About Catherine Tyrrell

Busy mother to 2 spirited kiddos, with a passion to help other mamas navigate this crazy journey that is parenting.

Summer Is Here, So We Partied Like Mermaids! (with help from our friends at Prep Fete)

This year was the first year of school for my eldest, and with that came her first last day of school, and I wanted to celebrate this milestone with her and a couple of her close friends. Since it’s also the beginning of summer, we thought a mermaid themed cupcake decorating & swim party would be a lot of fun.

We ordered a mermaid magic themed party kit from Prep Fete, so it was super easy to pull everything together pretty quickly.

Prep Fete carefully curated party kits come with all the essentials – good quality & beautiful decor, cake toppers, and matching tableware.

My daughter had lots of fun tossing the magical mermaid confetti onto the table (and the floor), but I’m not all that fun & fancy free, so I only gave her about 1/8th of the confetti to use. I am however, a fairly crafty mama, and have plans for other ways to use those pretty little squares of tissue & glimmer paper!

My daughter loved all the decorations, and told me she wants to have the mermaid theme for her birthday this year. I will order some more tableware with their party kit builder, and keep the decorations in their easy to store packages, for her birthday in September.

One of my favourite little touches was the little postcard included in the kit, with handy party prep tips for kids birthday parties. I know it will be especially helpful when we host our first party with school friends in the fall!

Planning your own party? Our network can save $20 off a party kit and receive free shipping with the discount code: MOMMYCONNECTIONS

What’s included in the Mermaid Magic Party Kit?

  • Iridescent Paper Fans
  • Iridescent Boxed Confetti
  • Let’s Be Mermaids Garland
  • Let’s Be Mermaids Cake Toppers
  • Long Silver Glitter Candles
  • Mermaid Plates
  • Shell Dessert Plates
  • Iridescent Cups
  • Iridescent Paper Straws
  • Shell Napkins
  • Light Pink Forks

Check out some of the other beautifully curated themed party kits from Prep Fete (including a chic midsummer’s night party kit for adults

Prep Fete co-founders Naomi & Katie, are two Toronto moms on a mission to create stress-free birthday parties, so you don’t have to spend hours (or days) planning up the perfect birthday party theme for your littles.

Baby Proofing Your Relationships – BEFORE Baby Arrives

One of the best things you can do to prepare for life with your new baby, is to learn about the little (and big) things you can do now, to help baby proof your relationships. I say relationships, because it’s not just about partners. Strained relationship with in-laws or other family members, introducing a new baby to older siblings, and well meaning (but not always requested) input and advices from family members, over stepping or not stepping up, understanding and setting boundaries etc. etc. etc.. The addition of a baby changes the dynamics, and no matter how strong your relationships are, things will be different.

Unmet (or even unspoken) expectations are frustrating and can lead to resentment. The sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, and requirement to be on parenting duty (All. The. Time.) are just a few of the stressors that can weigh on us. Often parenting styles aren’t discussed before baby is already on the scene. In one of our recent Mom & Baby classes, 90% of the moms said they still hadn’t talked with their partners about parenting topics such as, discipline tactics, or how they would handle disagreements in front of their child.

Romantic bliss can take a hit when a new demanding little customer shows up in your family. The reality is that your partnership is the foundation of that family, and in order to provide the best environment for your new bundle, you have to re-invest in your relationship with your partner. Just like financial investing, it matters where and how, you choose to invest. The addition of a child is one of the BIGGEST tests to your romantic relationship (I won’t even tell you how many people have confided in me that they have felt like punching their partner in the throat – Jokingly of course, but their frustration and resentment is REAL).

These are the reasons why I have decided that adding the relationships piece to prenatal planning is so important. If you are expecting a baby (not only for first time parents), please join us Sunday June 3rd for our Midtown Mommy-To-Be: Prenatal Workshop, to cover some of the things that traditional prenatal prep classes often leave out. Our prenatal workshop includes some extra time at the end to socialize, or to chat with our experts, so that you can leave feeling empowered and supported.

