MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

Your Perfect Pizza at MOD Pizza Leeds!

Hey guys!  I apologise in advance, but you’re about to get hungry.  Very hungry!  I was very kindly invited over to MOD Pizza at Cardigan Fields Leisure Park in Leeds (where Vue Cinema is) to try some of their pizza.  I was offered the meal free of charge for review purposes, but as always, all opinions are honest and my own!  MOD Pizza Leeds is one of five MOD restaurants in the UK – they also have them in Nottingham, London Leicester Square, Brighton and Gateshead Newcastle!

MOD Pizza – Creation Story!

Founded by married couple Scott and Ally Svenson, the brand are extremely family oriented. MOD Pizza started in Seattle back in 2008.  The Svensons wanted somewhere where busy families could go for a quick, easy meal where everyone could have something different without a fuss.  It didn’t seem to exist, so they created it themselves!  The couple had spent some time living in the UK before returning to America to start their family.  This is why we’re now lucky enough to have five MOD Pizza restaurants in England!

You will notice that a few of the pizzas have people’s names – this is because three of the pizzas are named after the Svenson’s children!  There is also a pizza named after a young girl known to the family, who sadly died of cancer at a very young age.  They wanted to keep her memory alive.  This care and personal touch seems to be a theme throughout the ‘MOD family’.  All of the restaurants have a photo wall (see below) with pictures of staff and family on there.  

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

MOD Pizza Photo Wall

Charity Initiatives

MOD Pizza also seem to genuinely care about their staff, charity and giving to the local community.  I had a long chat with Trev (one of the managers), who told me all about The Bridge Foundation that MOD have implemented within the company.  It is an emergency fund for staff who really need financial help.  One example was one of the staff who sadly had a family member die.  He couldn’t afford to go home for the funeral, so The Bridge Foundation gave him the money he needed.  

I think this is amazing – there is nothing in it for the company other than to show that they genuinely do care about their staff!  Not many companies would do that off their own back.  Trev told me MOD Pizza are the best company she has ever worked for, and that she genuinely feels like it is one big family.  I could tell by her enthusiasm and passion that she was totally genuine!  She almost made me want to work there by the end of it! 😀

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

This week [edited to add: actually last week – was too poorly to finish my post last week!], MOD Pizza are doing a campaign called ‘Spreading MODness’ .  They, among other charitable initiatives, will be donating £1.00 of every pizza purchased across all of its restaurants in the UK and the U.S. (114 across 16 states) to a local charity partner.

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

In Leeds the ‘MOD Squad’ are teaming up with ongoing partner-charity Cash For Kids to celebrate one of the key aspects of spreading MODness “Gratitude with Attitude”.  This focuses on encouraging staff to give back to local communities through in-store fundraising initiatives and engaging customers with the activity all week.  This year, the company expects to donate over $250,000 to charity.  Again, I really think this is amazing!  Remember – the company don’t NEED to do this, and they will be losing profits.  It just shows that they genuinely care, in my opinion!

How to Order

When you walk into MOD Pizza, it looks a bit like a Subway counter.  You can see all the fresh ingredients, to help you decide what you want to eat.  Basically, you choose whether you want a salad or a pizza.  My husband and I both went for pizza (of course!  When in Rome and all that…)  You can choose an existing pizza from the menu, which you can then add to or modify in any way you want.  If none of those appeal, you can design your own pizza from scratch!

There are a few size options – we both went for the 11″.  All the bases are really thin and crispy – yum.  There is even the option of a double crust – literally one crust, add the sauce and then a second crust!  I think I’ll have to try it some time 🙂  You start by choosing from one of five sauces (I had red sauce, think my husband had BBQ).  There are all the toppings you could ever wish for, from vegetables, six types of cheese, meats, herbs and spices and a finishing sauce to be swirled on the top!  

