious amounts of end-of-holiday shopping. San Francisco is great for designer bargains in the department stores lining Union Square RP__TYR_SP]P and quirky pieces from the thrift stores and boutiques yAT]RTY,_WLY_TNQWTP^TY_Z7L^ in Haight-Ashbury.I duly APRL^LYO>LY1]LYNT^NZ maxed out my credit card OLTWd1L]P^TY_Z7L^APRL^ with various engagement ]P_`]YTYRQ]ZX>LY1]LYNT^NZ presents to myself. ^_L]_Q]ZX…"$0Y\#" All that was left to do was """"&aT]RTYL_WLY_TNNZX bid farewell to the Mustang y3P]_eZQQP]^^PaPYOLd^v (was that a tear in Rich’s NL]ST]PQ]ZX…!_Z[TNV`[ eye?) and try – and fail – to TY7L^APRL^LYOO]Z[ZQQTY blag an upgrade on the flight >LY1]LYNT^NZ0Y\#" home. ‘We’ve just got ###&SP]_eNZ`V engaged!’ I gushed to the yBdYY3Z_PW7L^APRL^ check-in girl, who pretended -Z`WPaL]O7L^APRL^&PY\ not to hear. Even so, I still """"&bdYY flew all the way home with WL^aPRL^NZX/Z`MWP^ a smile on my face. N Q]ZX…!]ZZXZYWd





















y2]LYO3dL__ >_ZNV_ZY




Clockwise from above left: San Fran shopping; the Golden Gate Bridge; Union Square; the Clift hotel



217 0770@6.:8



TRADING PLACES WITH A RICH GIRL Does our bank balance define us? Thrifty ELLE girl Kerry Potter, 32, and wealthy writer Petrina Khashoggi, 28, swap budgets to find out 0770$

