Band night at Js


After what feels like house arrest since the State of Emergency, you finally hit the nightclub. Your baby is a year and three months now. Which means she’s not a baby any more – she’s a toddler. You are parenting a toddler.

Being a toddler means several things: it means she’s fallen into a predictable routine. It means she’s breastfeeding for fun (not for comfort and cuddles, that’s all for you). It means she’s eating bigger portions of food and clearing her plate with little fuss. (She surprised you last Saturday when she wiped that plate of omena clean then burped like a teenage boy. She was a serviette away from asking for a toothpick.) It means she’s sleeping in her bed, in her room, until dawn.

Toddler means a night out guilt-free. You got your groove back, Stella.

You stand infront of your closet and think hard about what you’ll wear to the club. Your body has changed since pregnancy then giving birth. Your breasts are bigger – less perky, more saggy; they have a certain buoyancy your padded bras can no longer contain. Your ass looks like a tabletop; flat and wide. There’s a wiggle and jiggle in your thighs when you walk, a thunder clap that scares even you. And to crown it all, you have your glorious mommy pouch. Oh, that mommy pouch. That flab that sits around your tummy – where your bump used to be – and hangs over your pelvis. Think of it like wearing a waist bag.

Right after you gave birth, you made the mistake of not tying a leso around your bump because you were worried that the tightened leso would cause your C-section stitches to burst open. You even imagined a gory scene where your insides started to leak and you had to rush to the obstetrician’s to have him fix it. Your pelvic muscles eventually lost elasticity and didn’t return taut to their place. Thus your pouch.

You’ve been hitting the gym but your personal trainer says the results won’t show until after three months of a consistent program. It’s only been a week. A goddamn week.

Speaking of which, in the weeks after you returned to work, you had a phase you called ‘Getting back into Society’. It was a rough phase for you: you didn’t feel confident or sexy anymore, mostly shapeless; you had painfully lost the art of conversation; you were impatient to the reality that everyone had moved on with their lives, no one had paused theirs to wait for you; you weren’t in the right frame of mind to get your writing done, mostly because you were still hormonal and because you couldn’t stop thinking about your Pumpkin you’d left at home; none of your old clothes fit like they used to; you had to wear an expressing-friendly outfit because, well, because you had to go to the Mother’s Room at some point of the day to express.

The highlight of the ‘Getting back into Society’ phase was how short the days seemed to feel – it would be 9AM, you would be at the bathroom sink brushing your teeth. You would look down into the sink to spit and gargle some water, and when you brought your head back up again, the sun had set and it was dark outside and you would be reaching for the toothpaste to start brushing your teeth again because it was 9PM.

It was an endless where-did-the-day-go cycle. An endless and frustrating cycle. That phase is long gone now but you shiver every time you think about it.

Because it’s a nightclub and because you want to feel sexy you settle for a pair of heels and tight blue jeans. But hang on, do chicks still wear jeans to the club? Will you look like you’re there for a promo, pushing product for some local low-end whisky brand? Will someone tap your shoulder on your way to the washroom and ask you to check how far their burgers are? “Madam. Excuse me, excuse me?” he’ll say, buzzed and irritated. “What’s with it today?”

Uhm. Sorry, I’m not a…

“You guys used to have such great service when you opened! What happened to you guys? Huh, what happened?”

Sorry, I don’t know what…

“No, no,” he’ll bang on, eyes wide open. “Explain it to me. Me and my friends ordered at 9.30 –” he shows you the receipt – “because we were told the kitchen closes at 10. It’s been an hour now. Will we get our burgers? Maybe today, huh, will we?”

Look, Sir. You have me mistaken for….

“Please just sort it out. Please? Darling? Please.” He presses the receipt into your open palm and closes your fingers over it. It’s that warm broken smile that makes you turn away instead of fixing the mistaken identity.

You pair your jeans with a beige blazer; it has stripes and a frilly tuxedo tail at the back. It reflects a lot of light. You feel like a magician’s assistant. You ditch your glasses for contact lenses and your Vaseline for some powder foundation. You find yourself slathering a tad too many layers that you end up looking ghostly. And insecure. Lip-gloss ties up your final look. Never mind that everyone stopped wearing any in 2008.

It’s 10PM when you and your boy check into Js Fresh Bar & Kitchen on Muthangari Drive. You’ve never been here before, let alone heard of it – it was your boy’s idea that you come over because he knows you’ll dig it. “Choices doesn’t have band night on Thursdays anymore,” he had informed you on the drive over. “They all moved here, even that Jibril guy. And Js used to be Fred Gumo’s house.” You had nodded and swallowed this piece of information like it was some piece of pastry he’d handed to you. What else had happened while you were away? Had we lost our President?

