A COUPLE have taken a leap of faith and transformed an empty park keeper’s lodge into a traditional English tea and cake shop.
James and Laura Hadley would pass the building in Havant Park every day and dream of opening it up to indulge their passion for baking.
So when it was put up for lease last year, they jumped at the chance.
Within months they moved in, renovated it with pastel walls, milk jugs full of flowers, bone china crockery – and the all-important cakes.
Mrs Hadley, a 34-year-old mum-of-three, gave up her job as an occupational therapist to follow her dream.
She said: ‘I’ve been baking cakes for as long as I can remember and would make the kids’ birthday cakes and mums from the school would ask me to do their children’s cakes too.
‘It was a dream to do it full time but it was a matter of finding the right location.
‘When we saw the ‘for lease’ sign it felt like fate. It’s perfect with the cricket pitch and the children’s playground.
‘The mums can come in for a cuppa and watch through the window as their children play.
‘It’s exactly what the park was missing.’
The building, which is owned by Havant Borough Council, dates from the early 1900s.
It has been empty since the Citizens’ Advice Bureau moved out five years ago.
Mr Hadley gave up his building firm to work alongside his wife. And their sons join them at weekends.
He said: ‘We’re confident our food has the wow factor.’
Laura’s Kitchen is open every day until 4pm.