Feature

Walking the Talk

in Features

“Putting your words into action. Showing that you mean what you say by actively doing it yourself. It is a version of the everyday phrase ‘practice what you preach”. 

“Truly great leaders are those who do not have double standards and who practice what they preach. Great leaders believe in a cause wholeheartedly and dedicate their lives to leadership by example.” 

Dictionary of HRM


We do not all need to be great leaders. We do not all need to be leaders at all. However, particularly in these times of great transition, I believe that it is essential that each individual becomes the leader in their own life and by so doing inspire others to do the same. Given that this is a big departure for so many, what steps can people take to effect this?

Find a philosophy that works for you, identify your core values and beliefs and refine these until they sit comfortably in your heart. Your basic, instinctive sense of right and wrong. Congruency is paramount so start with small steps and be sure to be congruent with your philosophy, whatever it may be. It is very easy to get caught up in the ‘spiritual revolution’ of the times and we have to be vigilant in recognising the activity of the Luciferian Light. As soon as we start to grow spiritually, it is all too easy to become caught up in the shallow energies which abound and masquerade as the Christ light, the pure Light. Many committed light workers can be easily seduced by false prophets and there are many of them around, recruiting for the other side. So, read books that speak to your soul and do not read books that you are not willing to apply to your daily life. Walking the talk applies all day every day.  We do not put time aside to walk our talk and then do what we feel like at other times. By the same token keep it light and be gentle with yourself. Gentle but firm. We all slip up but once you have heard the truth you can’t unhear – you can slip up but not give up!

As soon as you start to grow on your spiritual path then the challenges will arise. And you will be tested. These tests take many forms and catch us unawares. The Universe (God) will present you with the same people, again and again, until you can see them differently. You know the relationship with the new guy/girl which is so refreshingly different from the last one that ended in disaster? Except, when it all goes south again, you realise that you’ve been here before? Clearly there is an issue or pattern that needs resolving before you can move forward from the ego level of love to the soul level on your way to the divine level. This can be done using deep inner work or reflection therapy with the help of a congruent and spiritually evolved therapist. And by learning the most powerful technique of them all – handing over to the Universal or Source energy.  

Karma says that we keep coming back until we learn to love on the divine level and in order to achieve this, we must learn how to walk our talk.  And you will be given opportunity after opportunity to do just that. If you remember that only love is real then you can monitor yourself carefully to do the next right thing whatever is happening in your life. Any thoughts of hurt, resentment, revenge, betrayal etc can, albeit with practice, be nipped in the bud and moved out of the way to leave space only for love. If the feeling of love doesn’t come easily (and it takes time) then simply offer your intention of love and ask your higher power to do it on your behalf. It works.

The body, as we know, is the temple of the soul. The vessel for the soul to live in during its life experience. It may be that the attraction between bodies is simply a conduit to connecting us soul to soul in order to ascend and this explains the human desire for physical love even though the actual love we are seeking is on a soul level. And, remember, ascension is a growing process not a going one. . 

Once you start on this path there is no going back.  Nor is there any standing still. You can only go forward. At your own speed. Everything worth achieving is worth taking slowly so slow down and enjoy the trip.

Whatever assertions you make, whatever you claim, the Universe will call you out on it. As Michael Mirdad says ‘Tests will burn you to a crisp to find out if there is any gold in you’.   

In order to see reality, we need to stop seeing with the physical eyes. Our souls are old and wise and, in their pursuit of ascension, they are pushing through something much more than the eyes can see. 

Walking your talk is about respecting yourself and your boundaries. Healthy boundaries and the ability to honour those boundaries is essential. It is about owning and integrating your higher self. As light warriors in a spiritual war, we have a duty to walk our talk. To shine our light, to walk our talk and to make a difference. And we each have the power to do so. Individually you are powerful …… together we are invincible. Let’s go!

Kate Mchardy MA(Hons) PGCE MSPH Spiritual coach, teacher and healer. katemch@gmail.com / Tel: +44 7712889534. Facebook: The University of Light Group / Readings at The University of Light (@tarotangelspiritreadings). 

Horoscope June

in Features

ARIES (Mar 21 – Apr 20)

Pull yourself up by the bootstraps this month, Aries, and you’ll get done everything that needs to be done.  And, at the same time, step back into your power and be reminded of your own strength!

TAURUS Apr 21 – May 21) 

If you have been praying for healing miracles, Taurus, for yourself or another, then be confident that your prayers are being answered. It may take time but have faith. 

