Turn the lights on


The downside to growing older is that you begin to get stuck in your ways. As though life is some form of quick-drying cement and time plants your feet firmly in it, forcing you to lay the groundwork for permanent residency there. 

Routines, habits, familiarity; knowing exactly what you will be doing on Thursday at 4.30pm, or what you will eat for lunch on Saturday, when you will get laid next, or change into a fresh set of beddings, your breakfast order at Java… it all feeds into the humdrum of urban life. And ultimately, this reassurance of predictability settles into a colourless state of inertia. 

I think you’re only allowed this degree of certainty if you’re, I don’t know, Charles Njonjo. 

Everyone else who doesn’t have 100 plus years of shenanigans feathered in their hat has to keep moving. Keep walking. Keep trying the lock on closed doors. Keep turning on the lights in those rooms you didn’t know existed upstairs. Then you stick your foot in and say, I’m coming in – there’s something in there for me I must take.

I know I’ve evolved in the last decade as an individual. Sometimes I have missed it when I blink, yes, but it has been enough to move the needle. 

For a while back there I had no other style of work shoe in my shoe closet apart from brogues. (Brogues are not to be confused with oxfords, by the way.) 

I bought most – if not, all – my brogues secondhand from some chap off Moi Avenue called Marto and his assistant, Brayo. Brayo was a young hungry chap from the lakeside. Their shop was too small to contain both their dreams, so Brayo exited with his ambition and launched his own gig. I stuck with Brayo because he had the gift of gab to slice through cold butter. Plus he had mastered his personal style. You gotta love a man who knows his personal style). 

I had brogues in brown and navy blue and nude and black wet-look and burgundy and two-toned shades. If there were a style of brogues that I could go to bed in I would most likely have owned a pair.

Brogues were functional for me back when I was starting out in 2013, 2014. Those were the days I did a lot of fieldwork for the features I was researching. (Now my head is grown and I’ve become a lazy desk writer pulling armchair stories out of my ass. More demanding creatively, yes, but you still need to build a library by going out there to talk to Kenyans.)

I needed flat yet stylish lace-up shoes that got more comfortable with a pair of socks nuzzling my toes. Brogues met me all the way.

Then I got knocked up with Muna in 2015 and I have never worn another pair of brogues again. I squint at them from a far these days, shaking my head at how masculine they look. Granted, my feet grew by a size after that first pregnancy, they feel less dainty and more Hobbit-y.

Brogues would make my wide size eight feet look like a masculine size 11. What’s more, I would come across as the kind of girl who would hit on my pal Vicky. Or Joan. Or both, hehee.

Then there was that Saturday morning ritual I had with my old nanny, Nanny Viv.

She and I would go to the Farmer’s market early Saturday morning. Like 5 a.m-early, as though we were fleeing under the cover of dusk. 

(Know why I’m chuckling? It’s cause I’m making the market seem posh by referring to it as the Farmer’s Market. Hahaa. As though it’s a place where you can shoot your Instagram Live. Well, it’s Marikiti slash Wakulima Market – we were going to Marikiti, where the only posh thing there is its architecture. And the romantic story of the railway line that slices through it.)

We would be back home before the household – GB and Muna – awoke at 9 a.m. Anyway, we knew we had overstretched our time if the sun got unbearably hot. I can’t make these market runs anymore because of my baby, Njeeh. I send the nanny instead, she goes on Friday, at the same hour. 

The one thing that made those market runs memorable was the breakfast I knew Nanny Viv would whip up after we got home. The pancakes had lemon zest grated into the batter. (She shared with me the secret of her pancakes. It was in how she patiently beat her eggs: ‘Make sure to beat them until they turn white and frothy,’ she told me. That’s how you know the egg has completely been broken down. If you don’t see this frothiness you’ll end up with gummy chewy pancakes that are as heavy as a wet towel.)

Paired with the pancakes was beef sausages and a Spanish omelette that had just the perfect degree of green chillies. And the guacamole – Good God, the guacamole; the guac was seasoned with that special ingredient they call comfort. 

I would wait at the dining table with an empty plate before me, fork and knife in hand, and my mouth would shamelessly water. Even as I write this I have had to pause to swallow spit. Hehee. 

Nanny Viv eventually left our household, and she took this Saturday morning ritual with her. I was gutted for a while there but my sense of adventure kicked in and kicked those sentiments out the window.

And indie, of course.

This story would miss its fourth wheel if I didn’t tell about music.

I listened to little else but indie. Then 2020 rolled in and the virus showed me that you can’t hang with your person while listening to indie. Our old world was already being eulogized and here I was belting out the dirges that indie tends to be. It felt like I was hastening the pallbearers to the grave. 

GB introduced me to Amapiano. It became the soundtrack to the languid days of 2020.

Last December I had a project that dictated I sit my ass down at my desk from dawn to dusk. I told myself that I would turn those lengthy work hours into a party of one. Plus it was December already; it was sunny and gorgeous outside and the air was sizzling with festivity, never mind the curfew. I listened to Deep House. February was Soul Train mixes. Last week I was listening to Jaz Elise (she’s a sexy twist of R&B on reggae). This week it’s Nviiri’s new album.

I don’t know what I will be listening to next week. 

For most of 2018 and 2019 I was busting my chops writing personal finance with the Nation. Budgeting, saving and investing your money. I used to sign off with some pompous line about being a certified ACCA. My columns – online and in print – inadvertently moulded me into a local authority on how to manage money.

Readers would write me their financial conundrums, and I would turn my response into a long-read piece for the column. That engagement was stimulating. I loved it.

My interest in writing personal finance unexpectedly waned last year. It waxed and waned as my pregnancy with Njeeh grew. I eventually birthed it with my placenta. Hehhe. I haven’t written much personal finance since. If any. 

Now I mostly write about interior styling and décor. Frivolous content, like how to style your corners (probably with a floor lamp. Or an outsized house plant – a faux banana plant is an excellent suggestion) and how to style your bed like a pro (you will need at least six pillows, only two are for sleeping). I love it. 


I don’t know where my winds will blow my sails to next. Maybe I will be drawn to human anatomy. Or commercial farming. Or sex. Who knows? I have always wanted to write about female sexuality and sexual awakening, about oral sex and bi-curiousity. The sort of thing my folks down in Kaplong wouldn’t read.

Or maybe… I don’t know. Sigh. Maybe I needed to write this story so I could see where my head and my heart are at.

Again, who knows?

The Gift and the Curse
Let’s try this again

Comments (3)

    • Bett

      Hahhaa. Right? Right? Send some over once you whip them up.

  1. Nyabuti

    I used to dislike having a routine, but now I can’t seem to function without one. I appreciate the predictability of routine. And it is working for me at the moment.

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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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