Parenting educator, and life & professional coach, Liz Berholz of Liz B Parenting, will be joining us for the Baby Proofing Your Relationships portion of our prenatal workshop. Liz works with families and individuals to help them discover their ability to create homes and lives filled with mutual respect, understanding, cooperation, connection, responsibility and fun. She helps them uncover their gifts and strengths to create effective change and live lives filled with their deepest dreams of success. www.lizbparenting.com

5 Reasons Why You Want To Have Maternity Photos Done

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing.. and along with it comes morning sickness, a range of emotions, and a change in how our body looks and feels. There are so many things to plan for and anticipate, and maternity photos may become an afterthought, but capturing the beauty of every pregnancy is special. Here are five reasons why you’ll be happy to have maternity photos done:

1. MOTHERHOOD IS BEAUTIFUL – You are beautiful! Carrying a soul inside of you is something to cherish. Pregnancy occurs only a few times in life, and it’s worth savouring the moment. It can be hard to imagine having photos taken (especially if you’re not feeling your best – with morning sickness and an expanding body), however focus on the celebration of motherhood that is growing within.

2. SHOW OFF THE BELLY – What a great excuse to show off and flaunt your belly! Make it a day of pampering, and get dolled up as a special treat, because you deserve it. Indulge in form fitting maternity wear to show off the bump. Professional photographers will provide wardrobe recommendations, and may also provide access to a collection of maternity dresses that can be worn for the shoot.

3. TIMELESS MEMORIES – It’s easy to forget how it felt like to be pregnant. Photos help reconnect your memories, emotions, and feelings. It is also a wonderful memory to show your children.

4. MOMENT OF BONDING – The photos are also for partners and any siblings to have their own moment to bond. It is a wonderful moment for the entire family to embrace the positive changes coming. For siblings, it is a great way to make them feel special, and to capture cute photos of hugging or kissing of the belly.

5. TELL A STORY – A professional photographer will make it a fun experience, and transform shots into a story that illustrates the connection and love already forming between mom and baby – all while taking best angles, depth of field, and lighting into consideration. It’s also worth looking into combined maternity + newborn photo session package options, to capture the beautiful story that unfolds once the baby is born.

**Join us for a Midtown Mommy-To-Be: Prenatal Workshop – Sunday June 3rd at North Movement Studio in Leaside. You’ll enjoy a great afternoon of learning and connecting with your fellow mommies-to-be, as well as a fun maternity photoshoot with Pictonat Photography!

Guest blog post by: Nathalie Amani, Pictonat Photography

Nathalie is a mom of two, and the owner of Pictonat Photography. She has a passion for delivering images that capture emotions and tell a story with an intimate, contemporary, and fresh feel. Her work is focused on working with people and families of all ages (maternity, newborn, family, special occasion & professional head shots).

Pictonat Photography | hello@pictonat.com | 416.951.8428

5 Useful Baby Shower Gift Ideas (that you probably won’t find on the registry)

Have a baby shower coming up? New parents tend to get so much ‘stuff’ that doesn’t actually end up being all that useful. Try to think outside the box (or registry), and make your gift something that will hopefully help make the transition to parenthood just a little bit easier for the mommy-to-be..

Here are just a few gift ideas – that she either didn’t know to ask for, or doesn’t want to just come right out and ask for:

Meal Delivery. Not having to think about what to make and prepare for dinner is huge. I’m not talking about getting ‘take-out’. I mean those meal delivery companies that lovingly prepare tasty, balanced and nutritious meals for your family, making it easy to eat well and enjoy healthy meals. It’s also awesome when guests sign up for a post baby meal train. When visiting the new baby, bring something for the parents to put in the freezer and heat up later. Don’t make mama feed you – just bring the food to her, and tell her its for them to eat another time.

Parenting Support Services.  Parents-to-be tend to focus a lot on the actual labour & delivery, but birth professionals will be there to assist and guide them through it. Afterwards, when its just parent(s) and baby, can be challenging (and most likely sleep deprived). Baby care professionals are available to help beyond the birth, and can take some of the pressure off, while parents get to know and figure out life with their new little bundle of joy (ie. postpartum doulas, night nurses, sleep consultants, lactation consultants, baby proofers, carseat installation, etc).

