Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Stories are remarkable things. They have the power to alter the tempo of reality – slow it right down to a nice, easy pace. The perfect pace in fact to allow you to step out of your reality, and enter into an entirely new one. A little like those old London Routemaster buses with the open back – when the bus slowed just enough, you could step off and retain your cool, making a seamless transition from the bus to the pavement. No trips or tumbles to be seen.

So when it comes to telling a story, the onus falls on you to recreate this remarkable quality, the quality that keeps our bookshelves forever stacked and our Kindles brimming and our Amazon orders flowing. To put it simply, you kind of have to tell a good story.

I recently set myself the challenge to write my first screenplay. It was the hardest thing I’ve done since my 10,000 word dissertation on Sex Differences in Cognitive Reasoning (which was thorough and impressive in every way). And while I toiled away an entire day just trying to decide on the general plot, I realised something hugely elucidating.

Now, we all know that 50 Cent was shot 9 times. We know the ins and outs of Eminem’s marital history. We know that Christina Aguilera is now beautiful “no matter what they say”. We know all the life stories of so many strangers. But there is one binding thread – they are all also artists. And that’s where it all begins to make sense. When you’re trying to tell a good story, to create a piece of compelling art, you need some good material. And though your own story is the hardest one to tell, it’s the story that we know the best.

So where I used to ask myself why Enrique Iglesias felt that I should know the depths of pain and passion of his most recent break-up, I now understand. When you want to create something meaningful - something absorbing, you may well look for inspiration in the thing that means the most to you. And what can be more meaningful than the events of your own life? What could mean more than your own life story? Do tell.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Scroll through your Facebook newsfeed and all of your ‘friends’ will have you believing that they moonlight as part-time models. Striking poses. Smizing. Be it the classic ‘conveniently-and-perfectly-catch-the-light’ beauty shot, or the ‘I’m-so-geeky-that-I’m-actually-cool’ goofy face. In the trendiest get-up. Looking as though they rock around with a hair brush / barber always primed to step up.

And that’s great. All of that is good, clean fun. It feels great to show the world an image of yourself at your best. Look good – feel good: a perfectly justifiable aphorism. But something occurred to me, then that idea nestled in and really got me thinking.

And there was a very particular prompt.

I got home from work, after the 1hr and 20minute journey. I helped my mum tend to my baby niece and nephew, getting them ready for their dad to come and pick them up. I prepared and ate some dinner. I made myself a cup of tea. And then I finally sat down on the edge of my bed, kicked off my winter boots and tied up my hair. Then I glanced in my full length mirror and caught sight of the image of me.

What I saw was... well, me. Unpreened. No touch ups. Not even a quick swipe of Carmex. Just me, after a long day. Me, mentally mapping out how I was going to spend the rest of the evening. Me, quietly living, in a way that’s only truly possible when you are completely unobserved. The young woman that exists beneath the daily beauty routine and wardrobe raid and seemingly sunny disposition. And as I caught sight of that image, one phrase landed in my mind with a gentle thump. ‘Self Portrait’.

Go to the National Portrait Gallery, and the self portraits will fail miserably on a Facebook Profile Pic checklist. It’s all straight faces and no make-up. Missing ears and mere hints of a smile. I think there is a good reason for this. I think these images present an acute honesty. An upfront portrayal. A true portrait.

So I can’t help but think that Instagram filtering, a perfectly coiffured Brazilian weave and expertly applied red lipstick don’t have quite the same end result. Not even close. So who is it that your Facebook avatar says that you are? And how far is the disparity between that, and the You sat in the edge of your bed?

Food for thought I suppose, in true pensivebuddha style.

Friday, 28 September 2012


When I was young I tried to teach myself to write with my left hand. One summer, I decided that I may as well spend my 6 weeks learning something new as my play-date schedule was... pending. I’d learned at some point that lefties tended to be more creative, and were more disposed to falling into the genius category. That sounded like a worthwhile pursuit.

The fact that I was learning it, rather than my motor skills naturally selecting it, wasn’t important. Genius does come naturally, indeed, but learning to read and write certainly helps things along, was my thought process.

This memory assaulted me as I let my mind wonder while at my desk, searching for an inspiring way to make some product description copy seem interesting. In the latter pursuit, I most likely failed. But this memory made me wonder at myself. I wondered at the type of person that I was. Or am. I found myself so thoroughly impressed at my own total belief, that one thing would absolutely lead to another. That learning this new skill would absolutely stimulate the recesses of my brain into churning out some genius.

