Tuesday 23 November 2021

Make your own motivational quote cards

I'm not sure what these cards are actually called - 'motivational quote cards' sounds a bit worthy and the sort of thing you might find at a company team-building day. What I mean is a postcard with a message that is in some way inspiring, uplifting or encouraging - something that we could all use every now and then!

During lockdown I was sending a birthday present to a friend, who I hadn't been able to see for a long time because of Covid. I didn't want to just wrap her present and put it in a jiffy bag so I found a box (from one of my many online purchases) and filled in the gaps around her present with a few other things - some mini bubbles (the kind you blow, not drink), a couple of camomile tea bags and a package of home-made chocolate brownies. I also popped in this card:

They are really easy to make - you just need a small piece of card, and some letters. You can buy alphabet letter stickers or rubber stamps very cheaply, or if you are good at calligraphy write your own - or type it on the computer and print something out. I used a piece of red card and multi-coloured letters so didn't add any other embellishments, but you can design the card however you want.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Pizza Express Leadenhall Market - A little bit of post-lockdown familiarity

Pizza Express hardly needs a review as I doubt there are many people who haven’t been to one before! And like most chains you would expect consistency from one location to the next.

But it’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a Pizza Express - (not even including lockdown) and the menu did seem to have changed a bit, so I thought it was worth giving a quick update!

The first thing I noticed was that they had calzone on the menu - I love calzone and don’t remember that being something Pizza Express offered in the past. The next thing I noticed was that the classics menu looked a lot smaller than I remembered - now there is more of an even split between different types of pizza, the classics, the romana with a thinner base, calzone (folded pizza) and calabrese (square pizza) and there’s also a much bigger selection of vegan pizzas than I remember. There are the usual al forno dishes and leggera pizza which I always feel like I ought to order as it’s lower carb and you get salad in the middle - but the middle of the pizza that is missing is the best part!

Then I did a bit of a double take at the prices. It’s been quite a while since I went to a Pizza Express and along with regular price inflation we’ve had a combination of factors that have caused restaurants to put prices up, from higher energy prices to perhaps the need to recoup losses from lockdown. Even so I was surprised that most of the pizzas seemed to be around the £15 mark. I remember when Pizza Express did two pizzas for £15 if you had a voucher - but that was about 10 years ago now!

There are some new flavours and toppings on the menu too and I chose the BBQ burnt ends on a romana base. It had slow cooked beef brisket, which was a little fatty in places, with chipotle, barbecue sauce and red onion. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pizza at Pizza Express that wasn’t actually delicious as they seem to get their flavour combinations just right.

I ate with a friend from work at the Leadenhall Market branch in London; it’s a nice location with a small area upstairs and a large area downstairs so even though it gets busy at lunchtime we had no problem getting a table. There is definitely something comforting about the familiarity of Pizza Express and no doubt I will be back.