House Cleaning. Either by sourcing the actual cleaning service, or by offering to cover some costs towards whomever they have hired – Having someone else do the cleaning beyond the regular tidying, when parent’s are busy with a new baby, is super helpful.

12 Months and up. The majority of gifts from others will likely be somewhere in the 0-9 months range. I know, I know, when it’s so little and cute it’s damned near impossible to reach for the same item in the 12-18 or 18-24 month size. Baby’s drawers and closets will probably be OVER FLOWING with 0-3 mo items (and more than half of the stuff most likely won’t even make it on to baby before they outgrow it), and gifted clothing thins out A LOT after the first year. I’m not saying to go and get something that the child will use when they’re entering middle school – that would be crazy – but 12-24 months stuff is pretty easy to hold on to and store for the short amount of time before it’s utilized. *Also think about seasonality, and what time of year baby is going to be wearing the size you buy.

Gift Cards & Money. Gift cards to coffee shops / baby-friendly establishments / massage therapy / hair salon / spa treatments / Mommy Connections (Mom & Baby classes or CPR workshops) or other local program registrations / anything drive through / etc.. Basically thinking beyond gift cards for the baby stores, lets mama know that you’re thinking about her too. Babies (and life) costs money. Designated towards something specific, or to be used at the discretion of the parents – Nobody wants to come out and just ask for it, but money to put toward the baby’s future is generally well received.

NOTE: If you’re contemplating whether or not to get the baby a stuffed toy, the answer will almost always be “No, thank you!”


Going Back To Work (My Mat Leave Is Over…)

Guest Blog Post (By Diel Gerber, Toronto New Mom Survival Guide)

Spending time at home while on maternity leave was a great time for me. After years and  years working in time consuming and mentally exhausting marketing jobs, I finally took some time off and spent time with my precious newborn baby.

Before my maternity leave, I was afraid that I would be bored at home. After all, one year is a very long time to stay at home when you’re not used to it. I was so wrong! I wasn’t bored for a second (how can one get bored with a baby at home?)

When it was time to go back to work, I got a little scared again.

How would I be able to manage my full-time job while caring for my LO? What would my daily routine look like? Was it even possible for two parents to work full time without the help of family around? So many questions and I haven’t even mentioned the high cost of a daycare.

Today, I can say that going back to work was the right decision for me. Going back to do the job I love was entirely what I needed.  Of course, you need more daily preparation, time management skills, and to be a good multitasker. But you are a mom, you already have all of that.

Now for the practical side. I want to share a few tips with you that will help you prepare for your first day back at work, as a mom:

  1. Build daily routines for your LO that will help him or her with the transition from home to daycare or from your care to another caregiver.
  2. Place your LO in his or her daycare 2-3 weeks before the date of your return to work. This will give you and your baby some time to get to know the caregivers and get used to your new daily routine. At this time start to build a new schedule for your family. This way you will have less stress on your first day back to work.

  1. Building on tip #2,  take two weeks for yourself. We all know that maternity leave is not actually a vacation. Take some time to rest, read, and fill your energy.
  2. Try to complete as much as you can from your To Do list, even if it is months in advance. This would be a useful time to finish up all your time consuming tasks: Book your vacation, buy gifts for  your friends who have upcoming birthdays, plan your LO’s first birthday, talk with the cable company, and go to the dentist. Whatever you need to do, now is the time to do it. This way in your first few weeks of work you won’t need to juggle more than what you already have. I went back to work in November and by that time, I already had Christmas gifts for everyone 🙂

  1. Cook and freeze. Cook your favorite meals and freeze them in personal containers for dinners or your lunch. This will be useful for all the evenings when you will be tired, but still need to eat something.  This will be especially useful for your first couple weeks back to work.
  2. Get ready to work: read, write, open your mailbox, or go to lunch and learns. Catch up and see what has changed in your industry in the last 12 months.

  1. Organize your closet. Although it is so comfortable to go everywhere in your favorite yoga pants, you might want to organize your closet before you go back to work. Check all your office clothes and yes… do some shopping.

I wish you all a great first day back at work. And don’t worry. By your second day, you will feel like you never left.

