I’m loving life in the ‘Stow’

Shelly Berry on life in her new home

Walthamstow High Street

Walthamstow High Street

The year 2014 was, for me, the year I finally stepped onto the first rung of that elusive property ladder. Like a lot of first time buyers, I found myself priced out of most of London.

From the list of areas I could afford, only one really took my fancy. It was, of course, Walthamstow.

It was a bit of a risk, buying my little one bed purpose-built flat. Not only was I taking on the responsibility of a mortgage all on my own, but I was moving to an area I’d never lived before.

But I’d heard rave reviews from friends and colleagues who had moved east and read reassuring reports about its status as “up-andcoming.”

Visits to the pretty village, buzzing east-end market and peaceful Lloyd Park convinced me it was a risk worth taking and, in May, I found myself opening the door to my very own slice of E17.

Once I had settled into my pad, I was keen to explore my new town and meet my neighbours. Whilst I knew a handful of people in the area, I wanted to broaden my social circle and found that the internet was the place to do it.

Social media may be blamed by many for preventing meaningful face-to-face interactions but it got me out and about.

Meetup.com introduced me to locals (and other newbies) who enjoy the same things as me, from live music to knitting and, most recently, mindfulness and meditation, and has taken me to venues and events that I would probably never have heard of otherwise.

It isn’t just my social life that social media platforms have helped me with. After a month or so of living in my new flat, the shower packed in. As a rookie homeowner and eastender, I didn’t know where to start when it came to finding a reputable plumber – but my friends on Facebook did.

My followers on Twitter have also recommended a hairdresser, places to party and even told me about free yoga classes in parks across the borough.

Without their advice I would still be heading back to Holloway to get my barnet cut and forking out a tenner a session for my weekly yoga fix at the gym.

Oh, and then there is that wonderful online community called Freecycle, who have helped me furnish my flat – for free. What’s not to like?

Seven months later I’m really starting to fall for Walthamstow and to really care about the area. I ‘follow’ a lot of local people and have ‘liked’ numerous venues and groups so I can keep my eye on what is going on, and take advantage of everything that the Stow has to offer.

And, as I suspected when I first visited over a year ago, it offers a lot – so go online and get exploring.

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