Jo Ward

Jo Ward has 132 articles published.

Cold water therapy

in Health & Beauty

You may have noticed an increase in social media posts showing people plunging into cold water. Yes, believe it or not, there are some people who actually enjoy immersing their bodies (in water that’s less than 15°C) into an ice bath, taking a freezing cold shower or having an outdoor swim. 

Cold water therapy was one of the top new wellness trend of 2022, and although it has often been used by athletes to treat muscle soreness and promote faster recovery, its popularity rose when Dutch fitness influencer, Wim “The Iceman” Hof started promoting extreme ice swimming (in water that’s no more than 5°C), more than a decade ago. The ‘Wim Hof’ method combines cold therapy, breathing techniques and mind exercises with the aim to get your body and mind into the best possible condition.

So what are the benefits of cold water therapy?

According to a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, cold showers have many physiological effects on the body. These include: increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and an elevated respiratory rate. 

Numerous studies have shown that cold water immersion can help reduce muscle pain and stiffness after exercise by reducing swelling and inflammation, improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as boosting immune systems and easing bouts of depression. It can also help ease the pain associated with arthritis, not only as a natural long-term remedy, but it can also offer instant pain relief. 

Mental Health Swims, a non-profit charity, organizes cold-water swimming throughout the UK with more than 150 swim locations.  Open water swimming is getting more popular and in a case study published by the BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical trade journal, it supports the use of cold water swimming as a depression treatment. Another study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that people had a lower risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections if they used cold therapy.

At a time when energy costs are rising, cold water baths and showers are a cost cutting and effective way to save money. Rather than resorting to medication to boost your mood, cold water therapy can be undertaken in your own home, with no side effects. Start slowly and gradually build up your exposure.

But beware! Cold water therapy can be a shock to the system, even for people who use it regularly, so it is best to start by having a few cold showers in the days leading up to your first full immersion. If you have never tried cold water therapy before, begin by having a shower in warm water, then turn it on to cold and stand under the water for one minute, increasing to two minutes the next time you shower and eventually try having a cold shower without starting with the warm water. 

Remember to proceed with caution and maybe check with your GP or doctor first if you suffer with a heart condition or any other serious medical illness, such as diabetes.

Gibsams a vital community service

in Health & Beauty

Since becoming CEO of GibSams in September last year, Brenda Cuby has been busy overseeing and implementing new initiatives for the charity that continues to offer support and help people with mental health issues and those with suicidal thoughts. 

“At the end of last year, twenty-three local businesses were recognised in a ceremony that took place at the Garrison Library as part of the ‘Wellbeing at Work Awards’ scheme that was initiated four years ago by GibSams’ founder Marielou Guerrero as part of the ‘Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Worldwide’ programme,” Brenda explains, adding that they will continue growing the awards each year.  The scheme was started with the purpose to publicly recognise and reward companies, regardless of the size of their businesses, which have successfully implemented positive changes for the benefit of their employees.

“This year we have launched our Wellbeing Leader Training programme, a one-day course that will raise awareness of wellbeing and mental health in the workplace,” she says. “A Wellbeing Leader will be taught ways to spot those experiencing mental health issues and signpost support for someone who may be having a bad day at work and who doesn’t want to go to HR.” From there, Brenda tells me that this will lead to the launch of GibSams’ first Wellbeing at Work Conference that will take place on 11th May. “Going into the workplace is a developing part of our community outreach, which is an integral part of the ethos of the GibSams organisation,” she states. 

As part of their Education Outreach services GibSams, in conjunction with the Department of Education, held the ‘Now and Beyond’ Schools Festival last November – a one day event featuring online and in-person sessions accessible to pupils, parents and carers. Brenda says that they brought in the ‘Now and Beyond’ Team from the UK to hold workshops surrounding digital wellbeing and the use of social media. 

For those in the community who may otherwise have been alone on Christmas Day, GibSams held an ‘alternative’ Christmas lunch at the Thi Vietnamese restaurant where over sixty people were treated to a warm welcome and some great Vietnamese food.  Brenda says that it gave them the opportunity to be in the company of others and engage in conversation.  “We also ran an advertising video campaign on GBC focusing about not being alone at Christmas and how it is good to talk, because human interaction is of vital importance to our mental wellbeing.”

“This year we have also started monthly community coffee mornings at different venues,” Brenda states. “We buy coffee and breakfast and people from the community come along to talk to us to find out more about what we do, how they can get involved and how they can support us.”

Brenda explains that they have also just completed their first intake of new volunteers for this year. “Our ambition is to open the listening service up for extra hours.”

A new initiative for GibSams is their Seafarer service. “Seafarers are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues because they spend so much time at sea,” Brenda says. “Our parent organisation Befrienders set up a service for seafarers last year, and we have been asked to pilot a WhatsApp service for seafarers passing through the Strait of Gibraltar and in local waters.”

Fundraising and donations are, of course, a crucial factor for GibSams, enabling them to provide their continuing services to the local community. “A fun run is being held on 18th March starting in Casemates Square, raising funds for the team of ten local runners that are heading off to the London Landmarks half-marathon in April,” Brenda says, adding that on the 6th May they will be holding the Darkness into Light Walk as the official charity partner for Pieta. “This will be just one of the two hundred official walks for Darkness into Light in 2023 across 10 countries spanning 4 continents.”