Diel is a busy Torontonian mother to a toddler, professional Digital Marketer, and a blogger. In her Blog: Toronto New Mom Survival Guide, she advises new mothers about Maternity leave and lists all the programs/activities for new moms and their babies in Toronto.


Get Ready For The Holidays, While Giving Back To Local Moms In Need

The New Mom Project was started to provide marginalized families with some basic baby necessities to get them off to a great and loving start. The New Mom Project collects donations of gently used or new items and distributes them to families in need.

This year, in partnership with some amazing local mama run businesses, we are proud to be holding a Holiday Social & Pop-Up Shop, in support of The New Mom Project.

Get Flawless in Five with Beautycounter and City Momma Styles, followed by a professional photoshoot with Pictonat Photography, to update your headshot or profile picture. Enjoy drinks and delicious snacks while you shop for last minute holiday gifts from our line-up of amazing local mama vendors!

Proceeds from ticket sales, and a portion of vendor sales, will be donated to The New Mom Project. You can also bring your gently used (or new) items to donate, with you to the event for collection. Suggested items that you can donate: Diapers (open packs ok), Wipes, Toiletries, Blankets, Bunting suits, Snow suits, Carriers, Small infant toys, Clothing

Get your tickets today


Coffee Shop Confessions – Separation Anxiety Isn’t Just A Childhood Affliction

City Mama, County Mama: Coffee Shop Confessions – Separation Anxiety Isn’t Just A Childhood Affliction (By Lonelle Selbo, Life Au Lait)

I’m sitting at a big wooden table, working on my laptop in the middle of Miss Lily’s Café in Picton. My little boy is at his fourth day of preschool, hopefully playing with his best friends, this morning’s tear-stained cheeks, dried, pleas to stay home, forgotten. I’m sipping a London Fog latte and am trying to silence my brain so I can enjoy it and lose myself in the total coffee shop-ness of the moment.

Checkered floors, mismatched chairs, pretty rustic products lined up on shelves. Friends chatting to each other at little bistro tables, people reading or scrolling, passing time in cozy club chairs—and then there’s me, sitting here like a normal person, typing away.

It all feels so three years ago.

You know that shocking moment when you catch yourself inside a vignette of your pre-mom self and you’re almost floored that life still exists just as you left it? Well that’s what’s happening right now. Coffee culture had been perfectly preserved in its cliché little ritual while I checked out to birth and begin to rear a tiny human for a few years. And then today, I slipped back into it for a few hours while my little boy, who came out of my body and then held tightly onto my hand for the subsequent thirty-six or so months, did his own thing.

When you’re a first time mom, the concept of preschool is hard to get your head around. I hear it’s hard the second and third time round too. I mean we obviously get the idea—kid goes to school, mom leaves and does things without kid, mom picks up kid—but the actual reality of it is almost ungraspable until you find yourself in a coffee shop, solo, sipping a hot drink moments after it was poured, focusing entirely on one task. Maybe that’s why I was here. Alone, but surrounded by people who didn’t and wouldn’t need anything from me at all.

It didn’t happen immediately. After the first few drop-offs I left the school bewildered, craning my neck to watch the road behind me, and then the sidewalks as I got further away. I expected that at any second my distraught little adventurer would break through the heavy school doors and run into town to find me. I imagined in detail a thousand terrifying scenarios and had to talk myself off of numerous ledges of anxiety. I spent too long on his first day standing in the hallway outside the classroom, listening for sounds of distress (a passing teacher guessed alound that I might be on a time-out) before it became evident to me that separation anxiety isn’t just a childhood affliction—I wanted alone time, but apparently not at the expense of being without my child.

But our kids have to learn. And we have to learn. If we hold each other too close, for too long, neither of us are doing our jobs of growing up. Our darling babies slowly become whole and separate. They go on to have healthy, distinct, and real relationships with people who aren’t their mothers, while we rediscover who we once were through the lens of who we’ve become. We reclaim the quiet buzz of life, tapping away at keyboards in coffee shops, contemplating other people’s lives as they come and go. We watch twenty-somethings order tea and seventy-somethings get lattes – all of them once someone’s precious three-year old, carving out their first little space in the world.