GEMINI (May 22 – Jun 22) 

Trust the Universe, Gemini, and have confidence to believe that the source energy shines healing light upon you. All you have to do is ask. You are a child of the Universe… like the sun and the stars your birthright is to be here!

CANCER (Jun 23 – Jul 22)

Open your heart this month, Cancer, and allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions. Especially all the forms of love.  Love for your partner, your parents, children, pets. And strangers. Feel your heart centre expand.  

LEO (Jul 23 – Aug 23) 

Trust your enthusiasm this month, Leo. Whatever you are passionate about is the direction you are being guided to follow. This is an opportunity to turn your passion into profit, as they say, and feel fulfilled. 

VIRGO (Aug 24 – Sep 23)

You may have been over giving of late, Virgo, or at least giving more than you have been receiving. So, it is time to balance giving and accepting as both are equally important. 

LIBRA (Sep 24 – Oct 23) 

Trust in Divine timing this month, Virgo.  Its not always easy to be patient, I know, but it does pay off and it’s a great life lesson. Being in a rush all too often causes us to miss the point and ruins the joy of anticipation. 

SCORPIO (Oct 24 – Nov 22) 

You must allow the gentler, or more feminine side of your nature to be to the forefront this month, Scorpio.  Make decisions from your heart even if your head is demanding that you pay attention to it instead!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 23 – Dec 21) 

We tend to glibly say that honesty is the best policy but it isn’t always the easiest path forward. But if you stay in touch with your true feelings regarding the situation then the correct path will flow. 

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 – Jan 20) 

Devote some quality, spiritual time to yourself this month, Capricorn. It is a good time for you to recommit fully to your values, relationships and your Higher Power. If you need to change a few things then that too is important. 

AQUARIUS (Jan 21 – Feb 19) 

Releasing old resentments is an important part of our personal and spiritual development, Aquarius.  In order to enjoy life to the level you deserve then forgiveness is the key. Not necessarily forgetting but letting go of those feelings that hold you in the past.

PISCES (Feb 20 – Mar 20) 

Gratitude is your key word this month, Pisces. The more you notice and appreciate your blessings, the everyday things as well as the bigger stuff, then you’ll find that the door to more of God’s gifts opens wider. 

Tips for living your best life

in Health & Beauty

Have you been feeling depressed lately? Do you feel unhappy and that life is passing you by? Society puts a lot of pressure on us to conform to what is expected of us, and in today’s world of social media it can often feel as if everybody else is living a healthy, fulfilled and happy life. 

True happiness comes from within so take action and follow our tips to help you live your best life:

Goal Setting

Make a list of what you want to achieve and then make that list visible so that it is something you see each day. It may be easier said than done, but consider what it is that you want and then think about the little things that bring you joy and keep you motivated. Where do you want to see your life going in the future? Put it out there and manifest your dreams to help you on the path to happiness.

Self-Care

Your physical, spiritual and emotional health are all connected so taking good care of all those things will increase the likelihood that you stay well in mind and body. Self-care is part of the answer to how we can all better cope with the daily stresses of life. Think about your hygiene, nutrition, and if necessary, seek medical attention.

Social Interaction 

Making friends and being part of a social group can help to build your sense of confidence. Consider joining groups surrounding your interests to make friends with like-minded people. Positive social interactions can enhance good health, whereas negative interactions can be harmful to your health and self-esteem. 

Relax and Enjoy

Try to do something you enjoy every day, whether that is reading, painting or watching your favourite television programme. Relaxation activities, such as taking a nice warm bath, getting a massage or trying some yoga techniques will help relax your body and in turn, your mind.

Laugh

Laughter is often said to be the best medicine, so even if you don’t feel like smiling or laughing – have a go. Positive emotions brought on by fake smiling or laughing can release endorphins in the brain, decrease stress hormones and build emotional strength leading to a reduction in anxiety and stress. 

Express Gratitude

Whilst it is easy to focus too much on worries and anxieties surrounding our mental and physical health, try to remember that each moment in our life is a gift and be grateful for what you have, rather than what you don’t have.  

Keeping active in the summer

in Health & Beauty

Most of us will admit to spending some days at home, lazing on the couch and grazing on snacks, particularly when the weather is bad. However the summer months in Gibraltar, that boast plenty of sunshine, provide a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy some physical activity! 