It’s a weeknight, which means it’s band night at Js. Harry Kimani is on stage strumming his guitar infront of the mic. He has a post-rehab glow; healthy and religious. A small crowd has gathered at the bottom of the stage, right beneath his feet. They have their hands in the air and are swaying from side to side, like maize in the wind of an African farm. Harry Kimani sweeps his eyes over the crowd every so often and winks and smiles at one of the female fans, sometimes pointing at a male fan and giving him a hey-there nod.

Harry Kimani is doing a Bob Marley cover. He will later play ‘Haiya’, right before he calls it a night and jumps off the stage to head back home.

“Matuku makwa mothe,mothe/Umuthi ruciu na ooke/Ngoro irauga njuke,njuke/Njuke hari we ..eeee” [squeeze your eyes shut then hit it…] “Haiya haiya haiya haiya…”

You and boy sit outside, underneath the stars and the string of light bulbs. Underneath the signage that says ‘No Table Service’. Underneath the silvery moon. It’s a warm night. It had rained on some loose day earlier that week and now the air has the rich balance of crisp, cool and humid. Of romance. It feels like the night is whispering a secret to you.

You spot an old acquaintance in the table behind yours. What are the rules of engagement? Do you go over, give her a hug and say ‘how have you been’? Is it OK for her to leave lipstick marks on your cheek, or worse, your jacket collar? Do you ask her what she’s having and motion the waiter to top it up? Do you throw that into your boy’s bill or yours? Heehe. What about her pals around the table, do you do the same for them?
Or do you totally ignore all of that and simply wave to her from where you are and mouth the words ‘you look smashing!’? You opt for the latter.

You order a mojito. You like how exotic that sounds, ‘mojito’. You liked to drink Vodka before you had your baby – double Vodka, tonic and two slices of lemon, that’s how your order to the waiter always used to go – but now you can’t stomach that poison anymore. Even thinking about that word ‘vodka’ makes you want to spew your guts out.

As you wait for your mojito to arrive, you chitchat with your boy’s pals around the table – loose banter that seems oddly intelligent. Everyone laughs even though the jokes aren’t that funny, everyone is in their best form tonight, everyone is flirting with each other. You pinch your boy’s thigh under the table. He chortles. You bite your lower lip then sip from your straw as you give him a half-eye sexy stare. Someone’s getting lucky tonight.

The mojitos hit the sweet spot pretty fast. It’s midnight. You want to dance so you get up and sashay next to your table. Everyone looks up at you and gives you an approving you-go-gal air punch. You wave your hand dismissively like it means nothing but you know damn well it means everything. You are tearing it down!

The night carries on with this languid abandon.

It won’t be until the next day when you’ll be at your desk at work that you’ll remember what a swell time you had. A really swell time. You’ll recall little bits and pieces of the evening – that moment when Harry Kimani got off the stage briefly and they played that Bongo track by Darassa and everyone around your table sang along. Or when you looked at your watch and didn’t quite register the time because you didn’t want the hours and minutes to get in the way of your fun. Or when you looked up to the sky and shut your eyes to soak in the energy of this painfully beautiful urban night. Or when you went upstairs to take a leek and rudely swung the bathroom door open to find Miss USA-Kenya sitting on the bowl, and you went ahead to have a quick convo with her.

You’ll also think back to a year before, when your baby was three months old and motherhood felt like an infinite stretch of breastfeeding and burping, expressing, drinking gallons of uji and sterilizing bottles, poor sleeping habits. A general feeling that you had lost sense of who you were and what you loved to do. You missed your gals, you missed hanging out with them. You missed being at work. You missed being in a meeting with your mouthy boss and going to lunch with your pal. You missed the orgasmic feeling of beating a deadline.

You constantly wondered if this was all there were to being a mum, and to your new life as a mum. You urged yourself to be patient and positive, and reminded yourself – over and over – that babies grow. That life goes on. That she needs you most right now. That you are nailing it. That you can do it! That you would actually miss staying up with her into the wee hours before dawn, and those afternoon naps you took with her in your bed, when she nuzzled so close to you it’s like she wanted to return into your womb.

You reminded yourself that motherhood doesn’t define you.

You’ll also recall how anxious you were about going back to the normalcy of your routines – the ones beyond your front door – because you didn’t know how it would play out with a baby in the picture.

Such bit and pieces. Bits and pieces that are far from ordinary to the mum who’s getting her groove back.

You order your third then fourth mojito.

At 2AM you and your boy nip into a late-night fast food in Westy for fries and flame-grilled chicken before you head home. You had forgotten how mysterious the city is at this hour. You giggle and shush each other as you glide into the bedroom. You kick off your heels, throw your bra across the room and jump into bed with nothing but your underwear on.

You feel your head bob and the room spin: those mojitos weren’t such a good idea after all.

An edited version of this story first run in the April-2017 issue of True Love Magazine.
Photo credit: Silot Gallery

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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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