From the green belts of Midtown Toronto to the endless pastures and lakes of Prince Edward County, fashion magazine editor Lonelle Selbo, lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things mommy—from cool toys to DIY home décor, pretty things to hip places, where-to-eat to how-to-grow, and mom style to toddler chic. Every month, she’ll bring a little County to Midtown Mommies.


We Had A Super Fun Halloween Pizza Party!

We had a super fun Halloween Pizza Party, with Pictonat Photography, at Kidnasium by Kidz Oasis!

I just love this time of year.. I can’t think of anything cuter than a room filled with babies & toddlers dressed up in Halloween costumes!

This year we got to see some really creative parents work their Pinterest magic, and had a very hard time choosing our favourite costumes!


Thank you so much to our awesome sponsors – Panago Pizza for providing such yummy pizza & drinks, and Baby Gourmet for the shakers & pouches!

I’m still blown away by how delicious Panago Pizza is! Moms that attended our Halloween Party keep telling me how much they LOVED the selection of pizzas & juices. Panago Pizza now offers 100% organic Italian tomato sauces, made with organic tomatoes, herbs & spices. Ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni & salami made from pork raised without the use of antibiotics. Hormone free meats, fresh dough made in store daily, no artificial colours or flavourings used, and a variety of vegan and gluten smart options available, makes sure there is something for everyone to enjoy!

**A very special thank you to our door prizing sponsors – Leslie Uy, Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot for the Stella & Dot earrings, Olilibaby for the mitten clips, and Jubie Jems for the teething jewellery!

Today We’re Going To Talk About Mommy Brain.. Wait, What Were We Talking About Again?

City Mama, County Mama: Today We’re Going To Talk About Mommy Brain.. Wait, What Were We Talking About Again? (By Lonelle Selbo, Life Au Lait)

A few days ago, I was in the middle of an awesome conversation with another mama about whether shooting stars are in fact stars that have died or bits of meteorite, streaking across the sky—when my charged up threenager broke into a full-out sprint across the grass. He was running forward and just staring backwards at me the whole time, never noticing there was a humongous boulder coming up a few feet ahead of him. Naturally, I freaked out and ran hysterically after him—which just made him squeal with laughter and put on some speed. The collision was imminent and when it happened my stomach exploded with sadness, there were a lot of tears and some minor scrapes, but no lasting damage.

“So, what were we talking about again?” I asked her when everything was finally resolved for the minute.

“Ummm….” She replied absently, her eyes glazing over while she brushed a black spot off her son’s ankle. It wasn’t a tick, but we were both mentally in other places by that time.


Mommy brain isn’t ok with me. I used to be pretty into thinking in the pre-baby days. I loved how I could have a conversation with basically anyone and there would be great banter, input from both sides, some witty punctuation, and ultimately, a resolution that let us move on to the next topic, satisfied that we’d really talked and heard each other.

I can’t remember the last conversation like that. Now, I end up glossing over things that people say to me that really really required a response. The other day, I was walking down the street with a relatively new mommy friend and our kids, when she told me that her little girl had recently darted into the road with a car coming and how she’d screamed to her, but her child just kept running…and instead of hearing my friend and acknowledging her fear and the gravity of the experience, I made some trivial comment about how moms always envision these horrible things happening to our kids. I couldn’t really listen to what she was telling me because I was totally distracted by my own child’s stubborn unwillingness to hold my hand near this busy street. Later that night (after baby bedtime) her story suddenly jumped forward in my mind and I was both devastated about how scary that must have been for her and mortified at my reaction. I mean, how do we cultivate meaningful friendships when we can’t focus for long enough or absorb information deeply enough to be there for each other? I keep telling myself that I want to be a better person—someone who engages more meaningfully and is more present with others, but I’ve been notably absent in the most important moments. Something wasn’t right.

Being me, I dwelled pretty heavily on this for a while. How long had I been missing people’s cues for an emotional response? Were my mom friends constantly left hanging? Were all of my new relationships shallow and unfulfilling? What about my old ones? Was I a really bad, self-absorbed friend despite my best intentions?