You pay a set price for your pizza (£7.47 for the MOD size) and can add as many toppings as you like, at no extra cost!  This is AMAZING, as usually you would expect to pay 50p – £1 for each extra topping.  I think it’s great value for money.  If you get a bit too adventurous and don’t enjoy your pizza creation, you get a new pizza, free of charge!

What We Ate

If you don’t already know, I’m vegetarian.  I had a Lucy Sunshine (red sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, artichokes and garlic) and added on pineapple, red onion, sundried tomato, basil and a balsamic fig glaze to finish with!

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

My husband had a very meaty pizza, with chicken, spicy Italian sausage and lots more; finished with a hot buffalo sauce (I think…)!  We also shared some garlic strips (a slightly smaller pizza bread, cut into strips) with a ranch dipping sauce.  Those garlic strips…. I can’t even!  I would happily eat those for the rest of my life! 😀  Both pizzas were amazing – so flavourful and well cooked.  We even ate all our crusts, as they were so light and crispy. 

I didn’t manage to finish my pizza, but MOD have takeaway boxes available to take home anything you can’t finish – so fear not, no pizza will be wasted!

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

Leftovers Going Home!

What We Drank

Hubby had a pint of IPA, which was really nice. There were also loads of bottled and canned drinks available (soft and alcohol) but I couldn’t resist the fountain drinks!  There was a fizzy drink fountain which did different Cokes, Sprites etc, but there were also four fresh fountain drinks.  I tried a tiny bit of each (for review purposes, of course..!)

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

Fresh Still Lemonades

The iced tea wasn’t to my taste but I know some people love it.  The blackberry lemonade was nice, the original lemonade was AMAZING but the strawberry lemonade was my final choice!  They were all flat lemonades, but had so much flavour.  Yum!  You can also get milkshakes with different mix-ins such as Oreo pieces!

Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly?

One thing that struck me is that MOD Pizza is perfect for anyone with dietary requirements.  They do gluten-free bases.  They even made their red sauce vegan!  It was pointed out to them that it wasn’t, as it contained parmesan, so they altered the recipes so it could be enjoyed by vegans.  I love this, as it shows that they give a damn.  A lot of places aren’t so accommodating of vegans and vegetarians!

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

There are tons of vegan topping options, with some more unusual ones like chickpeas, olives and croutons!  They also offer a dairy-free cheese, so you can get the full pizza experience, vegan or not! 

Overall, we had an amazing experience at MOD Pizza Leeds!  The staff were all lovely, especially Trev who was so helpful and informative, and just an overall sweetheart 🙂  She goes to other restaurants to help train up the staff, which is great as I think her enthusiasm for the company is really infectious!  If you ever go there, say hi to her!  We will 100% be going back to MOD… probably very soon!

MOD Pizza Leeds Review MOD Pizza Reviews Pizza Leeds

Have you eaten at MOD Pizza?  What did you think of it?  Did you make an amazing creation?  Let me know in the comments! 

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Chaophraya Leeds New Menu Launch Transformation 2016

The Best Thai in Leeds? Chaophraya’s Transformation!

Hi guys!  I hope you’re well.  Last week, Leeds’ Chaophraya transformed its dining experience, and I was lucky enough to go along and try it out!  I was very kindly given this meal free of charge, for review purposes.  As always, all views and honest and my own.  If you live in Leeds, you’ve no doubt heard of or already been to Chaophraya.  As the first of many Chaophraya restaurants to open, it has been around since 2004.   

Chaophraya Leeds New Menu Launch Transformation 2016

Chaophraya Leeds

Confession: I’ve lived in Leeds all my life.  I’ve been to this restaurant at least 4-5 times.  But!  I’ve never had a clue how to pronounce it!  It seems that I’m not alone, as they have now adapted their logo to include the correct pronunciation: Chow-pry-a.  Hooray – I can now say it without getting it completely wrong!  Chaophraya apparently takes its name from the main waterway in Thailand, which was seen to breathe life into the families who lived along its banks.

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Ecco Pizzeria Street Lane Roundhay Leeds Italian Restaurant Review

Ecco Pizzeria // Authentic Italian Comes to Leeds!