According to the Gibraltar Health & Lifestyle Survey (2021) 47.1% of adults report doing little or no physical activity during their daily routine. Only half of us walk to work, and around a quarter of us do no regular exercise at all…

Exercising and keeping active is essential to healthy living; it helps to maintain bone health, encourage muscle strength and flexibility, improves co-ordination and can prevent weight-gain which in turn is associated with cancer, type2 diabetes and heart disease. Physical activity is also seen to reduce stress levels and lift mood.

In order to stay at our healthiest, recommendations are for:

• Adults to be active for at least 150 minutes each week; with at least 10 minutes each day participating in activity that gets your heart beating faster, and your lungs working a bit harder.

• Children aged five to 16 to be active for at least 60 minutes each day.

• Children under five to get three hours of activity every day.

All activity counts and you can build it into your day by, for example, taking the stairs, getting active whilst doing housework or going for a walk. It is a good idea to participate in activities you enjoy with friends, family or as part of a group, as this can help to keep you motivated. You can search Change4Life for tips on family activities, and children can take a quick 3 question quiz to find inspiration for activities that may suit them.

Whilst the weather is hot, it is important to stay mindful of good hydration before/ during/ after physical activity. Water makes up two thirds of our body and is vital to ensuring healthy body functions. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and after bursts of exertion will help to prevent headaches, constipation, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other health problems. 

If you are outdoors in direct sunlight, you will also need to use sufficient sun cream to cover exposed body parts; reapplying after swimming if applicable. Most of us do not apply enough sunscreen, and as a guide you should use two teaspoons to cover your head, arms and neck (use two tablespoons to cover the entire body).

Walk, run, skip, cycle, swim, kick a ball, fly a kite… find any activity that will keep you moving this summer!

Read more: HealthyGibraltar.org/Physical-Activity

Get set for summer

in Health & Beauty

Summertime can mean outdoor fun, with walks in the countryside or on the beach, going to weddings, festivals or on picnics and enjoying barbecues with family and friends, but it can also mean allergies!

allergic rhinitis

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as hay fever are similar to those of a cold, and include sneezing, itching and a runny or blocked up nose. The good news is that there are many natural remedies you can implement to try and control your allergy symptoms.

Keep those sneezes at bay by making a cup of tea (especially green tea) which is great for helping stop allergies. Green tea is rich in allergy-busting quercetin, and antioxidants that may battle mucus.

Avoid spices and alcoholas these create histamines which can add to your seasonal allergies. Yeast-containing foods like alcohol and some breads also contain histamines, so avoid these when the pollen count is high. 

Omega-3 is great in helping to get rid of allergy symptoms. Try taking an Omega-3 supplement such as Holland & Barrett Pescatarian Extra Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil– a highly concentrated and purified Omega-3 Fish Oil selected from the finest deep sea, cold water fish.

Snacking on soluble fibre such as grain-like seeds, such as quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat, as well as seaweed, berries and green veg can help break down histamine. 

Food allergies

Whilst not always the case, allergies can run in the family. If a parent or both have one food allergy or more, the chances of it being passed down to their children is increased. In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Allergy-causing foods can sometimes trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems which can cause all sorts of uncomfortable problems, and have a big impact on your life There are some easy ways to promote good digestion and ease the effects of tummy troubles.

Eat leafy veg regularly to keep your gut happy. One of the reasons why they are so good for you is because they contain lots of fibre and can help regulate your digestion. Alternatively try Yogawhich can help the circulation around your intestines, reduce tension and help IBS. 

Ginger can contribute to healthy digestion. It’s anti-spasmodic and can help to relax your tum and get rid of stomach cramps. Add some to your dinner or to a mug of warm water to give your gut a helping hand.Try a sachet of Pukka Ginger Joy Latte (available from Holland & Barrett), a blend of ginger with turmeric and cinnamon,to kick-start your day. 

Eat foods high in fibre, which can help with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation and keep yourself hydrated. Water helps keep your intestines flexible and moves food along through them.

SUNSCREENS FOR SUMMER

It’s that time of year when we like to take advantage of the sunny weather, and applying sunscreen regularly is a crucial step to combat overexposure to the sun.SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and it’s a measure of how much protection sunscreen products offer against UVB rays. If you spend a lot of time outdoors – you may work outside, for instance – you should wear SPF 30 or higher, and it should be water-resistant sunscreen too and you should reapply it on a regular basis, ideally every two hours. Holland & Barrett Sunblock SPF30 & 50 is coral reef & marine & vegan friendly.

