Urban retreat: Head and Hands in Walthamstow’s Central Parade




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Huddled among the array of freshly painted pop-ups in Central Parade, Amanda Wayne’s boutique is a welcome retreat from the busy Walthamstow junction outside.

Head and Hands smells like a spa. It’s subtle without the intensity of a perfumery, with handmade wooden furniture adorned with jewellery, relaxing potions, plants and gifts.

A graphic designer by trade, Amanda previously led mural and art workshops with children and young people all over London.

“Working with people is really the central theme to everything I do, which is why I found myself doing workshops. It’s where I feel happiest,” explains Amanda, who started becoming involved in alternative therapies while trying to find solutions to a long-term health condition.


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“I’ve got Crohn’s (chronic inflammatory disease), and in recent years I really started to struggle with it. I started writing a blog in August 2015 about my struggles and adventures living with it,” Amanda says. Her blog, the colourfully illustrated www.gutsglandsandglory.co.uk is a frank and open guide designed to help others in similar situations.

“I feel there’s a real need for a blog like that, because as a young person diagnosed with Crohn’s, you go online and see horror stories of what to expect. But there is hope – you can live with the disease.”


Amanda saw her illness as a research project rather than feel she was “at its mercy”. And through this research she became interested in diet, nutrition and massage, which she found helped her immensely.

Having regular massage had a huge impact on Amanda during a period of ill health and the therapy contributed to feelings of wellbeing.

“I started to think about how I could have that impact on other people and spread that as far as it can go.”


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The idea of Head and Hands is to combine all of Amanda’s interests together. As well as Indian head massage, visitors can sign up for silk dying workshops, a Japanese technique where patterns are created by stretching and folding the fabric in different ways.

Among the other workshops available at Head and Hands is a macramé and marbling classes. Macramé is a way of decoratively knotting fabric and the workshops, held by local artists, will guide you through the process of making a plant holder (pictured above) and marbled plant pot. 

Visitors can also embrace bad puns with ‘Don’t get cross, cross stitch’, a craft workshop with adult themes. For details and more workshops, click here. 




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