a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Jun, 2016

My best lunch this week

By andrea tomkins in Ottawa,Recipes and Food

I have had a LOT of great lunches the past couple of weeks but today’s takes the cake and I had to share it here:

June 24 #dailylunches - Thai coconut soup from Zestible

This Thai Coconut Soup came to me via Zestible. Or should I say, the ingredients and the recipe did. Zestible is an Ottawa grocery and meal planning service (although as I type that out I am thinking that this description doesn’t completely articulate what they’re all about). Basically, you order meals online ahead of time and they deliver the fresh ingredients – plus recipes – right to your door. The recipes are healthy, flavourful, and quick to prepare. The hard work is already done. You just follow the directions and whip your meals up when it’s convenient for you. (I’ve been giving their service a test run for the past couple of weeks!)

Anyway, I cannot find the words to properly describe how delightful this soup was. First of all, it has ALL THE FLAVOURS. It’s a complex assortment that hits your mouth/throat/brain as you eat – it is savoury, tangy, sweet, salty all at once – BUT even though it tastes like something you might order at a restaurant it is remarkably easy to pull together. That’s where Zestible comes in, of course. :)

Look for a full review on Monday!

23 Jun, 2016

Sinkhole tourism! It’s a thing!

By andrea tomkins in Ottawa

I don’t get down to the Rideau Centre as much as I would like, so when I was there last weekend I went on a little walkabout. It’s amazing how much this mall has changed over the past handful of years, isn’t it? And did you know there’s an Anthropologie and a Simons coming? Ack. I sense my credit card melting already. :/

While I was there I decided to check out the pedestrian overpass that connects the Rideau side to the Hudson’s Bay side to see if I could catch a good view of any sinkhole repair action. As it turned out, I was not the only one who had this idea:

Watching Rideau construction

This was the scene on the sinkhole side of Rideau Street:

Sinkhole repair

… and this was the view on the other side:

Team Ottawa!

I have to admit, if there was a free easy chair I probably would have stayed a bit longer…

I have been eyeing S’well water bottles since the first time I spotted them at terra20 many moons ago. Not only are the designs really attractive, but I was intrigued by the S’well promise that this water bottle is a very HARD WORKING water bottle. Apparently it keeps beverages hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. So I picked one up at the grand opening of the Rideau terra20 this past weekend and immediately put it to the test. We were in the middle of a mini-heat wave, so you couldn’t ask for a better time for a test run.

Around 12:30 on Sunday I put a dozen ice cubes into my new water bottle and filled it with cold water. I screwed on the lid, and chucked it in my purse, and off we went to spend the day at my in-laws, poolside, in the scorching hot sun. Six hours later there was STILL ICE INSIDE.

S'well water bottle

The S’well secret (well, it’s not much of a secret) is that it’s made of double-walled, insulated stainless steel. The test run was a success! I am looking forward to using this baby for many years to come.

p.s. want one of your own? Enter my terra20 giveaway while there’s still time!


terra20 is a Fishbowl patron but my opinions and love of sustainably-made and planet-friendly products are my own!

I have some good news for fans of terra20 AND for the folks who may not have had the time to discover them yet. They just opened a brand new location at the Rideau Centre, right across from the Apple store. I was at the official grand opening on Saturday. (In fact, I wasn’t the only one who was excited about terra20′s arrival, there was a line up to get in before the store even opened.)

Here’s terra20 co-founder, Bill Stewart, who was there to unlock the store and meet customers on the big day:


We got to chatting, as we always do, and talked about how shoppers are becoming more aware of harmful ingredients that are hiding in personal care, beauty and cleaning products. Since terra20 opened their Pinecrest location (and Wellington West) they’ve been working hard to become a trusted source of healthy and sustainable products. At terra20, every product is chosen with care to make sure it lives up to their standards. For example, check out their ‘Baseline Banned’ list: 15 harmful ingredients that you’ll never see on the shelves at terra20.

As for the Rideau store, it’s a tidy collection of the products we trust and love, as well as a few surprises:

terra20, Rideau Centre

Pretty candles!

Love sunscreen sticks for kids. Stick 'em in your purse for touch ups!

Zoku! Perfect for summer. We have the slush maker. Just add juice and it turns into slush!

S'well beverage bottles. Review to come!

Eco-bar favourites!

One of my favourite things about terra20 is that it’s ALSO a great place to pick up products that are made right here in Ottawa. Purple Urchin is just one Ottawa company that has products on the shelves at terra20 (well, in-store and online)!

TODAY we’re giving away this Purple Urchin Grapefruit hand, bar soap and lip balm along with a $50 gift card. (Which you can spend on anything, including more great stuff from Purple Urchin.)

PU & Gift Card Prize

Would you like to win? Please read the following fine print before entering:

  • In order for your entry to qualify, have a look at the terra20 website and comment below. Tell me, what would you buy if you won? I’d love to hear if you have a favourite product. Or maybe there’s one you’ve wanted to try out?
  • One entry per email address please!
  • 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.
  • This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  • I will draw one name using Random.org at noon EST on June 27, 2016. I’ll contact the winner via email, who can pick up the prize at one of the terra20 locations : Pinecrest, Wellington West, or Rideau. The name of the winner will be posted here as well. So please check back!
  • Did you know that terra20 is on Twitter and Facebook? Following terra20 on social media is not a requirement of this giveaway but it’s a great way of keeping up with great deals and special events.

Over to you. Good luck!

18 Jun, 2016

Weekend reading: June 18 edition

By andrea tomkins in Weekend reading


Annual pass at Saunders Farm!

Mrs Tiggywinkle's - the best toy store in Ottawa

Joan of Arc Academy in Ottawa

OMS Ottawa Montessori schools

terra20 Ottawa

Click me!


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Sarah McCormack: i would get the water bottle that you were tweeting about last week. after I read your tweet about the S'well bottle, I made a note to pick one up som
  • Evelyn Medina: {
  • Charmaine De Ramos: If I won, I'd buy makeup, mainly just foundation and lipstick, from terra20!
  • Sherrie Guthrie: I would buy the Elephant Poop paper for AndiePandie, she loves the poopy paper each year for her birthday. I might also try something from the Purple
  • Natalie Way: I would love to win. Purple Urchin has great products and terra20 is awesome! I would buy Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and conditioner. Than
  • joy: we went too! we took advantage of the free shuttle from OC Transpo and went on Sunday :D (it runs again this Sunday, too)
  • Jenn: I would totally go for a S'well bottle. I've had my eye on one for awhile now but after reading your post, I'm even more interested. Thanks!

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 (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, 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 – 1000 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.


On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter