Assisted reproduction techniques help thousands of couples with infertility to circumvent their problem and become parents. Nevertheless, when it is not possible for a woman to conceive due to poor egg quality or from having no eggs at all, she may still become pregnant by using eggs from a donor.

The first pregnancy with egg donation was reported in 1983, and ever since, more and more women are choosing this procedure to achieve their dream of having children. The main reason for this trend is that women are increasingly postponing childbearing until later on in life, when their fertility is often reduced; another reason is that over the years, the process has become highly successful due to recent technologies advances and improved freezing techniques.

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is a form of assisted reproduction by which a woman donates her ova to enable another woman to conceive. These oocytes are fertilized by the recipient’s husband sperm, or alternatively by a donor sperm.

The resulting embryos are transferred into the recipient uterus, which has been adequately prepared to receive them. The difference with routine in vitro fertilization (IVF) is that the egg donor is not the recipient; that is, they are two different women.

If pregnancy occurs, the recipient will have a biological but not a genetic relationship to the child, and her partner (if he provided the sperm) will be both biologically and genetically related.

What are the indications for egg donation?

Egg donation may be considered in the following situations:

  • Premature ovarian insufficiency: a condition in which menopause begins earlier than usual, usually before the age of 40 years old. In most cases the cause is unknown, but it may be the result of certain diseases, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgical removal of the ovaries. Egg donation is also suitable for women who were born without ovaries.
  • Low ovarian reserve: when there is a decrease in the number of eggs, resulting in reduced chances of pregnancy. Generally, this is due to advanced reproductive age, as the number of oocytes -and therefore fertility- decreases rapidly after the age of 35-40 years old.
  • Genetically transmitted diseases: women affected by, or carriers of a significant genetic disease who would prefer not to pass this disease on to their child.
  • Previous history of failure with IVF: especially when egg quality seems to be the problem.

Who are the egg donors?

1) Anonymous, voluntary donors: According to the Greek law, candidate egg donors are covered by anonymity and are required to sign a specific consent for the donation of their genetic material. In order to accept a woman into an egg donation program she should meet the following requirements:

  • Age between 18 and 35 years old.
  • She should be healthy, non-smoker, with no personal or family history of genetic diseases.

By law, the donor receives financial compensation only for the loss of working days, travel and other expenses incurred during the treatment cycle in which she participates. In any case, egg donation is an altruistic, anonymous and voluntary act.

2) Egg sharing: Women undergoing IVF may agree to donate their surplus oocytes to other women with infertility.

3) Known donor: a person who is known to the recipient, usually a close relative of friend. According to the Greek law, oocyte donation is an anonymous procedure, that is, the donor has no access to the child born, nor the recipient to the donor. Therefore, in Greece the donation of ova to known persons is forbidden by law.

Evaluation of the egg donor

Each candidate donor, after being fully informed about the egg donation program, completes a thorough questionnaire on her family, medical and psychological history. In addition, she is the subject of a series of exams to determine whether her health is in good condition and she can respond properly to the hormonal therapy.

The evaluation involves a comprehensive physical and gynecological examination, as well as the assessment of her psychological and mental status, her genetic material and reproductive system.

In addition, donors undergo the following laboratory testing:

  • Blood type and Rhesus
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • HIV 1 & 2
  • Syphilis
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • Sickle cell trait testing
  • Cystic fibrosis (CF) mutation
  • Fragile X testing
  • Conventional karyotype. It is also possible to a perform a molecular karyotype, upon request of the recipient couple.

A donor is ineligible if either the questionnaire or the screening tests indicate the presence of risk factors, or clinical evidence of an infectious or genetic disease.

Evaluation of the recipient couple 

Adequate screening and preparation of the recipient couple are essential for the success of an egg donation program.

According to the Greek law, a woman is considered suitable to receive oocytes when her uterus has normal morphology and functionality and has not exceeded the age of 50 years.

The evaluation of the recipient couple is similar to that of couples undergoing routine IVF. First, the physician obtains a thorough medical history from both partners.

The assessment of the woman includes an in-depth physical and gynecological examination, a detailed pelvic ultrasound and laboratory testing. Briefly, the ovarian function, her blood group, and exposure to certain infections are examined. In addition, a Pap smear test and cultures for certain microbes (Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, etc) are obtained.

In some cases, the uterine cavity is evaluated with hysterosalpingography (HSG), sonohysterography or hysteroscopy. If the woman is over 45 years old, a more thorough assessment of her cardiac function, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes risk are recommended. The effect of advanced maternal age on pregnancy will be discussed extensively, as well as any medical conditions that may affect pregnancy.

An embryo transfer trial before the actual procedure (“mock” embryo transfer) is strongly recommended. It allows to determine the best way to place the embryos into the uterus, and ensures that there are no unexpected obstacles along the way. Sometimes the cervix is very narrow and hinders the transfer of the embryos into the uterus; this may result in significantly reduced chances of pregnancy. In case of a narrow or distorted cervical canal, a cervical dilation may be recommended.

A treatment trial in a previous cycle with the same medications used for the endometrial preparations is proposed when possible, in order to assess the uterine response to hormone therapy.

The male assessment includes a semen analysis, blood group and genetic testing, among other exams.

According to the Greek law, the recipient couple should be tested for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, HIV-1 and HIV-2 within the six months preceding the treatment cycle.

The procedure

Preparation of the donor for egg retrieval 

The donor follows the procedure of a standard IVF. Initially, she undergoes ovarian stimulation, that is, she receives a combination of hormonal medications in order to achieve the development of a sufficient number of oocytes within the ovaries; egg development is monitored by ultrasound and blood exams at regular intervals. When the oocytes are at the appropriate size, ovulation is triggered by an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Oocyte retrieval, scheduled approximately 34-36 hours after hCG administration, entails the use of a needle which is inserted through the vagina into the ovaries, whereby the eggs are aspirated under ultrasound guidance. The procedure is carried out under a mild sedation.

The ova obtained are evaluated for their maturity and then fertilized with the partner’s sperm, which has been processed in the laboratory. Donor sperm may be also utilized when indicated.

The male partner should provide the semen sample the day of the donor’s egg retrieval. Alternatively, if the presence of the partner is not possible on that day, the semen can be cryopreserved (frozen) at an earlier time.

Preparation of the recipient for embryo transfer

In order for the embryos to implant into the recipient’s uterus, the endometrium (uterine lining) must be prepared and synchronized with the donor cycle.

There are numerous protocols for endometrial preparation. Briefly, women who still have menstrual period may receive an injectable medication for temporary suppression of the ovarian function. When the donor starts ovarian stimulation, the recipient receives a hormone called estradiol to achieve endometrial growth. Estradiol can be administered orally or through a transdermal patch. Ultrasound assessment of endometrial thickness -and occasionally blood tests- are performed during this period. On the day after the donor receives hCG, the recipient begins treatment with progesterone. Progesterone causes endometrial maturational changes that allow the embryo to implant. Progesterone can be administered by intramuscular injection, vaginally or orally. Besides estradiol and progesterone, other medications may be prescribed if required.

The embryos are transferred into the recipient’s uterus, usually within three to five days after fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory. Embryo transfer is done using a thin catheter inserted through the cervix into the uterus. If the recipient couple has extra embryos, they will be cryopreserved (frozen). Thus, it is possible to transfer these embryos at a later time without the need for another egg donation.

Hormonal therapy with estradiol and progesterone continues until the recipient takes a blood pregnancy test (β hCG). If the test is positive, the hormones are continued during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Success rates with egg donation

Since egg donors are young and healthy women, success rates are higher than those obtained with conventional IVF. The age of the recipient does not seem to affect the success of the procedure. According to data from the National Agency of Medically Assisted Reproduction, the pregnancy rate with egg donation in Greece is 54%.

Nevertheless, the greater the number of attempts with donor-egg IVF, the higher the odds of success. Thus, it is estimated that the success rates after the third attempt reach almost 90% in most cases.

Many factors play an important role in the success of the procedure: adequate evaluation and preparation of both donors and recipients, optimal synchronization between them, high laboratory standards and well-trained scientific staff, will all have a positive impact on pregnancy rates in an egg donation program.

Risks of egg donation 

1) For the donor:

Egg donation is a very safe procedure. Nevertheless, it is not entirely risk-free. Medicines taken to stimulate the ovaries, oocyte retrieval and the anesthesia required are all possible sources of complications. Briefly, the side effects of medications are usually mild, as one of the most feared complications in assisted reproduction, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is very rare in these cases. The remaining risks are estimated as follows: anesthesia risks: 1 / 10,000; risk of severe bleeding from oocyte retrieval: 1 / 2,500; risk of infection: less than 1/500.

It should be noted that the fertility of women who become egg donors is in no way affected. In fact, the eggs donated would have been otherwise discarded by their bodies.

2) For the recipient:

The possibility a donor transmits an infectious disease to the recipient is virtually non-existent, provided that proper evaluation of the egg donor has been performed, as dictated by the Greek law.

The most common risk for the recipient is the occurrence of a multiple pregnancy (twins) if more than one embryo is transferred. In any case, in egg donation cycles, the transfer of more than two embryos is strictly forbidden by the Greek law. If the couple is opposed to the possibility of a twin pregnancy, then only one embryo may be transferred (single embryo transfer, SET).

Pregnancy complication risk in recipiens with advanced age should be assessed individually for each case.

3) For the child:

To date, thousands of children have been born with this procedure, and the available data is reassuring, and equivalent to that of conventional IVF: the rate of birth defects is the same as the general population.


