Craft It Christmas

I got up at 4AM this morning. 4.22AM to be exact. It was more of freaky startle than a gentle flutter of eyelids, and a ladylike yawn and stretch. I woke up like a man. I was hot and sweaty and fully-clothed. I was probably even drooling, maybe I’d even just let out a fart, who knows. It was unsexy, really, it was nothing like how you see them waking up on TV.

I touched my face to feel if I’d slept with my glasses on, because it happens some times, on the days I don’t prepare myself for bed. I hadn’t. Then I thought about the githeri and avocado that was waiting for me in the kitchen. I was famished, I hadn’t had dinner. I prefer to skip dinner these days – or have a light one before 8PM – because it helps me sleep better at night when my tummy isn’t stuffed.

I remembered falling asleep on the couch next to GB. I remember he had his laptop open and was absentmindedly catching a show on Netflix. (El Chapo. Don’t bother, it’s no fun. The guy who’s playing the lead role of the drug lord El Chapo doesn’t have the charm and presence of Pablo Escobar. What he has are the sad eyes of a jilted lover and a walk so funny he looks like he’s break dancing. The show is also set in modern day Mexico so it doesn’t have the romance of the 70s like Narcos does.)

GB had his laptop open because we were discussing figures on Excel. It was like we were in a chama meeting or an year-end investment committee. Or some board meeting where audited results were being tabled.

“OK, let’s look at the unit cost here,” GB was saying, “this guy is charging 17K, and this other one is charging–,” he trails off as opens a PDF with a quote on it, “–10K. So 10K versus 17K. Why would the difference be so much?”

“I don’t know,” I say, stifling a yawn. “Probably distance of their location.”

“I propose they give us at 15K,” he says. He turns to me, “Do you have another quote on email? Can you ask for….? Wewe?! You look sleepy, are you really in the mood to discuss this now?”

I laughed mirthlessly.

That’s the kind of couple he and I are: we crunch numbers on Excel and write our goals as meeting minutes and send each other emails. And because he’s Kuyo, we discuss money probably more than we discuss Muna’s tantrums or what we’ll do on date night or those brown sandals of his that I hate.

Is that odd, the amount of talk time we dedicate to money? Do you think it odd? Sometimes I think it is.

Well, whatever we were discussing was such a snooze because it sent me straight to sleep.

Here we are now.

Because it’s Christmas next Monday and because it’s the New Year soon after, today would be a great time to take stock since launching Craft It in September, and also from beyond, in the old blog.

Here goes:

Most read story as of today: Exes and Texts
You know what fascinates and baffles me as a writer? The stories that I put my best into get the least traction while those that I hurriedly piece together a few minutes before the deadline, the ones that leave my desk when they’re still “warm from the oven”, the ones that are least “perfect” to me, sit at the bottom of the most-read list. It’s so fascinating.

We write stories and send them out into the World, and they take a life and shape of their own. Whichever way it goes, they’re sort of responsible for their own consequences.

So do that which makes you – as its creator – happy. Please yourself first. Control ends the moment right before you hit ‘send’/‘publish’.

Story that’s closest to my heart: Muna is born
If there’s a story I allow myself to read and re-read, it’s the story about the day Muna was born. On 19 November 2015. It’s also the date of my best friend’s birthday.

It wasn’t by chance that Muna’s birthday fell on that day. I’m convinced of that. I’m convinced that fate and the Universe are waltzing to some well-timed choreography with the lovely people I share my life with, because my daughter and my niece share a birthday with two of my best friends. (Shout out to my bitches, Terry and Pepe!)

The thing about Muna is that she gave me a new kind of happiness; a happiness I’m certain I won’t find anywhere else in this world or in any other person breathing. That’s what babies do to you, they unlock a sacred part of your heart, one you didn’t even know existed. And they fill its depths to the brim with their cute feet and chubby fingers and giggles. With their purity and innocence and by just being there.

What makes it even more amazing is that each baby comes with his own kind of happiness and unlocks yet another part of your heart. It’s beautiful, really. So beautiful.

Muna also gave me material to write for my motherhood column in True Love magazine. Ahem. She’s art in motion.

Anais Nin, a writer, once said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

This story embodies Nin’s every word.

(I stole that quote from Bikozulu by the way, hehhe. I don’t recall where he’d written it, though.)

Speaking of, there’s Fra: My first ever published story
There was that first time a story I’d written was published and read by an audience beyond the selected few in my close circles; an audience so brutal, so unforgiving, so blood-thirsty, I’m even surprised I survived that public slogging.

It was painful to say the least. Not hurtful, but painful; there’s a huge difference.

What made me get up, dust myself off and carry on in my journey as a new writer was the reassurances of two voices that whispered to me in the midst of that melee.

I owe this to them.

My best music/album review story: Anto Neosoul’s Starborn
The folly with Kenyan artists – with the sole exception of Sauti Sol, of course – is that they release albums fewer times that we change governments.

Elani released Barua ya Dunia in December 2013 and we haven’t heard much from them since. Juliani, Exponential Potential in 2014, and it’s been just a quiet from his quarters. Same case for Atemi and Manzili (State of life) from the same year. Camp Mulla split up before their ID cards got dog-eared. Sage Chemutai released a single early this December – Watching You, it’s tight, catch it on YouTube – and I’m apprehensive thinking about when we’ll hear from her next.

