What is it about old British men?


Because I’m strangely attracted to them. Well, not all of them, certainly. But I’m more likely to have a man crush on a middle-aged Brit than, say, Zac Efron.

There’s just something about the old chaps. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it the way they say ‘chaps’? Is it the chivalry they exude? Is the spirit of Her Majesty? What is it?

I like my Englishman tall and balding, slightly unkempt, and maybe even a little grumpy. Extra man crush points if he’s sporting a blazer and scuffed buckskin boots. A tweed coat might also appeal to my inner romantic.

Put a guy like that in a movie and he’ll automatically become my favorite. Put him in a book and he’ll leap out of the page and stay with me for years.

I like my Brit with an ill-placed sense of humor and a mild accent. I dig the foolish expressions they make in the presence of a hot siren, how they become witty and sensitive, then slowly unfold into graceful and clumsy creatures.

I watch British parliament proceedings on CNN just so I can see some grey-haired men get hot and bothered about Theresa May’s strong-worded speech about Brexit.

The Brits have a section of parliament called The House of Commons, for chrissake. How cool is that? The House of Commons. It sounds far better than the goddamn National Assembly.

And I suspect it’d sound even better if it was the name of a bar. Ha! Imagine that. A bar called The House of Commons. I can already picture the ads:

“The House of Commons, a home for every man.”


“Come to The House of Commons, and have a glass of bourbon. Happy hour starts at 2 p.m.”


“The House of Commons: You don’t have to go home but you can stay here.”


Don’t get me wrong, though. I’ll never forgive the Brits for how they treated my countrymen in the past. In fact if this was 1920 and some Brits showed up to grab my land and pilfer my minerals and preach to me about a white savior, I’d be very cross. (See that?)

Stories gleaned from my grandfolks have painted a gory picture of the Englishman; imperialist and impertinent, tales of whips and canes and detentions, of long days toiling in the sun, laying down a bloody railway.

It hurts to think about, really.


Anyway, my name is Mike Muthaka, and I’m shamelessly charmed by the following old British men:

The hosts of ‘Top Gear’
I don’t think anyone can deny that ‘Top Gear’ is the greatest motoring show ever made. Launched in 1977, no one thought much about ‘Top Gear’ until 1988, when a tall misshapen chap with nicotine-stained teeth was hired to host it, to bring color and personality to the show.

The chap’s name was Jeremy Clarkson, and, together with co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, they turned ‘Top Gear’ into a worldwide sensation.

They were invariably scruffy and rude and funny, and it was hard to overlook their on-screen chemistry. The show went on for 12 more years, airing in over 100 countries and forking over 300 million a year.

The hosts became more ruthless with car reviews. James May said “cock” on screen. Richard Hammond was nicknamed The Hamster. And Clarkson was easily my favorite; paunchy, arrogant, and blissfully careless.

Then Clarkson got fired for allegedly punching one of the producers. And ‘Top Gear’ was never the same again. Everyone seemed to agree ‘Top Gear’ couldn’t work without Clarkson, especially after James and Richard also left the BBC.

Thankfully, the team has since moved to Amazon Prime, where they have a show called ‘The Grand Tour’.

Jeremy Clarkson is now 58, he writes for the Sunday Times.

Barley Blair
“Some men will never be heroes, some heroes will never be men…And Barley Blair, he’ll never be either.”

Barley Blair. Remember him?

Barley is the protagonist of my favorite novel, The Russia House, by John Le Carre (another old British man). Barley has an untamed gaze. Barley plays chess and the saxophone. Barley is a London book publisher, and he’s sent to Moscow by the British spymasters to uncover the truth behind an illegal document smuggled into the Embassy via a tall, luxuriant-haired Soviet woman called Katya Orlova.

The Russia House, after getting over its loaded prose, becomes poignant and poetic. Barley goes from cold and untrusting to calm and kind-hearted. Love does strange things to a man. And Katya turns Barley into an eternal spy.

I finished the book in June last year, just before the World Cup. And since then I’ve been having dim moments when I miss Barley Blair. I have random thoughts about him. I could be beating eggs and I’d think: How does Barley like his eggs?

I’d miss following him around the Moscow streets, watching him getting swallowed by the din of “belching brown lorries” and “dough-faced boys smoking in the doorways.”

“Why did it always draw me,” he thinks, “why did I keep coming back to Russia?”

Then he thinks: “Because God always found excuses not to come here.”

Hugh Grant
I discovered him one cold sleepless night in March 2015, when I turned on the TV to find ‘Notting Hill’, a 1999 RomCom starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. I could sniff out emotionally intense scenes from a mile away. Hugh Grant as a down-on-his-luck bookkeeper and Julia Roberts as a Hollywood starlet is a tempting movie plot ingredient.

I could also tell this was the sort of movie that’d go down well with some wine. So that’s what I did, stealing a glass from mom’s ‘secret’ stash.

Then, towards the end of the film, head buzzed, I watched Hugh Grant deliver his ‘just a boy’ speech: “I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to love him.”

Geez, my cheeks got red as plums.

Hugh Grant is 58.

Sandy Woodrow and Justin Quayle, ‘The Constant Gardener’
The ‘Constant Gardener’ is another novel by John Le Carre.

According to the blurb, it’s “a moving story of a man ennobled by his wife’s tragic murder, and a magnificent exploration of the dark side of unbridled capitalism.”

The man is Justin Quayle. The tragic murder happens in Lokichoggio. Justin’s Wife is Tessa Abbot, a relief aid worker and a skeptic of British operations in Kenya, ever poking holes into the Moi administration. Justin is at least 20 years older than Tessa.

After her death, Justin, honor bound to Tessa, attempts to find out the truth behind the murder.

Justin is a sensitive chap. He grows flowers. Justin is neat and good mannered, which is perhaps why he’s not the character I think about when I’m beating eggs.

I’m more partial to Sandy Woodrow, Head of Chancery at the High Commission. Sandy has a drinking problem. He’s a soldier’s son, spent 17 years in Her Majesty’s Foreign Service, and, at 40, he’s aiming for a knighthood.

Sandy is also in love with Tessa.

“And God is she beautiful,” he thinks, “And God, is she young. Young in the high sharp breasts that never move. How can Justin let her out of his sight?”

The book begins on a hot Monday in late January. Sandy receives the news of Tessa’s death “like a bullet, jaw rigid, chest out, smack through his divided English heart.”

‘The Constant Gardener’ was adapted into a film. And the character of Sandy was played by a man called Danny Huston.

Hugh Laurie
You had to see this one coming, surely.

I fell in love with Laurie when I watched him as Dr. House. I finished all eight seasons over the Christmas Holiday. Then I watched every interview he’s ever done, on Youtube, including his audition tape for the character of House. And he was so damn natural it brought a tear to my eye.

I also downloaded his pictures and set him as my wallpaper. Shortly after, I found out Laurie dabbles as a Blues artist, and that he has an album titled ‘Let Them Talk.’ So I downloaded that as well.

Hugh Laurie is now 59, and the dominant voice in my playlist.

Not to mention, of course, Idris Elba, 46 and voted the sexiest man alive by ‘People’ magazine.

So, really, what is it about old British men?
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

Out on a limb
The wet rug. (And other stories from our kitchen)

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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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