ELLElife Being Rich Girl is also more tiring than Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d anticipated. My diary is full of appointments and nights out. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m finding it hard to get my work done as Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m never at my desk â&#x20AC;&#x201C; spending money is becoming a full-time job in itself. I thought money was supposed to buy you more time, rather than less? Still, my social life becomes more hedonistic and spontaneous. I blow ÂŁ200 treating a friend to dinner and theatre tickets to see The History Boys. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suspicious of my motives, but soon readjusts as we trudge through the rain looking for a taxi, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;It would be better if you had a driver, too.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the problem with money and the luxuries it allows â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the more you have, the more you want. Over the week, I find my money habits hard to break. I buy my groceries Living in London, one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most at M&S instead of Somerfield, but expensive cities, mortgaged up to the eyeballs automatically scan the shelves for offers. I pop and earning a middling wage mean I have to be into designer boutique Anna, in Primrose Hill, thrifty. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s either that or run up credit-card determined to spend ÂŁ200, as Petrina would. debts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but, as the daughter of an accountant, Owner Anna Park tries to tempt me with a Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been schooled in the art of sensible money snakeskin clutch bag, but I reject it as impractical and plump for the sensible girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s management and spending only what I earn. If choice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; jeans. My Citizen of Humanity pair I do splurge, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m away in set me back ÂŁ195, but on a cost-per-wear basis, America on business â&#x20AC;&#x201C; my reasoning being that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a bargain. Plus, the genteel shopping Marc Jacobs and Kiehlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are so much cheaper experience is worth 10 hectic high-street Stateside, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be silly not to. The fact that my shopping sprees. husband isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t around to raise Of course, there are out-and-out brilliant things an eyebrow as I return to my PETRINAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S about having money. Petrina lavishes money on her room laden with shopping TYPICAL dog, but with no pet to speak of, I decide to treat my bags probably helps, too. But, WEEKLY SPEND husband, sending him off for a manicure at The aside from the occasional ?LcT^LYO_]LaPWÂ&#x2026;  Refinery (ÂŁ38), which he secretly loved. I also take him shopping binge, I keep a close ?]PL_XPY_^Â&#x2026;$XL^^LRPÂ&#x2026;"  out for outrageously expensive dim sum one night eye on my money, spending QLNTLWÂ&#x2026;  ÂŁ143 a week, after mortgage because I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be bothered to cook. I usually plan .WZ_SP^LYOLNNP^^Z]TP^Â&#x2026; and bills. So, to blow Petrinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meals for the week ahead, so as not to waste food, so it 1ZZOÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2026;bPPVWd^SZ[L_ ÂŁ1,130 is quite a leap â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and feels liberating and exhilarating to break our usual 1]P^SBTWOÂ&#x2026;#OTYTYRZ`_ an exciting one at that. routine. I realise I should treat him more often â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even if 2dXÂ&#x2026;#[P]^ZYLW_]LTYP] Unfortunately, I quickly itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a new novel or breakfast in bed. -PL`_d[]ZO`N_^Â&#x2026;",WW learn that being Rich Girl has After all the dining out, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very grateful for Petrinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Z]RLYTN_SP]PQZ]PXZ]P[]TNPd its drawbacks. I have a series of at-home personal trainer, Chauncy. Often, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be 3LT]Â&#x2026; STRSWTRS_^LYO MWZbO]dL_/LYTPW3P]^SP^ZY luxury treatments booked in bothered to go to the gym, but there is no escape when :_SP]Â&#x2026; XZMTWP[SZYP for the week â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a blow-dry, Chauncy is banging on your front door. I also spend the Â&#x2026;$_SPL_]P_TNVP_^Â&#x2026;MZZV^ manicure and pedicure at week luxuriating in organic scented candles from Â&#x2026; OZRR]ZZXTYRLYOQZZO Daniel Hersheson in Mayfair Natural Magic and beauty products from Dr Hauschka. (ÂŁ80), a Crème de la Mer Then I get a cab to work one rainy morning and giggle TOTAL: ÂŁ1,130 facial at Harrodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Urban all the way to the office at the recklessness of it. Retreat (ÂŁ150) and an at-home At the end of the week, I tot up my expenditure and massage (ÂŁ80, The snag is, am shocked to find I blasted my way through ÂŁ1,211 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; nearly ÂŁ100 more their feel-good factor is diminished by the fact than Petrinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s average spend. I feel slightly sick at how quickly I adjusted to that my colleagues and friends are spitting chips. living the high life â&#x20AC;&#x201C; once you get in the big-spender groove, it comes very I begin sneaking around, not telling anyone what easily. But, while spending wads of cash can equal lots of fun, it can make Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m up to. I feel guilty â&#x20AC;&#x201C; what have I done to life complicated and busy. I look at my empty diary for the week ahead and deserve all these treats? Zilch. The natural order feel relieved. It strikes me that none of my close friends are significantly of my universe seems out of kilter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I might treat richer or poorer than me. I wonder if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d move in the same circles if I really myself to a (cheaper) facial on my birthday, or was Rich Girl? I like to think I would, but I have a feeling people gravitate when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve completed a tricky work project, but towards those in a similar financial place, avoiding envy issues. not on a bog-standard Wednesday lunchtime. Most importantly, the money swap has emphasised that my system (work I wonder how it works when this is normal life hard, save up, treat when deserved) works for me and keeps me anchored. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; how do you reward yourself ? I never thought Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say it, but I made a rather reluctant Rich Girl. ¢

KERRYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S DIARYâ&#x20AC;Ś


ELLElife PETRINAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S DIARYâ&#x20AC;Ś I was raised by my stepfather [arms dealer and businessman Adnan Khashoggi], one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most legendary spenders. Shirley Bassey used to sing Big Spender to him at his birthday parties. When I was 12, I remember he gave me a ÂŁ50 note after seeing him for lunch during a holiday from boarding school. At the time, it felt like I was holding a bar of gold. My mother told me to give it in to my house mistress as pocket money for the term ahead. Instead, I went straight to Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Road and blew the lot on a couple of T-shirts. It felt so liberating. I suppose that early incident set I have space for and am ashamed to admit that a precedent for my carefree spending habits in some items in my wardrobe have never been later years, although I do stop myself at times worn. I cringe when I think about the designer and hear my rational self saying, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You really T-shirt dress I bought last summer for ÂŁ900. donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need another little black dress, Petrina.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; What was I thinking? I was obviously feeling There have been times when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve felt I had very extravagant and carefree that day. But a name and reputation to live up to. Even when I love a bargain, too, and some of my favourite I was broke, everyone assumed I was loaded. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d clothes include a dress I bought in Jamaica for buy rounds of drinks for people because ÂŁ8. Still, during this challenge, I come to the I thought it was expected of me. I avoided conclusion that I really do not need to buy any public transport in case someone saw me, and more clothes for at least Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d often find myself acting the part of a rich heiress when a year, a discipline that KERRYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TYPICAL I was actually just a struggling model trying to make ends I resolve to keep. And from WEEKLY SPEND meet. Having a surname that reeks of wealth has proved now on, if I am going to buy ?LcT^LYO_]LaPWÂ&#x2026;M`^[L^^ problematic on numerous occasions, which is one of the designer, it has to be ?LcT^L]PLYZYZLYO6P]]d reasons I was quoted in the press for wishing I was â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;just something classic that will NdNWP^bSP]PaP][Z^^TMWP plain Sarah Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think, therefore, that it will be never go out of style. ?]PL_XPY_^Â&#x2026; too difficult to adjust to Kerryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more about Keeping within Kerryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s .WZ_SP^LYOLNNP^^Z]TP^Â&#x2026; mindset than money. food budget proves the most 6P]]dM`d^NWZ_SP^ZYbZ]V_]T[^ The first thing I do is forfeit my car and taxis for difficult. I have to turn down _Z_SP@>L^T_v^X`NSNSPL[P] Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public transport system. I have an appointment three requests for meals out, 1ZZOÂ&#x2026;Â&#x2026;bPPVWd^SZ[L_ in the West End, so instead of jumping in a cab, I brave saying to friends, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m rather >ZXP]QTPWOÂ&#x2026;OTYTYRZ`_ the Piccadilly line. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been some time since I last used the broke right now. How about 2dXÂ&#x2026;" Underground. So long, in fact, that I have to ask someone dinner at mine, instead?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m -PL`_d[]ZO`N_^Â&#x2026;  how to use an Oyster card. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe how packed the no domestic goddess, but 3LT]Â&#x2026;,Q]TPYON`_^6P]]dv^SLT] Q]PPZQNSL]RP train is at three oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clock in the afternoon. Even in the end have just about mastered the :_SP]Â&#x2026;XZMTWP[SZYPLYO carriages, there are no seats. I dread to think what it must basics of cooking and enjoy Â&#x2026; ^ZNTLWT^TYRM`_^SP_]TP^_Z be like in rush hour, so I begin using buses. I actually entertaining â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something RZ_ZbZ]V]PWL_POPaPY_^ rather enjoy the longer journeys â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I sit upstairs and read I must do more of. I also have bSP]P_SP]PL]PQ]PPO]TYV^ a book, or watch people on the streets below. I do a lot of a full English breakfast with walking during the week, too, which makes up for not a friend at his local greasy TOTAL: ÂŁ143 being able to see my personal trainer. spoon. For ÂŁ3, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a very Like many women, I am a beauty product junkie. My happy customer. Meanwhile, bathroom shelves are crowded with half-full bottles, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always on I discover that supermarkets slash their prices the lookout for something new. When Kerry tells me she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spend around midnight because of sell-by dates â&#x20AC;&#x201C; money on treatments, I decide to make my own. I mash up half an avocado another resourceful budget tactic. with olive oil and plaster it on my face while in the bath. I have to keep my This challenge has taught me greater head horizontal to keep the slimy chunks from slipping off, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m delighted discipline and has proved strangely rewarding. with the silky soft feel of my skin afterwards. I also go into a few shops Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve enjoyed my slice of frugal pie and will be pretending I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t decide which brands to buy, and politely ask for free eating much more of it. I know I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be able samples. I now have a drawer bursting with little sachets of cleansers, to give up my indulgent beauty treatments, but moisturisers, masks and eye creams. if I can implement Kerryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget into my daily Another indulgence of mine is books, so rather than splurging on life, maybe buying my first home wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be as far Amazon, I join a library and borrow them instead. I have more clothes than off in the future as I had thought. N 0770

POSH INTER-RAILING When choosing our honeymoon, romance and relaxation were the key words. I have a growing aversion to unnecessary flights, partly for good eco-girl reasons, partly for selfish ones – I frequently have to fly longhaul for work. So my fiancé (now husband) and I decided on a two-week rail trip around the French Riviera and Italy. It wasn’t the most exotic of plans, but we didn’t fancy two weeks prostrate on a farflung beach, making awkward conversation with other honeymooning Brits. And we wanted a little adventure with five-star luxury hotels, as a year of being Bridezilla and her sidekick had taken it out of us both. We both love the Côte d’Azur, so we took Nice as our starting point and planned a route down the west coast of Italy. Train tickets were reserved via the Rail Europe website and we booked hotels online. One wedding day later, our adventure commenced…