Hi guys!  I hope you’re not too hungry because this post will have you dribbling…. I apologise in advance for the pizza cravings you’ll shortly be getting 😀  I was very kindly invited to Ecco Pizzeria in Leeds, to try their gorgeous, Italian food and let you guys know what I thought.

Ecco Pizzeria Leeds Review Italian Restaurant Street Lane Roundhay Leeds

Ecco Pizzeria – Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds

You know the drill by now – I was VERY kindly given this meal free of charge, to review for the blog, but all views and opinions are totally honest and my own.  Now, are you ready for some serious food envy??

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We Are Tea - Simplicitea Infuser & Earl Grey Supreme Loose Leaf Tea

We Are Tea // Simplicitea Loose Leaf Infuser // Review!

Hi guys If you don’t know this already, I’m English.  Being English usually means two things…

  1. Is from England.
  2. Loves drinking tea.

Ok, so I’m sure there are some Brits out there who don’t like tea, but we’re pretty famed for quaffing our cuppas.  If anyone is ever poorly, upset or has just had a bad day, us English people truly believe ‘a nice cup of tea’ will solve it!  I drink lots of different kinds – fruit, green, (although only flavoured ones, I can’t deal with plain green tea!), herbal, ‘builders’ but my absolute favourite is Earl Grey.  Earl Grey is my ‘normal’ drink that I reach for daily.  If you haven’t tried Earl Grey, it’s a black tea with flavours of bergamot.  You can drink it with milk or black with a slice of lemon (I like both but usually drink mine with a dash of soya milk).

We Are Tea Simplicitea Infuser and Earl Grey Supreme Loose Leaf Tea

We Are Tea – Simplicitea Infuser & Earl Grey Supreme Loose Leaf Tea

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Hey peeps I hope you’re not too hungry, as this post will have you ravenous within a few paragraphs!  Just editing the photos is making me hungry!  I was invited along to Smoke BBQ Leeds to try some of their yummy food and drinks and find out what they’re all about.

Smoke BBQ Leeds opened in October opposite the First Direct Arena, and they have a few other restaurants around the UK (such as their first one which opened in 2013 in Sheffield, and soon one in Glasgow as well).  They are all about good quality, authentic barbecue food.  I really liked the decor of the Leeds restaurant too – it was very industrial, pared back, exposed brick and metal (as you can see from my photos).  Now I might not be the obvious person to review their food as a vegetarian, but I took along a hungry, meat-eating husband to help me out! Continue reading

My Top 5 Tips for Cooking when Chronically Ill // Spoonie Post!

Something I have really struggled with since being unwell with ME and fibromyalgia is that I can’t spend much time in the kitchen any more.  I used to love cooking and baking, and would happily spend a few hours making food with some music on in the background.  Now that my stamina is so poor, my arms very weak and the fact that my pain is increased by exerting myself, cooking is something that has gone by the wayside a lot of times.

Top 5 Tips for Cooking with Chronic Illness

Top 5 Tips for Cooking with Chronic Illness

This blog post is aimed at those who can still cook (even if it’s only occasionally), but I do understand that not everyone with a chronic illness will be able to cook anymore.  I know I certainly can’t a lot of days.  If this is you, don’t feel guilty!  You can buy some pretty healthy frozen and ready meals these days, which will get you by until/if you feel a little better.

Simple and Vegetarian Cook Books

Simple and Vegetarian Cook Books

1 – Use a stool or chair in the kitchen

If you have a chronic illness, stamina is very often an issue.  I find that with my ME, I struggle to stand upright for more than a few minutes.  I will get very weak and wobbly and have to sit or lie down.  A stool or chair in the kitchen can really help!  You can sit at the counter or the dinner table whilst your chop all your ingredients.  If your chair is high enough, you can even sit in front of the hob, stirring your cooking.  Just be very careful of any hot sauces etc spitting near your face!