Turmeric

This yellow spice more commonly known as an ingredient in curry recipes contains many plant substances, but curcumin is the most powerful and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that has led turmeric to be used in beauty treatments for centuries. Adding turmeric into your beauty routine can help brighten skin, improve skin complexion and rejuvenate dull-looking skin. Turmeric can also reduce dark circles and can stimulate circulation, which helps reduce puffiness and under-eye darkness caused by poor circulation. 

If you have dry skin, turmeric can deeply hydrate and revitalise your skin while alleviating symptoms of dryness. Buy a packet of The Vital Ingredient Ground Turmeric from Holland & Barrett and give your skin a boost by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric with 2 teaspoons of dairy, almond or coconut milk to form a paste and smooth it onto dry skin. Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow with your usual moisturiser. Do this once or twice a week for softer, more hydrated skin.

Wrinkles

Wrinkles usually appear when your skin has been exposed to the sun and although they are an inevitable part of ageing, there are certain things you can do to help your skin fight back.

Obviously it’s a good idea to limit your sun exposure where possible and wear sunscreen. Experts believe vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, may help fight the damage from sunlight, pollution and other free radicals that are linked to ageing. Holland & Barrett Vitamin E Softgel Capsules are premium quality and one of the only natural forms of vitamin E supplements that are available on the health market. If you want to help protect the structure of your skin, minimise the appearance of fine lines and maintain the health of your hair and nails, collagen supplements might be able to help.Nourish your skin from within using Solgar Collagen Hyaluronic Acid Complexfrom Holland & Barrett.

The best of healthcare in Gibraltar

in Health & Beauty

Aria Medical group Cosmetic surgery 

College clinic Regal House Gibraltar

Vithas  Xanit Medical Centre  

Unit 1 Lexinton Midtown Queensway Gibraltar.

HC Cancer Centre 

HC Marbella International Hospital Spain

Holland & Barratt  

53 & 61 Main Street Gibraltar

John W Miles State registered Chiropodist 

Midtown Clinic Unit 1 Providence Midtown
Queensway Gibraltar


Vithas Xanit Gibraltar Clinic Launch

The Vithas Xanit Clinic opened its new facility in Midtown in the heart of Gibraltar where it will offer a great number of medical specialities.

The main objective of this new €1 million investment facility is to bring the services of Vithas Xanit International Hospital, a facility accredited by the Joint Commission International which has extensive experience in catering for patients from Gibraltar since 2006, closer to Gibraltarian patients

The new clinic is spread out over two floors and has five multi-purpose consulting rooms, as well as a nursing consultation, a blood-sampling room with a laboratory area and a radiology room using the most-advanced direct digital radiography technology. Patients will have access to a great number of specialities, including general practitioners, ophthalmology, cardiology, cardiovascular clinic services, pneumology, traumatology, urology, neurosurgery and paediatrics.

At the launch in May Mr. Jose Antonio Rodenas, Managing Director of the Vithas Xanit International Hospital, stated that “we are very happy to open this clinic, which will bring Vithas professionals closer to the Gibraltarian population”.

Ms. Mercedes Mengibar, Regional Managing Director of Andalucia for Vithas, added: “Vithas Xanit Gibraltar clinic will stand out for offering the same high-quality service offered in Vithas hospitals, providing the best patient experience”.

Among the heads of service who will lead each medical speciality will be: Dr Benjamin Lopez (Neurosurgery), Dr Juan Arocena (Urology), Dr Angel Cilveti (Ophthalmology), Dr Antonio Narvaez (Traumatology), Dr Pedro Aranda (Vascular Surgery), Dr Gomez Doblas (Cardiology) and Dr Gustavo De Luiz (Pneumology).  All these professionals have extensive experience as well as leading the services of their respective specialities at Vithas Xanit International Hospital or Vithas Malaga.

The project has been carried out by Art Designs Ltd, with Lopez Landa Interiors in charge of the construction. The design pays special attention to patient comfort, making the most of natural lighting and using cutting-edge design and technology. 

The Vithas Group is made up of 19 hospitals and 31 medical and assistance facilities distributed throughout 13 Spanish provinces, with 11,300 professionals who have successfully made it one of the leaders in Spanish healthcare. 


