PizzaExpress & World Book Day

*This is a commissioned post for Mumsnet and PizzaExpress*

It’s happening loves, World Book Day is on the horizon.  I’m sure it’s only five minutes since the last one however frantic costume based negotiations have begun in the Team WGOAA household . . . basically this involves them coming up with whatever character they want to be and me figuring out how we can make it work with whatever we already own, with minimal effort.

I have a full on love / hate relationship with World Book Day if I’m honest.  Fostering a love of books and reading? Yes I’m down with that.  Encouraging children to share their favourite books with one another? Yes that’s a winner too.  A whole day of celebratory book based activities in school? Yep, I’m all over it.  Arguing with kids about whether Spiderman is really a character from a book or not and parents feeling guilted into shop bought “character” costumes from opportunistic supermarkets however, is really not my bag.

One World Book Day celebration we can all get on board with though involves pizza!  Yes ok, stick with me.  Pizza and books isn’t an obvious natural fit, I get that.  However, PizzaExpress have joined forces with World Book Day in a special, first of it’s kind, collaboration!

We popped along to a local PizzaExpress earlier this week to investigate.  Sometimes eating out with kids is plain hard work – stressing about them being noisy and disturbing other customers, worrying that they’re making a mess or wasting the food you’ve just spent your hard earned cash on and yet other times, it just all works.  I think a lot of this is down to your choice of restaurant – choosing somewhere that’s child-friendly and naturally a little noisy is always going to make life easier.  PizzaExpress is just that – family-friendly without being tacky or low quality.  The children’s menu is far more varied than I would have expected, offering gluten-free and dairy-free options if needed.  The staff were all super friendly and keen to make sure that the children were entertained and that we were all really well looked after.  The food was delicious – we might have gone all out and had three courses – all in the name of research you understand?  All in we had a really lovely evening where Dave and I were able to actually relax and enjoy our dinner whilst making the most of some quality time with the kids – and you all know what a win that feels like when it comes good!

PizzaExpress - starter

PizzaExpress - children's dough balls

PizzaExpress Fiorentina pizza

PizzaExpress Piccolo bolognese

PizzaExpress honeycomb cheesecake

It’s not unusual for children’s menus to feature a bit of colouring in or a word-search to try and keep the little one’s busy whilst they wait for their food but PizzaExpress have really upped their game on this collaboration with World Book Day.  With a focus on encouraging kids to “use their imagination and unleash their creativity” through reading and sharing a story at PizzaExpress – this isn’t a “sit down and shut up” job but more a “get the whole family involved and have a proper conversation” situation which I absolutely love.  Ben and Dave spent ages playing snakes and ladders in the standard children’s activity pack whilst the girls got on with the colouring in the special World Book Day inserts.

PizzaExpress and World Book Day menu inserts

The special edition “Dough Ball Times” not only includes a £1 book token but is packed full of suggestions for age-appropriate texts (featuring some of our favourites like “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” or “Wonder” along with others we’ve not come across before like “Claude in the City” or “Bumble Bear“) for your child to put their book token towards!

Pizza Express World Book Day - Dough Ball Times

The main focus though of the Dough Ball Times is the special World Book Day and PizzaExpress bookmark competition.  You can enter using the special Piccolo menu insert or online here.  It’s super simple to enter – simply design your bookmark, take a photo and upload into the with first prize for each age group being a £250 book token!  (That’s a lot of books!)

Pizza Express & World Book Day - bookmark competition

Children's World Book Day activities at PizzaExpress

Win a year's supply of books with PizzaExpress and World Book Day

If you go into PizzaExpress on World Book Day itself (1st March in case you’ve forgotten!) then you will find that staff are all dressing up for the occasion and customers can vote for the “best-dressed” PizzaExpress restaurant team!

It had been ages since we’d taken the kids to PizzaExpress but I can assure you, after such a lovely evening, we’ll be back very soon!

*Read more reviews here*



  1. February 27, 2018 / 8:08 am

    What a great initiative, I’m with you all the way, I found the whole character dressing up thing a right pain but love the idea of encouraging reading and imagination. Well done Pizza Express. #TriedTested

  2. February 27, 2018 / 9:40 am

    We also haven’t been to Pizza Express for ages but the kids always love it when we do go. Looks like great fun & worth it for the £1 book token alone! Fantastic photos as always! #TriedTested

  3. February 27, 2018 / 9:52 am

    We’re huge fans of Pizza Express and it’s great to see that they’ve teamed up with World Book Day :o)


  4. February 27, 2018 / 11:22 am

    Ahh! That is great that Pizza Express have teamed up to support World Book Day….
    It looks like you had a wonderful time. The food looks so good. Yum!

  5. February 27, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    I’m not a big fan of World Book Day, pretty much for the same reasons you said BUT I am a big fan of pizza express 🙂 Have you tried their vegan pizza? Omg it’s amazing!


  6. February 27, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    What a lovely thing for them to do! We love Pizza Express but don’t visit often, we have always been impressed with the children packs though!

  7. February 27, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    Pizza and books sound like a win win! My daughter hasn’t had to dress up yet thank goodness, not in nursery on the 1st March this year. I’d imagine we would be fashioning some kind of Postman Bear costume if she was…. #TriedTested

  8. February 27, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    What a great initiative. I don’t remember the last time I was there. I need to make a visit. A great way to get kids into book xx #triedtested

  9. February 27, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    Oh this is amazing and exactly what you want when going out for a meal with your children. we have been to Pizza Express in a while, but it seems we should really go for a visit! #triedtested

  10. February 27, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    What a fun initiative! I haven’t been to Pizza Express for about 16 years – how bad is that! I haven’t considered taking the kids before, might have to give it a go now I’ve seen your review #triedtested

  11. February 28, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Pizza Express is a great place to eat out with kids. I love the bookmark competition – what a brilliant idea 🙂 #TriedTested

  12. March 5, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    What a great collaboration and idea Colette. I only wish I had known before as George would have loved to go to Pizza hut. And oh my goodness I really dislike being forced to spend £15 on an outfit from a supermarket that was paper thin and would never be worn. Gorgeous happy faces eating their yummy food

  13. March 5, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    As a family we really love going to Pizza Express. We tried the new menu recently and the starters are amazing. Olly’s favourite is dough balls and a pepperoni pizza followed by chocolate brownie! We all enjoy doing the puzzles in the World Book Day leaflet and some of us (cough me) enjoyed the word search too 😉

    • Colette
      March 6, 2018 / 6:13 pm

      Yes we loved the starters too! We normally stick to two courses (and dessert is law) but treated ourselves. We were flipping stuffed!

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