UB40, FIVE4U and 3410


I know, I know, it’s a most peculiar blog title but it will all make sense as you read on!

I’ll start with UB40. One of my all time favourite bands! Growing up I was never one of the popular girls. In fact, I never did fit in with the ‘cool kids’ and was often targeted by those of a bullying disposition. We moved around a lot throughout my childhood which meant frequent changes of school and me always being the new girl. There were times when my mum couldn’t afford another uniform for the next school so I would stand out even more wearing a red jumper when everyone else’s were blue. The Salvation Army once came to our rescue and provided me with a suitable second hand solution. I’ll never forget how much that gesture meant.

I can recall one incident in particular with vivid clarity from when I was 12 years old. All the girls were getting ‘boyfriends’. Although, at this age, that just meant being able to say you had a boyfriend. I’m not sure they ever spent time together apart from the initial ‘will you go out with me?’ and ‘yes, ok then’ but it seemed to carry some importance at the time. I was always tall for my age and the boys seemed so little to me. I had a tendency to walk, pigeon toed, with my head down. Perhaps trying to make myself appear smaller? Perhaps an effort to become invisible? To the boys I believed I was fairly invisible.

One day I was walking through the playground at break time and one of the popular boys walked up to me and started talking to me. I was surprised. I could see his friends, a few yards away, looking on. I wasn’t invisible to them after all. The boy’s final words to me were ‘would you go out with me?’. I couldn’t believe it but I said yes. It was at that moment his friends burst out laughing and he ran back to them, also laughing. They started telling others until it felt like everyone in the world was pointing and laughing at me and patting him on the back for asking me out as a dare. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It refused to, so I went back to practising my powers of invisibility. Isn’t it remarkable how the sting of rejection and ridicule can stay with you for decades? Needless to say, things didn’t get much better until long after I left school.

I used to like escaping to my bedroom and listening to the radio, like most teens of that time. I’m sure many of you, like me, can recall making your own audio tapes! Oh, and what about the rewind-play-pause sequence in order to listen to the lyrics and write them down? Anybody? Occasionally, I’d get a copy of Smash Hits magazine where they printed lyrics to selected chart hits! Imagine that! I lived in a time without google! I had many favourites along the way but UB40 really did strike a chord within me as I stumbled through my teens. ‘One in Ten’ awakened my awareness of social injustices, ‘Red Red Wine’ made me want to dance and in my daydreamy teenage head ‘Homely Girl’ was written just for me.

I had left school and home at 15 and was 17 when their version of this 1974 tune came out. I was no longer ridiculed but was getting attention and being asked out, not as a dare but for real! The lyrics, for me, weren’t so much about boys but about my own self realisation. The ‘boy’ in the song was representative of my inner self. The one who knew that I really was ok, after all. That little voice we so often ignore that wants to tell us we are worth more than we think or more than others are showing us we are. The ‘beauty’ that is spoken of could be a metaphor for the inner beauty that begins to show on the outside when someone stops believing in what others are saying about, or to, them and they listen to the voice within. Amazing how the language of song can resonate deep within us.

Well, despite my love of UB40 I had never had the chance to see them perform live. The lead singer, Ali Campbell, left the band and I thought I’d never have the chance to see and hear him sing those old songs that meant so much. To my utter delight, I went to see him and two other original members perform at The Royal Albert Hall last week!

They were simply wonderful! I took my best friend, Steven, with me and we sang and danced our hearts out to every song. The highlight for me, though, had to be ‘Homely Girl’. I hoped they’d play it but wasn’t sure if they would. It was incredible and I am so grateful to have had the chance to see them live! I’m filing that in my library of memories under ‘flipping awesome’!!

Ooh, I didn’t half go on there! Ok, so that’s UB40. Now onto FIVE4U. I’m sure many of you have heard of our offer for new customers where they can receive 5 pounds off their next purchase after their first offer. I just thought I’d highlight it as it’s something worth telling your friends and family about. I’m sure they’ll thank you later.

Now here’s a great deal for everyone who has shopped with us, be it once or a hundred times before or even more! So this is where I explain ‘3410’. Three for ten… buy three Clearance items for ten pounds off your next purchase! This is valid up until the 8th of April. Take a look at the full terms and conditions here. I’ve browsed through the Clearance pages and there are some real gems! Literally! Tova’s Diamonique elephant band ring is in the sale!

There’s some fab fashion to look out for this week and next. This Saturday we launch the latest Skechers Today’s Special Value. It’s a brilliant, lightweight, stylish shoe with the most comfortable air cooled memory foam. The mesh upper allows airflow to the foot whilst the memory foam cushions each step and keeps you feeling cool and fresh, even without socks as I like to wear my Skechers. Remember, they’ll be at a reduced price from midnight til midnight only and Skechers TSVs are always massively popular. I hope there’ll be some left for my 6pm Skechers hour on Saturday!

Whilst we are on the subject of comfort and Today’s Special Values… I must mention the Vercella Vita set coming up on Tuesday the 3rd of April. I still can’t believe how fast the year is flying by… April in a few days! Back to the TSV! A set of four comfort bras from this beautiful Italian shapewear range. It is fantastic value at under £45, with the average cost of each bra just over £11. The saving against our QVC price is due to be around £25! The bras are easy care and the seamless design adds to the comfort.

A great alternative for anyone who does not wear wired bras and wants a comfortable non-restrictive undergarment with gentle control. I love wearing an off the shoulder top in warmer months and these work nicely underneath with the strap on show. I’m already thinking of a lovely coral Join top I’ve recently bought that would go well with one of these and a pair of light denim jeans. We’ve just sprung forward in terms of the clocks, heralding springtime’s (supposed) arrival but I say bring on the summer!