Everyone Deserves a healthy smile

June is the month to smile! The annual Smile Month campaign
provides the opportunity to highlight the importance of good oral hygiene, and stress that everyone deserves a healthy smile.

Why brush teeth?

Dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can affect a person’s ability to speak, eat, smile and socialise. Problems can be painful, and in some cases can lead to the need for interventions such as surgery under general anaesthetic to remove decayed teeth.

People with diabetes are more susceptible to dental problems, particularly those with type 2 diabetes. Having high blood sugar levels for prolonged periods of time contributes to this. More sugar in the blood can lead to more sugar in saliva, which feeds the mouth bacteria that cause gum disease and infections, which in turn can further increase blood sugar levels. 

Bacteria from the mouth can also travel in the bloodstream and studies show that those with poor dental hygiene have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. There is also an association between gum disease and cognitive impairment, particularly Alzheimer’s and vascular dementias.

Local considerations…

According to the Gibraltar Health and Lifestyle Survey (2021) 30.5% of adults report not having a dental check-up in the last three years. This has implications not only in terms of preventing problems, but by discovering them early for a swift resolution.

More than 2000 Gibraltarians are registered as diabetics, and heart disease remains one of our top 3 causes of death reported each year. Anything we can do to prevent poor health and improve our quality of life is worthwhile.

Did you know?…

When you smile your body releases endorphins – feel good hormones – which can have several health benefits e.g. boosting the immune system, reducing stress, relieving pain, reducing blood pressure, and elevating mood. A UK study found that a smile produced the same feel good effect as 2,000 bars of chocolate; now there’s a reason, if you needed one, to smile!

In order to keep your smile healthy, the Smile Month campaign stresses three key messages:

• Brush your teeth ☑

It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day; once at night and once during the day. Brushing before bed is particularly important as the flow of saliva that cleans our mouth slows down during the night, leaving us more at risk of decay.

Toothpaste should contain 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride; any excess can be spat out after brushing. Children under the age of 7 years should be supervised when brushing, and those aged 3 and under who do not have tooth decay can use a lower strength of fluoride (at least 1000ppm). Be sure to avoid rinsing the mouth with water straight after brushing as it reduces the paste’s preventative effect.

• Visit your dentist regularly ☑

Not only will your dentist check the general health of your teeth and gums but they will monitor your mouth for any early signs of problems. Leaving any problems untreated may make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it is best to be seen quickly.

• Cut down on sugar ☑

Sugar damages your teeth and causes tooth decay. Over time this can lead to fillings or tooth extractions. You can eat sweet foods, but you should try to limit them and keep them restricted to mealtimes. Having sugary foods and drinks between meals will harm your teeth; they encourages the build-up of plaque (bacteria and food particles that coat the teeth) and prevent your mouth from having the chance to recover.

If you do choose a sweet food as a snack, for example a piece of fruit – which is a nutritional food source containing natural sugar- try to drink water or milk afterwards to reduce your teeth’s exposure. If drinking something sweet or acidic use an open cup or opt to use a straw and position towards the back of the mouth, this helps to protect the tooth enamel (the tough outer covering of the tooth); do not offer babies fruit juice or fizzy drinks in a bottle or sippy cup.

For short discussions around all things oral health, check out some of the Podcasts available on DentalHealth.org 

If you have any queries about your own dental hygiene, speak with your dentist.

Police Insight

in Features

International Police Association Games 2022

A number of RGP officers are celebrating after competing in the International Police Association Games 2022 in Montenegro this week.

Held in the coastal town of Bar, 11 RGP officers battled it out in Shooting and a Futsal Tournament against 26 police forces from around the world.

The RGP came a respectable 9th in the Shooting out of 15 teams, with Sgt Sam Cottam finishing 27th, Sgt Craig Philbin coming 32nd and Inspector Albert Fernandez coming 36th in the individual shooting events out of 60.

Unfortunately, in the futsal competition the RGP’s team of eight did not progress past the group stages.

Sgt Craig Philbin, said: “Considering it was our first time using target air pistols we did remarkably well against some very accomplished shooters. The futsal team were unlucky not to progress past the group stages but gave some impressive performances.

“Abdel Rahmouni scored what is arguably the best goal of the tournament with a 20- metre rocket shot that left the goalkeeper helpless in the match against the Polish team. His post goal celebration has been the talk of the games and many friendships have been forged with our brother and sister officers from around the world.

“This is entirely in keeping with the motto of the IPA, which is ‘Service Through Friendship’.”