And so it is that I learnt something about myself, from myself. That to merely believe something to be so, doesn’t necessarily make it materialise. But that you’ll likely find that your goals feel much closer once you’ve dispensed of doubt and disbelief and all those other time consuming barriers. A simple, temperate belief almost brings you halfway. After all, why waste time doubting, when you could be practicing writing your name with your non-dominant hand.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Right. I’m no activist. And I usually make a point of refraining from commenting on things that are hot in the media – not really my style. I don’t need a soap box to say how I feel about things, and social-media-frenzy is exactly the kind of soap box that I try to avoid. Like the plague.

But I’ve been drawn out of my usual silence by all the BS circulating around Facebook and the like. Namely, about Kony 2012.

So I was sent the video by an old mate – I haven’t spoken to her face-to-face in a good while, so for her to post something directly on my wall with a personal message (which included my name, adding precious seconds to her chain-posting session no doubt – I appreciated the effort), I was intrigued enough to watch the thing.

Half an hour later, I re-posted with the comment: “I guess Facebook is actually good for something. powerful stuff - the utility of fame.” An hour later, I realised that the thing had gone truly viral. Now when I re-posted, I knew full well that I wasn’t immediately going to do any more research on the matter and that it was very unlikely that I was going to donate or buy a kit. So I re-posted thinking that perhaps someone else might be moved to. I was shocked to find that I knew nothing of this full-blown crazy, and I was engaged by the concept of pimping out the concept of fame for something more than fuelling the messed up concepts of celebrity and idolising people for having shiny teeth and getting paid too much. Aside from feeling sad about the fact that life seems to work at making some people’s lives so epically difficult, I kind of drew a line under it.

Then. Everyone pulled out their ‘I’m a social expert / activist / my opinion has the same weight as GOD’ hats. And to those people, I just want to say that you may want to calm the fuck down. Everyone who is upset about the fact that it’s a white man heading the campaign – calm down. You’re not allowed to be that upset if you knew about Kony at the height of his regime some 20 odd years ago, and still did nothing. And if you didn’t know about the LRA until this campaign – calm down. You obviously weren’t looking to find out about it in your spare time. And all those saying that it’s all a political conspiracy – you guessed it, calm down. Appreciate the fact that the IC project is raising awareness – which was exactly the aim. Yes it was a video with good production and neat editing – would it be more real and gritty if he held the camera with his feet?

All you clowns hating, pipe down. We’re all talking about it now. Perhaps it will lead to some good, whether through IC or through all the other groups that have been working for the improvement of life in Uganda, and which have now also been brought to light. All the better.

And kindly stop telling me to think, please. I am, otherwise I’d be a lemon.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Top - Zara (yes, I'm Zara's bitch)
Jeans - Zara (see above)
Shoes - Zara (ha!)

Hello, my name's Zara's Bitch. Pleased to meet you... And I am not ashamed! That said, I reckon it's a hugely under-rated store, which works for me, as it means that the rest of the world is prostituting themselves over at Topshop and H&M.

So here's what I wore on day 5. And we are nearing an end. Now today (Wednesday) is Menswear day at LFW. And as I tend not to dabble in that department at most stores, I may call it a day with this installement. And what fun it’s been!

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous fashion week faithful readers/viewers. Keep the creativity flowing. It’s more fun that way.

Images courtesy of the Thomas Cook stairwell, and the amazing Eleanor Farmer.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Dress - vintage
Shoes - Topshop
Fridge - courtesy of Thomas Cook

Day 4! Now I considered keeping things consistent by taking these pics in the same place each day. But where's the fun in that? So here's one of the kitchen's at work. Yep!

N.B. Pictures taken by the amazing Eleanor Farmer. She is indeed  a real life photographer - but we're working with a camera phone and aweful light here, so don't you judge her!

Monday, 20 February 2012


Now. Day three of LFW happened to fall on a Sunday, and I'll be honest - I prefer not to leave my house on Sundays. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that I like to wear a pair of pyjamas and a warm pair of socks for as much of the day as possible, accounting for the time taken for a shower and putting on a new set. And praise to the Lord on high, that's exactly what I did this Sunday! And oh!, it was good.

So I'm afraid that this is all that there is to report. And to all my brothers and sisters in arms (Pj's and socks), I salute you.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Sleeveless cardigan - Zara
Black body-con skirt - vintage
Boots - H&M

So, installment two! I decided to be an actual young person and go out on Saturday night, rather than sit up in bed and read my book. And was it an adventure! My gorgeous sister and I went to Covent Garden's Tamarai Restaurant and Club. And to be honest, you might do well to avoid it. After we were told to go and wait outside in the cold or pay £10 immediately, as the rest of our party had not yet arrived, the DJ apparently lost his bag that contained all of his music that was made in the last 10 years.