Asked if she thinks that GibSams has made a difference in Gibraltar, Brenda replies “definitely”. “When we set up five years ago, we said that if we help one person then it was all worth it – but knowing that on average we get a call a day means that we have helped  a lot of people over that period of time.”  

“Our mission is to reduce the number of suicides in Gibraltar – we always say reduce rather than eradicate because you can never do that – but we also want people to call us if they are anxious, stressed, worried, or lonely and we want to get them at the low level grade of feeling not well rather than wait to get into the stage where they are feeling suicidal or they feel they have no other option.”

Brenda stresses that there is no shame in contacting GibSams. “People are now talking openly about how they are feeling, where previously nobody talked about it and nobody would admit they had a family member that had a mental health illness.”

“We want to let people know that they can call GibSams with no fear or judgement, without thinking that somebody is going to tell you what to do – and that hopefully will give you the comfort and the confidence to pick-up that phone or to chat online with us about your feelings.”

“GibSams is always looking for more volunteers, for people to fundraise and to raise awareness of the work that we do,” Brenda clarifies. “At the moment we have about eighty volunteers in total giving up their time.” If you feel that you can become a listening volunteer and commit to doing one listening shift a week, or would like to help in other ways, please get in touch with GibSams.   

More information can be found on the GibSams website:

Spring into Wellness

in Health & Beauty

As we head into spring, leaving behind those colder, shorter days, some of us may feel as if we are still in hibernation, and just as we spring clean our homes now is a great time to spring clean our mind, body and soul. Spring is the season when temperatures start to rise and the flowers start to bloom, so get rid of those cobwebs in your mind and take some time out for self-care. 

Maybe you are suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that can be associated with a decreased activity of serotonin, a brain chemical responsible for the regulation of mood and considered a ‘happy hormone’. Scientists are yet to understand the true cause of SAD, but research has raised several possibilities, and a lack of sunlight exposure is directly associated with Vitamin D synthesis within our bodies, and this plays an important role in serotonin levels in our bodies.


If you want to brush off those winter blues, there are many things that you can do to get you back to your old self, and one of those is exercise. 

Research has shown that exercise works wonders in alleviating the symptoms of depression due to the release of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, all hormones that are associated with mood regulation. Regular exercise also has the potential to improve your sleep and give your self-esteem a little boost, helping you combat those winter blues in more ways than one. Every little bit counts, so whether it’s a 15-minute walk outside, an indoor treadmill, or something more demanding, you’re on the way to finding a routine that works!

Joints, Bones & Muscles

With longer days and lighter evenings ahead, we can make the most of the new season by being more active outdoors again. Whether you’re running a marathon or simply going for a walk. Look after your joints with Jointace Collagen, developed by Vitabiotics nutritional experts and available from Holland & Barrett Gibraltar. These tablets provide a unique combinations of trace minerals, vitamins and nutrients, ideal for those with an active life, in sport or in later life.

Spring Clean your Gut 

70% of the immune system is located in the gut, so a balanced gut is the key to optimal wellness. The gut, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is a long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the back passage. One of the best ways to support a healthy internal balance is by adding more probiotics and prebiotics to our daily diet. Holland & Barrett Mega Potency Acidophilus Capsules combine approximately 3 billion bacterial cultures per capsule, providing an additional source of the micro-organisms that are naturally found throughout the digestive system. These mega potency rapid release capsules support gut health.

Recent research suggests there is strong a link between the brain and the gut – otherwise known as the “the gut-brain axis” – and when your mind is out of balance, everything can get just that little bit more challenging. H&B Tribiotic, is one of Holland & Barrett’s most advanced Biotic Gut Health range. Holland & Barrett Tribiotic Mind Balance is a pre-, pro- and post-complex which contains a clinically studied blend of 6 specially tailored bacteria strains, with added Ashwagandha, a natural herbal supplement which may support mental relaxation and contributes to general wellbeing, and Vitamin B12, which contributes to normal psychological function.

Eat Well, Feel Well 

A diet rich in nutrients can help boost your mood and energy levels, maintain your weight and keep you from giving in to those tempting sugar cravings. Include plenty of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables – especially those rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish, egg yolks and red meat. Vitamin D supplements such as Holland & Barrett Vitamin D3 100UG are a good option if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D in your diet and provide immune support, as well as bone and muscle support.

Healing Honey

Spring is the ideal season to adopt new habits, and swapping sugar for Manuka Honey, known for its healing properties and its ability to fight bacteria and, potentially, viruses too, is no hardship. Often described as a ‘superfood’, Manuka honey is up there with the best because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A spoonful of Manuka honey, whether straight from the spoon or stirred into your morning cuppa, can benefit your well-being. Manuka Pharm’s 100% genuine New Zealand Multifloral Manuka Honey from Holland & Barrett offers wide ranging benefits in every mouthful, thanks to an MGO (methylglyoxal, the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka honey so unique) of 70. Manuka honey is produced only in New Zealand, where keepers set up hives in wild areas filled with Manuka bushes. 