On Egg Donation

  • Egg donation is an altruistic act, voluntary and with no financial benefit. Donors are compensated only for the working days they lose as part of the donation process and their travel expenses.
  • Donation of ova and sperm is allowed in Greece provided donor anonymity is ensured.
  • Egg donation is not allowed to women over 50 years old.
  • Donors must sign an oocyte concession consent.
  • Recipients sign a document stating that they are married and accept to undergo in vitro fertilization with egg donation. If they are not married, they should sign a notary act stating that they wish to undego IVF using the egg donation method.

On Assisted Reproduction

On January 27 2005, the law 3305/2005 on the application of assisted reproduction techniques was reported.

The Greek law on medically assisted reproduction is one of Europe’s most flexible. It safeguards the couple who wants to have a child based on medical, biological and bioethical principles. Its main purpose is, ultimately, the protection of the child to be born.

Basic principles of the current legislation

Some of the key points of the in-force law are the following:

1) Assisted reproduction methods are legal and allowed for women up to the age of 50 years, as this is considered the limit for natural conception.

2) The donation of ova and sperm is permitted, but the consent of the spouse or partner is also required.

3) Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is allowed with the purpose of diagnosing whether the resulting embryos are carriers of genetic diseases. Consent of the concerned individuals is required.

4) Sex selection is prohibited unless a serious sex-related hereditary disease is avoided.

5) Cloning for reproductive purposes is prohibited.

6) Cryopreservation of genetic material or fertilized eggs is permitted.

7) The use of a gestational carrier (surrogacy) is allowed. A surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another couple or woman, who wishes to have a child but is unable to get pregnant for medical reasons. The surrogate woman must undergo medical and psychological examination. There should be no financial transaction other than the costs resulting from pregnancy exams, loss of work, etc. The procedure requires a special permit from a judge.

8) Assisted Reproduction Units are established and operate with the permission of the competent Authority, which shall give its agreement and verify that the legal requirements are met. For any violation, it sets administrative and criminal penalties.

9) The law sets age limits for sperm donors (younger than 40 years old) and egg donors (younger than 35 years).

10) Single women are allowed to conceive with assisted reproduction.

11) Donors must undergo clinical and laboratory testing and are not admitted to donation programs if they suffer from hereditary, genetic or infectious diseases. The use of fresh semen from donor is not permitted; only frozen semen may be used.


More info at




Δείτε επίσης: 

Το συναρπαστικό μας ταξίδι στο χρόνο μέσα από την γαλλική μουσική έχει φτάσει στο τέλος του. Επιστρέψαμε στη σημερινή εποχή!

Είναι πραγματικά εντυπωσιακό να δούμε πώς έχει εξελιχθεί η γαλλική μουσική όλα αυτά τα χρόνια. Και όσο ετοίμαζα αυτά τα άρθρα συνειδητοποίησα πως η πορεία που ακολουθεί είναι, αναπόφευκτα, ένα σημάδι των καιρών:

Από τη δεκαετία του 1930 μέχρι τα ’60, η Γαλλία είναι η απόλυτη trend-setter. Τα γαλλικά τραγούδια ακούγονται σε όλο τον κόσμο, ενίοτε μεταφρασμένα σε άλλες γλώσσες, ακόμα και στα αγγλικά.

Κατά τη διάρκεια της δεκαετίας του ’70 όμως, η αγγλοσαξονική επιρροή γίνεται όλο και πιο εμφανής στην γαλλική μουσική σκηνή, και σταδιακά η République Française χάνει την δύναμή της ως καλλιτεχνικό μοντέλο. Παρόλα αυτά, πολλά σπουδαία τραγούδια αυτής της περιόδου έχουν παραμείνει ως all-time classics.

Από το 1980, η παγκοσμιοποίηση είναι πανταχού παρούσα, και η μουσική δεν αποτελεί εξαίρεση: η Γαλλία ακούει όλο και περισσότερη αγγλόφωνη μουσική. Και η δεκαετία του ’90 με την ευρεία διαθεσιμότητα του διαδικτύου μεγεθύνει το φαινόμενο. Προκειμένου να διατηρηθεί η γαλλική γλώσσα και να την προστατεύει από την “αγγλοσαξονική πολιτιστική εισβολή”, η γαλλική κυβέρνηση παίρνει μια τολμηρή απόφαση: περνάει τον επίμαχο νόμο Toubon. Σε ισχύ από 1/1/1996, ο νόμος αυτός υποχρεώνει τους ραδιοφωνικούς σταθμούς να μεταδίδουν τουλάχιστον το 40% των τραγουδιών στα γαλλικά. Δυστυχώς, υπάρχει ένα πρόβλημα: η γαλλικοί ραδιοφωνικοί σταθμοί υποστηρίζουν πως, μετά από 20 χρόνια που εφαρμόζεται, αυτό το 40% που τους επιβλήθηκε έχει γίνει ασύμφορο. Καταγγέλλουν την έλλειψη ποιότητας της σύγχρονης γαλλικής μουσικής, καθώς και τη μείωση καλλιτεχνών που τραγουδάνε στα γαλλικά. Όπως τονίζουν χαρακτηριστικά: “Μόνο 242 γαλλόφωνα άλμπουμ κυκλοφόρησαν το 2014, έναντι σε 718 το 2003, ήτοι μια πτώση κατά 66,3% στην παραγωγή γαλλικής μουσικής σε λίγο πάνω από δέκα χρόνια”.

Γιατί αυτή η ανησυχητική πτώση στην κυκλοφορία γαλλόφωνης μουσικής; Μήπως φταίει η έλλειψη δημιουργικότητας; Η απάντηση είναι: καθόλου! Τώρα πια οι Γαλλόφωνοι καλλιτέχνες τραγουδάνε στα αγγλικά!! Με το boom των electro pop και house μουσικής (σήμα κατατεθέν των 2010s), καταξιωμένοι καλλιτέχνες όπως ο David GuettaDaft PunkBob Sinclar,  καθώς και άλλα αξιόλογα συγκροτήματα όπως οι The Avener,  SynapsonChristine and the Queens, τώρα τραγουδούν στα αγγλικά, προκειμένου να προσελκύσουν ένα πιο διεθνές κοινό.

Το μέλλον της γαλλικής μουσικής δεν διαφαίνεται και πολύ υποσχόμενο: πρόσφατα, ως αποτέλεσμα της πίεσης που ασκούν οι ραδιοφωνικοί σταθμοί, το υποχρεωτικό 40% γαλλικής μουσικής μειώθηκε στο 35%. Αυτό είναι λυπηρό! Η γαλλική μουσική δεν πρέπει να εξαφανιστεί! Θα ήταν μια τεράστια απώλεια, όχι μόνο για τη Γαλλία, αλλά και για ολόκληρο τον κόσμο…

Αλλά ακόμα υπάρχει λίγη ελπίδα: μερικοί Γαλλόφωνοι καλλιτέχνες, είτε λόγω της εμπορικής τους επιτυχίας, είτε λόγω της ποιότητας της δουλειάς τους, επιμένουν στο να είναι “πολιτιστική εξαίρεση”. Έτσι λοιπόν, ας υποστηρίξουμε τη γαλλική μουσική!! Δείτε αυτή τη λίστα με μερικά ωραία τραγούδια της δεκαετίας και… βάλτε λίγα γαλλικά στη ζωή σας!

91) Zaz – “Je veux” (2010)

Με το μοναδικό της στιλ “τσιγγάνικου τζαζ” και με την θελκτική της φωνή, η Zaz κατάφερε να κάνει όχι μόνο τη Γαλλία, αλλά και όλη την Ευρώπη να τραγουδά το εθιστικό “Je veux”. Το άλμπουμ της, Zaz, έγινε διπλά πλατινένιο στη Γαλλία, ενώ το τραγούδι “Je veux” έμεινε στην κορυφή των περισσότερων ευρωπαϊκών charts για αρκετές εβδομάδες. Διαβάστε περισσότερα για τη Zaz εδώ.


 92) Mika – “Elle me dit” (2011)

Ίσως είχατε ήδη ακούσει το Mika, ο οποίος έγινε παγκοσμίως γνωστός με το τραγούδι “Relax, take it easy“. Ο Μίκα είναι Λιβάνο-Βρετανός, αλλά έχει ζήσει και στη Γαλλία. Αυτό το τραγούδι μιλάει, όπως δήλωσε ο ίδιος: “για όλα τα φρικτά πράγματα που μια μητέρα μπορεί να λέει στο γιο της για να τον διώξει από το σπίτι της”. Στο βίντεο πρωταγωνιστούν γνωστοί Γάλλοι καλλιτέχνες, όπως η εκπληκτική Φανή Αρντάν. Ήταν το γαλλόφωνο hit με τις μεγαλύτες πωλήσεις το 2011 στη Γαλλία.


 93) Camille – Le banquet” (2011)

Σίγουρα δεν είναι για όλα τα γούστα, αλλά κανείς δεν μπορεί να αρνηθεί ότι η Camille είναι εξαιρετικά ταλαντούχα, και ότι έχει μια καταπληκτική φωνή. Και τα τέσσερά της άλμπουμ έχουν λάβει διθυραμβικές κριτικές, ενώ το single “Ta douleur” έγινε μεγάλη εμπορική επιτυχία. Αντισυμβατική και πρωτότυπη (αν και ενίοτε θυμίζει τη Bjork), έχει συνεργαστεί με τους Nouvelle Vague, και έχει γράψει τραγούδια για το soundrack των ταινιών Ratatouille και Le petit prince. Αυτό το κομμάτι ανήκει στο τελευταίο της άλμπουμ Ilo veyou (αναγραμματισμός του “I love you”).


