Kangaroos, shingles and bears, oh my!


Catherine and ChrissieIt's been quite a month since I last wrote a blog!

My daughter left the UK on the 30th of January to go travelling in Australia for a month, I contracted shingles and two gorgeous boys have moved in to Chez Huntley!

Ok, so one thing at a time…my eighteen year old, Chrissie, has a best friend living and working over in Australia and when the suggestion was made that Chrissie go over and the two of them take a month out to travel around having the trip of a lifetime I fully encouraged her.

It's the kind of thing you do when you're a mother, isn't it? On the inside your heart drops to your feet and you wonder how you'll ever survive a whole month with your baby so far away. Well, that's what happened to me on the inside but I didn't let it show as it was far outweighed by a sense of pride at her independence, maturity, confidence and ability and I was really very excited for all that she would be experiencing.

Chrissie and a kangarooWell, she is having the time of her life! She's been to Sydney's opera house, the Steve Irwin zoo, camped out on Fraser Island, cuddled koalas, chatted to kangaroos, met lots of great new friends…in fact, it's hard to keep track of everything she's squeezed into her trip!

All I can say is thank goodness for technology as we've Skyped, phoned and messaged almost every day and it's cost nothing apart from a little credit she spent on a phone card! I've lived her trip vicariously through her. It's sounds absolutely fabulous!

Less than fabulous was waking up a few days after waving Chrissie off at Heathrow to find I had shingles! I felt absolutely dreadful. I very rarely take a tablet for anything let alone book to see the doctor as a matter of urgency but something just wasn't right and I knew it. I'm glad I went as the doc was able to give me anti viral medication and cream nice and early.

Luckily the spots I got were mild compared to horrific images online and stories I've heard – they only affected the right side of my face. Weirdly, my right ear was numb for a few days, too. The pain was awful, as anyone who has had shingles will tell you but the tiredness has been quite overwhelming. About two weeks on I am feeling much better, thankfully. I'm so glad to be back at QVC! I missed it so much!

Tedward Fotherington-Smythe and BertNow, if you've got this far you're probably still wondering who the guys are who have moved in? Meet Tedward Fotherington-Smythe and Bert! They started life in Germany where they were lovingly handmade in the Steiff factory.

Many years ago my son, Tom, and daughter, Chrissie, were off on a trip to the USA with their dad but without me. I didn't want them to miss me or feel sad being so far away so I bought them each a teddy and told them how I'd squeezed loads of my best hugs into them so if they wanted a cuddle from me whilst they were away then the teddies would freely give them my hugs. Cuddle custodians if you will…well, as Chrissie was planning her trip, I decided she and Tom were a little big to carry baby sized teddies with them whenever they went on a trip. They are 18 and 20 now, after all. So, I chose these little guys to take on the job of the previously retired and much larger teds.

Tedward Fotherington-Smythe and Bert delivering medicationAs soon as Chrissie landed she started messaging me on WhatsApp. It's an app that allows you to text and swap pics and videos for free. She had forgotten to take Tedward! Well, it became my mission that she would be kept updated on his adventures on this side of the world. There's been an awful lot of adventuring including wild parties, studio tours at QVC and even them nursing me whilst I was unwell. I will share some more about them in my next blog complete with more photos so watch this space.

I do hope you're keeping warm and happy. I'm personally hoping spring is going to make an appearance soon and maybe we'll even get the summer we missed out on last year! Here's hoping!

Oh and I hope you can join us this Saturday on QVC for our Red Carpet event. Pipa and I are really looking forward to the event as we have some fantastic shows. Plus we'll have updates of the QVC USA Pre-Oscars party from the OK! Showbiz Editor, Chrissy Reeves! Keep an eye on QGossip to see more and I hope you can join us this weekend.

Much love,

Catherine x


  1. Fiona Fraser February 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    So sorry to hear you had shingles, as I suffered it myself 10 years ago, it affected the left side of my face but unfortunatly it spread to both eyes I looked awfull, and could not see,I did not go to the doctor in time. I do have a few scars,and had dropsy on left side for a couple of years, but no other lasting reminders.I have missed you very much and looking forward to seeing you soon. My best wishes XX

  2. Jelena February 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine,
    absolutely love the photo with the Tedward and Bert wearing masks whilst delivering medication!
    Hope you feel better.

  3. Diane gilbank February 23, 2013 at 10:39 am -  Reply

    So so pleased you are recovered now catherine, I know how awful shingles can be. But glad to have you back on qvc, looking forward to the red carpet shows tonight. You sound like such o wonderful mum to your ;two and I love the teddy tales!! Your photo made me laugh. Very glad you daughter is having such a good time in Australia and that you are able to keep in touch so often, becomes very important to us mums doesn’t it? Take care of yourself, love dianexx

  4. Susan February 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine,
    I am so sorry to hear you had shingles!! That’s awful. Chicken pox is doing the rounds here too. I hope you’re alright or getting there at least. I’m so glad Chrissie is having a wonderful trip. Not long to go. Lovely photo of her and kanga! Love love your hair longer and with a soft wave to it like you have it now in your glamorous navy dress. You look great.
    Take care
    Susan x