The IPA Games take place every two years and are open to serving police officers around the world.


Royal Gibraltar Police receives Silver Award

The Royal Gibraltar Police has received a Silver Award for supporting the Armed Forces community on the Rock.

The news comes just six months after the RGP signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, a Ministry of Defence scheme where organisations pledge to treat service personnel and their families with fairness and respect.

A Silver Award is given to organisations who actively demonstrate support of the Armed Forces and encourage others to do the same.

The scheme, which saw the RGP receive a Bronze Award last November, also encourages the RGP and the MOD to liaise with charities and organisations to help the local military community in a number of areas.

In recent years, several police forces and organisations in UK have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Commissioner of Police Richard Ullger, said: “We are very proud to have received this award. A number of our serving officers and staff come from a Forces background. The military has also been an integral part of Gibraltar’s history for the past 300 years. So we will support the Armed Forces in any way that we can.”

The Commissioner added that the RGP are also encouraging local businesses, community groups and individuals to work with the Force, by pledging their support to armed forces personnel and their families, as well as to reservists and veterans.

Colonel Mark Underhill OBE DL, Chief Executive at the North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, we are honoured and delighted to be able to recognise the outstanding support and commitment given to the Armed Forces Covenant by businesses and organisations through the Employer Recognition Scheme awards.

“Each recipient has demonstrated not only that their support to the Covenant and the wider Armed Forces community, but also that they are prepared to support their Reservists, Service Leavers, Spouses, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Cadets in the workplace.”

Dreams of Nashville

in Features

Layla Rose returns determined as ever

Shes back Folks!

Catalan Bay’s sweetest export, aspiring Country Music singer songwriter Layla Bugeja (now 20), has just finished her first academic year in America’s music capital. She is still living her dream and modifying her music aspirations having finally discovered where she fits in. She wants to be a career songwriter and is studying ‘Music Business and Song Writing’, two separate courses, at the Middle Tennessee State University in Nashville.

 In our feature last August for ‘Insight Magazine’ we were saying goodbye to her and wishing her well and now (end of May as I write) she sits across from me in sunny Casemates smiling and confident that the coffee/chat we are embarking upon will track her progress and tell our readers and her fans here that she belongs over there. I have complete confidence that she will stay the new courses, holding on to her dreams and writing ever more mature songs which she hopes other artists will pick up and sing. Last year she was a big fish in our little pond, now she is our little fish in a huge pond with sharks and it doesn’t unsettle her one bit.

“The first few months were quite hard. It was a culture shock and I was quite homesick. Had it not been for Simon Dumas (King Calaway) and Izzie his girlfriend who greeted me and helped me to settle in with my purchases and move I would have been quite lost and probably spent a fortune on transport. After my roommates at Uni moved in it got better and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. Now after having come through and found my strengths, I feel that I could take on any challenge. Suddenly things that would have really scared me don’t feel so daunting anymore.”

Layla changed her course as soon as she realized that her heart was not in ‘Mass Media Studies’. A wise move as she recalls: “I asked myself what would be the point in spending four years studying for something that I was not passionate about? I was sitting in lectures thinking about my Uni friends who were studying music, so I changed my course to ‘Music Business’ and my foundation course to ‘Song Writing’ and my outlook changed immediately.” The obvious question for me was would that be any use to her if she wanted to do something else over here in later life? 

“Absolutely not – but quite honestly I don’t see myself staying in Gibraltar my whole life. Here there is nothing I could do with a degree in ‘Music Business’. When I finish my degree I will apply for a work visa in the US and as I have studied over there I will have a much better chance of getting it. My ‘Music Business’ degree will allow me to seek work in the music industry so that I can support myself as I continue to write songs. As a student I’m only allowed to work on campus and for any gigs that I do outside Uni through networking etc (she has done nine gigs so far), I do not get paid. That’s good and bad because in a way as you don’t charge to play you can get more gigs but if you don’t make money you can’t even buy guitar strings.”

Reality bites and Layla has realized in the last year that if she is going to make any money from her songs she has to be more commercial in her song writing,  making her music accessible for other people to sing and more importantly ‘Radio friendly.’ “I feel that I have changed my focus and although I don’t really like commercial music that much, I know that if my music is more commercial I will have a better chance of getting it recorded and published. In Country music commercial means the typical Nashville sound and singing about pickup trucks, whiskey and beer instead of reality.  I can now write reality songs for myself and commercial songs for others to sing. That is the direction I’m going in.”