Social Interaction

It’s extremely important to keep the good times going and live like it’s a different season. Spending time with your friends can help relieve stress, give you a sense of belonging and improve your well-being. Meet them for a coffee, movie or lunch, talk to them on the phone or do something together online, if you need to strike that balance between alone time and social interaction. Bring that fun – and sense of normalcy – back to remind you how great life can be.

Advisory Information:

Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional and always read the label before use.

The Gibraltar Property Insight

in Features


Gibraltar is divided into several major residential areas, all uniquely different, and each with its own benefits. If you are looking to buy or rent a property in Gibraltar, and you are not fully aware of how the districts on the Rock differ from one another, Insight offers this easy guide to help you make up your mind as to where to start your search. It goes without saying that prices vary in the different districts, depending on location, infrastructure, availability of parking spaces, and other factors. 

Town Area

This is the heart of the Rock, and the area to which most of the tourists flock. Start at Casemates Square where you will find a plethora of al fresco restaurants, cafés and bars, then take a wander up Main Street, now pedestrianised, where there are a variety of retail shops, boutiques, convenience stores, restaurants and English pubs. The Town Area is a convenient place to live with everything within easy walking distance. Most of the residential property is located in the colonial style buildings and its worth exploring the many lanes and side streets that lead off Main Street where you will find townhouses, often split into apartments, set around courtyard patios. 


Plenty of choice for residential property on the Eastside, which is just a bus ride away from the town. Rows of brightly coloured houses sit along the beachside at Catalan Bay which lends a ‘village’ feel to this area. Once home to the Caleta Hotel, now demolished, it is set to be replaced by a new five-star Hilton Hotel. The soon-to-be completed E1 residential development offers an array of studios, one bedroom apartments and penthouses. Further along, located directly above Sandy Bay, Both Worlds is a residential complex that offers spectacular views. 

South District

As it says, the South District is situated at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar. It is a popular residential area, benefitting from local schools. Many of the properties boast spectacular views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the African coastline. Developments in this area include The Anchorage, Clifftop House, The Cliftons, Rosia Plaza and Vineyards as well as some exclusive high end developments including Buena Vista Park, The Sanctuary and New Aloes.

The South District is said to enjoy its own micro-climate and during the summer months the areas of Camp Bay, a small rocky beach with a natural swimming pool, and Little Bay, a natural rocky cove that also offers a small children’s pool, are popular with bathers.  


The main commercial hub of Gibraltar, this area is where many luxury developments have been constructed on reclaimed land, including Europort Business Centre and a mix of apartments and commercial spaces in Atlantic Suites. Other developments in this area include Europlaza, Waterport Terraces, Harbour Views, Peninsular Heights, Westview Park and Montague Gardens. Westside is also where the Port of Gibraltar is situated, sitting alongside Morrisons supermarket and St. Bernard’s Hospital. 

Queensway Quay Marina is situated along the Westside. Only a short walk from the town centre, this offers a tranquil setting where you can enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the many restaurants lining the quayside. Ragged Staff Wharf, as the quayside at Queensway Quay Marina is called, is probably the oldest wharf in Gibraltar. Apart from Ragged Staff Wharf, the residential areas include Cormorant Wharf at its northern end; The Sails, which is lined on both sides by yacht berths; Ordnance Wharf with apartments, penthouses and town houses, and an open air swimming pool, framed on its western edge by The Island, a private development of nineteen luxury houses on reclaimed land. 

Upper Town

Upper Town is reached by traversing steep hills and narrow streets, but once there it offers great views over the city centre. Also known as the ‘old town’, this area is being revitalised with many of the heritage buildings receiving investment. Parking spaces are at a premium, but the good news is that Upper Town is only a five minute walk down to Main Street! Within easy reach of the protected. Nature Reserve, the Moorish castle and some of the important fortifications that reflects its history. 

North District

This is where Devils Tower Road, the long road that runs almost from the Airport to the beaches, can be found. The area is undergoing a transformation, and whereas in the past it was known as an industrial zone mainly housing warehouses, construction firms and car dealers, plans are afoot to revitalise this district into a more residential district with contemporary apartment blocks where people can work, live in communities and socialise. 

Ocean Village

A short walk from Gibraltar Airport, the border crossing, and the World Trade Center, Ocean Village and adjacent Marina Bay offer a mix of residential apartments, commercial space and offices as well as boasting the berth for the world’s first five star yacht hotel, the Sunborn Gibraltar. 

Ocean Village is Gibraltar’s prime destination for yachts, with a new superyacht marina under construction, and with a reputation as an entertainment and party area there are plenty of international bars and restaurants overlooking the marina that are frequented by crew members locals and tourists alike. Apartment buildings such as Royal Ocean Plaza, Grand Ocean Plaza, Majestic Ocean Plaza and Ocean Spa Plaza offer great sea views, some with large terraces and communal pools. 

Whatever you are looking for in terms of property, whether to live, rent, or as an investment, there is definitely something for everyone here in the different districts of Gibraltar

Exciting ‘news’ from GBC

in Features

Insight’s Jo Ward was invited to Broadcasting House by CEO James Neish to hear about the new plans that will be rolled out from 6th March and to go behind the scenes to sit-in on a test for a new visualised radio programme. 