But against all odds, we had a great time! I guess 90’s and early noughties classics, plus a couple of glasses of rose are just the ticket for a good ol’ time. Take note for next Saturday dear readers.

Saturday, 18 February 2012


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So happy London Fashion Week to one and all! For the past year or so, I've actually had the chance to enjoy fashion week and experience the energy and vibrancy that the thing encourages. I've gone from hearing about it as a distant concept, to sitting front row, sniffing the sweat and latex of AW 2011.

Now, the 'cool kids' amongst us will say that the whole thing is passé and boring. And you can listen to them if you fancy. But for me, after spending just my lunch hour in the thick of it at Somerset House on day one, I went back to the office pumped full of the fun and excitement that fashion is surely supposed to inject into our hum-drum lives.

It spurred me to do something to celebrate the creativity and energy that LFW, for me, is synonymous with. So here it is - the first instalment of my fashion week outfit diary. Now, I don't pretend to be a fashionista. Nor am I particularly elegant in front of the camera. But this, for me, is a way to relish in the rugged and heady London fashion scene, as the rest of the fashion world tunes into it. Let's all have a slice of the fun!

N.B. I am incapable of posing seriously in front of the camera - a bout of the giggles will automatically ensue.  Exhibit A.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Schön! PARTY, ISSUE #16

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So this was fun! Last night was Schön! Magazine's party, celebrating the AMAZING 16th issue. Yes, that's the one with David Gandy on the front cover. And yes, this is the third edition with your favourite pensivebuddha as a contributing writer. In print, bitches!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Now if you were to ask someone wise and weathered how to sort out your life, or how to start taking charge of things, they’d most likely tell you to start by taking a long, hard look at yourself. But, in good ol’ pensivebuddha style, I’m gonna have to disagree with this course of action. And not just for the sake of it disagreeing, but because there is merit in alternative methods.

I think that there is hidden power and undoubted value in the humble glimpse.

Me? I literally just caught a glimpse of myself, which prompted a genuine heart flutter, and the hint of a knowing smile to play about my lips. In just a glimpse, I realised that I am in a place - a situation, in my life, that I once never could have pictured. I scarcely believed that I’d make it here. That I’d make it to being this capable, confident creature, that doesn’t twitch at a challenge and who makes sure that each next step is a step up.

In just a glimpse, I got a pretty detailed summary of the look of things. Where I am, compared to where I used to be (poor and destitute), with a hint of where I am yet to make it (rich and smug and laughing at all the plebs). Whereas, a long hard look would have probably just resulted in me noticing all the blemishes on my face and that I’d rather be in bed with my newly delivered copy of Northern Lights.

A glimpse assured me that things are going OK. Because sometimes, I think, a glimpse is all that you need.


The changing face of your favourite pensivebuddha, on location at some kind of super-expensive burger bar in Borough. Hi, guys!
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012


My dear readers. Life is a bulky, difficult creature. Like a pair of those old-school combat trousers, with 7 million pockets per leg. So useful, with the potential to carry and store and have lots of different things on the go. But oh!, how tricky they are to sport into a nice outfit.

So the point I’m getting at is that I’ve been a busy bee of late, dealing with the lint and dust out of one pocket, as well as the genuine gems that emerge from others. It’s been a very strange time for your friendly pensivebuddha.

But one event has dragged me out of my reverie and settled me down into the land of mortals. A dazzling, gorgeous thing that I am genuinely proud to be a part of. Call me shallow if you feel you must – I’m not speaking about a grand event on the world stage. Not the profound words of some prophet. Not the smile of a child who has fought obscure and gigantic hurdles.

In fact, it was issue 16 of Schön! Magazine, and oh!, it is lovely! Now, you may well call me biased, as I do indeed feature in issues 14, 15 and the latest 16th issue. The beauty of Schön! is that it is a genuine representation of true talents from around the world, and across disciplines. It’s not Vogue or i-D, nor does it pretend to be. And plus, it has the literary talents of your friendly pensivebuddha (aka Rebecca Chuks) up in there, which can only help matters. Oh!, yes.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


As I sat on the bus this morning and had the gentleman beside me shimmy up against my arm for the entire bus journey, I was reminded of a common deficiency in the general population. Now, as I write this, I’m getting a vague sense of de ja vu, in that I may well have mentioned this in another post. But as the condition hasn’t improved, I feel I can let it slide just this once.

The deficiency I speak of? Self-awareness, dammit! That person who stands so close to you at the bus stop that you think you’re about to be hit on. Those people that prattle on during a conversation about the ins and outs of their new bathrobe, or some other ridiculous topic. That individual who just doesn’t realise that the reason I’m leaning away from you as you speak is because you gesticulate so wildly, and speak with such volume, that I am genuinely fearful for my wellbeing and vitality. They all lack self-awareness - they don't know what the hell is going on.

