Last week I was commissioned to do an editorial photography shoot with a great family who have opened a cafe in Paisley called Ta Ta Bella’s. The pictures and story appeared In the Sunday Mail.
I really enjoyed the photo shoot as I had lots to work with. The cafe looked really good with pastel coloured walls and old fashioned furniture and decorations. There was also great light coming through the massive shop front window but this unfortunately disappeared very quickly as It was getting late in the day.
The family have a great story, I’ve copied It from the Sunday Mail.
MUM-OF-TWO Hilary Smith was devastated when doctors told her she was going to die of a brain tumour.
Medics advised her to contact her family and close friends immediately as there was only a one-in-a-million chance that she would survive the golf-ball-sized growth found during scans.
In a heart-to-heart discussion with husband Seve, the pair took the difficult decision to hide the awful truth from their two children.
But now, two years on, Hilary has realised a lifelong dream by opening tea room Ta Ta Bella’s in her home town of Paisley.
Hilary, 44, said: “I’d had a bad headache for days and nothing would shift it so I went to hospital. The doctor said the scans showed a mass on the edge of my brain, at the back of my head, and a team were coming from the Beatson Cancer Centre to do the operation.
“I was terrified. I asked if they thought it was cancerous and the doctor told me that, if it was what he thought it was, there was no point in sugar-coating things. He said there was a million-to-one chance that it was something else and I shouldn’t pin my hopes on that.
“It was explained that even if they removed the whole mass from my brain, my prognosis could still be extremely poor.
“He said I needed to call my family and friends and prepare them for the worst.
“The only ones we couldn’t bear to tell were our kids Zoe, seven, and Rory, 13.”
But when surgeons at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow opened up her skull, there was no tumour. Instead, they found a rare abscess on her brain.
When Hilary came round from the operation, the first face she saw was her consultant’s – and he was smiling.
She said: “He was standing there, waiting for me to wake up. An abscess that size on my brain could also have proved fatal but they had managed to remove it.
“I was still groggy from the anaesthetic but being told you aren’t going to die is like being told you’ve just won the lottery.
“There and then, I made a resolution to live life to the full and do all the things I dreamed of. After telling everyone my incredible news, I began making plans to open my own tearoom.
“I had been dreaming of doing it since I was a little girl but being given a second chance made me determined to get well and take it.”
After just three weeks in hospital, Hilary was allowed home to recuperate.
It’s now almost two years since that headache changed her life – and she has opened Ta Ta Bella’s Tea Room on Paisley’s High Street.
She said: “After everything we’ve been through, we’re now living our dream and showing our kids that life is for living.
“I used to love this old tearoom when I was little and, when Seve and I were at university in Paisley, we would meet here and sit till it closed for the night.
“When we heard the former owner was retiring, we asked if we could take it over and she agreed.
“Seve and I are vintage fanatics so we’ve filled the place with old crockery, table linen and recycled tables and we serve old-fashioned afternoon teas. Everything is home-made.
“We grew up hearing about an old Paisley vagabond called Ta Ta Bella who went round the doors asking for goods to recycle so we thought we’d name our tearoom after him.”
Star guest on opening night was River City’s Tom Urie, a childhood friend of the couple. The Paisley actor said: “Hilary and Seve have been friends since we were all teenagers.
“Their strength in overcoming adversity is breathtaking and, of course, I’m really looking forward to plenty of Hilary’s cakes.”
Hilary added: “I’m loving life and showing my bairns you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
“Before I took ill, I was a housing officer and, although I loved my job, I probably would never have taken the chance to follow my dream. So it’s worked out for the best after all.”