You're standing in the travel agent's trying to decide between a value-for-money trip to Bangladesh or a group tour of the Shetland Islands. You're wearing bell bottoms, clogs and a biker jacket and sipping on a cashew nut milkshake. Next up is shopping for a 3D TV and an iPad 2, then you're heading home to plump up your Russian folk pattern cushions that are scattered on a denim sofa. In other words, welcome to 2011.
IF THERE'S one area where you can rest assured that the new trends aren't the same as the old trends, it's in the world of technology. From gaming to TV to mobile phones, there are loads of innovations in store.
Ella Williamson, buyer at Iwantoneofthose.com, says tablets (not the sugary kind) will be everywhere in 2011, after the success of Apple's iPad. "A few hot contenders have just come to market giving Apple a run for their money – most notably the Samsung Galaxy Tablet," she says. "We'll see the launch of the iPad 2 – tipped to have two new cameras for FaceTime video calling and a USB port. We'll see tablets becoming better, more multi-functional and more competitively priced."
In terms of gaming, 2011 looks set to see the development of using the human body as a controller – the Kinect for Xbox 360 being a great example of this. "In Japan they have already thrown out their controllers and are using real people as controllers for gaming and even work presentations," says Williamson, "and you too will be casting aside your controllers and experience a whole new freedom in gaming." Also look out for glasses-less 3D coming to handheld gaming via the Nintendo 3DS.
The other area set to grow in both size and technological advancement is the App market. "We will continue the trend for sharing and streaming rather than outright owning," adds Williamson.
Harry Parmar, Commercial Director, Best Buy UK, says that smartphones will get smarter: "Google's Nexus S smartphone in partnership with Samsung will be one of the most advanced smartphones in the market due to cutting-edge technology and a pioneering Android operating system."
Interest in 3D TV shows no signs of abating. John Kempner, buyer for Vision at John Lewis, says that currently 15 per cent of TVs sold at John Lewis over 40 inches are now 3D and he expects to see this trend continue in 2011 as more 3D content becomes available. "Internet TVs also became popular in 2010 and we expect to see demand continue as more benefits become available," he says.
Ben Fowler, Head of Buying and Merchandising at Firebox.com, sees projectors for the home coming to the fore. "They are getting more powerful and smaller and we've done very well on Firebox.com so far with the range we've sold," he says.
So whether entertainment or information is your priority, there's loads of new technology to look forward to.
Our homes provide a refuge from whatever the wider world is throwing at us, and that theme stands out among the key interior design trends for 2011. "With the economic climate people are spending more leisure time at home and are also looking for it to be their sanctuary from the outside world," says interior designer Anne Hunter (www.annehunter.co.uk). She foresees that stark and minimalist interiors will be swept aside in favour of materials and products that create a luxurious, comfortable and indulgent environment. We'll still be opting for an uncluttered and neutral backdrop, but Hunter says we'll be warming this up with vibrant colours, bold prints and different textiles. Her tips include fabrics like velvets, embroidered silk and tactile wools, wallpapers in metallics and texture and classic pieces of furniture revamped to give them a new lease of life.
IKEA UK Interior Design Expert Mikael Berryman agrees that the trends of "making do and mending" and "improving not moving" will really come to light in 2011. He says people will "find ways of making their current furnishings look new by reinvigorating their exteriors with bright and attractive colours and making more space in the home by using smart storage solutions so possessions can be packed away". So in the bedroom, he says, we'll be needing clever storage as we'll be holding on to old clothes and accessories for longer. He adds: "We are seeing more and more people buying bright drawer and cupboard unit doors to breathe new life into their kitchens." He says this customised kitchen trend will be big in 2011 and Ikea has introduced Rubrik copper effect and Rubrik Appld pink doors to their Faktum unit range to meet this demand.