One simply must realise what others see and experience when they come into contact with you. Don’t get me wrong dear readers, I couldn’t give two shakes what other people think of me – I don’t really care if you think it’s ridiculous that I enjoy wearing knee high socks when it’s 8 degrees outside. Still, it is useful information when I see a disparaging look darted at my knees. Because information leads to knowledge, and as the cliché goes, knowledge is power. Though I’d rather say that knowledge is a useful tool to help you trump all those other bitches. But hey, that’s just me…

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


image credited to http://tinyurl.com/6u6amuc

So, I’m at work, pretending that I’m getting shit done. But to my credit, it’s just after lunch and I had a pretty meaty sandwich with a crunch-corner yoghurt for dessert, so I’m understandably sleepy. Also, when I say “yum”, I can do no more than to understate the matter. But I digress. Sitting here flicking between Facebook and the word document that I’m supposed to be working on, I’m wondering how many hours of my life are genuinely wasted in the pit of inaction.

Now I’m not saying that a person is not entitled to bask in day-dreaming about the moment when their face hits the pillow, and to take a mental break. But I’d be lying if I didn’t confess to looking at the clock in disbelief after toiling away hours with melting my brain on Facebook or twitter or by following various online bread crumbs. And then when I find that I just don’t have enough time in the day to get through my work, plus a blog post, and then a session on refining my CV or professional profile, I can’t help but feel compelled to give myself a good boot in the shin (if that’s even humanly possible.)

If I were to scrape together and stitch up all of the moments and minutes and snatches of time that I’ve wasted by staring out of the window, alone, and used it for something productive, it’s likely that I’d be receiving my Nobel Prize for some great treasure to humanity right now, rather than shooting the breeze in the Thomas Cook HQ. But then again, I’d say blogging for the enjoyment of you fine folks qualifies as a productive pursuit. So I guess I can expect my prize in the mail any day now. Nice.

Jokes aside, I do wonder what I might be if I didn't let quite so many of the precious moments that are alloted to me on this world, slip through my fingers. Can you say 'Superwoman'?

Monday, 23 January 2012


It was a mate’s birthday celebration yesterday, so we went off and engaged in a bit of a bowl and munch session. All good fun. When it came time to pay the bill, the one waitress assigned to our party of approximately 25 people was understandably a bit flummoxed. So when it came to my turn to pay, I put in a little effort to ease the stress that was surely building up in her temples by complimenting her on her tattoo. It was some elaborate script work on the insides of her wrist, and when I asked her what it said, she reported: “Everything is perfect, all the time.”

Lovely. That was the only reaction I was at first able to verbally express – “Lovely,” was my reply. And after I made a lame joke about it not being so perfect when you’re waiting on 25 people that are all paying separately for a full meal, plus drinks, I paid my part and sent her on her way a little less stressed.

And once she was gone, I was free to ponder the words that she decided to inscribe on her wrists for all the rest of her days. To me, it’s a translation of the clichéd “fate” or “it’s meant to be”, but reworked with a hint of the sweetest, pig-tailed, cherub’s voice. I loved the innocence to it. I imagined a small child uttering the very same view of the world after being fed and tucked in, with a kiss on the forehead for good measure. It seemed to prompt me to stand back and take an objective look at the world - this grand series of action and consequence. The way it has happened simply is. No matter your view on it. Whether the events of your life have been happy or sad, that is the way the pin-ball has dinged the bell and crashed through the flaps. It can’t be changed, so in effect, it’s all as it should be: perfect, some might say.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Mate, it’s a new year. And whether you’re that person that started compiling your list of all the wonderful things that you were going to achieve in the new year in mid-September, or whether this was just a bit of a wake-up call to be a bit more active in the course that your life is taking, we’re all in it together. No matter what opinion you have on it. Now, I just got through a bottle of wine, on my last day of freedom before work takes a firm hold on me until Easter. And it occurred to me that, despite the ridiculous hype that New Years incurs, fundamentally, it is at it its most basic, a great opportunity to do better. I do not agree with putting all of the great things that you wish to achieve on hold until the 1st of Jan. That, to me, is ridiculous. But it can’t be denied that it is a new start – a new year, which most of the world recognises. And it seems silly to turn my nose up at it.

So instead, I’ll ride the New Years Hype Train. And use it as an extra dose of inspiration to do better with the life that my heavenly parents and the Good Lord have given me. Because, as Tesco says, “Every little helps”.

I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what I can achieve.

Watch this space.