Red peppers

Red Peppers

If using a chair in the kitchen is impractical for you, consider doing your cooking in stages.  Firstly, weigh out, chop and prep your ingredients.  Go for a sit or lie down and a cup of tea.  Next, pop back and prepare plates, cutlery and any condiments you might want – take those to the table or put them on your tray.  After another short rest, you can actually do the cooking part.  With these inbuilt rest breaks, your body is less likely to protest, and hopefully you will suffer less pain and fatigue the next day.  I certainly find that if I do this, my fibromyalgia pain is less flared through the night and during the next day than if I powered through all in one go.

2 – Batch-cooking is your friend

I know personally I have some weeks where cooking just once or twice is a huge achievement!  I am often bedbound, but hate leaving all the cooking to my husband as he doesn’t get home from work until 7pm, after a long day and a train journey.  The best solution I have found (to avoid lots of takeaways!) is batch-cooking.  If you are going to expend energy in the kitchen anyway, it doesn’t use up any more to cook double, or even triple the amount.

Batch cooking - pasta bake

Batch Cooking – Pasta Bake

I rarely cook a meal that only makes one serving.  For example, I may cook a Quorn bolognese – we would have it with spaghetti the first night and I would cook double the spaghetti for us to have it again for lunch (my husband takes his lunch into the office with him).  Then we might have it a couple of nights later on a nice baked potato, with some cheese sprinkled on top.  It’s such a relief knowing you can fall back on a nutritious, hot meal when you’re struggling to get out of bed.

Tip: if you don’t like repetition or quickly get bored of the same food, simply freeze the extra portions in tupperware and defrost them a few weeks (or months) later!

3 – The microwave reduces time spent in the kitchen

It’s easy to relate microwaves to bland, oily ready meals – but microwave cooking doesn’t have to be unhealthy!  There are so many things that are quicker and easier to cook in the microwave these days, whilst still being nutritious.  A few of our favourites are Birds Eye frozen vegetable rice (several varieties are available), Innocent vegetable pots (for flavourful curries, risottos etc) and steamed vegetables.  I buy microwave bags which you just pop your chopped up veg into (not root vegetables, but anything else) and microwave for as little as 1.5 minutes.  Once on the plate, you can season with salt and pepper, and even add a little lemon juice or butter for flavour.

Baking - pink iced cupcakes

Baking – Pink Iced Cupcakes

If you’re craving comfort food and chocolate cake is the only way, even that can be done in minutes flat.  Google ‘microwave cake in a cup’ recipes – most contain just a handful of basic ingredients and can be weighed, mixed and cooked in less than 5 minutes!  Give this one a try.

4 – Meal planning is your saviour

Chronic illness makes it difficult to plan ahead – with both my ME and fibromyalgia, my symptoms fluctuate and can very in severity from hour to hour.  This can make forward-planning a challenge, but a loose meal plan can take away the daily stress of thinking about what to cook and eat.

Vegan Cook Books - Hansas and Thug Kitchen

Vegan Cook Books – Hansa’s & Thug Kitchen

During my slightly better periods, I try to make a loose meal plan for the week.  I generally only plan 5 evening meals, as sometimes we will have to get a takeaway, or I may just snack instead of having a meal if I’m feeling especially bad.  If you’re chronically ill, you will understand the challenges of brain fog… it can be really difficult to think clearly and productively.  Planning the meals when I’m clear-headed means that I can just glance at a list and not have to think about what food we have in the fridge and what ingredients will work together.

5 – Go gadget crazy!

Whatever challenges your illness(es) throws at you, there is a gadget out there for you!  If you find unscrewing jar lids difficult, get hold of a gripper.  If you often drop things, try to cook using sturdy cookware – you can get plastic utensils and silicone baking tins/pans.  If you find it difficult to reach your arms above your head, or to bend down; try to store the things you use most often at chest height so they are easy to reach.