Having left Gibraltar in 2016 to pursue a career in the UK, working for the BBC and helping to set up Times Radio amongst other jobs, James Neish returned to the Rock in October last year to start his role as CEO of Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). Having been appointed back in June, James says that he had started reviewing what needed to be done that summer so that so he could hit the ground running with the changes that will take place in March.  

“One of the first things I did was a public survey, both face-to-face in Main Street and then online, with about 600 respondents,” he states. What came out of the survey was really encouraging, with 80% rating GBC as highly important to the community. 97% said that they consume GBC news in some form and the 8.30 pm GBC news programme continues to be a firm favourite in households. “The survey also showed a huge rise in how people consume on social media and on radio, but more than anything what we took away from this was how valued GBC is to the community and how much people want it,” says James. “I also held one-to-one meetings with all members of staff to help shape the plans for the future.”

James comments that these changes were part of the vision that he presented to the Board when applying for the job, but that they are also heavily influenced by the feedback from listeners and viewers, and from the staff. “Having the vision is the easy part – it is how you deliver it – and one of the things that we have to be very careful about and which we are eager to get right is how to sustain anything that we change.”

“Broadcasting is not an exact science, so we will try some things – and some will work and some might not work and then we will change them in 3 or 6 months’ time.” The way we consume news is constantly changing and at a time when there is so much access to information, the role of a public service broadcaster has never been more important. “There is so much noise out there and somebody has to filter through all that noise and sometimes access to information is very difficult to find, and it is important as a responsible broadcaster for us to filter through all that and give you the unfiltered version of news so that the public can make up their own minds.”

At his first staff meeting, James spelt out his vision for GBC using the word LOCAL as an acronym: L for local, O for originality, C for community, A for audiences and L for live. 

“You will notice that we have more of a live element in news, trying to capture it as it happens,” he explains.  “One of the big changes that we are implementing from March is a massive revamp of our lunchtime news hour which at the moment has Gibraltar Today as a working title.” The idea is that it will be a live programme with interviews which sets the agenda earlier in the day than GBC News at 8.30 pm. “This lunchtime edition is going to be on radio and also visualised for television, and it’s really exciting and a big step away from a traditional radio programme,” James tells me. Jonathan Scott will produce and present the new programme, with Ros Astengo taking over GBC’s weekly current affairs programme Viewpoint. 

Schedule Changes

James explains that from 6th March all the TV schedule changes. “The new schedule will allow for about two and a half hours of extra local content a week – that is 10 hours of local content a month.” One of the things that came out of the survey was that people were not happy with the number of TV repeats. “We are being led by the data, so that is something that we are addressing and all programmes will go down to just one repeat, and we will ensure that before and after the 8.30 pm News, there will never be a repeat, except for one slot on the Fridays.”

The changing face of news consumption means that people want to know about breaking stories as soon as they happen. “We will be starting hourly summaries on radio between 7 am and 6 pm and between 9 am and 2 pm at weekends which will be a massive Newsroom led initiative,” James says. “The idea is that we will also have sixty second flash summaries, with the three top stories of the day, but by sitting just before the World Service they also give us the opportunity to extend that bulletin in ‘Breaking News’ scenarios.”

To celebrate its 60th Anniversary as Gibraltar’s national broadcaster, GBC is delving into the archives to broadcast content from the past on Friday evenings in a programme titled GBC Rewind, featuring snippets of news and music performances. “We have spent a lot of money digitising the archives and we want to share it with viewers and listeners.”  

With all the extra content and new programming, there comes a lot of technicalities. James talks about the brand changes. “The studio is getting a bit of a revamp and a fresher look. That is phase one and then depending on listener and audience feedback we will continue to develop what has gone down well and whatever doesn’t work will go.”

Something that James wants to achieve with the proposed changes is for the corporation to be seen as one GBC. “We have eighty staff here but they are divided, for internal purposes, so for example we have television, radio, newsroom, engineering and admin departments and I am keen for us to work as one GBC.”

James leads me up to the TV Production Team area. Although having started as a production trainee back in 1996 at GBC, James has never worked in the new GBC building. “Until only last week I still got lost in the corridors,” he laughs. The large room is busy and full of staff members working at computers. James introduces me to Guy who is putting content from TV programmes onto the socials. “Instead of doing a promo for the programme, we now pull what we think was a good quote and put that online and we get a lot more engagement,” Guy says, adding that some of the videos have done extremely well with more than 10,000 views, with people now discovering programmes that they may not have known of before. As we speak the social media counter on Guy’s windowsill clicks over showing Likes in real time. “It’s exciting and really makes us feel part of what is going on.” James’ long-term plan would be to try and expand with a Digital department. “It’s a big task, but one that needs to be undertaken. 

We move across to the team that creates the content for producers and visual assistants. “Kyle is our designer extraordinaire,” James says. “We mostly use our handbook to reference when we start to design or make changes seasonally for our brand, so we refer back to the thinking and conceptualisation that we have put a lot of effort into before, why we chose what colours and shapes – everything has a meaning behind it,” Kyle elucidates. “The same way that we use green screen in the studios, we can use green screen within graphics, and here we are exploring some concepts for podcasts on radio and TV and also trying to build a brand around Jonathan Scott’s new programme.” 