94) Maître Gims – “J’me tire” (2013)

Πολλοί το λατρεύουν, άλλοι το σνομπάρουν, αναμφισβήτητα όμως ο Maître Gims είναι μεγάλο όνομα στη Γαλλία. Ήδη γνωστό ως ηγέτης του rap συγκροτήματος Sexion d’Assault, το 2013 έκανε σόλο ντεμπούτο με το δίσκο “Subliminal”. Αν και οι κριτικές δεν ήταν οι καλύτερες, το άλμπουμ ήταν τεράστια εμπορική επιτυχία και έγινε διπλά διαμαντένιο. Σε αυτό το τραγούδι (στα ελληνικά: “Αποσύρομαι”) περιγράφει πώς μερικές φορές η δημοσιότητα τον εξαντλεί, ότι θα ήθελε να φύγει και να πάει κάπου όπου οι άνθρωποι δεν θα τον κρίνουν.


95) Stromae – “Papaoutai” (2013)

Το 2010, όταν κυκλοφόρησε το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, ο Βέλγος μουσικός Stromae μας ανακοίνωσε: “Η ζωή είναι χάλια, οπότε ας χορέψουμε”. Και έτσι ξεσήκωσε όλη την Ευρώπη, που χόρεψε στο ρυθμό του απόλυτου hit  Alors on dance. Αλλά με το άλμπουμ του Racine Carrée, ο Stromae μας απέδειξε πως είναι ένας σπουδαίος καλλιτέχνης. Παρότι τα τραγούδια του έχουν πιασάρικες μελωδίες, περιέχουν ένα ισχυρό κοινωνικό μήνυμα, είτε αν μιλάμε για το AIDS, τον καρκίνο, τις σχέσεις, ή τα σεξουαλική κλισέ… Το τραγούδι Papaoutai (Papa où t’ai, δηλαδή “Mπαμπά πού είσαι;”) μιλάει για τους μπαμπάδες που απουσιάζουν από το σπίτι. Πραγματικά αξίζει να δείτε το εκπληκτικό βίντεο, όπου ένα αγόρι χρησιμοποιεί ένα κούκλο βιτρίνας για να αντικαταστήσει τον απόντα πατέρα του. Μάθετε περισσότερα για τον Stromae εδώ.


96) Indila – “Dernière danse” (2014)

Αυτό το τραγούδι (“Τελευταίος χορός”) είναι το πρώτο single από το ντεμπούτο άλμπουμ της Indila. Το εντυπωσιακό μουσικό βίντεο περιγράφει την ιστορία μιας νεαρής μετανάστριας που ζει στο Παρίσι και πέφτει θύμα ρατσισμού. Το άλμπουμ Mini World έγινε διαμαντένιο στη Γαλλία, και ενώ το Dernière danse δεν έφτασε ποτέ στην κορυφή των chart (πήγε μέχρι τη δεύτερη θέση), έγινε τεράστια επιτυχία σε πολλές χώρες, όπως Ελλάδα, Ισραήλ και Τουρκία, όπου παρέμεινε αρκετές εβδομάδες στην πρώτη θέση.


97) Louane – “Jour 1” (2015)

Η Louane Emera, ή απλά Louane, ήταν ήδη γνωστή από το 2013 λόγω της συμμετοχής της στο talent show The Voice. Ωστόσο, η μεγάλη αναγνώριση ήρθε το 2014 με το ρόλο της στην ταινία Η οικογένεια Bélier, για το οποίο κέρδισε ένα βραβείο Σεζάρ για την πιο υποσχόμενη ηθοποιός. Αυτό το τραγούδι ανήκει στον πρώτο της άλμπουμ, Room 12, το οποίο έγινε διπλά διαμαντένιο, και κατάφερε να είναι το πρώτο σε πωλήσεις άλμπουμ το 2015 στη Γαλλία.


98) Julien Doré – “Le lac” (2016)

Ένα ακόμα αστέρι που ανέδειξε ένα talent show. Ο Julien Doré ήταν ο νικητής του Nouvelle Star το 2007, και από τότε έχει μια πολύ επιτυχημένη καριέρα. Τα τρία πρώτα στούντιο άλμπουμ έχουν όλα φτάσει στην πρώτη τετράδα στο επίσημο Chart γαλλικών άλμπουμ. Πρόσφατα κυκλοφόρησε το τέταρτο του άλμπουμ, “&”, από το οποίο το single “Le Lac” (Η λίμνη) έγινε αμέσως το πιο downloaded single στα charts.


99) Céline Dion – “Encore un soir” (2016)

Για την Σελίν Ντιόν δεν χρειάζεται εισαγωγή: είναι, χωρίς αμφιβολία, ένα απόλυτο αστέρι. Παρότι ήταν ήδη γνωστή από τις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’80 στην πατρίδα της, τον Καναδά, ή μεγάλη αναγνώριση ήρθε όταν η Ντιόν, εκπροσωπώντας την Ελβετία, νίκησε στο Διαγωνισμό Τραγουδιού της Eurovision το 1988 με το τραγούδι “Ne partez pas sans moi. Από τότε τραγουδάει με μεγάλη επιτυχία στα γαλλικά και στα αγγλικά, και στη δεκαετία του 1990 ήταν ένα από τους καλλιτέχνες με την μεγαλύτερη εμπορική επιτυχία παγκοσμίως, ιδιαίτερα μετά το σούπερ hit “My heart will go on”. Μετά από ένα διάλειμμα 4 ετών, η Σελίν ξαναχτυπά! Και αυτή τη φορά με ένα γαλλικό άλμπουμ: “Encore un Soir” (Μια νύχτα ακόμα), το οποίο έχει λάβει εξαιρετικές κριτικές και έφτασε στην κορυφή των charts στη Γαλλία (όπου έγινε 4 φορές πλατινένιο), Κεμπέκ, Ελβετία, Λουξεμβούργο και Βέλγιο.


100) Christophe Maé – “Il est où le bonheur” (2016)

Ο Christophe Maé θεωρείται ένα πραγματικό φαινόμενο: μετά την κυκλοφορία του πρώτου του δίσκου το 2007, όλα τα άλμπουμ του έχουν φτάσει στην κορυφή των γαλλικών charts. Και το πέμπτο του άλμπουμ, L’Attrape-Rêves, που μόλις βγήκε δεν αποτελεί εξαίρεση! Στο βίντεο του τραγουδιού (ο τίτλος σημαίνει “Πού είναι η ευτυχία;”) ο σαραντάχρονος τραγουδιστής ταξιδεύει στο χρόνο και γίνεται νεότερος ή μεγαλύτερος, χάρη σε πολύ επιτυχημένα οπτικά εφέ. Με τη μοναδική χροιά της φωνής του, ο Maé μας υπενθυμίζει ότι δεν χρειάζεται να ψάχνουμε την ευτυχία, διότι συνήθως είναι ακριβώς μπροστά μας και εμείς δεν το καταλαβαίνουμε.


Μην χάσετε:

YouTube playlist εδώ



best-french-songs-2010s-mod-2See also:

This fascinating trip through French music is over! We arrived to the present time!

It’s amazing to see how French music has changed throughout the years! Having the whole picture in front of my eyes while preparing this series of posts, it really got me thinking on how France’s music scene evolution is, unfortunately, a sign of the times.

From the 1930s till the 60s, France was the absolute trend-setter. French songs were heard worldwide, many times translated into other languages, including English. During the 70s, Anglo-saxons’s influence on France’s music style becomes slowly evident. We start witnessing the decay of la République Française as a music model; nevertheless, many great songs of this period have remained as all-time classics.

From the 80s, globalization becomes omnipresent, and music is not an exception: more and more English music is being heard in France; the 90s widespread availability of the Internet certainly magnifies this phenomenon. In order to preserve the French language and protect it against the “Anglo-Saxon cultural invasion”, the French government takes a decision: the controversial Toubon law is issued. Effective 1/1/1996, this law forces radio stations to broadcast at least 40% of songs in French. But there is a problem: French radio stations believe that, after 20 years of being applied, this 40% quota has become unsustainable. They denounce a lack of quality of contemporary French music, as well the reduction in the number of artists performing in French. As they point out: “Only 242 francophone albums were released in 2014, against 718 in 2003, representing a 66,3% drop in the production of French music in a little over ten years”.

Why this alarming drop-off in Francophone music? Are French artists lacking creativity? The answer is: not at all! They are performing in English!! With the boom in electro pop and house music, a trademark of the 2010s, mainstream artists such as David Guetta, Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, as well  as other remarkable, less-known bands such as The Avener,  Synapson, Christine and the Queens, are now singing in English in order to attract a more international audience.

The future of French music doesn’t look bright: recently, as a result of the pressure exerted by the radio stations, the 40% French music quota was reduced to 35%. This is sad! French music should not disappear! This would be a huge loss, not only for France, but for the whole world…

But there is some hope: outstanding Francophone artists, either because of their commercial success, or due to the quality of their work, still insist on being “a cultural exception”. So, let’s all support French music!! Check out this list, go ahead and Frenchify your playlist!

91) Zaz – “Je veux” (2010)

With her gypsy jazzy style and her sultry voice,  Zaz  managed to have not only France, but all Europe singing the addictive “Je veux”. The album went diamond-certified in France, while the song “Je veux” stayed at the top of most European charts for several weeks. After this massive hit, she became the most listened French singer abroad and, according to an Internet survey in France, the favorite French musician in 2010. Read more about Zaz here.


 92) Mika – “Elle me dit” (2011)

Yes, it’s the same Mika of “Relax, take it easy“. Actually, Mika is British-Lebanese, but he has also lived in France. This song (English: “She tells me”) is, according to himself:  “about all the horrific things a mother can say to her son to get him to f..k out of her house”. The video features a well-known ensemble of French actors, including the great Fanny Ardant. It was the most commercially successful francophone hit of 2011 in France.


