Health writer Eva Gizowska soaks up the holistic vibes at Gwyneth Paltrow’s first UK-based In Goop Health Summit in London back in June.
It’s a crisp, sunny day as I make my way to the In Goop Health Summit. This two-day event is taking place at Re:Centre, the ‘new sanctuary of rest and reflection’ overlooking the river at Hammersmith, London. If you’ve never heard of Goop – or jade eggs, yoni steaming, rose quartz facial rollers, cupping or gemstone heat therapy mats – it’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s own lifestyle, beauty and wellness website and brand. She originally launched Goop as a newsletter, promoting natural health products and therapies, from her kitchen table back in 2008. Since then, she’s expanded her wellness empire with Goop stores and wellbeing summits. This is the first summit held in the UK.
Ticket options included an eye-watering £4,500 (with swanky hotel included), or £2,000 (without hotel) for a weekend pass, and £1,000 for a full-day summit on the Saturday. But, for budgets that didn’t stretch that far, there was a choice of individual classes and workshops (from £30) on the Sunday.
Obviously, I would have jumped at the chance to attend the all-singing, all-dancing Saturday session, where ‘summit warriors’ actually got to meet (or at least catch a glimpse of) Gwyneth (and Penelope Cruz), had access to all talks, classes and workshops, food and drinks, and went away with a goodie bag, jam-packed with fantastic beauty, wellbeing products and fitness gear. Still, with tickets having sold out like hotcakes, I’m lucky to get a look in at all.
Arriving at the Summit
On arrival, a young, immaculately dressed Goop assistant ushers me in, past a vast expanse of floral walls bearing the In Goop Health logo. There are various workshops and classes taking place today, including a Transformational Thinking workshop with Psychotherapist, Barry Michels, talks by intuitive healer and Biodynamic Psychotherapist, Fiona Arrigo, classes with leading meditation expert, Cornelius O’Shaugnessy, a Q & A with Fertility expert Zita West, and a high powered work out, with pint-sized, Celebrity trainer, Tracy Anderson.
I’m booked in for Finding Your Purpose meditation session with Estelle Bingham, but it’s not for a few hours yet, So, I have plenty of time and explore and soak up the Goop vibe. The main hub of the summit is in the light, huge, airy exhibition hall. There’s also a body studio, smaller rooms and therapy areas upstairs, where classes and workshops take place. I look around and see that it’s mainly women here, with only the odd, slightly bemused boyfriend or husband in tow. There are groups of fresh-faced, silky haired Millenials; mothers and daughters; yoga bodied types, kitted out in Lulu Lemon; stylish, expensively dressed Goop devotees, from the U.S. – there are basically women of all ages and sizes, who have travelled from all over to be at this event.
Goop Products Galore
The main hall is a Goop shopper’s paradise. There are so many make-up and skincare stalls, that I feel I’m in the beauty section of an upmarket department store. Looking at the prices, it’s not hard to work out how the Goop wellness empire is worth £250 million. There’s a ‘no-make-up, make-up’ counter where you can have your face done by a make-up artist. Wherever I look there are lipsticks, lip balms, lid tints, shimmery face creams, silky, subtle concealers and bath and body products.
All the Goop beauty products are here including bestsellers such as the Luminous Melting Cleanser (£80), Enriching Face Oil (£98), Perfecting Eye Cream (£80), Replenishing Night Cream (£125), Exfoliating Instant Facial (£38) and the Goop fragrance line (from £50). There are products by Celebrity skincare specialist, Dr Barbara Sturm such as Brightening Face Cream (£140), Hyaluronic Serum (£230) and Glow Drops (£109).
There’s also a Library stand where you can buy books on natural health, sex, good gut health, nutrition, meditation, wellbeing and, of course, books by Gwyneth herself. I spot The Clean Plate: Delicious, Healthy Recipes For Everyday Glow (£25), It’s All Good: Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look and Feel Great (£33) and It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes For the Super-Busy Home Cook (£36). There’s also food writer, Jasmine Hemsley’s, East by West (£20), Ayurvedic wellbeing book. Jasmine was here on Saturday, giving a talk on Food Matters.
I pass the Sex stand with its range of brightly coloured vibrators with names such as The Tennis Coach, The Fireman, The Frenchman and The Millionaire (£39.95 each). There are Luna Love Beads (£54) to strengthen the pelvic floor. But, I don’t see any Jade Eggs (to increase sexual energy and pleasure), controversially debunked by experts, for their original hormone balancing claims, sparking a £145,000 lawsuit. Apparently, they’ve sold out.
I wish I could splash out on some Goop Fitness wear but can’t justify spending £129 on a pair of leggings, £86 for a sports bra or £256 on an air cropped jumper sweatshirt. Not all the active wear is so pricey; the Capri leggings for £23 and performance top for £45 almost seem like a bargain. There’s certainly no shortage of takers, as I see plenty of women filling their Goop tote bags.
All this walking around has made me thirsty and peckish, but not hungry enough to want to head to the River Café restaurant next door. So, I grab a handful of the nut butter balls, coconut and chocolate pretzel bites and ‘hydrate mindfully’ with a bottle of Flow Alkaline Spring Water.
I’m tempted to have a reading with astrologer Hedy, the Nymph of Neptune. But, there’s a bit of a queue and my meditation session begins shortly. So, I head upstairs instead and have a quick look around the Rest & Test zone before the workshop begins. Here you can have a light therapy facial or try out a gemstone heat therapy mat. I head next door for my meditation instead.
‘Finding Your Purpose’ Meditation Session
The hour-long session is led by Estelle Bingham, a Holistic Therapist, who also works with crystals. There are about thirty women and one man in the room, which feels a bit too cramped for my liking, especially when we have to stretch out for the meditation. As one woman next to me points out, there would have been more room in the Body Studio downstairs.
Estelle begins with some deep breathing and stretching. She then goes around the room asking everyone to say what they want from life right now. Answers include: ‘I want to: heal, embrace change, be loved, be kinder, feel my emotions, stop being fearful, be a more present mother, be a better friend, have more of a work-life balance, lose my anxiety, be more appreciative, find my true expression, be creative.’ Estelle writes this all down on the board. She then takes us through a guided meditation, focusing on our breathing. She explains our souls are all interlinked and everything everyone has said in the room applies to all of us. They’re things that we all want. Being no stranger to meditation and holistic workshops, I feel fairly relaxed afterwards, but can’t say I have any earth-shattering insights during this session. However, I can see that for many of the women, especially those who are new to any kind of holistic work, it’s food for thought.
By now, I feel Gooped out. Would I come again next year? Possibly, yes. But, from what I have been hearing from others, the Saturday was more immersive, more interactive and more of an experience, while Sunday was more of a taster. It was Spirituality Lite. Perfect for someone who is totally new to this kind of world – and, who loves shopping!