Belts may still be getting tightened, but creativity in the home isn't disappearing. Mockie Harrison, Manager of Design Studio Home at John Lewis, sees a trend for mixing interior styles, allowing us all to build a look with personality. "Our collection for spring is a diverse mix of beautifully crafted furniture and lighting partly influenced by mid-20th century modern, and soft furnishings inspired by folk patterns from Morocco, South America and Russia," she says. "A pot pourri of global references with exuberant colour, calmed by cool neutrals, is the look to adopt next year." In terms of the colour palette for spring, Harrison says Citrine, Mineral Blue, Bluebird, Petrol, Magenta, Blush and Chilli will all compete for our attention.
Caroline Hoyer Millar, owner of specialist homeware retailer Twice (www.twice.co.uk), says that the predominant trend for 2011 is going to be the increasing importance of quality, which equates to longer wear, with less importance being given to trend-led designs. "Our customers are looking for fabrics that are easy to live with and don't 'shout' – we will be seeing curtains in natural linen that works beautifully with patterned and coloured highlights in a room," she says, adding: "We love the use of denim in upholstery and we think that is going to be big for us in 2011 – it's a great value upholstery fabric that actually looks better the more you use it, which has got to be good news in these tough times." She expects increasing interest in the provenance of homewares, with customers feeling good about supporting UK manufacturers and buying quality items that will last.
Between volcanic eruptions, strict security measures at airports and financial troubles, 2010 was a year when lots of people chose a "staycation" over a long-haul trip. Will we rediscover our wanderlust in 2011? "Overall, 2011 looks more positive for both travellers and the travel industry," says Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. "Britons intend to travel more often and will spend more money doing so, but will proceed with caution as the industry emerges slowly from a very difficult year." Tripadvisor's annual survey found that 66 per cent of respondents are planning a long-haul holiday in 2011, with a third planning to stay at home.
In terms of must-visit destinations, several travel book publishers have strong ideas about where we'll be going (or should be going) in 2011. Frommer's top ten destinations (www.frommers.com) include Doha, Quatar for its beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants and Doha-Tribeca Film Festival. Also up there is Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm (thanks in part to Stieg Larsson's Girlsthrillers), the unspoilt wilderness of Nahanni National Park in Canada and the Kent coast for its "long stretches of clean, sandy beaches, secluded coves, and bustling seaside towns". Lonely Planet's Top Ten Regions 2011 (www.lonelyplanet.com) include Chilean Patagonia, Westfjords, Sinai and the Shetland Islands, while their top city is New York and country is Albania. For those on a budget, top of the list is reckoned to be Bangladesh, which "offers marvellous meals for under US$1, a mid-range hotel room for less than 10 times that".
If you're part of the third of people staying at home, Steve Christie, Director of Wilderness Scotland, says you won't be bored. "2011 is the year of Active Scotland, a reminder of the country's many adventure opportunities. With our economy still getting back on track, many adventurous families are likely to opt to stay in the UK – and we're confident Scotland's natural playground will attract many of these."
Every two years Pete Irvine roams Scotland researching for Scotland the Best, trying to work out what's going on, how Scotland is adjusting to changing patterns of travel, eating out and outdoor
activities. "Obviously in recent years staycationing has had an effect because both the perceptions and the needs of Scottish or UK travellers are different from those from elsewhere," he says. "It would seem likely that in the next couple of years the proportion of home visitors will maintain, Americans will dwindle, but coming over the hill are the Asians. Although Scotland does attract increasing numbers of independent travellers, Asian visitors tend to come in tribes, so the demand for bespoke travelling is bound to increase." He says that in terms of festival accommodation, from bunks to boutiques, and every kind of outdoor activity under the sun, niche markets will grow. "The expansion of social networking and the way we can all now be targeted and exploited and bundled on the bus together will see us doing more things with People Like Ourselves," he says, adding "Happily the sunset over Jura will not change."
Robin Worsnop of Rabbie's Trail Burners expects demand to increase for luxury small group tours around Scotland. "With economic recovery very much remaining a work in progress for 2011, many travellers are still looking for the same exciting and independent travel experiences, but at a lower price point," he says. "Group tours can be a successful value for money alternative, without compromising the once-in-a-lifetime travel experience."