 93) Camille – Le banquet” (2011)

She may not be for everybody’s taste, but no one can deny she’s got a great talent -and an amazing voice. Quirky and original (though at times she may remind us of Bjork), Camille’s all four studio albums are definitely worth listening to. Almost unanimously acclaimed by the critics,  her single “Ta douleur” has been also a commercial success. She has collaborated with the band Nouvelle Vague, and composed songs for the soundrack of the films Ratatouille and Le petit princeThis song belongs to her last album Ilo veyou (anagram for “I love you”).


94) Maître Gims – “J’me tire” (2013)

Worshiped by some, snubbed by others, there is no doubt though that Maître Gims is a big thing in France. Already well-known as the leader of the notorious rap group Sexion d’Assault, in 2013 he went solo with the album “Subliminal”. Although the album got mixed reviews from critics, it was a huge commercial success, becoming double-diamond certified. In this song (English: “I withdraw myself”) he describes how he feels sick of fame sometimes, and that he would like to leave and go some place where people won’t judge him.


95) Stromae – “Papaoutai” (2013)

By 2010, when his first album was released, Belgian musician Stromae spread the word: “Life sucks, so let’s dance”. And he got all Europe on its feet, dancing his major hit Alors on dance. But with his 2013 album Racine Carrée, he clearly demonstrated what an accomplished artist he is. Besides the easy-listening, catchy melodies, all his songs deliver a strong social message, whether they talk about AIDS, cancer, relationships, or sexual clichés…The song Papaoutai (“Papa où t’ai/Papa where are you”) talks about absent fathers. It’s really worth watching the amazing music video, where a boy uses a mannequin to replace his absent father. Learn more about Stromae here.


96) Indila – “Dernière danse” (2014)

This song (English: “Last dance”) is the first single from Indila’s debut album, Mini World.  The beautiful music video is a short film that takes place in Paris, and describes the story of a young immigrant who is a victim of racism. Mini World would become diamond-certified in France; although the single Dernière danse never made it to the top of the chart (it reached the second place), it became a huge success in many other countries, such as Greece, Israel, Turkey, remaining several weeks at the top of the charts.


97) Louane – “Jour 1” (2015)

Louane Emera, or just Louane, was already well-known since 2013 for her participation in the talent show The Voice. However, she becomes a national star in 2014 with her role in the film La famille Bélier, for which she won a César Award for the Most Promising Actress. This song belongs to her first album, Room 12, which became the biggest selling album of the year 2015 in France (two-times diamond-certified).


98) Julien Doré – “Le lac” (2016)

Another star arising from a talent show, Julien Doré was the winner of Nouvelle Star in 2007. Since then, he has had a very successful career; his three previous studio albums have all reached the top four on the official French Albums Chart. Just now (October 2016) he released his fourth album, “&”, from which the single “Le lac” (The lake) became instantly the most downloaded single in the charts.


99) Céline Dion – “Encore un soir” (2016)

There is actually not much need for introduction: Céline Dion is, without any doubt, a true star. Although already known from the early 80s in her homeland Canada, further recognition came when Dion represented Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, winning with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi. Singing with great success both in French and English, by the mid-1990s she became one of the best-selling artists in the world, particularly after the super massive hit “My heart will go on”. After a 4-year break, she’s back! And with a great French album: “Encore un soir”(One More Night) has garnered positive reviews from music critics and topped the charts in France (where it went 4 times platinum), Quebec, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium.


100) Christophe Maé – “Il est où le bonheur” (2016)

Christophe Maé is considered a real phenomenon:  since the release of his first album in 2007, all his albums have topped the French charts. And his fifth album, L’Attrape-rêves, which just came out is no exception! In the video of this song (the title means “Where is happiness?”) the 40 year-old singer travels through time, becoming younger or older thanks to very successful visual effects. With his unique voice, he reminds us that we should not run after happiness because it is right in front of us, although but we do not always see it.


Don’t miss:

YouTube playlist here



It is no secret that Greece is one of the world’s most important touristic destinations. With its unparalleled natural beauty and its profound historic heritage, it has been long attracting not only tourists, but also filmmakers, actors and producers from all over the world. Already from the 1950s, many movies filmed in Greece have contributed to place it as a popular destination in the world tourism map; at the same time, they were able to build and consolidate various romantic stereotypes and perceptions about Greek’s ancient history and mythology, culture, traditions and modern way of life.

If you are stuck in the city, not being able to take a break, never mind! Take this cinematic tour to Greece, admire its natural and cultural wealth through the lens of the world’s largest film studios.… And who knows? Maybe after watching these films you will get inspired to see Greece by yourself!

1) PELOPONNESE: Before Midnight (2013)

Movies in Greece Before Midnight

Stroll in the narrow roads of Pylos and Kardamyli, eat in famous Lela’s taverna, visit the house of sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, and should you want more glamour, spend a night at Costa Navarino Hotel, while you follow the steps of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the bittersweet third part of Lindlaker’s marvellous “Before…” trilogy. Read more on the film here.

IMDB link

Before midnightMovies in Greece Costa Navarino

2) SKOPELOS AND SKIATHOS: Mamma Mia! (2008)

Movies in Greece Mamma Mia

These two super green Sporades islands serve as background for this feel-good musical comedy, a must-see for the fans of Swedish group Abba. Don’t miss the lovely Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri in Skopelos, where the wedding’s scenes were filmed -and many couples followed since them. From there you can enjoy breathtaking views of -equally beautiful- islands of Skiathos and Alonissos.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Skopelos Movies in Greece Skopelos Agios Ioannis Church

3) CEPHALONIA: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

This time the emerald-like waters of the Ionian Sea are the setting for this classic love story, based on Louis de Bernières’ book. During WWII, Italian Captain Antonio Corelli (Nicholas Cage) falls in love with Cephalonian Pelagia (Penelope Cruz). The island of Cephalonia saw a spectacular touristic increase after the film… It’s actually hard to resist a visit to the island once you see its magnificent beauty! The amazing beaches of Antisamos and Chorgota, and the lovely villages of Sami and Komitata feature in the film.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Sami

4) AMORGOS: Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue, 1988)

Movies in Greece Le Grand Bleu cr

Luc Besson directed this beautiful hymn to nature, freedom and friendship that takes place in the deep blue waters of Amorgos island. Famous Agia Anna’s beach and the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa can be seen in the film, which has remained as a cult, all-time classic.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Amorgos Panagia Hozoviotisa Movies in Greece Agia-Anna-Beach-Amorgos-island

5) KASTELLORIZO: Mediterraneo (1991)

Movies in Greece Mediterraneo

This beautiful Oscar-winning Italian comedy was filmed in the island of Kastellorizo, one of the Dodecanese islands. During WW2, a group of Italian soldiers serve in a small Greek island; while in the beginning the locals face them with reticence, little by little they all realize how much they have in common… The colorful, neoclassical houses in the seafront will captivate you.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Kastellorizo Grotto

6) METEORA, CORFU ISLAND: For your eyes only (1981)

Movies in Greece For Your Eyes Only

In the twelfth of James Bond’s film series, phlegmatic 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device, which leads him to beautiful Corfu island. Achillion Palace in  Gastouri, atmospheric Agion Spyridon tower in Corfu town and Kanoni Island all appear in the film. In one of the most adrenaline-packed scenes, 007 faces the enemy literally hanging from the rocks of imposing Meteora! In spite of the negative reactions of Meteora’s monastic community, who tried to boycott the film, “For your eyes only” became a massive box office success.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece For your eyes only Corfu r Movies in Greece Meteora

7) ATHENS, OLYMPIA, DELPHI: My Life in Ruins (2009)

Movies in Greece My Life In Ruins

Although not as successful as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding“, Nia Vardalos’ second comedy features an American academic who travels to Greece to find her mojo (or “kefi” in Greek). With background the beauty of ancient Greek monuments -the Acropolis, ancient Olympia, Delphi– she also discovers the charm of Greek men.

IMDB link

 The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

8) SANTORINI: Summer lovers (1982)

Movies in Greece summer lovers

When a conservative American couple goes on summer vacations to Santorini island, the amazing beauty of the place, and their acquaintance with a bohemian French archaeologist will lead them to develop a particular relationship between the three -and to have the vacations of their lifetime. It is certain that if you see this movie you will want to visit this magnificent island -not necessarily to engage in a threesome 😉 – but just to walk its narrow, atmospheric streets and dive into the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Santorini 2 Movies in Geece Santorini

9) HYDRA: Boy on a Dolphin (1957)

Movies in Greece Boy on a Dolphin

This was the first American film shot in Greece. Sophia Loren is a poor diver who collects sponges in picturesque Hydra island. While diving, one day she discovers a gold statue of  a boy riding a dolphin, which is said that can fulfill your every desire. The film is considered still to these days one of Hollywood’s classics.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Hydra

10) MYKONOS: Shirley Valentine (1989)

Movies in Greece Shirley ValentineThis award-winning British romantic comedy- drama is based on a play of the same title. An English middle-age woman, bored with her life, has the opportunity to travel to Greece. Inspired by the beauty of the island of Mykonos, her meaningless life changes forever… It is rumored that the play is actually based on a real life story, and that has inspired many middle-aged women to move to Greece following Shirley Valentine’s steps…

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Little-Venice-Mykonos-Greece-house_1920x1200_DxOo1 Movies in Greece Mykonos11) RHODES: The Guns of Navarone (1961)

Movies in Greece Guns of NavaroneInspired by the Battle of Leros during the World War II, this classic film describes a fictional battle between the Germans and the Allied for the domination of Navarone island. It stars Gregory Peck, David Niven, Irini Papas and Anthony Quinn. The movie was filmed in the island of Rhodes, which after the film became world famous. Even Anthony Quinn was so impressed by Rhodes that decided to buy a beach in the island. Unfortunately, he was not able to do so due to the infamous greek bureaucracy, but the beach has kept his name: Anthony Quinn Beach.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Rhodes old town Movies in Greece Rhodes Saint Paul Beach

12) CRETE: Zorba the Greek (1964)

Movies in Greece Zorba the GreekNo list on films in Greece would be complete without mentioning this quintessential film, which certainly contributed to place Greece among the world’s top tourism destinations, and made syrtaki a mainstream dance. This Oscar-winning movie is based on Nikos Kazantzakis’ book and features music by legendary Mikis Theodorakis. It was filmed in the island of Crete; among the places seen in the movie are the city of Chania, the Akrotiri Peninsula, Apokoronas region and the Beach of Stavros Town, where the famous syrtaki scene was filmed.