James introduces me to Wes, the Continuity and Online Producer. “The person who I drive insane with all the technicalities,” James comments, explaining that although local is very important, they also commission programmes and that Wes looks after all the imports. Wes tells me that even until five years ago they used to receive things on tape but that everything is now transferred digitally. “The other part of what I do is to make sure that all the content is prepared for transmission and then I oversee the transmission and keep things ticking.”

James tells me about yet another change coming along from 6th March. “We are going to have a live weather TV presenter, a meteorologist, commissioned from the UK – with a segment especially made for us in association with the Met Office in Gibraltar. Wes has been coordinating with our provider on the technicalities, working out how those files are going to reach us and to make sure that it is here and ready to broadcast on time.”

Time to head back down to the basement area where the radio studios are situated to meet Jonathan Scott and Principal Engineer at GBC John Balestrino. Jonathan’s new programme will be broadcast from here but as it will also be live on television, things such as lighting, camera positions and microphone angles have to be decided upon. The idea is to have a stream of guests coming in, so the studio will accommodate a co-host as well as Jonathan and a main guest. I’m given the opportunity to sit in the guest chair to see how it will look on camera and I ask Johnathan how he feels about the new show. “It is exciting,” he replies. “I used to do radio, and I love radio, and I am looking forward to the connection that you get with the audience because it feels much more immediate than television and enables you to make an individual connection with people.”

 “The crux of the show is to develop the news of the day sooner, between 1 and 2 pm,” James states. “So if a news story breaks, the audience don’t have to wait until the evening to get more on it.”

Our last stop on my tour was up to the Master Control Room, where Programme Controller Kristle sits in front of a bank of screens showing everything that is on air. “We are here to test putting our visualised radio programme on air,” Wes says. “During the daytime we have what we call the day loop – where we run promos with Radio Gibraltar sound over the top – so the idea for this room is to get from the day loop to the new radio programme which is going to come up via the camera feeds, and thanks to the engineering team we have managed to get that through and tested a few weeks back.” Kristle demonstrates by switching to screens showing the two radio studios downstairs. 

As the end of my tour at GBC comes to an end, the conversation turns to what Jonathan should wear on air – a suit, shirt and tie or a jumper? He laughs as he says: “you can bet the first thing that people comment on is whether I dress appropriately or whether I need a haircut!”

Valentine’s Day Proposals

in Features

Valentine’s Day is often claimed to be the most romantic day of the year, but how did the 14th of February come to be celebrated as a day of romance? It goes way back 270 AD when, according to legend, Saint Valentine of Rome was beheaded

Interestingly, there was not just one Saint Valentine but three who lived during the 3rd century AD, but the patron saint of lovers is most likely to be Saint Valentine of Rome who was allegedly jailed by Roman Emperor Claudius II for his deceit and unwillingness to obey the emperor’s orders to stop performing Christian marriages and aiding persecuted Christians. 

With Valentine’s Day now being synonymous with love and relationships, it makes it the perfect day to propose to a loved one and there will be no forgetting the memorable date. So how should you go about creating that magical proposal? 

There was a trend a couple of decades ago for dropping an engagement ring in a glass of bubbles or popping it in some sort of food over a romantic dinner! Beware… this could lead to a disastrous mishap, a broken tooth, a choking incident or maybe even a trip to A&E if the ring is swallowed!

How about a beach proposal? What could be more romantic than being beside a beautiful ocean, feeling the soft sand between your toes, maybe at sunset with not many other people around you? Take your partner for a romantic stroll and just happen upon the proposal that you had written in the sand earlier (during low tide of course), or lead them to where you have spelt out your request with sea shells. 

Water has traditionally said to be a lucky setting to ask the question. Whether that’s sitting by a lake, river or the ocean, in a yacht, boat or canoe, being on or near water is the one of the most perfect private and intimate places for a proposal. Just hold tight to that engagement ring as there was an infamous marriage proposal in a romantic lakeside setting that went horribly wrong when the groom-to-be dropped the ring through decking and into the water.

Nothing says ‘I love you’ louder than a ‘will you marry me’ banner flying behind a light aircraft high in the sky for all to see. This is the ultimate way to deliver your romantic message, although it may be a bit costly. Aerial letter banners can be customised with your own special proposal and can be flown in certain areas. Arrange a date and take your partner for a day at the beach or another suitable venue, and once you spot the plane, ask them if they can read what it says on the banner.

For something that little bit extraordinary, proposing at the top of a mountain during sunrise will certainly create that unforgettable memory. One of the most beautiful places in Gibraltar is at the top of the Rock. Take the cable car or, if you are both feeling fit, climb the Mediterranean Steps for the perfect proposal location. Another spectacular venue is Gibraltar’s Skywalk which offers breath-taking views spanning three countries and two continents. 

Lighthouses are beacons of hope, so proposing to your loved one by a lighthouse could be symbolic of your hopes for the future. Gibraltar’s Trinity Lighthouse at Europa Point is situated on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. With views of North Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar on a clear day, it could be the perfect setting for a proposal – but try to arrange for someone to be around to photograph the surprise event for posterity. 

One of the most beautiful places to pop the question is somewhere surrounded by nature amid beautiful greenery and stunning flowers in a calming environment. The Alameda Botanic Gardens lie at the foot of the Rock of Gibraltar and are an oasis of tranquillity in a busy city. Once your proposal has, hopefully, been accepted, the Gardens are also the perfect location for an intimate dream wedding ceremony. The Italian style garden, known as ‘the Dell’, is a spectacular spot in which to tie the knot.

