Pregnancy is complicated

After our first child, my husband and I decided to be patient with having our second and almost 6 years later I found out I’m pregnant again.

It was the perfect timing with my daughter being at school and us being stable in our jobs.

My first pregnancy was very smooth thanks to God, no complications, I was very energetic, very little nausea at the beginning, positive vibes and all that pregnancy glow was there.

My second pregnancy however was not as expected. Nothing major to be honest but surprisingly a little difficult. To begin with I spent the first trimester feeling nauseous and tired. I needed my full strength since I was working full shifts and interacting with people was also energy consuming. I prayed for the nausea to fade and it did thank God. Then at week 17 I had an ultrasound and the technician was trying to be nice and informative explaining some specific details I didn’t need to know. She said between week 17 and 20 the baby’s brain fills up with fluids and then empties after that and which was showing on the scans and we needed to follow up so imagine what I had to go through from that time until my next scan.

Isolated mild fetal ventriculomegaly at second trimester

Needless to say Google search was not happy because I had searched every possible pathology and anomaly that could explain what that meant. And at my next visit everything was peaceful again, the technician said it’s all good and that no fluids were showing anymore but still we needed to follow up just to make sure which was enough for me.

Normal Ultrasound of brain at second trimester

Moms are super heroes not only they have to endure physically but also emotionally. Now, at 26 weeks I’ve been suffering from a very disturbing cough since mid March and wouldn’t go away but it keeps on changing forms. Started dry, then a little mucus was coming out but then transformed into very intense cough which troubled me with the COVID-19 outbreak so I went to see the doctor who said my chest is clear, no need even for antibiotics, and it might be just allergies or possibly gastric reflux especially when I mentioned that it gets worse when I lay down on my back. She gave me allergy medications and told me to check how it goes, But as it evolved into severe cough with shortness of breath followed by vomiting I thought it might be actually a gastric reflux so I bought pregnancy safe antacids.

Pregnancy safe antacids

It’s been one week now and the symptoms have improved even though they haven’t faded entirely. I’m a patient person so I’ll try to be in this and see how it goes.

Fingers crossed for a smooth ending.


Easter Bread Recipe

On April 19th, Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter and this year it’s different.

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak and things are not the same. While Easter celebrations are not about clothes or Easter eggs, people gathering to share the joy and true meaning of the holiday is. And this year it’s different! People are asked to remain isolated and social distancing is advised to prevent infection.

Nevertheless, one thing remains, the faith of better days to come and hope that the coming holidays will bring more joy and peace to everyone.

This post is not about being cliché it’s actually about sharing a far memory I had growing up. As my mother’s family side would bake what is called Easter bread and it’s this fluffy bread brioche that is decorated with colored eggs.

The recipe is actually an italian tradition called Pane De Pasqua and this is the one I used today:

LINK to recipe:

Pane di Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)

Pane di Pasqua, Italian Easter Bread, is a fluffy sweet bread traditionally in a wreath shape with brightly colored eggs baked inside. 



  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 packets yeast a little less than 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • zest of 1 lemon optional


  • 5 eggs uncooked
  • 3 teaspoons vinegar
  • red yellow and blue food coloring


  • 1 egg


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (Hot water from the tap, but no hotter).
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the milk and heat until it is warm. You can test it by putting a drop on your wrist. It should feel warm but not hot. If it is hot let it cool. The hot liquid will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.
  3. Add the milk and butter to the yeast and mix.
  4. Add the sugar, 2 lightly beaten eggs, salt and lemon zest (if using). Mix to combine.
  5. Add 5 cups of flour one cup at a time, mixing in between each addition. The dough will be a bit sticky.
  6. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour on the counter. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Add extra flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, if the dough is too sticky too knead.
  7. If you add too much flour the dough will not be light and fluffy. If you have a mixer with a bread hook use it to do the kneading.
  8. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Put in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours
  9. I put mine in the oven with the oven light on.
  10. While the dough is rising, boil 1 1/2 cups water.
  11. Get three small cups. Add 15-20 drops of color to each cup (one red, one yellow, one blue). Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to each cup, then add 1/2 cup of boiling water to each cup and stir.
  12. Dip the eggs in the color and let sit until as dark as you want. You can mix and match the colors to have orange, green and purple too.
  13. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a long rope, about 20 inches long.
  14. Braid the three strands together and shape into a circle, pinching and tucking the ends together. Put it on a greased baking sheet.
  15. Gently push the five colored eggs in the dough. Stick a small cup in the middle to keep the wreath from closing in the middle when it rises.
  16. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  17. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  18. Remove the cup from the center of the bread. Combine the last egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush on the bread (not the colored eggs). Cover all the dough, including in the crevices between the braid if possible.
  19. Bake for 25 minutes until bread is golden brown.

Recipe Notes

You will need a total of 8 eggs for the recipe:

  • 2 are mixed in the dough
  • 5 are colored and baked on top of the dough
  • 1 is brushed on top to make the bread brown and shiny

Pane di Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread)

My version will be posted on my instagram account as soon as it’s ready.

Please follow and share the love.

Yours truly Stef…

Flu Season in Doha

It’s Flu season in Doha, again! and it seems to be the case all year long.

It’s been a very frustrating week for me and my husband with my little baby girl sick still until this day. Kids get sick all the time especially with all sorts of viruses but this time is different for us, high temperature lasting for more than 5 days, night and day, sleepless nights, coughing and nose running. And the worse part? you can’t do much.

We took her couple of times to the emergency room where they confirmed it’s a viral infection and that all we needed to do is dropping the temperature with ibuprofen and paracetamol, saline solution to clear her nose and that’s it.

Today she’s doing better since last week, still has runny nose and coughing but no fever, so far!

Bottom line is that most infections encountered in Doha are viral and what I have learned for the last 7 years here, is that healthcare professionals in general and in Doha specifically, prefer to wait before prescribing antibiotics to rule out a bacterial infection. Which is totally understandable with the high rise of resistance to Antibiotics. Viral infections are treated for their symptoms and bacterial infections with antibiotics, that is why patience is key with the viral infections as they take time to clear.

The way that children interact means that infectious diseases can quickly spread, they will have close physical contact with other children through play, put objects in their mouths and may not always cover their mouths through sneezes and coughs. And because in early childhood their immune systems are still developing, they are more prone to those diseases than others.
Simple steps can reduce the chance that childhood infections spread to other people in the family and in childhood education and care services, and to vulnerable people in the community.

Steps include:

  • Staying home when they’re sick
  • Getting vaccinated when available
  • washing their hands well and using hand sanitisers
  • avoiding interaction with other kids especially through saliva contamination and breath.

Below is a very explicit chart of those steps and more.