In the morning, it’s Kent’s green fields and drizzle from the train window; by late afternoon, it’s dazzling sunshine, red Provençal rooftops and glistening sea. Seeing the scenery change is the bonus of going by rail, and it’s a breeze – hassle-free Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, one stop on the underground to Gare de Lyon, then a sleek TGV for the journey south. My new husband’s inner trainspotter is delighted that our TGV is a doubledecker – and we’re up top. I’m pleased I restrained myself to just one suitcase. When you’re hauling your bag on and off carriages and moving between hotels, less is more. We taxi from Nice station to Château Eza, in the ‘village perché’ of Eze. The castle is the stunning centrepiece of the medieval village, built into the cliffside.

Perfect HONEYMOONS don’t need stressful long-haul flights. Two ELLE writers take the LAID-BACK route

Château Eza has 10 rooms, some of which have beautiful bay views. Ours has a view of the road, but we’re soon distracted by tomato and rocket ice-cream canapés and champagne. We explore the village, tropical gardens and beach in a couple of days, then head back into the bustle of Nice centre and the futuristic Hi Hotel. We love its bright orange rooftop pool with sound system and honesty bar. Nice itself is an interesting, pretty-but-gritty place. We try a socca (chickpea) pancake in







Kerry Potter heads to the platform

the market square and take in a Pop Art exhibition in the MusĂŠe dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Art Moderne. NICE TO RAPALLO



Onwards into Italy, and the white-washed walls and red roofs give way to green shutters and pink Italianate architecture. Five hours and a quick change in Genoa later, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in Rapallo. Our taxi winds up a steep, wooded hillside to the Hotel Splendido in â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the walls, the Portofino. This 16th-century former linen, the flowing monastery is truly stunning â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and truly robes of the staff. expensive â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but our train journey is such The building good value we have cash to splash on hotels. is a 1960s Le Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Corbusier-style, airy, boxy affair built into Taylor stayed here in the 1950s and1960s. the rocks with views across to Positano. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s I like to think they all did the same as us on ultra-modern, with Philippe Starck fittings arrival â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sit on the balcony with a Prosecco, and a glass lift down to the pebbly beach. taking in the heartbreakingly beautiful view Then itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back to Sorrento â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this time by of the bay. We spend the next two days in rip-off taxi rather than death bus â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for our the seawater infinity pool, roasting in the final stop, Grand Hotel Excelsior sun, gawping at the yachts and mooching Vittoria. Very grand it is, too, with around the designer Princess Margaret stores lining Portofinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s KERRYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TOP TIPS among its former harbour. Think a more patrons. The hotel is ;LNVU`^__SPZYP^`T_NL^P glamorous, less-crowded set back off the main =PXPXMP]dZ`vWWMPW`RRTYR St Tropez. Blissful. square in serene T_ZYLYOZQQ_]LTY^LYO gardens with an ]P[LNVTYRPaP]dQPbOLd^ impressive pool and RAPALLO TO -`dLu^[WT__P]vQZ]dZ`]T;ZO NAPLES spa â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we have a divine ?ST^RLORP_XPLY^MZ_SZQdZ` coupleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massage, The longest leg of our NLY[W`RdZ`]SPLO[SZYP^ giggling at my journey, the Amalfi coast TY_Z_SP^LXPT;ZOLYOWT^_PY_Z husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s paper is eight hours south X`^TNĂ OP`czN`_PPS* /ZYv_RP__ZZM`]TPOTYL jockstrap. We finish our through row after row of MZZVdZ`vWW]T^VXT^^TYR_SP trip with a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Prosecco lemon groves. We change ^_`YYTYR^NPYP]d crawlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; through Sorrentoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Rome and arrive in 8LVPdZ`]_]LTYT_TYP]L]d_SP backstreets, watching the Naples. Our destination, ZYWd_TXP_LMWPdZ`LOSP]P_Z Praiano, is still some sun set on our first trip as 4QdZ`[WLYWZLO^ZQ^TRS_^PPTYR distance away and taxi Mr and Mrs. L^bPWWT_vWWQPPWWTVPL^NSZZW_]T[ fares are extortionate, so I have a confession to -`ORP_QZ]_LcT^_ZRP_Q]ZX we end up on the tatty make: we got a cheapo ^_L_TZY_ZSZ_PW?SPdL]P Circumvesuviana train. flight home from Naples. Z`_]LRPZ`^WdPc[PY^TaPTY4_LWd It gets us to Sorrento in Bang go my green 45 minutes. Almost there. credentials, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll always Praiano is a small village one hourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drive keep our honeymoon close to my heart. along the winding coastal road. We get the Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something very retro, romantic and packed Amalfi Coast tourist bus, dubbed genteel about European train travel, like a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the rollercoasterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by locals, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m almost 1920s Agatha Christie novel. And I can sick in my bag. Nerves are soothed when we daydream about it when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sardined in a arrive at Casa Angelina. Everything is white train during a wet Wednesday rush hour. â&#x17E;¤ 0770!


