I wouldn’t be writing this story if I hadn’t been so gullible to the facades of social media. Scrolling through my Instagram timeline, seeing interior decor hacks I fancied and blindly imitating them. I’m desperate to separate myself from my sins, but I’m reminded of them at every turn – from the words on this page and to Instagram, mostly by my unusable sisal basket.

It’s spineless now. Collapses in damp misshapen pile in the laundry. I can smell it from where I sit in the dining room writing this. It reeks of the gullibility of an inexperienced fool.

I bought that and a handful of other baskets from a grandmotherly mathe at Kariokor Market, Nairobi. I saved her number in my phone as Mama Mbete. Mama Mbete told me she weaves the baskets herself. She and other women from her hometown in Kitui use locally grown sisal and a traditional skill I imagine is elegant, exemplary and ethereal.

I saved Mama Mbete’s number because I wanted to order later more baskets in a custom size and custom colours. For size, she told me to use a tape measure to get the diameter of the basket in inches. A size eight basket is 8 inches wide. One of her size 10s now holds Muna’s socks. The ruined basket was the largest I bought that day, a size 12. I needed later size 16s and 18s, with and without leather handles.

I’d seen folk on Instagram sitting their houseplants in similar sisal baskets. Others were using them to hold their toddler’s toys in the living room. A handful stuffed them with accent throw pillows and placed the basket in an abandoned corner. Different strokes for different folks.

My plan was to imitate all those strokes.


Mama Mbete didn’t share care instructions for her baskets. I didn’t bother to ask either. Surely, how difficult would it be to care for it? The problem, though, wasn’t that I didn’t know how to care for a hand woven sisal basket. It’s that I didn’t know how to care for a potted houseplant sitting inside a hand woven sisal basket.

Houseplants are my newfound pursuit. I have several on my balcony. The only plant I sat in a basket was the fern, all others remained unbasketed in their clay pots.

Everything I could do wrong with caring for houseplants, I did: I watered them too much (bucketfuls every other day instead of a cupful twice a week); I gave them too much time, too much attention, as if they were a newborn babies. Or a new lover. (Sometimes, in the mornings, I’d sit with them for five minutes talking to them and monitoring new shoots for maturity. I played them indie, and considered playing them classical).

I also didn’t understand the variety of the plants and the soil they were planted in. Hell, I didn’t understand why their clay pots were made the way they were. Did I mention I watered them too much? Oh yeah. I was drowning the plants, smothering them to death with my inexperience.

For the fern especially, the muddy water leaked through the draining holes of its pot, flooded the stand and spilled over to the basket. (In hindsight, it was wise of me not to invest in several baskets or sit too many plants in them.) Nobody on Instagram had warned me about this leakage. Nobody had shown this unpleasant side to basketed overwatered houseplants.

Sisal is the most popular material for weaving these baskets. The sisal thread is from a fibre of the sisal leaf. It’s naturally a dull brown, the colour of tea. The threads are dyed to create a rainbow of colours.

Sisal in Kenya is grown on a large scale in Kitui, Machakos and Taita-Taveta. There are pockets of small-scale plantations in Homa Bay and Migori. I’ve not encountered any baskets woven from there, though.

Iringa is another weaving material. It’s a special type of grass grown in Tanzania. Baskets made from iringa feel stiffer than those made from sisal. They also appear artificial.

Then there’s recycled plastic. The least tactilely appealing but the most versatile of the materials. Baskets made from recycled plastic seem immortal to the elements of nature. I have one as my nightstand. Know how in every Kuyo wedding in Kenya the bride is given a hand woven basket and shown how she’ll be bringing stuff home from the market? (Eye roll.) Mine now holds my books and Kindle at the side of my bed.

Brown leather jazzes up these rather simple-looking bare baskets. Artisans sometimes line the rims with leather and affix handles. There’s a section in Kariokor Market where all this jazzing up is done. At an extra cost, of course.

What Mama Mbete should have told me about care is, “Sisal is a hardy material but the basket will fade if you expose it to lengthy periods of sunlight. Be careful when leaving it on your balcony or in the outdoor.

“A little water won’t ruin the basket, just dry it in the sun. If it remains wet or damp for too long, though, the sisal will weaken and the basket will mould. It’ll be permanently ruined. Line its insides with something waterproof if you intend to sit your potted plants in them. And for Christ’s sakes, don’t overwater the damn plants.”

Wakanda forever
Breaking bad

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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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