Incurable romantics would love the incredible experience of a fairy tale proposal in a castle. There are beautiful castles in Europe that could offer the ideal setting. Think about organising a private dinner just for two where you would be surrounded by roses, candles and serenaded by musicians. 

If you’re feeling brave, ask your loved one to marry you over an aeroplane’s loudspeaker system, maybe channelling your inner Adam Sandler when his character Robbie enlisted Billy Idol and some flight attendants for an in-flight song and proposal to Julia (Drew Barrymore) in the film ‘The Wedding Singer’.

If flying high isn’t for you, getting engaged at the top of a Ferris wheel is definitely something different. Ask the operator for a private cabin and if they can stop the wheel at the very top, then drop down on one knee in the expectation that you will hear the word ‘yes’. Most large cities have skyscrapers with observation decks from which you can see the whole area or rooftop restaurants and bars which would be impressive places in which to get engaged. 

Whether you’re popping the question on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, at home or in some other magical place, in a private setting or a public place, no matter where you choose to propose – it’s what comes from your heart and the words that you use that will make it unforgettable. 

Love your wellness inside and out

in Health & Beauty

Are you ready to make the diet and lifestyles changes to help you live a happy and fulfilled life?

What goes on inside your body is as important as what is happening on the outside. Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms living inside your gut? Scientists are still discovering exactly how our gut impacts our wider health and wellbeing, but we do know that friendly, or ‘good’, bacteria play a key role.

Bacteria are tiny living organisms – usually consisting of just one cell – that can be found just about anywhere, including our guts! Many strains of bacteria are ‘good’ and help our body perform certain tasks. However, some are harmful and can cause infections and illness.

A healthy gut is important because it allows you to receive vital nutrients from the foods you eat. We also need good quality gut health to thrive in all aspects of life, with on-going research showing that having a healthy gut may have an effect on immunity and sleep.

What we eat has a big impact on the health of our gut and our individual microbiome (the name for the collection of bacteria and microorganisms that live inside our bodies) can affect our metabolism, digestion and weight. Eat a microbiome diet full of foods that help to support levels of good bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut diet plan is rich in whole foods and nutrients – basically, foods that help your digestive system work at its best – and less processed and harder-to-digest foods. 

Fruit and Vegetables

Getting your 5 a day is essential for a healthy, balanced microbiome. Aim to fill your plate with a variety of fresh fruit and veg like broccoli, spinach, carrots, blueberries, apples and strawberries.

Herbs and spices

Flavour your food with aromatic spices like ginger and turmeric. Research suggests that adding herbs and spices to your food could positively affect the gut microbiota composition

What are the symptoms of poor gut health? 

Bloating, Heartburn, Indigestion, Diarrhoea and Constipation, Stomach pain, Acid reflux, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Fullness and Heaviness, Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Gastritis and Regurgitation.

There are some more serious conditions which would be diagnosed by a doctor. These include: Ulcerative colitis -a long-term health condition where the colon and rectum are inflamed – and as a result little ulcers develop on the lining of the colon; Crohn’s disease – a type of inflammatory bowel disease; and Coeliac disease – a disease caused by bad reactions to gluten. 

For good gut health, try probiotic supplements. They can help fill in the gaps in your diet, support your good gut bacteria and even strengthen your gut lining. Holland & Barrett’s Probio 50+ is a new combination of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, ginkgo biloba, curcumin & omega 3 fish oil specifically formulated for those over 50 wishing to retain youthful health & vitality. It is specially formulated to help maintain healthy brain & cardiovascular function, support collagen formation for the normal formation of blood vessels, cartilage, teeth, bones, gums and skin & reduce tiredness & fatigue.


You may have never heard of Ashwagandha, but this ancient medicinal herb is a small evergreen shrub that originates from parts of India, the Middle East and Africa. 

As well as being an ancient herb, it’s also known for being an adaptogen – containing a mix of amino acids, herbs and vitamins that can help the body manage stress.

Try Dr Dunner PhytoVitality Ashwagandha, Basil & Biotin Capsules from Holland & Barrett, a mix of beautifully balanced botanicals that are rich in phytochemicals and nutrients blended with Biotin, which contributes to normal psychological function and the normal functioning of the nervous system. Alternatively, opt for USN’s Ashwagandha which uses a patented Ashwagandha extract to ensure high quality and concentration. This helps improve the body’s resistance to stress and helps maintain mental balance whilst supporting the onset of sleep, and it also supports learning, memory and recall.

Glow from the Inside Out. 

More and more studies are linking good skin to a healthy gut, so not only will you feel good inside but you will look good on the outside. If your hair, skin and nails are looking and feeling healthy then the chances are that the rest of you is too! 


Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is found in natural food sources like pulses, nuts and fish and also in a wide variety of foods, including liver, egg yolks and yeast. Biotin supports the maintenance of normal skin, hair, and mucus membranes, amongst many other body functions. We need Biotin for processing the nutrients from our food, energy release, healthy hair, skin and mucous membranes and normal nervous system and mental health. Biotin is a water-soluble nutrient, so we can’t store it in our body, but the bacteria that live in our guts can produce a small amount. Boost your Biotin levels with Solgar Biotin Capsules available from Holland & Barrett. 