IMDB link

Movies in Greece Chania


Photo Credits


Stromae papillon

Μετά την Ελλάδα, θα ήθελα -μετά τα πρόσφατα τραγικά γεγονότα- να κάνουμε ένα μουσικό ταξίδι στο Βέλγιο… Και αν σκέφτομαι Βέλγιο, ένας καλλιτέχνης έρχεται αμέσως στο μυαλό μου: ο Stromae.

‘Ισως μερικοί από εσάς αναρωτιέστε, ποιος είναι ο Stromae;

Αφίσα του Stromae σε έναν τοίχο στο Ώστιν, Τέξας

Μπορεί να μην έχετε συγκρατήσει το όνομά του, αλλά κατά πάσα πιθανότητα θα έχετε ήδη ακούσει -και χορέψει- μία από τις απόλυτες επιτυχίες του: το Alors on dance, το οποίο το 2010 έφτασε στην κορυφή των charts στις περισσότερες χώρες της Ευρώπης. Η φήμη του όμως έχει πλέον ξεπεράσει τα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα: σε μία πρόσφατη περιοδεία κατάφερε να ξετρελαίνει και τους Αμερικάνους.

Αλλά ο Stromae -το όνομά του προέρχεται από την αντιστροφή των συλλαβών της λέξης Maestro– είναι επίσης ένα σούπερ σταρ στο YouTube: τα βίντεό του έχουν ένα δισεκατομμύριο προβολές!!

Ποιο είναι, άραγε, το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του Stromae, ιδιαίτερα λαμβάνοντας υπόψη πως τραγουδάει μόνο στα γαλλικά; Η μελωδική του μουσική; Οι βαθυστόχαστοι στίχοι; Το αινιγματικό του παρουσιαστικό;

Stromae yellowΑν και η μουσική του έχει επιρροή από ηλεκτρονικούς και hip hop ήχους, δεν περιορίζεται μόνο σε αυτούς: κάποια τραγούδια έχουν αφρικανικούς, άλλα latin ρυθμούς, οι οποίοι αναμειγνύονται αρμονικά μεταξύ τους. Αλλά αυτό που κάνει τον Stromae να υπερέχει από άλλους καλλιτέχνες είναι ότι, στα δήθεν ελαφρά ακούσματα των τραγουδιών του, κρύβεται ένα ισχυρό κοινωνικό μήνυμα: μιλάνε για το AIDS, τον καρκίνο, τις σχέσεις, τα σεξουαλικά κλισέ … Ωστόσο ο Stromae πιστεύει πως το να καταλάβεις τους στίχους δεν είναι και απαραίτητο: «Κανείς δεν καταλαβαίνει Αγγλικά [στο Βέλγιο], αλλά όλοι ακούνε αγγλική μουσική, γιατί μπορούν να διαισθάνονται το συναίσθημα και το groove των τραγουδιών, και αυτό φτάνει για να χορέψουν και να νιώθουν τη μουσική», λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

Η εκκεντρική του εμφάνιση ήταν αναμφίβολα καθοριστική για την ευρεία του αναγνώριση: τα εξωτικά φυλετικά χαρακτηριστικά, το σκούρο δέρμα και τα πράσινα μάτια του -ο πατέρας του ήταν από τη Ρουάντα, η μητέρα του είναι Βελγίδα -καθώς και το εκφραστικό, μελαγχολικό του βλέμμα. Και φυσικά το εξίσου εξωτικό του ντύσιμο, το οποίο συνδυάζει με απόλυτο στιλ την βρετανική κομψότητα και την αφρικάνικη αισθητική.

Επομένως, ίσως το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του είναι πως ο Stromae συμβολίζει την Ευρώπη: είναι ένα μείγμα από διάφορες φυλές, στυλ και πολιτισμούς, προκλητικός και αντιφατικός, με απόλυτη προσοχή στην αισθητική, με ελαφρότητα αλλά και κοινωνικά ευαισθητοποιημένος…

Stromae Cheese

Το πρώτο hit του Stromae ήρθε σχεδόν κατά τύχη: ενώ εργαζόταν ως μαθητευόμενος σε ένα βελγικό ραδιοφωνικό σταθμό, ο μουσικός παραγωγός άκουσε το “Alors on dance” και αποφάσισε να το παίξει. Η επιτυχία ήταν άμεση. Τα πιασάρικα beats του τραγουδιού παραδίδουν ένα μήνυμα: «Η ζωή είναι χάλια, ας χορέψουμε”, και το τραγούδι ήρθε στο κατάλληλο μέρος, τη κατάλληλη στιγμή: στην αρχή της οικονομικής κρίσης της Ευρώπης το 2009. Το βίντεο δείχνει έναν άντρα απελπισμένος με τη ζωή του και την κοινωνία, έτσι το μόνο που του έχει απομείνει είναι να χορέψει.

Το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, το Cheese, κυκλοφόρησε το 2010. Εκτός από το smash hit “Alors on Dance” περιέχει και άλλα ωραία κομμάτια, ίσως το αγαπημένο μου είναι το “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine Carree

Το αριστουργηματικό του δεύτερο άλμπουμ, το Racine Carrée (“Τετραγωνική Ρίζα”), το οποίο κυκλοφόρησε το 2013, είναι ακουστικά πιο ποικιλόμορφο και ολοκληρωμένο, ενώ διατηρεί παράλληλα τους βαθυστόχαστους στίχους. Συμπεριλαμβάνει πολλά υπέροχα τραγούδια, τα περισσότερα εκ των οποίων έχουν φτάσει στο νούμερο 1 των charts της Γαλλίας και του Βελγίου. Είναι δύσκολο -αν όχι αδύνατο- να επιλέξω μόνο ένα τραγούδι από αυτό το άλμπουμ. Αυτά είναι μερικά από τα αγαπημένα μου:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Μπαμπά που είσαι”) μιλάει για απόντες πατέρες: ο πατέρας του Stromae σκοτώθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια της γενοκτονίας στη Ρουάντα, και ο ίδιος μεγάλωσε με τη μητέρα του. Στο πολύχρωμο, οπτικά άψογο βίντεο –με περισσότερα από 300 εκατομμύρια προβολές στο YouTube!– ένα αγόρι χρησιμοποιεί έναν κούκλο για να αντικαταστήσει τον πατέρα του:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, είναι η ιστορία ενός αστέγου. Το βίντεο έγινε viral στο YouTube: για να το κάνει χρησιμοποίησε κρυφές κάμερες σε μια στάση του τραμ και προσποιήθηκε πως ήταν μεθυσμένος.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“Όλοι ίδιοι”), στο βίντεο ο Stromae εμφανίζεται ντυμένος μισός άνδρας, μισός γυναίκα, και αναλύει διάφορα στερεότυπα για τις διαφορές μεταξύ φύλων.

Carmen” χρησιμοποιεί κινούμενα σχέδια για να περιγράψει τους κινδύνους της υπερβολικής χρήσης των μέσων κοινωνικής δικτύωσης:

Quand C’est?” (Πότε είναι; στα γαλλικά ακούγεται σαν “Καρκίνος”) είναι το τελευταίο του βίντεο, περίτεχνο και σκοτεινό, όπου εξερευνά τον φόβο και τον πόνο που μας προκαλεί ο καρκίνος:

Μάθε περισσότερα για τον Stromae εδώ:

Stromae Mosaert

Η σελίδα του στο Facebook  

Ο λογαριασμός του στο Twitter 

Το fashion label του Mosaert


Stromae papillon

After Greece, I felt compelled to travel -musically speaking- to Belgium, moved by the recent tragic events… When thinking Belgium, one artist comes straight away to my mind: Stromae.

Many of you may wonder, Who the hell is Stromae?

Stromae poster on a wall in Austin, Texas

If you live in Europe, chances are that you have already heard -and danced- one of his absolute hits: Alors on dance, which in 2010 topped the charts of most European countries. His fame though, has now largely exceeded the European borders: in a recent tour he managed to take the USA by storm.

But Stromae -his name comes from reversing the syllables of Maestro–  is also a YouTube superstar: his videos have one billion views!!

So, what’s the secret of success, particularly for someone who sings only in French? His melodious tunes? The meaningful lyrics? His enigmatic look? The answer is: all of them!

Stromae yellowAlthough his songs are influenced by electronic and hip hop music, they are not confined to these two genres: some songs have african, other latin sounds, blended harmonically together. But what makes him excel above other artists is that, under the easy-listening rhythms, a powerful social message is hidden: he tells stories about AIDS, cancer, relationships, sexual clichés… Yet Stromae believes that understanding the lyrics is not that important: “Nobody understands English music [in Belgium], but everybody listens to English music, so we can understand the feeling, understand the groove, and it’s enough actually to dance on it or to feel”, he says.