â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something very RETRO, romantic and GENTEEL about European train travel, like a 1920s Agatha Christie novelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; CASA ANGELINA





was never one of those girls who had started planning my wedding at the age of five. I was too busy climbing trees and fighting with my brothers. Cute, princessy and girlie wasn’t, and isn’t, my style. And while I’d never taken issue with the idea of marriage, I’d never been in any hurry to experience it. My boyfriend and I used to spend our summers attending countless weddings, happily witnessing everyone close to us getting hitched. And a few glasses of champagne into every reception, the barrage would begin, ‘It’ll be you two next, eh!’ We would smile and shrug, but the more people said it, the more my inner stroppy teenager would bristle, ‘Aha, actually we’re not going to do it now you’ve said that!’ We had been together for eight happy, drama-free years when Richard eventually asked me to marry him. Saying yes was a no-brainer – I already felt married in spirit, if not in law. We’d already made several major, scary commitments – we had a mortgage and we’d even integrated our CD collections. So it was with a certain nonchalance that I approached our wedding day. How could anything possibly change? Marriage was only a bit of paper, right? Well, no, actually… The proposal came late in the evening in a restaurant in the Napa Valley, California. We’d been wine-tasting – OK, drinking heavily – all day, so the exact details are hazy. I do remember lots of giggling and that the restaurant gave us a free bottle of wine.The next day there was an audible sigh of relief from my mum when we rang home – she’d been twitchy about my seeming lack of interest in ‘grown-up pursuits’ since I’d turned 30 earlier that year. I was delighted, but in a determinedly low-key way. I didn’t have any particular sense of the life-changing magnitude of the moment, it just seemed right, natural, easy. I did ponder a bit on the fact that my parents have been married for 35 years and still get on famously. Could we set such a shining example for our future children? I decided we could and we would. There was zero danger of me turning into Bridezilla as I began organising. I bought just one wedding magazine and hid it under the bed as if it were porn. ¢


7+(7587+ $%287 0$55,$*(

Is getting hitched really a life-changing event? ELLEʼs newly wed Kerry Potter is surprised to find that there is a difference now sheʼs married 107 0770@6.:8

elleopinion I refused to use the word ‘fiancé’ as I thought it sounded tacky. I hated the idea of becoming a walking-talking cliché, the self-obsessed bride-to-be. As the date approached, I was mildly stressed about my to-do list, but I wasn’t wracked with nerves, nor did I for one second wonder if I was doing the right thing. I didn’t have a building sense of momentum and I didn’t think of the big day with a capital B and D. All of which probably makes you think, why on earth get married? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful nor reluctant. Two months on from our beautiful, sunny, drunken wedding day, I absolutely love being married – and never doubted that I would. Yet the fact that things have changed has taken me by surprise because, after eight years, I’d assumed our relationship was a known quantity. For our mothers’ generation, getting married meant escaping the parents and moving in together, being financially stable thanks to hubby’s salary and quite possibly having sex for the first time. Marriage was a brave new frontier, a titanic life change. Not so for me. We’d bought our flat five years previously, we both bring home the bacon and – how can I put it politely? – I didn’t feel the need to wear a symbolically white wedding dress. The changes I have noticed are more subtle. There are the small things, such as I really relish saying ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my boyfriend’. Meanwhile, Richard is finding ‘my wife’ doesn’t trip off the tongue yet, he currently refers to me as ‘my girlf…wife’. Being married is proving useful when I’m complaining about

