Forget scents that make you sneeze or scratchy blouses manufactured in sweatshops. There is a new celebrity racket in town and this one does not involve slapping your name on some cheap tat in a lucrative licensing deal. Goop is the name, and money-making is the game. And 2020 has already seen a number of celebrities attempt to get in on the Goop rush.
Former Spice Girl turned businessperson Victoria Beckham is clambering aboard the Goop train this week with her World of Victoria Beckham website. On it, the pioneer of trousers so overlong they are suitable for women who only travel by chauffeured vehicle shares her favourite post-gym snack. Fancy an egg white scramble with a side of sliced avocado? Nope, me neither. Alongside other hearty, rib-sticking recipes such as grilled octopus or edamame noodles (a gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb alternative to the “indulgence” of traditional pasta), World of Victoria Beckham features lifestyle tips and product recommendations for women wanting to live their best, carbohydrate-free lives.
Visitors to the World of Victoria Beckham can also learn how the millionaire fashion designer “empowers herself every day” by means of a £161 face serum made from porcelain flower biopeptides. As the National Women’s Liberation Movement demanded at its historic 1970 conference: equal pay, equal opportunities, contraception and abortion on demand, free childcare – and porcelain flower biopeptides for all.
When it comes to monetising celebrity in the modern age, there is no pseudo-scientific quackery so ludicrous that you can’t use it to sell product. Hence Elle Macpherson’s new range of “libido and endurance” boosters, an £85 sachet of “botanicals and adaptogens” that promise to enhance the body’s response to stress, relieve the symptoms of the menopause and “support emotional wellbeing“.
These celebrities are taking their lead from a woman who needs no introduction: Gwyneth Paltrow, the Nelson Rockefeller of wellness. Where Paltrow went, other celebrities followed. After the success of her vagina-scented candle, you can now buy incense that smells like Erykah Badu’s vagina. Who can blame them? Where we have been sneering at Paltrow’s oddball recommendations for coffee enemas, she has been busy building Goop into a $250m business empire, taking her cues from the US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey, who pioneered lifestyle branding back in the 90s.
I could speak at length about how venal it is for wealthy women to distort our fears about our bodies, ageing and health to shift product. I could ask why the World of Victoria Beckham barely features any recipes including carbs. I could point out that the single thing most likely to enhance the body’s response to stress and support emotional wellbeing is being rich, white, and living in a developed nation. But mostly I just want to say that I am so very tired of all of this and I would like all these celebrities to stick a jade egg in it. Stop the Goop train. I want to get off.
We don’t need to tell you why Hertfordshire is the perfect place to live, partly because we’d never stop but also because the endorsements from some of the most famous people in the world speak for themselves.
Being within a short drive or train journey (dread the thought) into London means that for many stars they can escape the crowds and enjoy the quiet life.
From footballers who want a garden big enough for a kickabout, to film stars who need a suitably big house, or just those born in Hertfordshire and – despite touring the world – still haven’t found anywhere better, we’ve had them all.
Many of the stars still live in the county, so it’s worth keeping an eye out the next time you’re in town or giving a second look to the car next to you at the traffic lights.
That being said, given the price and size of some of their houses, you probably shouldn’t expect to see them nipping down to the shops.
Here are the 13 biggest stars that have called Hertfordshire home:
David and Victoria Beckham
The Beckhams were possibly the county’s most famous residents until they sold their Sawbridgeworth mansion in 2013. ‘Beckingham Palace’ as it was dubbed was a huge home in the village, and sold for just over £11million.
The footballer and Spice Girl turned fashion designer had bought the house in 1999, with the couple remaining close to where Victoria was born in nearby Harlow.
However, the family started spending less time in the county following their move to the US in 2007 and have since left the county.
The star of the Harry Potter films grew up in Hertford as he filmed the series. He has also stayed in Hertfordshire as an adult, where he has started a booming property business.
While it’s not clear whereabouts he lives in the county now, reports suggest he owns property worth over £24million in Hertfordshire and the surrounding area.
These include more modest homes he’s turned around in Hitchin, and also a huge mansion in Kimpton he bought following his Hollywood success which has continued to grow in value.
The musician grew up in Hertford before moving to Bristol to study music, and while we’d never usually recommend leaving the county, considering his later success it seems a shrewd decision.
It’s not clear if he still lives in Hertfordshire, but earlier this year he did pass his driving test in St Albans, so it seems that he does still have links to the area, and you might be able to see him on the roads – when he’s not in a tourbus at least.
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Cheryl might be famous for her roots in the north east, but she’s been a Hertfordshire resident for much of her adult life.
Since marrying Ashley Cole she has lived in the county, and even after that split she’s lived in both Hadley Wood and Wrotham Park.
She then put her huge Radlett mansion on the market in 2017, which included a large indoor pool, roof terrace and six bedrooms.
She’s now moved away from the county, but remains in touching distance in North London.
Another former X-Factor judge Tulisa was also spotted in Hertfordshire.
The former N-Dubz star lived in a huge £4.5million mansion in Brookmans Park. The huge estate was in the village just south of Hatfield, which provided some quiet away in the Hertfordshire countryside.
The celebrity chef is one of the only stars on this list to opt for a town centre house, meaning you’re most likely to spot him around Hoddesdon.
