I am all for instilling a sense of charity in your kids, as David and Victoria Beckham say they are doing with theirs, but there is another example the Becks could set. Lady B gets given much of her fine wardrobe. She is one of the best clothes horses in town and a newly ordained designer to boot. But by appearing to hoover up shoes, clothes and bags like a hardened cocaine snorter she is giving the legions of fans who follow her such a picture of avid consumerism it could lead her less savvy followers down the road to serious debt.

Don’t get me wrong I love the poshest of the Spice’s. She wears the kind of shoes I would choose to twist around a pole. She was also born under my sun sign of Aries so is a fellow social tourettes sufferer, which makes for hilarious reading.

However she would seriously play the integrity card by flying over from the US and going shopping at the Selfridges Really Really Great Garage Sale this Sunday where Louise Redknapp, Trinny Woodall, Yasmin Le Bon and Denise Van Outen, amongst others, will be donating covetable items for sale and acting as stallholders to raise money for the charity Mothers4children. No-one would give Mrs Beckham gip for being snapped wearing something second hand. The last time she did an Oxfam photocall in 2006, she got a heap of easy publicity and sales of women’s clothes at Oxfam went through the roof. So it’s win win.

I am not one for telling people to do things I would not dream of doing myself, (apart from “taking a hike”) so, having heard charities are losing subscriptions hand over fist, I have upped my personal donations and tempered my own out of control clothes’ habit. I have swapped Zara for frock-swapping and Oxford St for Ebay. I keep my eye on dates at http://www.bigwardrobe.com/TheBigSwish/index.aspx.

I even frock-swap and swish online at http://www.swishing.co.uk and http://www.swishing.biz but do prefer parties to the online experience: the Internet has nothing on holding a glass of Chilean white in one hand and sifting through a rail of glorious bargains with the other. “Swishing parties are for all those women who want to combine glamour, environmental protection and frugality,” says Lucy Shea, founder of Swishing and director of Futerra Sustainability Communications on her site http://www.swishing.org , “Save money, save the planet, have a party.”

According to Shea the rules of the rail are simple:

1) Everyone must bring at least one item of quality clothing.
2) You have half an hour to browse before the swish opens.
3) No item may be claimed before the swish opens.
4) As soon as the swish is declared open, everyone may take what they want.
5) And, lest we forget, no scratching, spitting or fighting.”

Swishing not only keeps you off the high street, it is good for your money kharma. Most parties raise money for charity and some even give you a percentage of the proceeds from the clothes you donate. The last frock swap I participated in at a friend’s house took 25% off each item sold for Multiple Sclerosis and we pocketed the rest. Despite spending most of my booty the same night I was proud to get rid of my most heinous fashion mistakes, chuffed I hadn’t added to the carbon count and sweatshop labour and felt like a child with a secret pack of chewing gum as I walked out of the door, fingering the small wad of notes in my pocket.

Who knows, with a little public pressure, maybe we could convince the lady of labels to alternate between her clothes line and vintage. Could I be so bold as to suggest she take the swishing trend to LA? Forget her new forays into fashion design, big up vintage in Beverley Hills and Mrs Beckham really could change the world.


Friends keep asking me why I named my blog The Butterfly Diaries and why I have not been generous enough to divulge this information to date. Tut tut. Well, to be perfectly honest the story behind the name is so bonkers I was too nervous to share it with you for fear you might dub me a complete fruitloop, but I suppose you think that now anyway.

For about six months before I split up with Mr Was Right I started noticing butterfly symbol after butterfly symbol in the most unlikely places and, as much as my ego kept telling me they had been fashionable for years, the butterflies got more and more obvious, desperately trying to attract my attention like the kids are prone to do when I sit at my computer for too long.

My ever-increasing list of butterfly symbols that have turned up in weird places includes:

. a butterfly sticker on my petrol tank
. a big butterfly embossed at the bottom of a pub umbrella stand
. a piece of paper blowing around at the side of the road revealing an intricately hand-drawn butterfly illustration
. a massive butterfly illustration on the side of a lorry
. a huge gaudy papier mache sculpture on a dingy back wall of a very small and traditional pub leading to the loos.

butterfly illustration

These weren’t the kind of butterflies I was used to seeing decorating Matthew Williamson dresses, Accessorise jewellery and my Toh Sho shopping bags. And why would they appear during huge moments of doubt? It got so ridiculous that I started spotting butterflies or butterfly symbols all day, every day. What were they trying to tell me? That I was being a social gadabout, that I was vain and rather too carefree or was this a kick-ass message about transformation?

Just when I started believing Mr Was Right’s theory that I was suffering from the onset of an early mid-life crisis, I would see yet another one. The red eyed techy guy who came to set up my new computer put a butterfly before my name on my sign in box. A friend gave me his new album which had an illustration of a butterfly unfurling from its cocoon. But it was not until a complete stranger lifted her top up in Victoria Station to reveal the most incredible tattoo of a butterfly on her lower back, said nothing, then walked away, that I surrendered, knowing something or someone was trying desperately hard to get through to me.

‘Power Animal’ specialist and regular Hay House contributor Steven Farmer says the person with butterfly as a symbol can be flighty and quite detached. According to him we love fresh air and have a lot of vitality – which fits if you call smoking a cigarette on your doorstep fresh air and an hour of poledancing practice vitality. Carl Jung tows a more serious line. The synchronicity specialist says that butterfly turns up when our ego consciousness gives way to spiritual consciousness. The Goddess Psyche herself was represented as a butterfly in Greek myth and butterflies are often seen around coffins and said to represent departed souls and the freedom of the soul upon death. I could go on and on but those clever people at Humanity Healing have put it in a lovely colourful nutshell in the following video. So check this out…


The butterfly asks us to accept our fluid lives as casually as she accepts her metamorphosis. She teaches us not to let change freak us out and accept the short life and death of things as we undergo the most difficult transitions in our lives. “But I don’t want to leave my lovely comfy cocoon,” we squeal. “Before I make the leap you must give me a sign, a really BIG sign…” And so she flutters softly into our lives to remind us to go with the flow and surrender to nature’s beautiful way…which is a dangerous philosophy when you are being pursued by a brace of Swedes and a G.

But more on that next time…