The search for value for money can also lead travellers to seek out bespoke total packages – combining accommodation, food and drink and a spa experience. That's the case at Edinburgh's Hotel Missoni, where General Manager Carina Svensen says: "Increasing work and time pressures mean that people still want to enjoy holidays but now people are looking for those added extras and the feelgood factor is more important than ever.
"More and more guests want to ensure that everything is catered for right down to the smallest detail, so they have nothing to worry about."
'Chefs are going back to basics, showcasing produce in its simplest form'
What do ewes' milk, scented flowers, wolfberry and morello cherries have in common? They're just a few of the ingredients that we'll be tasting and talking about in 2011. That's according to SIAL 2010, the International Food and Beverage Exhibition. The exhibition's taste predictions for the new year include fruit and spice combinations, chilli chocolate, honey, wasabi and ginger. Interesting taste combinations were also flagged up by the Institute of Food Technologists in its "mega-trends" report, which identified niche flavours entering the mainstream – think nut-flavoured beverages, ice creams flavoured with spices like cinnamon, coriander and anise plus vegetable-flavoured yogurts. Then there are flower flavours, to be found in jasmine-flavoured lattes or rose petal drinks.
Scotland's top restaurateurs have their own ideas of what they'll be serving up in 2011. "In the past year a lot of chefs have been returning to the roots of where our food comes from, offering much more rustic, simple, honest dishes," says Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin restaurant in Edinburgh. "Chefs are focusing on back to basics cooking, showcasing produce in its simplest form. In the same way people reverted to traditional, simple home cooking during the war, dining habits have gone full circle and I think will continue to do so in 2011." He says that as Scots increasingly try to improve the quality, locality and seasonality of their home cooking, more and more people are growing fruit and vegetables in gardens and allotments and visiting their local fishmongers and butchers for advice on the best cuts and seasonal produce.
Petra Wetzel, MD of WEST Brewery, Bar & Restaurant in Glasgow, agrees that people are looking to buy locally sourced, locally produced food and drink items. "Here at WEST we are advocates of high quality and we pride ourselves in producing the finest lagers and wheat beers from the very best raw ingredients," she says. "The feedback we receive on a daily basis from our customers is that many people prefer to drink one very good pint of lager rather than a number of mass-produced beers churned out by big breweries." She also flags up a trend within the drinks industry for more women to choose beer, with wheat beers particularly popular.
According to Trendwatch.com, "Well-th" will be one of 11 major consumer trends for 2011. This means a shift in emphasis from purchasing shiny new things to investing in our wellbeing, for a more lasting and meaningful feelgood factor. Iain Bell, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Consultant at Edinburgh's One Spa, says: "We can expect to see even more of a boom than usual in detox and health foods in the New Year." He adds that people will soon be able to invest in ultra-healthy versions of their usual treats – for example, One Spa is introducing a new range of healthy bento-style lunch boxes bursting with superfoods such as quinoa, pomegranate, beetroot and pumpkin seeds.
Dominic Jack, Chef Proprietor of Edinburgh's Castle Terrace restaurant, says that while locally sourced food has been talked about a lot, in 2011 the notion will increasingly be put into practice. "What we are beginning to see more of is chefs living and breathing this philosophy with a 'hyper local' approach to sourcing produce," he says. "Restaurants are looking at the quality ingredients and produce on offer right on their doorsteps, with some chefs even growing their own vegetables and herbs in their own gardens."
In terms of the environment we choose to dine in, David Ramsden, owner of The Dogs restaurants in Edinburgh, says a "home from home" feel will be popular in 2011, with people looking for freshly cooked food in a comfortable setting. He says: "We are also finding that our diners are opting more and more for the old school favourites featured on our menus that many people loved during their childhood."
