Anatomy of a desk


I’m writing this from Explorer, the bar in Kilimani. I’m seated in a corner – the only corner, it seems – that has an electric outlet. The DJ is right in front of me. As in, when I look up to think, it’s his shoulders that bomb into my frame. He’s in a long-sleeved red cotton t-shirt thingy and a black cheers baba. And what’s a cheers baba without a cap to complete this weekend starter pack for the urban male?

The DJ checked in 15 minutes ago, at five ish. This is the time he usually checks in, then he takes another 10, 20 minutes setting up his equipment for the evening. They play music from a playlist for most of the day before. Random stuff. Burna Boy followed by Madonna, Maxi Priest then Ed Sheeran. Fally Ipupa.

This wasn’t the DJ I saw the last time I was here. This one is taller, leaner – I want to say meaner but that would be judging him too harshly.

He’s already played Jodeci and Mint Condition. Now he’s playing ‘Tenderoni’, by Bobby Brown. The Bobby before Whitney. I like ‘Tenderoni’. “If you believe in love and all that it can do for you/Give it a chance, girl, you’ll find romance.”

I came down here from Explorer after my interview on Ngong Road earlier in the day. I was meeting a chap who weaves rattan pendant lighting using a special type of stick. (Look that up on Pinterest, by the way, rattan pendant lighting. It makes for a bohemian vibe in your interior styling and home decor.)

The chap’s name is Omondi, Zachary Omondi.

That special type of stick he weaves with only grows in the hills of Homa Bay and no place else. They call it ‘olando’ in Dholuo. Olando, I haven’t stopped repeating that word. Olando. Last week I couldn’t stop saying “Qué quieres que te digo?” (Long story.)

Anyway, here’s what tickled me: Omondi hadn’t planned on making pendant lighting. He doesn’t even refer to them as pendant lighting, he says they’re lampshades. These lampshades are really just baskets turned upside down and a hole for the bulb ripped into its bottom. Omondi said, “Ni mzungu wa Karen alizinunua akisema atazitumia kama lampshade. Hapo ndio tulijua kuna kitu.” I watched him as he took a century to swallow spit and recollect his thoughts. He’s a slow sparse speaker. “Lakini nyumbani tunazitumia kutega samaki, na kubeba matunda, kuweka cereals na mahindi kwa nyumba, ya kuku…”

“Na nyumbani ni wapi?”

“Huko Karachuonyo.”

Look out for his full story this weekend in my Crafts and Culture column in the Saturday Nation.

I’m writing from Explorer because it has such a vibe for creativity. A chill vibe. Fun and unserious. I consciously made a decision not to take life too seriously. Let alone my writing. Know how folk have personal mantras like, ‘May my heart be kind my mind fierce and my spirit brave’. Or, ‘Create a life you can be proud of’.

‘Don’t put a question mark where God has put a period’ – that’s from Joel Osteen. Is it only me or does Joel Osteen irritate you as well? Haaha. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. He’s just too… nice. Ghai. Life to him is nice. Adversity is nice. Salvation is nice. When is he ever not nice? Him and his small eyes, always crinkled in a smile.

I wouldn’t want him around me for too long. I’d punch him in the face. I like when someone tells me, “Bett, you’re fucking up and you’re slacking. What the hell? Do you want me to slap the whininess out of you right now? Cause I could. Just give me the signal.”

I don’t want someone who speaks to me in a Joel Osteen candence with his hands on my shoulder, “Bett, it’s OK to not get it right sometimes. It’s OK to let go of what is important to you. But guess what, Bett, guess what? God still loves you no matter how many times you can’t pull yourself back up again. He believes in you. And so do I.”

Anyway, my two mantras are, ‘Do it because you want to’, and ‘Have fun’.

And I have fun writing from anywhere these days. I mean, there’s music playing here, my type of music, there’s a patch of grass to my left and a DJ to my right. I’m having water today but on some days, I have a glass of white wine and on others, a double of Jack Daniels.

I never tell anyone I’m here because they’ll get all judgy on me. “It’s Tuesday, why you drinking on a Tuesday? And aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

Thing is, I am working. And working quite well. A desk is where I set up my laptop and sit down to write. It’s more a state of mind than something you can rub with the palms of your hands.

I realized I’m more productive on the days I write away from my office desk than when I do. So any chance I get not to go there, I take it.

I also get home before sunset. Get time to listen to Muna’s storos. “Mummy you know Muruiki said I’m poopoo?” Woi, why did he said that? Then what did you tell him? “Theeen…”

These past few weeks, I’ve been writing at Explorer often. There used to be a bar in Kasuku Centre called Cross Roads. I wrote there as well, sometimes even from nine in the morning until sunset. I’d only order a large bottle of water for the day then have my fruit, smoothee and cold lunch in the back seat of the moti. I know you’re thinking it but no, no one ever stole my unattended laptop or my bag while I was away in the moti being a cheap ass.

Cross Roads folded and now there’s a coffee house called Charlies. I’ve written there twice. I’ve also written in their tao branch once. I didn’t like the vibe of the tao one, so I won’t return there.

