Lifestyle articles

Sexual harassment, Channel Four and me

Last week Channel Four broadcast a remarkable investigative documentary, which has provoked a powerful reaction. “Undercover: Sexual Harassment – The Truth” presents us with an experiment. Ellie Flynn, an undercover journalist, goes out at night, pretending to be drunk and separated from her friends. With a feeling of dread, viewers watch what happens next.

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The Holocaust revisited: reflections on ‘Seeing Auschwitz’


David Herman reviewed the photographic exhibition “Seeing Auschwitz” here last week. I too have been to the show at 81 Brompton Road in South Kensington, London. It was a powerful experience.

The mood in the room was sombre and few people talked, so intent was their concentration onthe images which were, to say the least, disturbing. The quiet background piano music was slow, deep and chilling.

I went to Auschwitz and Birkenau a number of years ago. Auschwitz is a former Polish Garrison, a row of orderly brick buildings. Birkenau, however, felt like a wasteland, which made the end of the railway track seem even more bleak on that cold and misty November afternoon.

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Internalised Homophobia and Shame – Time to Talk? 

Promotional Content Marketing piece for Harley Therapy Ltd.

Most of us have heard of Gay Pride. But how many of us have considered the issue of “gay shame”? And how is it related to internalised homophobia? Writer Katrina Allen reports.


“A 1998 study on gay and bisexual men in New York city described it as: “The gay person’s direction of negative social attitudes toward the self. Leading to a devaluation of the self and resultant internal conflicts and poor self-regard.”

In other words, internalised homophobia happens when we absorb social prejudice, leading to negative feelings about our sexual identity or orientation.

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“That” Weibo Post in case you missed it.

#Where is Peng Shuai?

On 2 nd  November, the former tennis star and two times Grand Slam doubles champion, 35-year-old Peng Shuai, dropped a bombshell via the Chinese Twitter-style platform, Weibo, in a social media post in which she accuses  former Vice Premier, 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, of coercing her into having sex about three years ago”. Read More

A Peshawar Burqa and the Fate of Afghan Women

Yep, thats me — under whats known in English as a “pinhole shuttlecock burqa”.

I bought the burqa some 20 years ago at the market in Peshawar. Most of the population of this city in Pakistan, close to the border with Afghanistan, are ethnic Pashtuns. In those days, what few white women visited the town could freely wander round the market. I say freely, but we did have a male escort, a burly Pashtun who was visibly embarrassed when I asked him to negotiate for that burqa, alongside an Afghan tea cosy. Peshawar seemed impossibly exciting then, like something out of the Wild West. 

When we first arrived, I was horrified by the sudden sight of women in burqas like this. Those who werent out shopping were being jolted around, bumping shoulders in the back of battered Suzuki jeeps, seemingly peering out at us. Their garb gave them an appearance of capture, of strange exotic creatures. 



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Staycation Temptations: the Deceptive World of Park Lodges

This year is the summer of “staycations” and prices have rocketed in response to huge demand. A two-bedroom park lodge in Devon, for instance, can command £1,500 per week, perhaps even more for one with a sea view.

So, an obvious question is, why not invest in a park lodge? Rent it out for the high season to cover costs and you get the rest of the year to enjoy what should essentially be a free holiday.                                                                                   And you can always sell up further down the line.

I first came across the world of park lodges when my friend Kirstie (not her real name) rang me to say she’d come across one with “an incredible sea view” in Devon. “The salesman is so helpful and charming. It’s really quick and easy to buy. He says I don’t need to use a lawyer as it’s just a chattel, like buying a car.” “How much?” I asked. “£225,000 for a 37-year-licence. But he’s really pushing me. He says someone else is interested.”  Kirstie can be rather impulsive and this was worrying me. “Let me do some research,” I said.


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Is this the last of Roger Federer?

July 2021

So, Wimbledon 2021 bids farewell to Roger Federer. It was a sad spectacle, really: spraying ground shots, missing easy volleys, being constantly passed and completely outclassed by the Polish player, Hubert Hurkacz, a 6’5” powerhouse whose game belies his gentle and shy nature.

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A Lockdown Anniversary –

Katrina Allen   March 23, 2021

Today marks the one year anniversary of the first lockdown. It’s been a year of extraordinary, life-changing events, and one in which many people have only been able to survive by either embarking on entirely new careers or by going remote.

Ghislaine Hubbard resigned from her job – running the witness service at the Old Bailey – just before lockdown and, having once trained as a graphologist, turned to running online interactive sessions. She now works fewer hours and earns more than before lockdown. But she is well aware that she needs to look to the future and work out how to market herself in real life once restrictions are lifted. “It’s going to be the next big challenge.”

