a peek inside the fishbowl


Reader's Digest articleFirst: the fancypants description written in third person.

Andrea is the editor of the Kitchissippi Times, a community newspaper in Ottawa.

Andrea’s work has appeared in a range of print publications, both local and national, and her presence on the web has taken on a life of its own. Andrea has made multiple appearances on CTV and on CBC radio, and her blog, a peek inside the fishbowl, has been recognized by notable publications such as Reader’s Digest International (English and Spanish-language editions), the Globe and Mail, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Marketing Magazine, Canadian Family Magazine (“18 mom bloggers we love“) the Toronto Star, and the Ottawa Citizen. She’s also been featured in SavvyMom (“35 Mom Blogs we Love“), SweetMama (where she was also listed among Canada’s Top Mommy Bloggers), SweetLife (“Top 5: local blogs”), OttawaStart (#2 in their list of “26 essential Ottawa blogs”), Ottawa at Home, and Costco Connection Magazine.

2010 Canadian Weblog AwardsIn 2010, the Fishbowl received second place in the Lifetime Achievement category of the Canadian Weblog Awards, a juried competition of many great Canadian blogs.

The Fishbowl is not an ordinary mom blog, and she’s not your typical Ottawa momblogger. (She also prefers the term “parenting blogger” or just “Ottawa blogger” instead of “mommyblogger” thankyouverymuch!) She’s been keeping a blog since 1999 and is a rare veteran of the Canadian blogging scene.

Some of her past media and speaking engagements include:


Click image to enlarge © Jessica Deeks for Ottawa Magazine

You can contact Andrea via email at andrea@quietfish.com or follow her at http://twitter.com/missfish.

Read more about her work on LinkedIn.


Next, the real scoop:

My name is Andrea, and this is a journal I keep… mostly for myself and for family and friends, but anyone is welcome to eavesdrop.

I was born in Toronto, grew up in nearby suburban Bramalea and attended Dorset Drive PS, William G. Davis middle school and then high school at J.A. Turner SS.

I studied Journalism and English lit at Carleton University in Ottawa (Canada!). I am married to a wonderful fellow named Mark, and we have two daughters named Emma and Sarah.

I used to work as a web developer at a marketing and graphic design firm. Today I work at home as a freelance writer. When I can’t find the words, I just take a photo.

This blog started out small. Now it is slightly bigger. Exploring Ottawa with my family is one of my favourite things to do and I love helping parents and kids discover the hidden treasures Ottawa has to offer.

Sometimes I think I’m approaching a pre mid-life crisis and I find myself wondering about who I am. What defines me? Who am I, other than a mother and a wife and a daughter? Perhaps that’s the reason behind this bio page… a need to see it all written down. And perhaps, that’s the deeper reason behind this blog.

Our identities are made up of much more than places and dates. We are made up of a million little stories, a personal collection of experiences that combine to alter us and ultimately make up this thing we call life.

Girl in a big brown chair

These are my little stories.

Here is a selection of things I have done (in no particular order). Each is worth relating in greater detail, but I’ll save that for some other time…

  • skied down an Olympic run and not killed myself
  • traveled to the far north and snowmobiled on frozen tundra
  • hitchhiked
  • lied about my age and identity
  • gone dancing until the wee hours of the morning
  • not worn a coat in the winter because it was “uncool”
  • drank so much I threw up
  • written bad poetry
  • written good letters
  • swam across a lake
  • co-produced an award-winning documentary film in my student days
  • touched a human skull
  • tried to make my own beer, and failed
  • walked barefoot in a fountain
  • burnt my hair
  • sang in public at the top of my lungs
  • went skinny dipping while smoking a cigar
  • wrote a weekly newspaper column when I was a teenager
  • developed my own film and printed my own photographs
  • ran away from the police
  • failed grade twelve math
  • tried to cut my own hair
  • seen a bear in its natural habitat
  • gone horseback riding
  • walked on a glacier
  • explored a cave (ok, a small one)
  • tried to contact the dead
  • had my heart crushed by a significant other
  • pretended to not understand English
  • had my palm read
  • married someone I met over the Internet
  • wore white sneakers under the wedding dress
  • held a firefly in my hands
  • made stars out of pretty paper

It’s all too short, isn’t it? I wish I believed in reincarnation. So let’s try to make the most of what we have, shall we?

p.s. Want to drop me a line? I am: andrea at quietfish dot com, or just use this form.



NAC Ottawa culture days

Saunders Farm annual passes for family fun!

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.

  • andrea tomkins: True! It could have been a knockoff, but it was pretty solid. And for $15 bucks it is still a great shoe for someone.
  • Brenda A: I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I have come across SO many high end brand name items that are complete knock-offs. The counterfeiting indust
  • andrea tomkins: We have a winner! It's commenter #5 - Joy - who wrote: we also need tires…but this is nice too – love the mat :D" Thanks Joy! Check your email
  • Claudette (@WriterOfWords91): I love this post too, I always look forward to it! :) Interesting how many times we think alike.
  • CeeB: Love the door mat, and thanks for the info on the grant!
  • georgina: cool door mats!!
  • Shannon Barlow: Gorgeous door mat. So many uses for tires, who knew?! Thanks for the chance.

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 (16) and Sarah (14). 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

... check out past nightstand reads right here.

All hail the mighty Twitter