Here’s what I realized:

  1. All moms have a primary focus and it’s not each other, it’s our kids. We have a biological imperative to compartmentalize our brains so that the wellbeing of our offspring takes up most of the space.
  2. All moms intuitively understand that.
  3. Other moms have probably done this to me and I’d never noticed because I was too distracted with my own business to feel let down or insulted.
  4. It’s possible that the other moms were too distracted to notice too.
  5. While our ability to think through concepts, finish conversations, and dedicate ourselves to cultivating relationships with others is definitely pretty impaired in the early years of motherhood (and maybe beyond, I wouldn’t know), we also forge deep bonds through the very act of parallel mothering. We instinctively learn from each other by observing the way we each care for our children and feel supported through our physical proximity to other parents going through the same things in the same place at the same time.

So maybe we didn’t manage to finish discussing our theory about galactic inaccuracies, but we laughed together, panicked together, exchanged knowing looks, and breathed sighs of relief together. And maybe I missed the moment to be there for my friend or maybe post-baby relationships have a different cadence than the ones we’re used to and I’ll get another chance.

Maybe our brains are just one of the bazillion things that get turned on their heads with the onset of parenthood and maybe—even when we say all the wrong things—the nice and caring things we’ve done will carry us through and our friends will know that the love is there.

From the green belts of Midtown Toronto to the endless pastures and lakes of Prince Edward County, fashion magazine editor Lonelle Selbo, lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things mommy—from cool toys to DIY home décor, pretty things to hip places, where-to-eat to how-to-grow, and mom style to toddler chic. Every month, she’ll bring a little County to Midtown Mommies.

This Is 40. Wait, What?

City Mama, County Mama: This Is 40. Wait, What? (By Lonelle Selbo, Life Au Lait)

So, I’m getting close to a milestone year and I don’t really want to talk about it. It’s weird—getting older has never bothered me before, but for some reason this one kind of gets stuck in my throat.

40 means a lot of big deal things to me, I guess. It means that the decision to have one baby is basically real and final. It means that the extra ffhmmmty pounds, that I’ve been steadily gaining over the past two years, is less susceptible to budging in the other direction. It means the time I spent letting that beautiful life-giving sun shine down on me is paying off in wrinkles and freckles. And, let’s just say it: it means that by many accounts (and some simple genetic math,) my time on this awesome earth is basically half over. And I’m way more exhausted today than I was for that first chunk.

I know it sounds Debbie Downerist. I’m the type of person who wildly over-happifies the way I look at the world for months on end and then suddenly the cup is empty for a little while. And you’ve caught me here today, two months before this mega milestone, and I’m kind of freaking out.

So, let’s talk it out together. What’s so scary? What do I want from this new decade? My 30s were awesome and iconic in the “life fulfillment” department: I worked in my dream job, bought my first home, got married, and had a baby. Then this year, I moved into my forever home and semi-retired to the country. It feels like I’ve run the full gamut of life already and now I’m a bit deflated. What’s left to do? Yes, I’ve hit that checklist, but I haven’t yet managed to make my mark. “Am I too old now to make a mark?” she whispers.

Suddenly, as I write this, I feel hopeful and optimistic. The universe has delivered a little piece of Tom Petty lyric to my ear. The future is wide open. I tell that to my baby when I’m prepping him for life. The future is wide open. It doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or 83. If you’re alive, the future is wide open.

I will watch my child grow up and see the world through his eyes as if for the first time. I will plant things in the garden and watch them grow under that same beautiful life-giving sun. I will learn about living slowly and making plans I intend to keep. I will eat whole foods mindfully and know that my body is nourished and healthy—and I will drink wine made by people I know and adore. I will learn to be totally present with my family and friends. I will invest myself in my community and help shape the world around me. I will compose a life that is unplugged and tuned in, generous and self-aware, introspective and speculative, but most of all, warm, soft, sparkly and spilling over with love.

The 40s will be about going deep. Feeling the cool soil on my fingertips and knowing that the boundaries of my world are still infinite.

From the green belts of Midtown Toronto to the endless pastures and lakes of Prince Edward County, fashion magazine editor Lonelle Selbo, lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things mommy—from cool toys to DIY home décor, pretty things to hip places, where-to-eat to how-to-grow, and mom style to toddler chic. Every month, she’ll bring a little County to Midtown Mommies.