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Working in Samos

The Times

When Katrina Allen left her comfortable London home to volunteer as a translator in Greece, she had no idea how life-changing it would be.

It’s on my sixth night on the Greek island of Samos that things really become tense. I’m at my apartment when the phone beeps: “Get down to the medical centre. There’s a massive fire in the camp.” It turns out that it’s the result of a fight breaking out between Syrians and Afghans over somebody jumping the food queue. Gas canisters are now exploding like bombs, echoing around the hillside. Hundreds are trying to flee the refugee camp, including terrified families with small kids, only to be tear-gassed by the police attempting to contain everyone. Later I’m told that a girl went into labour — thankfully, they managed to get her to hospital. Read More

Wellness in the Workplace – the Rise of the Culture Manager

Jamie Oliver has recently employed his former PA, Danny McCubbin, as his Culture Manager.

But what exactly is Culture Management?

“It’s a fairly new concept in the UK,” Danny explains. “Big business used to be just about profit but employees want to feel more connected. Companies are now realising that if they just continue to base their success purely on finances, they won’t succeed. The role of the Culture Manager is to make everyone, from the receptionist to senior management, feel they’re part of the organisation.”

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The Trans Debate in Women’s Tennis

  This article appears in

Tennis ‘badly needs consistent policies for trans players’ in top pro events

WTA Legend Ambassador Martina Navratilova says she just wants fairness in the transgender sports issue.
WTA Legend Ambassador Martina Navratilova says she just wants fairness in the transgender sports issue.

OPINION: Earlier this year, Martina Navratilova, a much-lauded lesbian role model, caused a media storm with her remarks on transgender athletes, saying: “It’s insane and it’s cheating.”

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Diva Magazine, The Gay Games, Paris, 4th – 11th August, 2018.

“Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best”

by Katrina Allen

The Gay Games, a huge sporting event, is held, like the Olympics, every four years.

It first took place in San Francisco in 1982, featuring 17 sports, 12 nations and 1,350 participants. It was a huge success and it was clear that this LGBT+ sporting celebration would continue.

Since then, the event has been held in cities such as Vancouver, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney and Cologne. Each time the numbers have increased. By 2006 there were 30 sports and cultural events, 70 nations and 11,700 participants.

This year, the sporting extravaganza is to be held in Paris from 4th -11th August.

The Gay Games was initially known as the Gay Olympics but objections were raised by the Olympic Committee and the name was changed. It was a reasonable request since the whole ethos of the Gay Games is about inclusion, not just within the community but also across various standards, which go from beginner to expert. The Olympics, of course, is all about excellence, world-class athletes within their sport.

From synchronised swimming to pétanque to wrestling – you name it … The full list of sports can be found at Read More

Has much changed in women’s tennis? Diva Magazine

This article appeared in Diva Magazine in June 2018

Back in 2014, I wrote an article for Diva Magazine about Amélie Mauresmo, a former World No 1 tennis player. She had just been appointed coach to Andy Murray, which rocked the tennis world since it was the first time a woman, let alone a lesbian, had coached a top ten male player. Read More

England Fans Troll Australia for Ball-Tampering Saga

This article appeared in










It’s the scandal that shocked the cricket world and two months on, it is still a hot topic of debate.

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The Guardian April 2018

Seeing is Believing

A Site (sic) for Sore Eyes…




We get beyond our 50’s and start to collect injuries: bad backs, tennis elbow, dodgy knees, and then the eyes start to go. That bit has only hit me in the last few years and it’s depressing. Read More

The Dominatrix

(I have interviewed the Mistress, Her House Slave, Her P.A., a Freudian Psychoanalyst and a sex therapist for a comprehensive article on this subject.)

(the word Mistress and related pronouns are traditionally in capital letters)

A friend told me one day – ‘I have a really interesting opportunity. If I tell you, promise not to laugh.’ I duly promised. ‘I’m going to be helping a Dominatrix. It’s mostly personal assistant work, answering the phone, taking bookings, optimising the website etc. It’s also a really great writing opportunity.’ Read More

Return to the Calais Jungle

This article first appeared in Languedoc Living September 2016

I recently went back to the Calais Jungle as a volunteer for the third time within the last twelve months.

(photograph by Katrina Allen)

So, what’s changed during that time?

Well, when I was first there last October, there were an estimated 5,000 migrants at the camp. According to a census a couple of weeks ago, conducted by two of the charities helping out, the numbers have now reached 9,000, with a 29% increase in just one month and around 70 new arrivals every day.

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Languedoc Living, Calais Jungle


Calais1 Read More