“I went to Florida on a Spring break and I wrote a song about it called ‘Panama City’ which is where I stayed. I also wrote song about my friends and a concert we went to while over there. My songs now can be about the positive experiences I’ve been having, whereas at first they were introverted and reflecting my homesickness and the culture shock. I grew a lot from that experience and I wish I could have gotten over it sooner. That perhaps would be my only regret – I lost a couple of months looking inwards and missing out.”

“Now I’m quite open about my songs and share them with my friends at Uni. I also make a rough recording and send them to my dad for his input. I like to listen to a proper critique of them and can take note. It’s a way of improving. For example this year I’ve written ten songs and only two of them are dark. There are no more dark songs like ‘Johnny’s Lake’ in my current batch. Some songs are very personal and I don’t want to give them to anyone but there are other songs that as I write them, I’m thinking of a particular artist or a particular style that is different to mine.”

At Simon Dumas’ invitation Layla co-wrote a song with him which she is quite proud of, it’s called ‘Heaven help me Heal’ and obviously it’s her favourite because Simon wanted to be the first to collaborate with her in Nashville and she grabbed the chance and run with it. She tells me that Simon is doing really well in his song writing partnerships and that his band ‘King Calaway’ is picking up the slack which almost stopped them on their tracks during the pandemic. Their progress was interrupted but KC is making up for lost time. He is now the band’s front man and they have cut down to four members.

“I still can’t get over the fact that my dreams are still unfolding before my eyes and how lucky am I to be in Nashville studying music and jamming with really talented people while also enjoying learning about the American culture and making lots of new like-minded friends. At every party that I’ve gone to in Uni there’s always a back yard with a fire going and guitars, mandolins and all the joy that is the Country music scene which I have been able to soak up. There are so many talented people trying to make it that you just have to be inspired and feel grateful to have this wonderful opportunity that I have. I will make the most it. I‘m really happy and settled now I know how I can fit into all this.”

Layla the Country songstress will be performing solo every Wednesday at the Village Inn down at Catalan Bay and she will no doubt be booked to perform at the Montagu strip and Ocean Village. She returns to Nashville in August and she intends to cement all the work that she is putting in and build a realistic song writing career by the end of her degree in three years. All it takes is one lucky break and this talented and switched on young lady could be transformed into a household name in cowboy country. Our warmest good wishes go with her and our hope that those Nashville dreams of her’s continue to unfold and eventually pay dividends too. Welcome home Layla Rose we missed you.

Marlboro Man – M.G. Sanchez

in Features

Gibraltarian author publishes new novel about tobacco smuggling in the 80s and 90s

Marlboro Man, a new novel by Gibraltarian author M. G. Sanchez, was published on 8 May.

Over 300 pages long and packed with all sorts of incidents, the novel is set in the 1980s and 1990s and explores in detail the large-scale smuggling of tobacco which used to happen in those days. 

The author explains: “I left Gibraltar to study English at the University of Leeds in September 1995, two months after the smuggling riots. Ever since those days I’ve been wanting to write a novel about the ‘Winston boys’ and the crazy stuff we witnessed on the Rock back then. Over the last four years I’ve been researching the subject in depth and interviewing different people involved in ‘the tobacco trade.’ I wanted the details in Marlboro Man to be as authentic as possible – from the types of boats used to the chases and other skirmishes experienced out at sea. But the book is not just about crime and smuggling; it is also about borders and colonialism, about migration and hypermasculinity, about life in Gibraltar in the Eighties and Nineties. In many ways, it provides us with a window into a past that few people talk about these days.’  

M. G. Sanchez has already been invited to speak about the novel at the University of the Balearic Islands on May 10 and at an online event hosted by the University of California in early June. 

Mark is the author fifteen Gibraltar-related books of fiction and non-fiction and his work has been reviewed in literary journals such as Ariel, Hispania and the Journal of Mediterranean Studies. 

He has a PhD in English Literature from the  University of Leeds.

He hopes that he will be able to launch his book in Gibraltar at some point later this year.

Marlboro Man can be purchased from Amazon in ebook or print form as from 8 May. Its cover features a photograph by Jackie Villa of Kaigan Garcia. 

Royal Visit

in Features

The first Royal visit for some time to Gibraltar, in this instance by HRH the Earl & Countess of Wessex, kicked off with a welcome from dignitaries at RAF Gibraltar

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