Stromae’s eccentric look has certainly been instrumental for his wide recognition: the exotic racial features, dark skin and green eyes -his father was from Rwanda, his mother is Belgian- as well as his expressive, melancholic regard. And of course his signature, equally exotic dressing style: a blend of British elegance and African aesthetic.

Thus, maybe the secret of success is that Stromae is a symbol of Europe: a mixture of races, styles, and cultures; exhaling a great deal of contradiction and provocation; with utmost attention to aesthetics; weightless but socially engaged at the same time…

Stromae CheeseStromae’s first hit came almost by chance: while working as a trainee at a Belgian radio station, the music manager heard “Alors on dance” and decided to air it. The success was immediate. The song’s catchy beats deliver a message: “Life sucks, so we dance”, which came out in the right place, the right time: at the beginning of Europe’s economic crisis back in 2009. The video shows a guy feeling hopeless about his life and society, so the only thing left is to dance.

His first album, Cheese, was released in 2010; besides the smash hit “Alors on Dance” we find other nice tracks; maybe my favourite is “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine CarreeHis masterful second album, Racine Carrée (Square Root), is musically more diverse and accomplished, while preserving the relevant lyrics. Released in 2013, it contains many wonderful songs, most of which have reached number 1 in France’s and Belgium’s charts. It is difficult -if not impossible- to pick a single song from this album; these are some of my preferred ones:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Papa where are you”) talks about absent fathers -Stromae’s own father was killed during the Rwandan genocide, and he grew up with his widow mother. In the colourful, visually  impeccable video -with more than 300 million views!- a boy uses a mannequin to replace his absent father:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, a story about a drunk homeless, went viral on YouTube: to make the video, he used hidden cameras at a tram stop and pretended to be drunk.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“All the same”) features Stromae dressed half a man, half a woman, and depicts various stereotypes on gender differences.

Carmen” uses cartoon to accurately describe the dangers of social media overuse:

Quand C’est?” (When is it?; in French sounds like “Cancer”) is Stromae’s latest artful, dark video, where he “explores the pain caused and inevitable fear of cancer”:

More info here:

Stromae Mosaert

His Facebook  page

His Twitter account

His fashion label Mosaert


Imam Baildi 8 band

Από τη Γαλλία, ταξιδεύουμε πίσω στην Ελλάδα, για να ακούσουμε το αγαπημένο μου ελληνικό συγκρότημα, τους Imam Baildi.

Το -πολύ εύστοχο- όνομα του συγκροτήματος περιγράφει ακριβώς τι πρόκειται να ακούσεις: έναv υπέροχο συνδυασμό διαφόρων “γεύσεων”, ανατολής και δύσης, παραδοσιακού και σύγχρονου…

Imam Baildi Imam Baildi

Οι Imam Baildi ξεκίνησαν αρχικά ως ένα project όταν δύο αδέλφια, ο Ορέστης και ο Λύσανδρος Φαληρέας αποφάσισαν να “πειράξουν” παραδοσιακά ελληνικά τραγούδια των 40s-50s-60s, από τα οποία πήρανε αποσπάσματα και τα “ρεμιξάρανε” με σύγχρονη ενορχήστρωση. Το αποτέλεσμα: το πρώτο, ομώνυμο τους άλμπουμ, Imam Baildi, που κυκλοφόρησε το 2007. Το ελληνικό κοινό τους αγκάλιασε με ενθουσιασμό, λαμβάνοντας εξαιρετικές κριτικές, ακόμα και από τους πιο σκληροπυρηνικούς λάτρεις της παραδοσιακής ελληνικής μουσικής.

Από το πρώτο τους άλμπουμ, επέλεξα το υπέροχο “Ο Πασατέμπος“:


Imam Baildi Cookbook

Το δεύτερο άλμπουμ, The Imam Baildi Cookbook κυκλοφόρησε το 2010, και περιλαμβάνει διεθνείς συνεργασίες με το αμερικάνικο hip hop συγκρότημα Delinquent Habits και τον Maxwell Wright από το ισπανικό Ojos de Brujo, μεταξύ άλλων. Το Cookbook είχε ακόμη μεγαλύτερη αναγνώριση, φτάνοντας στην 5η θέση στο Ευρωπαϊκό Chart Μουσικής του Κόσμου.

Το τραγούδι που επέλεξα από αυτό το άλμπουμ, “Αργυλέ μου γιατί σβήνεις“:



Ο τρίτος τους δίσκος, Imam Baildi ΙΙΙ (2014), έχαιρε επίσης μεγάλης επιτυχίας, όχι μόνο στην Ευρώπη -το τραγούδι “Simioma» πήρε τη 2η θέση στον διαγωνισμό Funkhaus Europa’s contest for Best Global Pop Hit 2014- αλλά και στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες, όπου πρόσφατα κυκλοφόρησε από την νεοϋορκέζικη δισκογραφική εταιρία The End Records.

Από αυτό το άλμπουμ, διάλεξα το “Μυστήριο“:

Η διεθνής αναγνώριση τους, τους παρακίνησε σε εκτεταμένες περιοδείες στην Ευρώπη, καθώς και στη συμμετοχή σε μεγάλα διεθνή φεστιβάλ, όπως το Roskilde (Δανία), Sziget (Ουγγαρία), Montreal Jazz Festival (Καναδάς), Lowlands (Ολλανδία), Transmusicales de Rennes (Γαλλία) και South by Southwest (ΗΠΑ), μεταξύ άλλων.

Η επιτυχημένη “συνταγή” Imam Baildi περιλαμβάνει, εκτός από τους αδελφούς Φαληρέα -οι οποίοι επωμίζονται την παραγωγή και τα κρουστά- τη σαγηνευτική φωνή της Ρένας Μόρφη, τους ταλαντούχους μουσικούς που παίζουν μπουζούκι, σαξόφωνο, κλαρίνα, τρομπέτα και ηλεκτρική κιθάρα, και τον crowd-manager MC Yinka που φροντίζει, κατά τη διάρκεια των live εμφανίσεων τους, να ξεσηκώσει το κοινό. Και κάθε συναυλία τους είναι πράγματι ένα “πανηγύρι”! Ρίξτε μια ματιά σε αυτή τη live εκτέλεση του “Samba Clarina” στο Sziget Festival στην Ουγγαρία. Μην μου πείτε ότι δεν θέλετε να σηκωθείτε να χορέψετε!

Διαβάστε περισσότερα στο


Imam Baildi 8 band

From France, we travel back to Greece, to listen to my favorite Greek band, Imam Baildi.
The name of the group gives you already an idea of what you are going to listen -Imam baildi is a popular dish in the Southeast Mediterranean region, which blends aubergine, onion, garlic and tomato- so this is what you get: a blend of different tastes, oriental with occidental, traditional but with a touch of “spice”…

Imam Baildi Imam BaildiImam Baildi actually started as a project, when two brothers, Orestis and Lysandros Falireas, nurtured since their childhood with Greek music of the 40s-50s-60s, decided to “play” with traditional songs, remixing them and adding modern orchestration. The result: their first, homonymous work, Imam Baildi, released in 2007. Greek public embraced them with enthusiasm, receiving excellent critics, even from initially sceptic lovers of traditional Greek music.

From their first album, I chose the beautiful “O pasatempos“:


Imam Baildi Cookbook

Their second album, The Imam Baildi Cookbook released in 2010, included some international collaborations, such as American hip hop group Delinquent Habits and Maxwell Wright from the Spanish group Ojos de Brujo. This album got even wider recognition, reaching the 5th place in the European World Music Chart.
The video I chose from this album, “Argyle mou giati svineis“:


Imam-Baildi-III-coverTheir 2014 release Imam Baildi III, was also highly acclaimed, not only in Europe -the song “Simioma”, got the 2nd place in Funkhaus Europa’s contest for Best Global Pop Hit 2014- but also in the United States, where it was recently released by the NYC-based label The End Records.

From this album, I picked “Mistirio“:

Their international recognition led them to extensive tours in Europe, and to participation in major international festivals including Roskilde, Sziget, Montreal Jazz Festival, Lowlands, Transmusicales de Rennes and South by Southwest, among others.

The successful “recipe” of Imam Baildi includes, besides Falireas brothers who take care of arrangements and percussion, the seductive voice of Rena Morfi, talented musicians playing bouzouki, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet and electric guitar, and crowd-manager MC Yinka who assures that, during their live performances, people get on their feet and dance. And trust me, their reputation of crowd-engaging shows is well deserved: take a look at this live version of “Samba Clarina” at Sziget festival in Hungary. Don’t tell me that you don’t want to get up and dance!

More info at


You just came back from vacations? It’s time to plan the next ones! What could be better than an escapade to a greek island? Crete is a perfect choice, boasting some of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. But even if you are not a beach person, there are plenty of mountains, canyons, caves, ancient monuments, beautiful villages… so many places worth visiting, so many things to do, day and night… not to mention the fantastic food!

Crete is a big island, which means that you will need several weeks to explore it… In this post I propose you an 8-day tour to the western part of Crete, to discover not only its natural beauty, but also the architecture, the rich history and its particular culture…

So what are you waiting for? Grab a bag, get on a plane -or a boat- and enjoy Crete!…


“The diamond of Crete” as Cretans call Chania, is a monument on its own. What makes Chania so fascinating is the amalgam of civilisations and cultures, which, while passing through it, left a particular trait : the Minoan mightiness, the Venetian refinement, the Byzantine spirituality, the Ottoman simplicity, the Neoclassical grandeur…

A good starting point when arriving early morning is a breakfast at Chania’s atmospheric Old port, when you can peacefully admire the colourful harbour and the elegant architecture of the buildings surrounding it. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and art galleries aligned along the harbour, which add to the charm of the area…

Crete Chania Venetian Harbour px

The atmospheric Old Port of Chania

Take a walk to the lighthouse to enjoy a panoramic view of the harbour, then head to another emblematic building of the Old Port: the Kiutsuk Hasan Mosque. Stroll along the narrow, intrincated roads of the city, visit the museums and churches, admire the districts of Topanas, Kastelli, Splantzia, Halepa and the Jewish Quarter.

