Loafers and pencils


I didn’t get around to interviewing a millennial this week. So I’m just going to tell you about my new loafers.

Two weeks ago, for the first time in my life – on a hot Saturday afternoon – I bought myself shoes. The experience was no less than eye opening, not least because it suddenly dawned on me how freaking costly a pair of shoes is.

Business was booming in Kitengela. Market women fiddled about with their wares. Bodabodas flitted to and fro. Travellers wrestled with trunks. Men, women, boxes, sacks, trousers, potatoes and baskets of fruits were in a steady stream.

I got my shoes from a market stall tucked behind Pizza Inn. The stall dabbles as an M-Pesa agent. Its walls are adorned with dozens of shoes. Red shoes and white shoes and blue Balenciagas. I was already decided on loafers, though. My eyes quickly picked out a black loafer nestled in a jungle of shoes.

This pair had laces at the front, tied into small ribbons, their tips decorated with silver marbles. The rubber soles gave them a sporty look. It was love at first sight, really. I took them off the rack just as the guy running the stall showed up.

His name is Daniel. He ends up in my phone book as DanielShoes. (Long story for another day.)

Anyway, initially I wasn’t sure if I agreed with the design of the loafer. I’ve always been a vanilla sort of person – plain, no frills. It wasn’t until I flipped over the shoe and saw the name blazoned below its heel: Tod’s.

It was all it took. My heart was settled. This loafer was going back home with me, never mind that, at the moment, I knew nothing about Tod’s loafers. I didn’t even know Tod’s was Italian. Did you?

I suspect I only bought the loafers because I remembered Jeremy Clarkson also owns a pair of Tod’s loafers. He wrote about them in his ‘Sunday Times’ column, saying how the loafers could be used on every occasion, from football to tennis to climbing a mountain, not to mention the ease of wearing and taking them off.

“How much?” I asked, running a hand over the sun-warmed leather, pulling out the newspaper stuffing.

“Hii ni 2,200,” Daniel said.

Now, I’ve been on enough shopping trips with my old man to know the first step of haggling. You start by making an incredulous face before stating how much you have in the pocket, usually slightly less than half of the asking price. What follows is a back and forth while seller and buyer strike an understanding. This is the hard part.

My old man handles it by simply turning on the charm. His incredulity dies out of his face like the slow turning down of a lamp, then he becomes your best friend, with a shoulder pat here and a joke there. Before you know it, you’ve sold the goods for almost nothing.

I, on the other hand, can’t seem to posses this charm. Mine only happens to work with girls who are impressed by my Rubik’s Cube. And only when I have a bit of vodka in me.

My bargaining attempts always hit a wall, in the same way my efforts at chatting up the hot girl in Finance fail to bear fruit. I’ve never quite mastered how to bargain, especially if the seller is at pains to explain how genuine the item is.

“Hii kwanza ni quality fiti, brathe.”

“Hii inakutoa poa sana, bro.”

“Nunua kitu smart.”

But Daniel was a sport. He let me have the loafers for 1,900. He packed them in a green bag, gave me his number, and I went home with a smug face. Of course I’m mildly aware that my Tod’s loafers could be a cheap imitation, but I don’t mind it because they’re terribly comfy. I feel like I could run a marathon in them.

Needless to say, I’m now wearing the loafers everyday. I fall slightly short of showering in them. I love the way the silver marbles on the tips of the laces knock about my foot when I walk, and how the shoe smells after a long day, like smoke and burnt tyres. Ha! You should see me giving the loafers a polish. I don’t even pay that much attention during foreplay.

I wore the loafers to my first client meeting, last Friday.

This client is big. This client has its fingers dipped in markets all over the world, from Singapore to the Americas. This client doesn’t accept weak copy. They make demands and they keep me up at night, wondering what it would take to please them. This client has put together a goddamn brand book, so that “anyone working with the brand can understand what we truly stand for.”


I meet the client in a thickly carpeted conference room with spit-shine windows that overlook the CBD. I’m seated under the soft glow of the morning light. Traffic hums down below. I have bags under my eyes because I stayed up the previous night watching ‘John Wick’.

There’s an oil painting on the wall of some oriental looking fellows with umbrellas. And there’s a placard announcing the conference room’s rules, one of which reads: “Do not use the meeting room as your second office.”

My blue pencil rests on my notebook like a misplaced toy. I barely use it during the meeting. The talk around the table is mostly numbers.

“How many downloads do we have so far?”

“What’s the cost per click?”

“What’s our KPI?”

I feel like a fish out of water. I only know nouns and verbs, for chrissake. I’m wondering if I’m going to get along with this client. Will they give me creative freedom? What if they reject my next idea? And what the hell is a KPI?

So I do what I usually do. I grab my pencil and start doodling on my notebook. Then I think: “Hm, I wonder what John Wick would have to say about this pencil.”

You must know the story of John Wick, played by a perpetually stone-faced Keanu Reeves? John Wick is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will. He once killed three men in a bar with only a pencil.

All the mafia bosses in the world wet their pants over John Wick. John Wick is babayega, the bogeyman. Scratch that. John Wick is the guy you send to kill the bogeyman.

I slept halfway through ‘John Wick 2’. But I was keen to find out what kind of shoes he was wearing.

So I went to google and typed: John Wick’s shoes.

I found a website proclaiming the shoes to be Laurent calfskin lace-up on rubber sole, going for a clean $495. That’s 49,500 bob. When I saw that price tag I thought, “Enyewe kuna watu na viatu.”

A shoe like that has to be special. The phrase ‘a shoe has dropped’ doesn’t apply to this shoe. This is a shoe that can’t start the day on the wrong foot. This is a shoe that always puts your best foot forward. If you wear this shoe, everyone will be begging to walk a mile in your shoes.

And on that note, I have to run. The client beckons.

I wonder how fast I can go in these loafers.
Mikes blogs at mikemuthaka.com

A girl goes corporate
The parts of Miriam

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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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