The four storey Grade II listed townhouse is a stunning building, although there has been controversy in recent years about an application to close the public footpath that runs past, due to some over excited members of the public.
However, wife Jessie said in the planning application the family “love being part of the Hoddesdon community” and have been welcomed since moving in 2016.
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Another celebrity who had a planning dispute was ex-Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, who erected 18ft nets around his garden to stop footballs flying into neighbouring gardens.
The footballer was just one of many who decided to make Harpenden their home while playing for clubs in the capital.
The village gives some privacy while also being home to some stunning properties, not least Wilshere’s which was valued at around £3.5million.
The actor has become one of film’s most recognisable faces, but rather than Hollywood he’s made Hertfordshire his home.
He lived in the county with his ex-wife in a £1.4million house in Potters Bar, before then moving to north London although he’s still fond of the county, describing it as a “beautiful escape.”
The former One Direction star used Hertfordshire as his own escape after quitting the band ahead of his solo career. He moved into a luxury five-bed house on Barnet Road, near to Borehamwood.
It’s perhaps not surprising after the intense spotlight he decided to try to avoid publicity while living in Hertfordshire, and soon moved to New York with supermodel Gigi Hadid – his loss!
Another Spice Girl with roots in Hertfordshire is Geri Halliwell. She was born and raised in Watford before her music career took-off, and despite touring around the world she’s now returned to Hertfordshire.
Now married to the Team Principal of Red Bull’s Formula One team, the couple share their time between Banbury in Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire.
Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Max Whitlock is from Hemel Hempstead but now lives in neighbouring Essex, where he trains.
That being said he’s still been seen at events in his old school and clubs, so a sighting in Hertfordshire isn’t impossible these days.
Another sportsman who has moved slightly further away is golfer Ian Poulter, who now spends most of his time in the USA.
He has spent a significant amount of his life in our county and the surrounding areas though, he was born in Hitchin and raised in Stevenage where he first started playing.
That being said, it’s believed he does now have a home in nearby Milton Keynes, so don’t be too surprised if you see him visiting Hertfordshire over the winter months.
The popstar and former Britian’s Got Talent judge hails from Welwyn Garden City and still lives in the county today – albeit in a much more flash house.
Throughout lockdown Alesha has shared photos of her huge garden and incredible home gym, so if you haven’t spotted her around the county it might be just because there’s no reason to leave!
A fundraiser that is aiming to raise £500,000 to send a two-year-old to Singapore for life-saving cancer treatment has received a flurry of celebrity backing.
The Save Our Stan appeal was launched after Stanley Dalton was diagnosed with cancer for the third time.
The toddler was in remission from T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February but his parents, Lee and Georgia were told in June that it was back.
Stanley was just 16-months-old when he was first diagnosed in March 2019 and spent more than 217 nights in hospital during an 11 month period as he battled the disease twice. He underwent two bone marrow transplants in the space of a year and was given a trial drug. In February, he was discharged from hospital when he entered remission.
When his parents were told last month that it had returned they were told to take him home and make memories. However, Georgia couldn’t sit by and do nothing.
This is why they decided to launch the justgiving page to raise the money to take him to Singapore for the life-saving treatment.
Since the page launched last month more than £320,000 has been raised and has now received backing from Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton, Jamie and Harry Redknapp as well as Manchester United players including Juan Mata.
In his video Juan Mata said: “I wanted to say on my behalf and my team mates and my club Manchester United, we are all right behind you and we would like to encourage everyone to help you so you can get your treatment and you get well real soon.”
Harry and Jamie Redknapp appeared in the video together sending out a joint message.
They said: “We just wanted to say lots of love and hope Stan’s doing well and staying strong. I know you guys are doing a great job looking after him.
“We are thinking of you all the time and we know that Stan is going to get there so stay strong and we’ll support you, good luck.”
Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton urged people to back the appeal in his video. He said: “This is a message of support for the Save our Stan campaign.
“Stan is a young lad that really needs our help at the moment. We need to raise some money to get him over to Singapore for life-saving treatment.
“I couldn’t help but want to get involved in this, he really needs our help.”
TAIPEI: Taiwan wrapped up an annual film festival with an awards ceremony on Saturday night as it holds more public events after keeping its coronavirus outbreak to a few hundred cases.
Actors and others lined up for photo shoots with no social distancing, and participants didn’t wear masks in historic Zhongshan Hall in Taipei.
Taiwan, with a population of about 23 million people, has had 451 confirmed cases and seven deaths.
A baseball game in the city of Taichung on Saturday drew more than 10,000 fans for the first time this season, the official Central News Agency said.
Health authorities said last month that fans would be allowed to sit in alternate seats and no longer would have to wear masks, except when leaving their seats.
Authorities have been gradually allowing larger crowds since play began in April with no fans.
The horror film “Detention,” set during martial law in Taiwan in the 1960s, was the biggest winner at the Taipei Film Festival, taking six awards including the Grand Prize and Best Actress for 22-year-old Gingle Wang.
Chang Jung-chi, the Best Director winner for “We Are Champions,” said the virus outbreak had forced him to slow down his work.
“This comes to me like a friend patting my shoulder and saying, ‘Hang in there,’ ” he said.