PANCHO CAMPO – Creating change for the future planet

in Features

Born in Chile, Pancho Campo was a talented tennis player in his youth. “I wish I had been more talented, that’s why I did not climb in the ATP rankings, but I became a very successful coach,” he explains. Pancho was Captain of the Chilean Olympic Team in Barcelona 1992, then travelled the ATP Tour for a couple of years, working for the Academy with students such as Andrea Agassi and Pete Sampras. 

“It was whilst I was coaching on the Tour that I was hired by the Government of Qatar to be their tennis director and their Davis Cup coach,” Pancho states, going on to add that he was very honoured to be the coach of the current Emir and the President of the Paris Saint-Germain football team.

Pancho Campo is a man who has managed to combine his passions in life with his business life. “My role model has always been Richard Branson, and like Richard Branson I have tried to turn all my passions into business – so therefore sports, music, wine and lately in the last ten years the environment.”

When he retired from tennis about thirteen years ago, Pancho created his own events management company. “By default we started organising tennis exhibitions and tournaments with the likes of Pat Cash, Stefan Edberg, Andre Agassi and Emilio Sánchez Vicario, but eventually we moved into organising music concerts with artists such as Sting, Pink Floyd, Tom Jones and the Gypsy Kings.”

“Music was always a big part of my life and it was always a dream of mine to be able to organise a concert, so our first concert was in the year 2000 with Enrique Iglesias when he was number one in the charts, and that went so well that we continued organising events for many years,” Pancho says. 

Admitting that there are still things he can’t do in this life, Pancho says that he is terrible at playing an instrument or soccer. “If you ask me what my number one asset is, it is event management. I am a good organiser whether that is a concert, a conference or a sporting event.”

At an age when many people think about retiring, Pancho decided to something meaningful. “I have been very lucky in life and that is what led me to create the Planet Future Foundation as a legacy to my kids, but also you have got to be thankful and when life has treated you well I think it is nice to give back to society,” says Pancho.

It was in 2003 when he started taking climate change seriously. “I love snow skiing and I started listening to people complaining that the quality of the snow was not the same any more, that the seasons were different – sometimes shorter, sometimes longer,” he explains. 

In those days it was called global warming and at the same time Pancho was preparing to become a Master of Wine. It was in 2006 when he realised there was a direct link between wine and the changing climate and this led to him to organise an international conference on climate change and wine. “It was a crazy idea,” he laughs. “A big flop, because in those days nobody spoke about climate change.” Only about 80 people showed up to what Pancho hoped would be a 200-person event, however two very good things did come out of it. Many of those who attended were journalists from international media outlets like National Geographic, the BBC and the wine media who “were all very curious to know who the crazy guy was talking about climate change and the wine industry,” Pancho jokes. The second important thing is that two months after the event Pancho got a phone call from the office of Vice President Al Gore inviting him to attend a two-day training in Seville for climate change leaders. “I told him everything that we had learnt about climate change and wine in our first conference and I convinced him to be my key note speaker at the next edition.” Eighteen months later VP Al Gore had released the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ – he won an Oscar, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and won Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award. “So when he showed up in Barcelona he was probably the most famous human being on earth at the time.”

“The conference that had started out with just eighty delegates on the first edition then went up to eight hundred people coming from more than seventy countries in just two years – all the big names of the wine industry were there, and that allowed us to recover what we had lost in the first edition, but it also gave use the encouragement to continue doing this.” In future editions as well as VP Al Gore who came to five of the events, Pancho welcomed Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and in 2018 he managed to convince US president Barack Obama to be the key note speaker at an event in Porto, Portugal.

It was during the pandemic lockdown period that Pancho managed to put together everything that was required to set up the Planet Future Foundation, an NGO registered in Miami. “It is a fully non-profit organisation with the main goal being to create awareness of the impacts of the climate crisis, the damage we are doing to the environment and to show the solutions available. We are doing this through expeditions and trips we started organizing early this year to enable us to gather data and record documentaries,” explains Pancho. 

The first fund raiser that Pancho is putting together is an event in Gibraltar on 16th March at The Sunborn called Exploring the Climate Crisis. “We are going to show some footage that we have recorded in Greenland, in the Caribbean and in Florida about how climate change has impacted different parts of the world and how we are all connected, and then we are going to have a panel with local experts including Minister John Cortes, Lewis Stagnetto from the Nautilus Project and Dr Keith Bensusan from the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens.”

This will be followed by a Charity Wine Gala Dinner with wines provided by a winery that is involved with environmental issues where each wine will be presented by a representative of the winery trying to explain to the audience what the relationship is between wine and climate change.

The most important message that Pancho wants to get across is to “vote for leaders who have a climate program compatible with our ideas.” This is particularly important when addressing young people who are going to vote for the first time. “Don’t vote for the person that is better looking, don’t vote because your pal is voting for that candidate or your family has voted for them, read their program and it has to be compatible with your beliefs.”