in interest, but I do secretly look forward to the day when a stranger hits on me at a bar or a party and I can smile sweetly and say, ‘Thanks but my husband is over there.’ Marriage has made me think hard about my family. We spend our twenties prioritising our friends and viewing family almost as an inconvenience. I’ve reconfigured that mindset now. There is nothing more lovely and moving than seeing your mum and dad bursting with pride and happiness on your wedding day. After a lifetime of bickering with my two younger brothers, it was a beautiful – if unsettling – thing to see them working hard to make sure everything ran smoothly on the day, biting their tongues when I was being bossy because I was the bride and I was allowed to get away with it just this once. And then there’s my new extended family. At the wedding, Richard’s 18-yearold niece pointed out to me, ‘You’re my auntie now.’ I think she was trying to freak me out, but I love the idea. I have a new role – auntie Kerry, protector and sage – and I’m going to take it seriously. Woe betide anyone who messes with my newfound nieces and nephew. Richard reports similar feelings; he’s always got on well with my brothers but now has ‘complete attachment’ to them. The thing I like most though, is that getting married makes you, and everyone around you, dust down, zoom in and focus on your relationship. Not only had Richard and I been together for eons before marrying, but those eons had been turbulence-free – no headline-grabbing rows or mini break-ups. We just happily got on with it. So after a few years, the detail of our relationship became almost invisible to the outside world. We were the solid, reliable couple who people came to stay with when they were going through a break-up and needed a hug and a bed. The couple whose house was open all hours for parties. The couple least likely to split up. We were Kerry’n’Richard, no gaps between our names. But our wedding meant external affirmation of our relationship, and it felt brilliant. Everyone gathered together in an

u20??4928,==40/8,60>D:@ ,9/0A0=D:90,=:@9/D:@ /@>?/:B9E::849,9/ 1:.@>:9D:@==07,?4:9>34;v things, ‘My husband and I weren’t happy with the service we received…’ It makes me feel like I will be taken more seriously, that I mean business. My best friend’s husband swears he gets noticed more by women since they got married. Apparently, he gets eyed up by lecherous females on the Tube on a daily basis! I can’t say I’ve seen a similar upturn

108 0770@6.:8

idyllic country garden to acknowledge that, yes, the two of us are great together. It sounds a bit brattish but I really enjoyed that attention, that spotlight being shone directly onto us for a change. Richard, meanwhile, a shyer sort, is enjoying the cosy afterglow of the wedding – he likes wearing a ring, and has begun noticing when other people are wearing wedding bands. It makes him feel ‘part of a club’. The wedding focused my attention on our relationship, too. In the frantic and grinding routine of everyday life, we don’t find much time to think about the bigger picture, the important stuff.We’re too busy taking care of the small fry, such as ‘Why did I drink so much last night?’ or ‘Can I really afford that handbag?’ However happy you are, the familiarity of a longterm relationship means taking things for granted is inevitable. I realised this when I sat down to write my wedding speech (not traditional, I know, but I am the undisputed loudmouth in our relationship so it seemed appropriate). It made me remember just how brilliant he is, and how brilliant we are together. How his gentleness and cheery outlook temper my impetuous, impatient and grumpy tendencies. How we find each other absolutely hilarious on a daily basis. How we’ll never be one of those tragic couples who have silent dinners in restaurants. How he puts up with me when millions wouldn’t. And taking stock made me realise it was a good thing that we’d taken the best part of a decade to tie the knot, because I don’t think I was ready when I was in my twenties and I don’t think he’d have wanted to marry me then, either. I was more concerned with partying, building my career, worrying about what was cool and what wasn’t. I was high maintenance and demanding, I flirted too much with other men and I saw marriage as something other people – ones with more time on their hands – did. Richard and I were very much together through those years, having lots of fun, putting down tentative roots. But developing our relationship wasn’t always my number-one priority. Now at 32, with a ring (not too bling, though) on my finger, I have no regrets, I’m just glad I finally worked out what I wanted from life. And I’m very grateful Richard stuck around while I did. N