  5. Chris Page February 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm -  Reply

    Dear Catherine,
    Glad you’re shot of the shingles – I had Chickenpox as a teenager and German Measles as an adult, and neither were fun. Glad Tedward and Bert are looking after you (my Maternal Grandad was a Bert) in Chrissie’s absence. If they move Oz about 8 thousand miles nearer, I’d go there. Mum and Dad nearly became “£10 Poms” before I was born, but my birth kind of messed that idea up. I’m actually glad, as I can’t imagine being Australian, and I certainly wouldn’t give up my British Citizenship. It’s not something to be given away easily, in my opinion.
    Lovely to have my favourite “Ginger” back on screen.
    All the best,
    Chris x

  6. Jo February 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm -  Reply

    Poor you! I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  7. sandra garland February 26, 2013 at 12:06 am -  Reply

    So sorry to hear about your illness, hope you are on the mend now! Please go blonde again!! much better!!! xx

  8. Debbie Jennings February 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm -  Reply

    Catherine, love, love, love the colour of your hair and was wondering what it was, do u do it yourself and how, please do share, beautiful! Thanku:)) p.s. am having bad hair at mo, wanting your colour, was dark red, bleached it myself, left it ginger, more orange, put on l’oreal florida blonde and am now coppery, auburn, red!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. HB March 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm -  Reply

    Aw Catherine you sound like such a kind and lovely mother I think your children are lucky to have you. PS love the pic of the two teddies with masks on to ensure they don’t contract your shingles :-)

  10. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:02 am -  Reply

    Hi Fiona,
    Thanks for your message. Wow, it sounds like you had a horribly bad case of shingles! My doctor said I was lucky I went early as, when it’s on the face, it often spreads to the eye if left untreated. I never realised how serious it could get. How utterly awful for you!
    I hope you’re now in good health. I’m looking forward to spring. It feels like its been raining forever!
    Love Catherine x

  11. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:04 am -  Reply

    Hi Jelena,
    What a lovely name you have. I’ve never heard it before. Thanks for your kind message. The teds have kept us very entertained!
    Love Catherine x

  12. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:14 am -  Reply

    Hi Diane,
    Lovely to hear from you. I hope you enjoyed the red carpet show. We had a great time. It’s so nice having Chrissie home again. The three musketeers back together again :-)
    I hope all is good with you & yours,
    Love Catherine x

  13. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:19 am -  Reply

    Hi Susan,
    Lovely to hear from you. Thanks for your kind comments. I hope you’re keeping well and looking forward to spring as much as I am. Soooo cold…a trip to Australia would have been just the job! Wise Chrissie.
    Keep well,
    Love Catherine x

  14. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Chris,
    Great to hear from you. Isn’t Bert such a lovely, warm name? It’s funny how life has its crossroads…the thought that you could have grown up on a totally different continent with a different culture and so on if your parents had taken another road. Interesting isn’t it?
    Glad you called me your fave ginger. Some people almost treat the word as a swear word! When they say ‘oh it’s strawberry blonde’ I say ‘well, it shouldn’t be because I asked and paid for ginger at the hairdressers’ haha. I adore ginger hair. My sisters is natural whereas my natural colour was very very dark brown but would now be infiltrated with cheeky little white hairs! The older I get the less I care though…long live hair dye! Haha!
    Keep well & happy,
    Love Catherine x

  15. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:29 am -  Reply

    Hi Jo,
    Much much better now thanks. I hope you’re well, too. Everyone seems to be poorly just now. I think we need the spring to make an early appearance!
    Love Catherine x

  16. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:33 am -  Reply

    Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for your kind wishes. The shingles really wiped me out for a bit but I’m much better now.
    Who knows, maybe I’ll blonden up again one day but I like the red just now. Maybe it’s a bit of a rebellion thing. I’ve often done what I thought others would like or what others told me to do but, with age, I am starting to just go with what I want. Amazing how long it can take us to really grow into ourselves. I think 40 was a turning point.
    I hope all is well with you & yours. Thanks again for your message!
    Love Catherine x

  17. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:36 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    Oooh I love the sound of your hair colour. Very Jessica Rabbit! Nice!
    I’m not sure what the colour is exactly as the hairdresser does mine. What I ask for is a coppery ginger with blonde highlights. I think it’s the highlights that give it a bit of texture. I have obtained the exact colour from the hairdresser in the past but don’t know where I’ve put the info. I think I tweeted it for someone else who asked…on twitter I am @thehuntley so if you’re on there ill try to remember to post it again after my next appointment.
    If you are on twitter I’d love to see a pic of your hair. Really like the sound of it!
    Love Catherine x

  18. Catherine Huntley March 7, 2013 at 11:39 am -  Reply

    Hi HB!
    Thanks for your sweet message! That means so much to me. I’m very close to my two. I’ve always kept info about them very private until they were both over 18 and could agree or disagree to appear in blogs or on twitter. They are the centre of my universe.
    Thank you again and the teds say hi!
    Love Catherine x

  19. diane kersshaw March 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm -  Reply

    hi catherine i love your hair colour very classy and i am going to hopefully get mine done same colour at my next visit to the hairdressers am going to ask for a light copper hopefully it will be similar .you are one of my fave presenters keep up he good work p.s you look too young to have two grown up children .Diane x

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