Sunday 15 September 2019

Sophie Donaldson: 'Travel carefully into 2019 but don't get there in a Prosecco'

Sophie Donaldson has tips on how to navigate 2019 with aplomb and predictions on what we will eat, drink, see and do

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Sophie Donaldson

Sophie Donaldson

Travel: In 2019, it will all be about taking the road far, far less travelled. The Oxford English Dictionary shortlisted 'overtourism' as one of its words of the year, after a series of pushbacks and closures from some of the world's most popular tourist destinations due to the overwhelming number of people visiting.

Maya Bay in Thailand, the beautiful sandy inlet made famous by the film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has been closed indefinitely due the extensive environmental damage and pollution caused by the thousands of tourists who'd flocked to the small beach every day. The Taj Mahal recently increased its visitor fee by 400pc for Indian residents in an attempt to curb its daily intake, which can reach up to 75,000 people during weekends.

Venice, a city that has long campaigned against overtourism, considered fining tourists for sitting or lying on the ground. In 2019, Dubrovnik will cap the number of cruise ships that can dock at its port to deal with the hordes of visitors in the summer.

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Travelling in 2019 is no longer just a luxury, but a responsibility. Do your bit to offset overcrowding by travelling in off-peak times.

Better yet, go off the beaten track and discover smaller, lesser-known destinations. You'll funnel much-needed cash into these places and in a few years can smugly tell friends you visited before everybody else.

Do say: Yes, we much prefer the beaches in Montenegro.

Don't say: How much for a gondola ride?


Turns out, there really can be too much of a good thing and for the Brits, that was Prosecco. For the first time in a decade, Italian exports of the bubbly beverage to the UK fell in 2018. Blame was laid in various quarters, including with Brexiteers and those who wrote 'false' news stories about the excessive sugar levels in the drink. The most likely cause, however, was that peak Prosecco had been reached.

The drink has lost its sparkle and become ubiquitous. This year, opt for a French cremant or Spanish cava, or, if you really want to impress, go for an organic natural wine. Sure, it may be slightly on the funky side, but no one can accuse you of being passe.

DO SAY: No, it's not corked, it's a natural wine.

Don't say: Be there in a Prosecco.


If you are preparing yourself for the onslaught that is 'Veganuary', when all your friends won't stop talking about how great they feel for going meat-free for the month, you may want to brace yourself for the 11 months after that, and the ones after that. Veganism has moved into the mainstream, as more people become conscious of the environmental impact of eating meat.

For those who can't stomach a meat-free diet, it's not all bad news (kind of). 'Motherless meat', or lab-grown protein designed to look, taste and feel like meat, is set to be the biggest food trend of the year ahead.

For those looking for a veggie alternative, whole roast cauliflower is the joint du jour, with dinner party hosts proudly carrying the hot vegetable to the table and carving it for their guests.

It's preferable to the avocado. The once-beloved exotic brunch fruit has fallen from favour; Irish Michelin-star chef JP McMahon recently described them as the "blood diamonds of Mexico".

DO SAY: Cauliflower steak, anyone?

Don't say: I'll have the smashed avo, please.

Sex and relationships:

In 2018, the #MeToo movement left the vacuous sphere of Hollywood and infiltrated our workplaces, homes and relationships. We spent the year redrawing the boundaries that exist when it comes to sex and relationships and as a result, some may be unsure how to navigate the already murky world of dating.

If you are sure of one thing, let it be this - there is nothing sexier than 100pc, irrefutable, yes-I'm-up-for-it, iron-clad consent. When it comes to physical contact, there is no room for ambiguity. Our young people have already cottoned on to this, as evidenced by the surge of participants in consent classes at universities around the country.

Despite the grumblings from a sour few that romance has been strangled by the PC-brigade, no, there is nothing wrong with gently asking your partner if they are comfortable with what's happening. In fact, there couldn't be anything more right-on.

DO SAY: Let me know if you're comfortable with this.

Don't say: Netflix and chill?

Social media:

In 2018, the glossy veneer created by lifestyle bloggers and 'influencers' wasn't so much chipped as it was belted with a backlash.

Social media users are finally tiring of the mirage of fake tan and photo editing that clouds their feeds, thanks in no small part to accounts such as Bloggers Unveiled.

The anonymous account went viral and accrued a vast following thanks to its relentless pursuit of Irish influencers it alleged were not disclosing when they were paid for posts by an advertiser.

Our search for 'realness' online saw movements such as #SaggyBoobsMatter and #FreeThePimple trend throughout the year and just last week, an Instagram post from the preternaturally beautiful Roz Purcell showing the stretch marks across her thighs and hips, went viral. Even Kim Kardashian tweeted last week about the psoriasis that is apparently "taking over" her perfect visage. In 2019, the most savvy social media users will know it's all about being real - warts, psoriasis, stretch marks, and all.

DO SAY: Leg hair, don't care.

Don't say: I just woke up like this.

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