It pains me that these talented artistes put aside their gift as if it’s a pair of shoes they’ve grown tired of. I’m curious, what do they do with their time now that they’re not producing music? How do they satisfy the artsy savage that’s locked up inside of them, the one growling to be let out?

Anto Neosoul’s debut album hit the waves in 2014 and I’ve been following him on Instagram with the wild hope that a sophomore album will follow. Honestly, I doubt it’s coming. He’s running some youth entrepreneurs gigs right now, which means he isn’t in the frame of mind of write any more music, let alone sing it.

It’s sad. Really sad.

What’s not sad, though, is the mind space I was in when I wrote that review. Boom!

The worst financial decision I ever made: Joining a pyramid scheme
When I think about the cash I lost and what I would do with it if I had it in my hands right now, how I’d wring every penny for all it’s worth, how I’d stretch its use, how I’d bend it as far back as it can go before it snaps, how I’d turn it around to work for me… Sigh. Lord help me.

My greatest take away lesson from those three months I was handing over slabs of my cash to the person above me, to hand it over to the person above them, to hand it over to the person above so they could continue building the facade of the pyramid was simply this: Investments need time to grow.

Time. Time. Time. Give your investments time. Give yourself time.

Plant your seed in a pot, water it every day, take it out to the sunshine, water it some more, read about helping it grow, water it some more, ask those who’ve grown theirs questions, water it some more, experiment with different ways to make it grow, water it some more, water it some more.

It’s the patience and tireless consistency of watering it that help the plant slowly grow.

Anything else they tell you is a lie.

Eat an apple and chew on that.

Story that reminds me of my folks back in Kaplong: Retire already
I miss them, my Mum and Ol’Man. They’re retired now and are farming in shagz. I can’t imagine how happy they are together, spending all day tilling the fertile land and petting their cows.

Have you ever read that short stories book by Jeffrey Archer, ‘Cat’ O Nine Tales’? The first story is about ‘The Man who robbed his own post office’. It’s hilarious, hahha.

That Archer story and mine sorrta remind me of my folks.

We’ll be travelling to shagz next week – me and my football team of siblings and their kids – and we’ll all hang out together for a couple of days.

It’ll be loads fun. My folks will have loads’a fun.

Story that has a much deeper meaning that I had anticipated: Flattened breasts and forgotten egos
This story took me more than two weeks to put together. What made this creative energy seem less of a drain and more of triumphant was how it read once I uploaded it. Plus, my readers back then received it well.

This story has so many life lessons, so many packed layers about persistence and fixing your eyes on the goal and what you can achieve when you wave down the right people in whichever journey you are on in your life.

The multi-dimensions means it’s as relevant to me right now as it were back then.

The moral remains: Forget your ego, it will get you nowhere.


And now, a preachy and labourous ramble about the things I am thankful for this Christmas:

I am thankful that I can write for a living. I am thankful that my inner child has been happy, and is still happy.

I am thankful that I have this creative platform where I have the license and freedom to do as I please. I am thankful for my new brand, Craft It, and the shape it has taken thus far since launching in September.

I am thankful for my growing team of passionate, hungry writers – Mike and Tuape – who trusted me enough to join me on this lonely journey when I had nothing to offer (still don’t) besides a catchy tag line (“Stories of Kenyans in their Craft”).

I am thankful for the goals I have for the Craft It brand in 2018, and for the opportunities I pray I will get to take the brand to the heights I have envisioned.

I am thankful for my readers and those that leave me a comment and those that don’t. I am thankful for the 1.6K likes (and counting) on socio media.

I am thankful for closing 2017 in great health and with my sense humour still in my pocket.

Most of all, I am thankful to GB for believing in my crazy dreams more times than I have doubted them.

Happy Holidays, Good People!

Tell me, what are you most thankful for this Christmas?

Five sublime spots to catch Kampala’s skyline
Five of my fondest Christmas memories from 90s Kampala

Comments (4)

  1. Mike

    I’m thankful for you, Bett, for bringing me along and fixing the flaws in my copy.
    To edit is truly divine.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Bett

      “To write is human, to edit is divine.” Stevie.

      Merry Christmas, Mike. May your 2018 blow you away!

  2. A.J.O OKOYO

    “Don’t stop for anything. Don’t stop for anyone. Don’t stop to overthink and second guess yourself. Don’t stop to listen to the audience. Don’t stop to catch a breath or find your bearing.”

    I am thankful for your words and in extension, for you for your motivation whenever I drifted. When I veered off the road, you brought me back in place.

    Merry Christmas Bett.

    • Bett

      “Because we are enslaved to this art; there are a thousand other things in this world we could chose to do but this art – the Art of Writing – has put such a grip on us that there is nothing else we imagine doing to our last breath.

      Because we are hypnotized by the magic of creation. We start with a blank page, try and try and try, and at the end of it, we have a story, characters, dialogue and description. We have life. Writing creates life.”

      You are a writer, Okoyo. Stay on the horse.

      Happy Holidays to you too!

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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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