Where else have I written? Most about all Javas within my routing perimeter. A handful of food courts. I’ve written at Artcaffe once but I didn’t return again because I didn’t like their food – it was too processed for my liking. And pricey. Ahem.

I’ve written at Kuona Gallery. At Pallet Cafe in Lavi. Nyama Mama, Westy. Crave Kitchen, Kikuyu. Silots Eatery in Kaplong. Heehe. Just kidding. I’ve made that up.

I’ve written in my shags though, in our village in Kaplong. I haven’t written in Nyeri but I know I can. My mouthy sister-in-law has a den there where we can go chill and groom each other, pulling ticks and insects out of each others’ fur, pointing torches into our ears. I’ll go there for a weekend – solo, of course – and groom myself.

I’ve written in Kilaguni Logde, when we went down for Easter. I woke up to write in the middle of the night, at around 3a.m., when the park animals had congregated in the watering hole right outside the rooms. That was something. The story was the shortened version of Lunch Money.

Next day I wrote from the balcony. My pal, the couple we had travelled with, also had some jobo to address so she had her laptop powered on her laps as well. It wasn’t really a wise way to spend the bush weekend; we could have been swimming or riding bikes, or better yet, drinking.

I wrote in Zanzibar. Though that didn’t go down too well.

I’ve written in a lodgo, or rather, more politely, in a home stay hotel.

There was a time last year I’d go spend the day and night there. I’d nap, watch some TV in peace, write and go to bed super early. It was a staycation. That was fun. I may do it again soon, depends on how I’m feeling. I can’t do all this at home because we have a toddler who gets hot and bothered when she sees me chilling.

Get this: Last Thursday I had a headache that was the mother of all headaches and she wouldn’t even let me lay my head down for five minutes. The brat. She threw herself on the floor screaming. She stopped when she saw me run to the loo to throw up. Then she stood by the loo watching me spew my guts out. The girl was traumatised, I could tell. She stopped crying in the middle of a scream, her mouth wide open, tears frozen mid-roll in the middle of her cheeks. “Muna, go tell Aunty to give you dawa for Mummy. Tell her Mummy ana tapika.”

She ran off like a bat out of hell, and returned moments later with her cough syrup.

Where else have I written?

The bed at home, of course. I wrote yesterday’s blog post from the bed.

The story that will run in my personal finance column in the Saturday Magazine this weekend, I wrote from my bed, too.

I’ve written from the couch. And from the dining room table.

I used to have a writing desk that I’d set up next to our bedroom window. I don’t do that anymore, I think I may even hate that desk.

I’ve written in the moti. Both in the driver’s seat and in the back seat.

(Hang on, does this begin to read like “I’ve screwed in…”? Hehhe.)

I haven’t written in a toilet seat of any kind – not at home, not in a hotel, definitely not in a pit latrine. I’ve never written in a kitchen, either. Or a construction site. Not Marikiti and Toi Market, either.

I’ve not written on the SGR. One day I’ll take a trip down to Coasto just so I can write on the SGR. Four hours. I won’t go with Muna because she’ll want to sit on my head. I won’t go with GB, either, because the man doesn’t know when to stop talking.

But you know how Kenyans are. They ache to strike conversation with lone strangers who are stewing in their own company. “Lakini hii serikali yetu. Yaani Rotich ame….”

That Kale chick
Keep the lights low

Comments (8)

  1. Judy chirie

    Always looking forward to your writing Bett! Keep entertaining and informing!

  2. Judy chirie

    Your blog as usual, keeps me smiling!
    (Also i’m told that I have repeatedly written about loving your writings and it’s not allowed! Sorry😄)
    Let me search the inert me for more accolades.

  3. Sophia Ngugi

    Lovely one. I work from home most days and many get surprised that I don’t have a desk and ‘office chair’. I once bought a desk when studying for my MA. I sold it at throw away price when I was done with the course. I work best from home and even on the days I plan to go to the office if I realise I have many urgent stuff to attend to I find myself more productive in the house or in a cafe if I don’t have Skype or webinar calls. My working ‘desk’ is a rocking chair, (including the foot stool) small foldable laptop ‘lap-desk’ and cushions. I was starting to think may be adulting means buying a desk. But I will hate it soon. Nice to know I am not weirdo 😅

    • Bett

      I’ll get you a crocheted blanky to go with your rocking chair, stool and cushions. Hehhe.

      Because that’s what we do for each other. In this tribe of desk-less adults. :-)

  4. Tim

    Hehehe. I like. Been a while since I was here. What’s the staycation place? I’ve been looking for one of those.

    • Bett

      Son of a Chief! How’s it? Has the young one started scaling furniture and breaking laptop screens? Hahaa.

      I got the staycation off Jumia Travel. Filter by budget (less than 5 gees) and by location (Kilimani has several) and they’ll pop up in your search page.

      I think I’m just about ready for one out of town. Wink wink.

      Pass my love to your girl and the lil’man.

  5. Rahab

    All the way from the Bahamas my dear, still keeping up with you! Your writing is so refreshing….keep writing :-)
    You haven’t written in a plane, have you?

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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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