Marina Crolla, owner of Angels with Bagpipes restaurant on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, agrees that we'll be heading back in time. "I think we're going back to mince and potatoes and stew and all these lovely dishes that we used to have," she says. She believes that fast food and ready meals will be in decline as people think increasingly of their health and choose to make time to cook and eat well. "In Italy they take four hours over lunch and maybe we need to go down that route," she says. "I think people are increasingly going to say, 'I'm on my lunch hour and I'm not sitting at my computer – I'm going to eat, relax, digest and enjoy it' whether it's something home-made or they're going to a restaurant. It's all about goodness and getting it cooked fresh."
'The exciting event will be the royal wedding dress'
It doesn't exactly feel as though spring is on the horizon but Creme Eggs have hit the shelves so we'll soon be hankering for fresh collections. "It's a tricky business buying into the trends at the outset, but with people buying less yet spending more, you want to be sure to get it right," says Fi Lovett of Edinburgh and London boutiques Fifi Wilson (www.fifiwilson.com). She says one key theme for the season is stripes: "Whether it's a cream diaphanous shirt with an unexpected burst of coral at the hem, or blocks of colour in differing widths, you're not going to go wrong with some horizontals." Elsewhere, expect to see lots of 1970s glam with maxi dresses and bell bottoms in the shops. Where the military vibe is fading, the biker look is on the up. "Leather continues to be a firm favourite and this trend rides in on its back," says Lovett. "The roughed-up urban look is easy and effortless. A little biker goes a long way, so give the boots, gloves and helmet a miss."
As always with fashion, inspiration is coming from the past. Jo Hooper, Head of Womenswear Buying at John Lewis, flags up a March collection by UK designer Tracey Boyd. "Boyd's collection takes influence from the sequin-clad starlets of Studio 54, her collection (sample pictured] has a strong 1970s theme, an era set to dominate fashions alongside 1950s and 1960s throwbacks," she says. The colour palette we can expect come spring is diverse, ranging from shades of blue and emerald green to tropical coral, dusty pink, and champagnes. Traditional prints will also be given a twist to bring them up-to-date. "Textiles will also be generally traditionally seasonal: chiffon, lace, cotton and silk, but fabrics such as leather, feathers and tweed will also be thrown into the mix, affording an edgier look."
Rosalind Woolfson, founder of Dress:Success, flags up the fashion event of the year: the Royal wedding. "The most exciting event on the fashion front will be Catherine Middleton's wedding dress, which will inspire thousands of direct copies and influence bridal style for 2011/12," she says. "It will also be very interesting to see Kate when she is dressed for formal occasions by British designers such as Bruce Oldfield, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, Alice Temperleyor Burberry Prorsum." Woolfson adds that designer collaborations with high street chains will continue to feature on the fashion scene. "Fashion shoppers will become more discriminating with their purchases, thinking of longer term wear," she says.
In terms of tailoring, Edward Smith, brand manager for leading high street shirt retailer Hawes & Curtis (pictured left, www.hawesandcurtis.com), says the New Year will bring a burst of colour, with citrus brights and fuchsia in womenswear and purple, blue and pink in men's. "Primary colour stripes and floral jacquards will be popular patterns," he says, "and tailoring trends will feature frills, pleats and seams for a fresh, feminine start to the year."
Over at Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries, marketing manager Samantha Stewart says: "Go bohemian and hippy chick, or 1970s sophisticated with maxi skirts/dresses and high-waisted trousers with blouses. Mango did the 1970s glam thing especially well this season, so there's an opportunity to do some canny sales shopping." She says that the maxi trend will continue, with full-length skirts and dresses in sheer materials.
The Mad Men influence continues to make its mark, with 1950s and 1960s ladylike silhouettes – try Oasis for 1960s-style shift dresses. "Details and accessories make all the difference in ensuring your look is bang on trend," says Stewart. Her top tips for 2011 are retro-shaped sunglasses, tassels, clogs and kitten heels. She adds: "Mixing fabrics and textures is still big, and can add interest, so mix biker details with delicate fabrics, or go for high drama with a mix of modern pieces with theatrical vintage details." Then you can step out in style.