Pancho concludes by saying that once you elect a politician, a business leader or a community leader, you have to make them accountable. “It is your right as a citizen and your obligation to question your leaders if they are not doing what they promised to do and if we start choosing the right leaders that care about the issues that are important to us then we can start seeing some change.”

To register for the dinner email: 

For more information go to: 

Making the Better Best

in Features

The Chief Minister – PART 2

Following on from our interview with Gibraltar’s Chief Minister in the last issue, we find out how The Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP deals with stress and how he juggles family life with a hectic schedule. 

Stress affects all of us sometimes, no matter what type of work we do or don’t do, whether you are the CEO of a large company, a member of staff or the head of government. “I believe I am the only Chief Minister who has had all of his issue in office,” The Hon Fabian Picardo says, “so this is a normality for my children.” For the Chief Minister this can mean long hours with lots of travel and that can make achieving a balance between work and family life difficult.

“From the very first day that I was elected and entered No. 6, I have wondered whether it was going to be my last day and I think that is the only healthy way to approach it, and I see myself only as the current Chief Minister of Gibraltar and I tell my children that Daddy is a lawyer – who is presently doing a job in Government – so that they understand that Mummy and Daddy are both lawyers and that is what they do and that I am just doing this for now.”

The Chief Minister admits that 2021 was the toughest year he has ever had in his life. “It wasn’t my toughest year in Government – it was my toughest year in life,” he states, going on to say that 2022 was slightly better but still not easy. “You don’t sign up for a job like the job I do if what you want is an easy ride, but I didn’t quite expect some of the ups and downs that we have had to go through.”

Asked how he deals working in a high stress environment, the Chief Minister says: “to tell you the truth I don’t feel stress for the simple reason that I learnt very early on some basic rules about life.”

“When I was in school my mother always used to say to me ‘I’m never going to ask you to do anything other than your best, so don’t think I am going to expect that you should do things that you cannot do, but you must do your best’ and whenever I used to do something she used to say ‘that’s good – make the good better, make the better best’ and I have taken that with me through life.”

Outlining his daily routine, The Hon. Fabian Picardo says that he wakes up very early. “The day begins at 6.30 am and the first thing I do is to start going through emails and WhatsApp’s.” He spends the next hour or so reading the relevant Gibraltar, Spanish and UK national newspapers, listens to the UK radio, watches some Spanish television programmes and listens to the Gibraltar news. “All of this whilst I am doing some physical training and trying to answer those emails, before I then I take my children to school.”

Whenever he can snatch some extra minutes, such as getting in to the car or walking down to the office, the Chief Minister continues to try to look at and deal with messages. “I carry on doing that through the day and I won’t stop that until about 1 am when I go to sleep,” he says, joking that he needs more sleep than Joe Bossano needed! Margaret Thatcher is famously said to have slept for only four hours a night. “I need between five and a half to six hours sleep, and what I take from that is that it is not humanly possible to do more without affecting my health.”

Heeding his mother’s advice, Fabian Picardo says that he does his best to answer all the emails and to deal with all of the documents on a daily basis. “I try to bring my best to it even if I am tired and therefore I don’t feel that I am stressed because I feel that I have done as much as I could do.”

Even if he does find time to put his feet up, to read a novel or watch a movie with the family, the Chief Minister says that he tends to be working as well. “That is what stops me from being stressed,” he says, “knowing that I have done as much as I can and as best as I can, and I know that my parents would be proud.”

There is, however, one thing that seems to have an adverse effect on his mental health. “I was doing Wordle as a bit of relief because sometimes looking away from something also helps you to see something different in the problem that you were dealing with, but that made me stressed!”

Christmas survival guide

in Features

Christmas is coming and the excitement is building. Alright, I know it’s early, but twinkling lights are already evident in shopping centres and the sentimental adverts that cajole us into buying lots of Christmas goodies that we don’t really need have started to be shown on television. 

So what is the secret to having a happy and stress free Christmas?  It’s meant to be a time of good cheer, but for some it can be anything but merry!

Mum on the Rock has a few tips that may help. 


It’s only one day. Why do we all get ourselves so worked up over cooking the Christmas dinner when it’s really not much different to preparing a Sunday roast?


Present buying can be stressful, especially for those of us on a budget. Teaching children to understand how fortunate they are that they receive lots of gifts is important, so a nice idea can be to also make Christmas about giving to others. Asking them to donate one of their presents to a charity of their choice will help them learn that not everybody is as lucky as they are.

Supermum’is a myth!

 “I did all my Christmas shopping four months ago,” she exclaims. Whilst it can be a good idea to pre-plan and look out for bargains, how many of us realistically buy next year’s Christmas presents in the January sales? 

Make your freezer your friend

Leaving everything until the last minute can be exhausting, so take advantage of your freezer and fridge and take the chaos out of Christmas.  Most all your Christmas dinner dishes can be frozen or put in the fridge beforehand.


Make a list – and check it twice! Well, maybe don’t do that, but definitely making a list will ensure that you don’t forget to buy a present for Auntie Sue or omit to buy the cranberry sauce. 


Nobody can be expected to do everything, so divvy up the jobs. Get someone to lay the table the day before, get someone else to peel the potatoes and make sure that someone else is in charge of buying batteries. Toys without batteries on Christmas Day equals disaster, and nobody wants to make that trip to the garage to buy some. 

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