a peek inside the fishbowl

I wonder what he was buying? ;)

The Grinch drives a Nissan!

And speaking of Christmas, have you finished your shopping yet? We’re giving away tickets to the Originals Craft Sale over on the Capital Parent website today. It’s an easy win! Check it out.

Dear Fishies,

It gives me great pleasure to share another giveaway from Fishbowl patron, the Village Quire in Westboro. Have you been there lately? Molly, the owner, brings new merchandise in all of the time. There’s something new every time I drop by (and I’m there a LOT). I have a particular weakness for paper goods, and I am guaranteed to find unique cards, wrapping, AND all kinds of delightful items to give as hostess gifts too.

This giveaway is a quickie because Christmas is already so close, but that is neither here nor there. Even if you’re done with Christmas already, you can put this away for NEXT Christmas knowing that you’re going to save yourself a bunch of time. :)

This giveaway is for a complete Ugly Sweater Collection by Paper Source; it includes sheets of paper, two gift bags and a cool mug AND a bunch of Morsel caramels. (THEY ARE TO DIE FOR.)

I find this hilarious. It totally plays into my love of Christmas sweaters!

This gift can be yours. And it's from the Village Quire!

This would make a thoughtful gift for the bus driver, for the neighbour who shovels your driveway, or the preschool teacher! Consider this giveaway one thing to strike off your list!
Would you like to win? It’s easy.

  • In order for your entry to qualify, please leave a comment below. That’s it!
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • If you can’t post your comment for whatever reason you can email it to me for posting at andrea at quietfish dot com. Please note, I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
  • I will draw one name using Random.org at noon EST on December 19, 2014. I’ll contact the winner via email, who will have to pick up their chosen prize at The Village Quire (312 Richmond Rd, Ottawa). I urge you to get there before Christmas so you can check out all of the amazing stuff that’s in the store right now!
  • The Village Quire is on Facebook! Liking their page is not a requirement of this giveaway but it’s a great way of keeping up with news, local events, and 411 about other local businesses.

That’s it. Over to you. Good luck!

13 Dec, 2014

Weekend reading: December 13 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

The authentic blogger

Watch out! I’m feeling introspective today!

I was in a meeting last week, sort of a consulting thing. There were five of us around the table. We were talking about blogging, and reaching blog readers, when one of the people in the meeting turned to me and asked: “Why do you think people read YOUR blog?”

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Dec, 2014

The editor’s letter

By andrea tomkins in Publishing/writing/career stuff

One of the things I do in my role as editor of Capital Parent Newspaper is write an editor’s letter in every issue. It can always be found in its regular spot on page two. When I first came on board two years ago it was up to me whether I wanted to include something like this.

On one hand, the editor’s letter seems terribly indulgent in this kind of publication. It takes up a large amount of space, and I used to find myself wondering whether it’d be more useful to use it for something else. For me, it’s important that the writers and photographers get the spotlight. I really want them to shine – for them to get noticed – not me. Ultimately I decided to include my letter as a regular feature for two reasons: (1) It gives a face to the brand, which I think is important and (2) it allows me to talk about a few things related to that particular issue that may not fit anywhere else.

Every month, it’s practically the last thing I do in terms of the production of the paper. Everything else is submitted for layout, but this comes last. For some reason, it’s not something I can write ahead of time. Ideally, I’d take a quiet hour or two and sit down with a coffee and pontificate weeks ahead of time, but it never happens this way. It’s a mental block of sorts. I need to see the paper almost completed in front of me before I start to write. Part of me needs to see the whole package, and let the words gel in my brain before committing them permanently to the issue but I fear that I’m setting myself up for failure if I don’t break out of this bad habit.

I just submitted my editor’s letter for the January issue. January! This is how far ahead we have to work. I’m already thinking about February if you can believe it.

The Editor’s letter appears in the digital versions of the newspaper, but never in the Capital Parent blog. Perhaps the part of me that thinks it’s indulgent, is winning. Perhaps I need to give this more thought.

And then there’s the photo. I had one taken a couple of years ago and although I like it, it’s in dire need of an update. But here’s the thing: I hate having my photo taken. Many other editors have a new one taken for each issue, but I’m just not that kind of person. For awhile I was switching the photos for seasonal ones we took at home, but now I’m thinking consistency is better.

If you live in Ottawa and are a Capital Parent reader (and I hope you are!) I’d love to hear a bit about what you’d like to see in 2015. More recipes? More events? More or less from the editor? ;)

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05 Dec, 2014

Weekend reading: December 6 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading

  • 1989: America’s malls, mashable.com
  • As we think about École Polytechnique, remember to look for the flowers , theglobeandmail.com
  • Six tips for sending professional emails, foodbloggersofcanada.com
  • Patronatus

    NAC Ottawa family events

    Saunders Farm annual passes for family fun!

    Arctic Voices, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa

    Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

    Holiday shopping at terra20 - Ottawa

    Nepean Visual Arts Centre

    Visit tThe Village Quire in Westboro Ottawa!

    Click me!


    Stay in touch

    Me and my pet projects



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    The Obligatory Blurb

    My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times, Capital Parent Newspaper, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

    If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


    My right hand is actually a camera

    Connect with me at these places too!

    The #dailylunches project – 898 lunches and counting!

    Every day I eat lunch and take a picture. Here's the latest:

    Created with flickr badge.

    Click the photo for details: what it is, where I ate it (if it's worth a mention!) and how to cook it (if there happens to be a recipe). You can also read more about this project right here.


    • My latest post on the MediaSmarts website is up, and it's about family social media accounts. (Yes! It's a thing! And I think it's pretty neat.) Is this something you do as a family? I'd love it if you left your two cents on the topic.

      - #
    • I'm sharing some of my favourite lunch-related items over on the terra20 blog today. Whether you're packing a lunch for work, for your kids, or just eating at your desk at home, I bet there is something there for you. Check it out!

      - #
    • I have a new post up at the MediaSmarts blog this week. It's my response to a question that I'm asked quite often: What’s the best age to give a kid an iPod touch?

      - #

    On the nightstand

    ... check out past nightstand reads right here.

    Got kids in Ottawa? These posts might be worth a click too:

    All hail the mighty Twitter