Y’know with all the advancement in Music Technology I never thought a Gramophone would sound so good. For anyone over 40 scoffing at me you’ll have to forgive my youthful ignorance on the matter, The musical part of my life has only consisted of CD’s and data files on iTunes at this point.
So when I stepped foot into Florence & Amelia’s and heard the gramophone spinning those old records for the first time I was floored by how homely the atmosphere was, with keepsakes blanketing the walls and the tables with finely crafted cups, astounding handmade accessories and ornaments everywhere, all dolled up for christmas and vintage inspired. They were all balanced on hand-painted furniture with a shine on every surface and corner.
I found out from the owner Nicola that she opened that shop on that cozy corner of Corporation street just last year on the 4th of October.
And I’m sacrificing my reputation as a man here but this place is adorable in every sense of the word, It’s like visiting the Grandma that you actually like who always baking biscuits and has adorable dogs.
But before I gush too much the reason I’m writing is because Flo
rence & Amelia’s hosted a tea party on 8th of December. I happened upon it by accident really while I was taking a festive candle round to the local businesses, but they were selling tea, biscuits, mince pies and other festive treats for the Merry Holiday season all accompanied by the Stalyhill junior choir who were singing their little hearts out with seasonal merriment.
Some of you may remember that the Children’s choir sang at Tesco’s last year to raise money for the Willow Wood hospice, well this year Nicola approached the choir’s leader and Head Teacher of Stalyhill school Sue Kitchen to bring the kids around to her shop to sing for the public, and raise money for Willow Wood Hospice.
‘Me, Mum and Sue been planning it since around the start of December, my little boy is in the choir so we thought why not? Adds a bit of festive mood to Stalybridge and we’ll need a bit of that with all the winter weather!’
And what a turnout it was, there’s nothing like seeing proud parents and grandparents bracing the cold to see their loved ones sing.
Afterwards I asked Nicola's mum how the shop got it’s name, since neither her nor her daughter were called Florence or Amelia. It turns out it ties into a black and white picture behind the counter of two joyful old ladies enjoying a drink.
‘Well, the two women up there are Florence and Amelia. Both are Nicola’s grandparents, The two were practically inseparable. After their husbands died they traveled with each other enjoying their lives as much as possible, making as many memories and collecting as many keepsakes as they could.
That’s what part of them we wanted to bring to the shop, every object has a memory behind it, it’s own little keepsake.’
I asked Nicola and her mum whether they had another other future events in the works or plans for the shop.
‘We have lots more fundraising events planned over the next 12 months to help raise money for Willow Wood Hospice. In particular we have Children’s author Julie Carroll-Pretlove joining us on Sunday 11am-1pm with her children’s story “The night Father Christmas lost his way”. The books will be on sale with free reindeer food and book signing.”
It felt a bit colder than usual walking out of the shop that day onto the December-winded street, candle in hand and notepad in the other but I’ll probably be back soon enough for a that tea set my nan would like.
Florence & Amelia’s can be found on 17 Corporation Street in Stalybridge, Sk15 2JL.
They can be contacted through:
Phone: 0161 637 1830
And Twitter: www.twitter.com/FlorenceAmelias