Front-of-house Christmas decorations have got more elaborate and brighter than ever this year – a by-product of lockdown perhaps – but we’ve not seen anything to top this display on Cranbourne Ave.

This is a weekend when Wanstead folk can make a difference to local traders, especially since opportunities to shop wider afield are limited (and may well get more limited by this time next week).

Alongside reliable gift and treat suppliers such as the Art Shop, the Larder, More Italy and others, this year there are more choices than last. Truffles Trinkets and Travel has reclaimed a treasured Wanstead name in its traditional position, and Daygustation offers new options for presents for wine lovers.

But there are other options too.

Percy Langley is billing itself as Wanstead’s own department store and is doing something pretty cool. Set up by local mums Poppy and George, the shop curates products sourced from independent British designers, and has been featured in the Guardian and Grazia.

George and Poppy from Percy Langley

Poppy says: “We stock fine contemporary jewellery, knitwear & accessories, baby and childrens wear, books, toys, games, home wear and lifestyle products. All of our products produced by independent British businesses, many of whom are local to East London.”

Percy Langley is doing a pop-up at Host of Leytonstone from 18-20 December, and you can visit their online shop here.

Muriel and Me, run by local Bryony MacQueen, has a range of Wanstead-themed gifts available including new tea towels featuring St Mary’s church, along with the very popular Wanstead placemats and coasters. Bryony was one of the traders who was looking forward to last weekend’s farmers’ market which was cancelled at the 11th hour because of rising Covid rates. But her online shop is open for business.

Wanstead Bookshop – we wouldn’t be doing ourselves justice if we didn’t mention that Wanstead’s new local bookshop is offering 75 gift ideas – this is a great Christmas for people who love books. And it’s not yet too late to order books for delivery by Christmas – gift vouchers are also available which are delivered by email (these can be printed out and sent to the gift recipient or simply forwarded to them).

  • We’re happy to feature any more gift ideas from local traders – just let us know via

An appeal to raise money for a bench in memory of local heroine Jill Stock, who was killed in a road traffic collision last year, has met its target and then some. Her friends and neighbours answered the call and now plans for the memorial can proceed.

Her family have taken another step to remember her work. Jill loved Wanstead and created a montage of lots of characters and sights, which she had made into a jigsaw puzzle. She and husband Mick would sell these at a stall at the Farmers’ Market (though many suspected this was really just a ruse to chat to people).

Now the puzzles  are available to buy online at a site the family has set up. There is also a range of cards and prints on the site, all available at this address.



Wanstead folk have already proved their generosity this Christmas, with last weekend’s Christmas Drive Thru collection garnering more than 600 gifts for children, four carloads of donations to help the Corner House Project and nearly 50 crates of food for the Redbridge Foodbank. Those efforts are continuing, as is the work of local charity legend Frank Charles, whose Give a Gift Appeal (pictured above) is again asking for brand new presents for children aged 0-16 who are in Acorn Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Frank says: “This will be our 17th consecutive year and we are asking that all presents are brand new and unwrapped when delivered to Ali at Wanstead Pharmacy. We cannot accept pre-loved toys, books and games.” 

All donations need to be with Ali by 5pm on Saturday 12 December.

PS. The Cambridge Nursing Home, which last week appealed for cards and pictures for its residents, is reporting that it’s receiving loads of them – so thank you to readers who took part.

We’ve written about the number of new businesses which have started during lockdown, and here’s another one – an expert service to help people organise and declutter their homes.

Anna Potts, who has moved house with her family eight times in the past 20 years and who has modernised five properties in the process, has set up Apples and Pears which is aiming to help people who have just too much stuff (ie pretty much everyone).

Anna says: “Things have changed for everyone recently, and I wholeheartedly believe that a well organised home/garden environment can have a positive impact on your well-being.

“Anything home organising and planning is my passion – be it coordinating trades, sourcing, emptying and packing rooms prior and post works. Then the best bit – putting it all back together.”

There’s more about Apples and Pears on its Facebook page.