Crete Chania port lighthouse

The lighthouse, an emblematic monument of Chania

After wandering around the city, it’s time to relax! A 15 minute-drive from Chania will lead us to Agia Marina, a lively area with beautiful, golden sand and warm water…


Agia Marina. Beautiful sandy beaches, a few minutes away from Chania

Besides many nice hotels and restaurants, Agia Marina, together with neighbour Platanias boast some of the best beach bars and clubs of the island, for all day -and all night- revelry…

Crete Theatro Chania

Agia Marina. Theatro beach bar


Falassarna beach, together with Elafonissi and Balos (see below) is regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete and, according to CNN, as one of the world’s 100 best beaches. It has amazing golden sand and turquoise, crystalline waters … Located about 53 km from the city of Chania, is easily accessed by car or even by public bus.

Crete Falasarna px

Falassarna, one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete

The only disadvantage of this beach is that is frequently exposed to strong winds (especially during August), so you may encounter big waves; that makes Falassarna a very popular destination for windsurfers.

Unless you are a skilled windsurfer, should it get too windy, don’t panic. Marathi beach, situated only 16 km far from Chania, is a great alternative. This nice beach, located on the southeastern tip of the Akrotiri peninsula, is well guarded from the winds, which assures that it never gets wavy… It may not be as spectacular as Falassarna, but it has warm, clean waters and golden, thin sand, many tavernas and cafes by the sea, and nice views of Souda Bay’s shores and the White Mountains… enough reasons to visit Marathi, especially for those of you who travel with small children.

Crete Souda beach

Marathi Beach. Shallow, calm waters, sandy shore, ideal for kids…


Crete Vamos 3 Crete Vamos 10Maybe less known than the world-famous cretan beaches, the Apokoronas region definitively deserves a visit. Surrounded by the White Mountains, reaching the Cretan Sea, this blessed-by-nature area plenty of rivers, lakes, caves, vineyards, olive groves, hosts bizantine monasteries, Venetian Castles, an ancient city and 75 traditional villages. Apokoronas’ rich nature and interesting architecture have endowed it with an unparalleled beauty.

Crete Vamos 8 Crete Vamos 7

Get your camera ready for a stop in beautiful Vamos, a well-preserved village with authentic Cretan-style architecture. Near to Vamos, the imposing monastery of St. George of Karidi warrants a detour. Other villages worth visiting are: picturesque Gavalochori; delightful Vrisses and Argyroupolis springs, both plenty of running water and plane trees; the seaside resorts of Kalyves, Almyrida and Georgioupolis; super green Armeni, with its leafy plane trees, springs -and its renowned tavernas.

Crete Vamos Collage 3 resized

Another must-visit in Apokoronas is Kournas lake. This beautiful lake is so deep (22,5 m) that locals used to believe that is bottomless. The lovely surroundings -protected by Natura 2000- can be admired by swimming across the lake, renting a pedalo, or just sitting in one of the tavernas or cafes overlooking the lake.…Kournas lake is also a good option when the beaches get too windy.

Crete Kournas Lake 3

The beautiful Kournas lake, Crete’s unique sweet water lake


When visiting West Crete, a sea bath in the Libyan Sea cannot be missed… The beaches in the southern side of the island are usually more quiet, less windy and less crowded than their pairs in the northern side. Plakias beach, located 40km southwest of Rethymno, is a long and wide sandy beach with crystalline, warm waters, situated in a closed bay surrounded by mountains. The eastern side of the bay is the quieter, and is usually taken by nudists.


Plakias beach. Its location in a closed bay makes it a quiet beach with warm waters

Crete Plakias beach D

If you like nudism, head to the quieter, eastern side of the beach 


Crete Zoniana sign pxIf you want to get a taste of “the real Crete”, spend a day of your vacations to visit Anogeia and Zoniana. The authentic, wild beauty of the area will fascinate you, and is one of the few regions of the island where you can still see men wearing the traditional Cretan clothing. The trade mark of the area? Road signs riddled with bullet holes! The gun culture is deeply rooted in Crete, particularly in this part of the island…

To get to Zoniana, the road itself, 53 km far from Rethymno, climbing up 630 meters on Mount Psiloritis, will already set you in the mood.

Crete View from Zoniana Cave

The wild beauty of Mount Psiloritis

Although the village of Zoniana itself does not have any particular touristic attraction (except for a wax museum), Zoniana’s cave, called Sfentoni cave is not to be missed. There are more that 4500! caves in Crete, but only three are open to the public, and Sfentoni cave is the largest one of those.

Crete Zoniana Cave entrance

The entrance to Sfentoni cave

After entering the cave our guide explains us how the stalagmites and stalactites originated, talks about the animals that inhabit the cave (about 400 bats! among others), and tells us about the history and myths surrounding it.

The beauty of the cave is emphasised by its colourful lighting, which creates a phantasmagoric effect…

Crete Zoniana cave Collage

The interior of Sfentoni’s cave, plenty of stalagmites and stalactites

A 15-minute drive will lead us to our next destination, the traditional village of Anogeia.

Crete Road to Zoniana

The road to Anogeia may eventually get… some traffic

Anogeia, perched on the slopes of Mount Psiloritis at an altitude of 740 meters, has a powerful history (it was burnt twice, by the Turks and by the Germans) and a strong character, which keeps being passed from older to younger generations. Agios Georgios square is the ideal spot to drink a greek coffee at a kafenion, or try local dishes accompanied by some raki.

Crete Anogeia cafenioLocals and tourists at a traditional kafenio in Anogeia 

After that -unless you drunk too much raki- stroll along the streets of the village and admire the famous cretan weavings, tablecloths and linen…

Crete Anogeia old woman resized 2

Cretan weavings monopolise the streets of Anogeia


Today the wind is over: a perfect day to visit Elafonissi. I couldn’t wait to see this world-famous beach,  and I did not get disappointed: Elafonissi is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Located 76 kilometers far from Chania, in the southwest part of Crete, it does get crowded, especially in August, but even so it’s an absolute must.

What makes Elafonissi such an exotic place is the presence of sand islets forming a sort of lagoon with shallow and crystalline waters, and certainly the powder sand which eventually gets pink due to the presence of crushed oyster shells.

Crete Elafonissi D 1

The exotic beauty of Elafonissi

Crete Elafonissi D3 Crete Elafonissi D5

Powder white and pink sand, crystalline waters… Paradise on Earth


A trip to west Crete is not complete unless you visit beautiful Rethymno. This pleasant city, the third largest in Crete, has managed to keep a “small town” air, and to preserve its Venetian and Ottoman heritage.

Crete Rethymnon-harbour-at-nightThe Venetian Harbour is a nice place to get a coffee or eat some -delicious- cretan food at a traditional taverna. In the meantime you can admire the small but strong breakwater, which for 8 centuries has been proudly facing the tough waves of the Cretan Sea. The imposing lighthouse although built by the Turks, matches perfectly the Venetian style.

Crete Rethimno fort resizedThe magnificent Fortezza (fortress) dominates the city, and a visit to it is warranted.  It was built by the Venetians in the 16th century to protect the town from the Turkish pirates; besides the impressive 1300 meters of walls, we can still appreciate some other remains from the Venetian era: water cisterns, guardhouses, barracks, and arsenals.

Crete Rethimno fort 3The mosque was built during the Turkish occupation (in the place of a Venetian cathedral); it has an impressive dome with the lovely mosaics.

Crete Rethymno view from Fortezza

From the Fortezza you can admire a panoramic view of Rethymno

Crete Rethimno center 2After that, wander along the narrow alleys of the well-preserved old city, discover picturesque corners and architectural treasures… Indulge yourself shopping souvenirs, local products or folk art.Crete Rethimno center 4

Α perfect ending for a day in Rethymno is a promenade at the seaside and a dinner at one of the numerous tavernas overlooking the sea and the imposing Fortezza.

Crete Rethimno tavern


A grand finale to our trip: a visit to majestic Balos. This isolated beach can be reached by boat (leaving from Kissamos) or by car, but be careful: it’s a dirt road in really bad condition, and then you have to walk about half an hour, which during summer time can get quite hard (especially the return, going upward). But the view of the beach when arriving will reward you: just stunning. No wonder why Balos is the most photographed beach in Crete…

The imposing rock that emerges from the sea, the white sand and the shallow turquoise waters resemble a work of art… The area has rare species of flora and fauna, and is protected under the Natura 2000 program.