Starbucks Plastic Cup

Starbucks Plastic Cup

If you enjoy baking, an electric whisk is absolutely invaluable!  It can give you smooth cake batter without the pain caused by over-using your arms.  I only drink out of these really solid plastic cups with screw on lids and a straw (above) – mainly because I drop and knock over my drinks way too frequently, but I also find a straw more comfortable to drink from due to my TMJ.

If all else fails…

If all else fails and you simply aren’t well enough to cook, getting frustrated will just make you feel worse.  Grab a takeaway menu or a ready meal, make sure you have something to eat, and try again tomorrow.

I hope this post was of some use to you – it’s something I have struggled a lot with over time, so I wanted to share what I’ve learnt to making cooking easier (or even just make it possible in the first place!)  If you’ve picked up anything useful from my list, share it with your fellow spoonies and please do let me know if anything has helped you!

Blend Bros // Savoury Blend Protein Sauces // Review & Recipe!

Hi guys!  This may seem a bit of a random post on what is mainly a beauty blog.  Although you may remember a while back, I did do quite a few recipe and What I Ate Wednesday posts.  I’m not sure why they went by the wayside actually… do you guys still want to see posts like that?  Let me know.

I was offered some Blend Bros sauces to try (for free – however all opinions are honest and my own), and to review on here.  The reason I accepted is that I am vegetarian (for over 8 years) and as a veggie, it’s sometimes difficult to get enough protein in your diet.  It’s definitely do-able, but you do have to plan quite carefully and make good choices.  These sauces contain 20g of pure pea protein each, which is a super-easy way to add protein to your diet without having to think too hard.


I was sent three flavours to try – Mexican Pibil Stew, Thai Jungle Curry and Spanish Tomato & Chorizo.  The one I’m reviewing here is the tomato and chorizo flavour, as that’s the one that sounded most appealing to me.  I miss the flavour of chorizo, as it’s something I used to enjoy.  This sauce gives the flavour of chorizo whilst staying vegetarian by using a blend of smoked paprika and red chilli.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

Blend Bros Savoury Blend – Spanish Tomato & Chorizo

Although I’m vegetarian, my husband is not – he eats meat.  We tried this sauce with both regular pork sausages and with Tesco Meat Free Lincolnshire Style Sausages (I use these fairly often). We pan fried some mushrooms, red and yellow peppers and red onion on the hob.  Once they were slightly cooked, we added the sausages/veggie sausages into our pans.  Once they were pretty much fully cooked through, it was time for the sauce.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

Cooking in progress!

To make up the sauce, you simply mix 100g of the flavour powder with 300ml of boiled water.  Stir vigorously (it takes a good stir to make sure there are no lumps of powder left).  Once it’s mixed, you can simply pour over your food. We poured half of the sauce into each pan, and warmed it gently through (it doesn’t need actual cooking but we wanted it to be warm).  Although not part of the instructions, I actually added some chopped tinned tomatoes to the sauce.  I found that it was a little too dry at first, and mixing these in helped the consistency and made it go further. Then it was ready to serve!  We popped some fresh spring onion on top for added crunch.

Blend Bros Savoury Blend - Spanish Tomato & Chorizo review

The vegetarian meal!

My husband really liked the sauce.  I quite liked it, but could detect a slight powdery taste (like you can with protein shakes etc, but not as strong as that).  I think that is probably unavoidable, as you can always detect it in any protein powder products.  It did have a nice, fairly deep flavour and I feel like it left me more full than I would have been with a standard sauce.

I think this will be an ideal way for athletes and bodybuilders to add more protein to their diets, as I imagine protein shakes get pretty old and repetitive (which is exactly what Blend Bros created them for).  For me, I will definitely try the other flavours I was sent.  I don’t think I would rely on it as a regular source of protein, but it’s a great option to have in the cupboard.

Other flavours available are Indian Kerala Curry and Sicilian Lemon & Oregano, with more on the way.  You can buy them here.  I think they will also be available in Holland & Barrett stores soon.

Do you use any protein supplements?  What do you think to the idea of high protein sauces?  Let me know in the comments!