Eight simple rules

Dear Miss LaMore,
As I write to you, you are probably still unpacking your suitcases and lining up your closet with the few items you hold on to so dearly.

Freshman year is a blast. But it’s a bigger blast when you have that shoe-box space you share with your new campus roommate from Butere County. What was her name again, Floise? Yeah, Floise. I don’t know, there’s something suspicious about a girl who insists on squeezing two names into one. I never trust them. Akina Maryanne. Bettyjean. Annabella. Rosemary. Floise.

Listen, you are my kid sister. And even though there is a ten year difference in our age, I must admit that I am mighty fond of you. In the gap year you have been out of high school, I am uncertain to whether I have matured down to your level or you have matured up to mine. Either way, you are my little bitch. And because of that, I share with you simple unwritten rules I have gathered over the years. I don’t tell this to anyone. I have not shared them with anyone before today. And writing them to you will take some edge off them being unwritten.

Don’t wear ballerina flats. Even if that Brit boy band you love, One Direction, promises to pay you a visit in your hostel room if you do, do not wear these shoes. Especially the ballerina flats that have a bow at the front. Argh. Don’t let the innocence of that bow fool you – the cuter the bow, the harder you stay away from them. Ballerina flats are a lazy fashion to posses; too little effort in showing and not enough in telling of your style. Wear shoes with personality: shoes with laces, with studs, with shoe strings, with draw strings, with perforations, with wedges, with ridges or with heels. Anything but ballerina flats.

Never leave your hostel building in bathroom slippers. Never. Wear the Nike sandals you took from me. I repeat: never leave your hostel building in bathroom slippers.

Be stylish, not fashionable. Fashion is outward and trendy, style is innate and can’t be imitated. It’s a signature. Style is in tailoring and fit, fashion is in copy cats and ill-fitting garments. Now that we are here, avoid pants that are too tight. They make you seem cheap, available and tasteless. Like supermarket wine.

Mix your colours. Be about colour. Don’t wear black tops, they drown and gag your personality, and are a terrible vantage point for your outfits.

Don’t refer to anyone as ‘my dear’. Never start a whatsApp message with the line ‘Hey. It’s been long.’ That’s false affection and an utter waste of words.

Don’t get a tattoo. Everything chic and bad-ass about a tattoo was lost the minute we could get them done at Kenya Cinema for less than a ngwanye. But in case you do, make sure it fades away before you tell me about it. Because I will scrap that evil right off your skin myself.

Don’t get an eyebrow ring; you will seem like a lesbian, retarded and a retarded lesbian. Don’t get more than three piercings in each of your ears, or in your entire body – anything beyond three piercings places you in a category where I am frightened to hold a conversation with you.

Don’t buy stuff off the streets of Nairobi. The only items to buy on the streets are magazines, books, plums and pears (in season), hand towels and elastic bands for your hair. Don’t buy condoms, chewing gum, hand bags, purses, shoes, chiffon tops, sweaters, bras – any item of clothing for that matter. Bending over to try a shoe or a top places doubt on your being a lady. And how will you explain running from the City’s council? – DVDs, cell phones, iron boxes, picture frames or anything you buy from a guy who you can bargain with as you both take a walk. Street shopping is a no-no.

Boys are not bad, they are sneaky creatives with their little lies and tales of grandeur and fake swag. Laugh. Not at them, not with them. Just laugh. Laugh even when they didn’t mean what they said as a joke – its puts you in an awkward position of power. Give them advice about their women, it automatically places them in the friends zone and wards them off. Only the brilliant ones will come around to your scheme in time, and by that time you will be long gone.

When a boy visits you in your room, you give him tap water, not juice, not hot chocolate. No bitings. You play him Masta Ace and Rakim. Not Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce (now that I mention it, how awesome is her new album?) So that when your little boy guest tells you that he likes your eccentric taste in music, you know he’s not telling the truth. The only way to measure the truth of his statements is if he tells you that these artists had their limelight in music before he was born. Or, if he heard them from his cooler older sibling who listens to hip hop artists from the early ‘90s. Like you do.

No movies, no serieses. They will use the sequel as an excuse to come back to your room the next day. And the day after. And the day after. Regularity is out of exclusive invite, not anchored on the excuse of a motion picture. Play them those clips downloaded from the Internet. The funny ones that run for three minutes tops and feature a domestic animal, a blonde and a baby.

He sits on the chair, you on Floise’s bed. Make sure that the door is left unlocked and that you both have both your feet placed squarely on the ground. You put your hands where they can be seen. It’s a matron’s rule I borrowed from that author Jeffery Archer, it works all the time. And it saves for a lot of explanations to yourself and to your roommate, Floise. Floise from Butere County, hehhe. I like her already.

Always sleep in your own bed. Alone. Alone in your own bed. Are we clear on that?

There’s a reason why the Moms had to go in six kids in before she stopped the buck at you. She found what she was looking for when she found you. What you imagine they can tell you, tell yourself in the mirror. Blow that reflection a kiss, wink at it. Tell yourself that you are the best they ever made, that they don’t make them like you anymore. That you are God’s gift to mankind. Love God. Fear God.

Campus has the greatest garbage of any public institution; it has morals looser than an abortion clinic, a whorehouse, a strip club, a drug lord’s bedroom and Nairobi Half Life’s script all wrapped up into one. But keep yourself clean from this garbage. Remember where you came from, and what you were after when you signed up for campus. That said, remember to rise before the sun. Eat that shitty campus food. Write up your own assignments and hand them in on time. Go to class. Sit through the day in class. Study for your exams so you don’t have to write mwakenyas (counterproductive I must say, if a student has the patience and energy to write a mwaks in the smallest font he can master, then, by God, he has the patience and energy to bloody read for the exam). No mwaks. Mwakenya, just so we’re clear, is campus slang for an exam’s cheat sheet.

Speaking of morals, being in a public university means you have a license to loot public property. Which means that traffic lights, road signs, movie posters from Imax Cinemas, fancy tumblers and coasters from bars, novelty cutlery are yours for the taking. Steal, sorry borrow, them with a classy eye. But after four years in campus, you will look at your trophy cabinet of looted items and you will immediately be disgusted with the junk. It’s a four-year window: use it wisely.

Above all, remember that the greatest voice is yours. The greatest commitment to keep is the one you made to yourself. The person you are ultimately answerable to is the gyal you see in the mirror. Everyone else is a prop. Everyone else except me, of course.

Tell Floise I said hi, will you?

Sincerely yours truly,

Trade-ins for a lifestyle

Comments (11)

  1. The Real G

    Dear Miss LaMore (is that your name?) Forget half the things your big sister just said to you. I do not know the last time Fra was in campus, but I doubt they had invented computers then. Anyway, the truth is, if you want to enjoy being in campus, then you have to happen to campus. Be a free spirit. Go out raving, drink until you throw up, run for an elective post copy your neighbor’s work, throw a stone during riot…and all that jazz. You only have 4 years. Fra is just being a mum (big sisters are far more unlimiting) And if, by any chance, you are coming to UoN Law School, please, read this >>>>>> http://therealginc.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/karibuni-parkie/

    • CAA

      Dear ‘The Real G’, I totally agree with you! Be free…discoer yourself in the process…enjoy campus, Miss LaMore ;)

      • CAA

        :) now I get it ! slow day…. ;-)

  2. Archie

    Nice piece of truth served up with a cold dish of sarcasm. you had me until the eyebrow piercing. I have one, well, not for any reason but because I thought tongue piercings were the ones associated with lesbians. Oh well. I learn everyday.
    p.s Tattoos are cool, not badass but cool. :P

  3. James Njenga Nganga

    Big siz, this is more exciting than I thought it would be. Magunga, you are an ass. I mean a creative donkey

    • fra

      How about we use the right word in place of donkey through and through, James? :-)

  4. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    Be young, be free.. forget all rules Fra has posted! Discover them yourselves, because I have no doubt you will.

    Fra, quite well written :)

    • fra

      Right on, Evalyne.
      And thanks for your read. Stay on.

  5. fra

    Thanks for the read and comments, people.
    What’s that they say about a village raising a child?

  6. Torrie K.

    I totally agree on the rule about ballerina flats..tasteless indeed!

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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