Crete Balos 1Crete Balos 3Crete Balos 5 Crete Balos 6The last night in the island cannot be wasted! We choose Chania. The options? Too many! You may just stroll along the bustling harbour; or dine at one of the traditional tavernas of the historic center; or have a drink at a cafe, bar or club located in the harbour, in Akti Miaouli or in Koum Kapi beach; or chill out at a bar in trendy Chatzimichali Daliani Street

Crete Chania night Koutouki

A traditional taverna in Chania

Crete Chania at night resized 2

Bars, cafes, clubs… With the magnificent Old Harbour as a background

We leave West Crete firmly promising to ourselves to come back and explore the many places we didn’t have the time to see… I hope it’s gonna be soon…

Photo credits: All the photos belong to; except: Theatro cafe bar:, and Rethymno’s Venetian Port: Wikimedia commons


Wonderful. Empowering. Overwhelming. It is difficult to find a word to describe the experience of a vaginal birth. As a mother -who went through this experience-  and obstetrician, even after having delivered thousands of babies, I can’t help but admire every single time the beauty of a vaginal birth, it always feels to me like a perfectly designed choreography…

But the fact that something is natural doesn’t mean that is devoid of risks or complications. Thus, a hospital natural birth allows a woman to deliver with minimum intervention, while assuring peace of mind in case something goes wrong. And believe me, sometimes things DO go wrong, and then we may have just a few minutes to save the mother or the baby… 
True, hospitals can sometimes interfere with the process of a natural birth: measures such as fetal monitoring or the IV line are usually non-negotiable requirements for a hospital birth, but they can be invaluable, even life-saving in case an emergency ensues.
A natural, unmedicated hospital birth IS possible, it’s just a matter of having a motivated mom and a supportive team…
Here, KM shares her experience of a natural birth at a hospital and provides some tips to overcome the obstacles that may present in the process…

Natural Birth KM 2 resized

My Natural Hospital Birth: Overcoming obstacles to get to the birth I had

“I gave birth without pain relief and I consider my fifteen hours of labour as some of my best. My husband turned ace birth partner – a nice surprise, and a lucky one considering we opted not to hire a midwife or doula. We swayed to Don Carlos’s Rivers of Babylon and Simon and Garfunkel’s I am a Rock, among other soothing tunes in our Labour Chill Mix; moo-ed like cows; and got tennis balls rolling on my back. The first ten hours at home and en route to the hospital felt like a date: laughter, teamwork, watermelon juice (it was August, we live in Greece)… and some manageable pain thrown in to rally against together.

Natural Birth KM 1 resizedWhat I found least pleasant about my birth experience wasn’t the pain. It was the hospital admittance process keeping my husband and me apart and waiting. The hospitals I know prioritise hospital practicalities and legal self-protection over emotional wellbeing. Routine procedures like the IV are designed to allow quick and easy access to medical intervention, not for soothing pregnant women to “open up and let the baby out”. We didn’t expect the hospital setting to encourage natural birth, so we worked with my obstetrician ahead of time to overcome the obstacles we could predict.

Having read Birthing from Within and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (one of these suggests moo-ing like a cow to relax and open the cervix), attended birthing classes at Eutokia and Babycenter’s online birthing course, we were convinced that the less unnecessary medical intervention the better for both mom and baby. Avoiding unnecessary intervention seems like common sense, but as my obstetrician reminded us: common sense is not so common. We prepared for birth in the country with the highest rate (at 70%) of caesarean births in the world, a Human Rights in Childbirth case study.

Here is what was at stake at the hospital and how we managed each concern:

A. My rights over my body – My obstetrician kept me informed of my choices throughout. Her track record in vaginal births, willingness to explain our options, welcoming attitude to our attempts to be informed all set the stage for mutual respect. When she suggested interventions, we agreed. I had a membrane sweep a day before my due date and had my waters broken when I was about 8cm dilated.

B. My responsibility towards my baby – Protecting my birth experience felt like a first success at parenting. The memory still provides a deep well of confidence that we draw from in the endurance sport of parenting.

C. Recovery time – I was able to walk to the toilet by myself after the birth, and to walk to the nurse’s desk to ask for my baby back.

D. Breastfeeding success – I chose to room in with my baby and I enforced this choice by asking for my baby back. Even though we were “rooming-in”, our baby spent a lot of time out of our sight. My obstetrician informed the hospital staff that I was interested in exclusive breastfeeding and asked that they not to offer formula or water. Leaving the hospital after 24 hours ensured that any accidental feeds during the baby’s long absences from rooming in didn’t sabotage my breastfeeding goals.

E. The opportunity to bond with baby – My obstetrician did her best to remove unnecessary separations between us and our new baby. She arranged some alone time for the three of us before the hospital’s priorities took over again after the birth. She also signed off on our “early” release at 24 hours.

Natural Birth KM 5 resizedEight tips to having a natural birth in hospital: 

  1. Learn about what you can expect. We had read about the “I don’t think I can do this” moment getting through the last couple of centimetres. Knowing about this ahead of time kept us calm and later we laughed in recognition of the predictability of it. Just because childbirth (and breastfeeding, for that matter) is natural, it doesn’t mean that it comes easily or without need for knowledge.
  2. Be vigilant about what you want and get your birthing team on the same page. My husband and I wrote our birth wishes down (see below) and talked them over with each other, our obstetrician and the hospital staff until we reached a version that was more realistic. The process of writing this one pager was invaluable – it helped us become more informed and helped us mentally prepare for what success could look like.
  3. Arrive at the hospital late. On our obstetrician’s advice, we didn’t leave our home until after my contractions were about three minutes apart, ten hours into labour. I credit my obstetrician with sharing this advice, but I imagine that the advice she is able to give varies based on how informed a couple is.
  4. Make yourself at home in the hospital. We dimmed the lights, brought music and admittedly a small suitcase full of other personal touches we didn’t end up using. It turned out that I was focused inward much of the time in the later stages of labour at the hospital and my husband and music were all I needed to feel relaxed. I still claim that having the little suitcase of other supplies was comforting.
  5. Have at least one champion who will be vocal about what you want. There came a time when I was in another zone and talking was difficult. I was lucky to have both my husband and obstetrician fend off well-meaning nurses offering an epidural too late into my labour,  when it was tempting but would have been counter productive. I later roomed with a mom who was given such a late epidural, essentially sabotaging her natural birth efforts after having done most of the hard work.
  6. Rooming in – ask for your baby back! In my experience “rooming in” babies seem to spend a surprising amount of time in some auditorium that parents aren’t allowed even to look into. They are not returned after their individual checks are done but when they are all done, unless you ask.Natural Birth KM 4 resized
  7. Ask for the advice you need to care for your baby yourself – how to change a nappy, how to hold the baby to wash away poop, how to help baby latch onto nipple, how to breastfeed lying down. Many of these are much easier to learn with guided practice rather than through books. I noticed that hospital staff are used to parents who are content to let them handle the baby, but who miss out on learning while in the hospital.
  8. Get out as soon as possible, unless you find the hospital setting a rest from home (my obstetrician suggested I keep an open mind about this since the hospital can be a nice break when there are other children waiting at home). I gave birth at the only Greek hospital at the time that allowed exit after 24 hours, assuming all is well. We fought for our exit and the two couples we roomed with decided to do the same. We were much more relaxed at home and I could stop demanding for my baby back.

The husband adds:

Natural Birth KM 3 resizedPreparation was key to having an excellent birth experience. To support my wife, it was important to be involved, not just by being present for the labour but at an early stage. Reading the books Katerina mentions, Birthing from Within and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, were critical to understanding exactly what was going on – and what to expect — at all of the stages of labour, and how panic can cause the process to go into reverse. Doing my homework beforehand allowed me to remain calm and focused. Being involved also created a sense of shared endeavour with Katerina, an important bond necessary for fostering the feelings of trust and safety between us during the labour.

One more thing: if you’re a birth partner, and you have any feelings of self-consciousness about not behaving “seriously” during the labour, get over them. The books were full of useful tips about what to do in specific situations to help Katerina overcome fears and relieve tensions that commonly crop up. If she was going to open up her whole body to let a human out, mooing like a cow was a small ask for me.




Due date: Sunday, 11 August 2013

Baby details: Our first, a girl, we intend to name her CLLB

Obstetrician: Dr. Liliana Colombero


We are open to any intervention that Dr. Colombero judges is necessary for the safety of mom and baby. We ask that, outside of an emergency, we are informed before any procedures and be allowed to ask questions about the pros and cons. We are aware that things can change suddenly. Below is our best case scenario, as we imagine it today, 9 August 2013. Thank you for taking the time to read our birth wishes. 


Once I’m admitted, I’d like to: 


  • Opt out of being shaved, assuming I’ve shaved myself already.
  • Opt out of the enema, assuming my system has emptied out ahead of time on its own.
  • Have a heparin lock instead of routine IV, assuming I’m not going for an epidural or c-section.


  • Listen to music and limit outside noise.
  • Dim the lights when visibility isn’t important.
  • Drink water, or other clear fluids.


As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I’d like to:

  • Avoid a cesarean.
  • Avoid being induced with pitocin.
  • Try a membrane sweep before induction by pitocin.
  • Progress in labor without time limits.
  • Not be offered an epidural, unless I request it.

When it’s time to push, I’d like to:

  • Try different positions.
  • Try perineal massage or compress.
  • Push instinctively when I have the urge.
  • Get guidance about how to push during crowning to reduce the chances of perineal tearing.
  • Avoid an episiotomy, unless Dr. Colombero feels that tearing will be very extensive.

After birth, I’d like to: 

  • Have the baby placed on my stomach immediately for skin-to-skin contact.
  • Hold off on the cutting of the umbilical cord until it stops throbbing.
  • Try to nurse immediately.
  • Wait for the placenta to be delivered in its own time, as much as possible.
  • Hold off on procedures (labelling, shots, tests) for an hour to allow for nursing and bonding.
  • Stay together during recovery with my husband and baby as long as possible.


  • I would like to be conscious and have skin-to-skin contact with the baby as soon as possible.
  • Please use double-layer sutures to raise my chances of a VBAC in future.
  • I would like to stay together with my baby during recovery, and to breastfeed as soon as possible.


While recovering, I’d like to: 

  • Choose 24-hour rooming-in with our baby.
  • Have procedures on our baby done in our presence, as much as possible.
  • Breastfeed exclusively.
  • Speak to a lactation consultant as soon as possible.
  • Avoid baby formula, sugar water, or a pacifier being offered to my baby without my consent.
  • Go home as soon as possible, if all is well.”


Do you have any experience to share with us? You may help other women! Send us your story to