If you love a fashion fix, join me on Saturday and Sunday for our regular 4pm slot, Fashion Fix at Four. We always have great outfits to show you incorporating some of the latest trends and expert fashion know-how from our featured guests. I hope you can join us and join in. You can always keep in touch via my social media (below).

Facebook: Catherine Huntley TV
Twitter: @TheHuntley
Instagram: @catherine_huntley

Til next time, I’d like to thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and for your continued loveliness. You’ve no idea how much it means to read your gorgeous comments.

Love Catherine xxx


  1. JC March 28, 2018 at 9:38 am -  Reply

    Wish we were getting the white version of the Skechers TSV like in US. Not shown in the photo so guess not! 🙁

    • Catherine Huntley April 4, 2018 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

      Fingers crossed for next time xx

  2. Ellen March 28, 2018 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine.

    Some of your words resonate with me, ‘rewind play pause’ then furiously scribbling, I did that !!! And UB40s ‘One in Ten’, a great song, I still listen to today, that packed a powerful political punch.

    How brave of you to share you experience of bullying.
    Im blessed in that I have never experienced this antisocial behaviour but the fallout on those that have been on can be life changing. I’ve never understood the mentality of someone wanting to inflict suffering on others for entertainment.
    Thankfully, tho it’s had a lasting effect as these things do, you’ve risen above it and we can see what a truely beautiful person you are inside and out.
    Might be nice if Q could consider a fundraiser to support the charities that assist those who have suffered both physically and mentally the cruelty of bullying.
    Well done Catherine x

    • Catherine Huntley April 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ellen,

      What lovely words. Thank you for your kindness and for taking the time to reply. Nice, also, to know you’re familiar with the whole cassette recording rituals of that era!

      QVC actually help many more charities than we publicise. There’s only a few we incorporate into our shows. It’s one of the reasons I love QVC so much. We are encouraged and supported in fundraising, as individuals, in groups and as a company.

      I really appreciate you writing in and hope you are very well and happy.

      Love Catherine x

  3. Katherine Brookes Rumford March 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm -  Reply

    You are my favorite presenter, I have being watching since Christmas. You are an inspiration & the sort of woman I aim to be

    • Catherine Huntley April 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm -  Reply


      I’m humbled by your extremely kind words. Thank you so much. I’m sure you are a wonderful person. You’re a Katherine, after all. Hee hee!

      Love Catherine x

  4. Fiona Brackenridge March 28, 2018 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    I bet that boy is kicking himself now when he sees a beautiful funny and kind woman that you have grown into. He’s probably bald, fat and boring!!!

    • Catherine Huntley April 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

      Haha! Oh Fiona, you’ve given me a proper giggle. Thank you xx

  5. Heather Simpson March 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

    Your words about being tall and walking with your head down struck a cord with me as I did the same when I was a teenager !! It’s a strange thing isn’t it, confidence. I am quite loud and chatty and yet have no confidence in the way I look and feel. Too skinny I am! (Keeley ‘Elemis’ has helped me get my skin in order so thank her for me! ) Music has helped and comforted me so much in my life especially after I lost two of my gorgeous boys. I am pleased you got to hear your special song live. Your blogs are always so a normal and down to earth a joy to read so thank you for writing them and thank you also for bringing such warmth and fun when you are on screen. Perfect presenter you are xxx

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:14 am -  Reply

      Dear Heather,

      Thank you so much for your message. I’m sorry to hear you’ve also had battles with confidence. I’m desperately sad to hear you lost two of your boys. I’m so sorry.

      You’re right about music being of some comfort. There are songs which can take us to happy times, ones which move us to tears and ones which help us to become a little daydreamy and escape reality for a while.

      There are quite a few tricks you can use to disguise your thin-ness if it helps. It’s worth a google as you can create an illusion of a fuller figure quite easily.

      I hope you are able to grow in confidence and strength.

      Sending you love,

      Catherine xx

  6. Alan Clark March 28, 2018 at 6:08 pm -  Reply

    Catherine I adore you I dud the same in the 80s and was bullied I use to get the smash hits for the lyrics and sing to myself ub40 I grown up on there were local to me Ali lived 10 mins walk from were I lived astro was up the road kings heath there were still drinking in the local pubs after red red wine hit number 1 seen them on the road walking shopping drinking in pubs etc etc seen them in concert I’ve losted count how many times big love xxx

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:18 am -  Reply

      Oh Alan, I’m so sold to hear you were bullied. When we are young and vulnerable we are too ready to believe the bullies are right but as we grow we, hopefully, start to see the truth and realise we were always good enough. I hope that’s the case for you as it IS the truth.

      How fantastic to have grown up with UB40 so close! Nice to hear about that! I’m desperate to book another date on their 40th anniversary tour!

      Keep well and thanks for writing in,

      Catherine x

  7. Teresa Karasavvas March 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine. A lovely blog as always. I am a HUGE fan of UB40 and have been lucky enough to see them live when Ali Campbell was the lead singer. My favourite UB40 sing is Red Red Wine and I remember having to have this played at my wedding when I danced to it with my new husband and that was 20 years ago this August 29th! I never tire of their songs. Have a good Easter. Teresa

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:20 am -  Reply

      Aw Teresa, what a lovely comment to read. Congratulations in advance of your August anniversary! I’m sure there’ll be some red red wine flowing as well as playing loudly.

      Thank you for your kind words, too.

      Catherine xx

  8. Caroline March 30, 2018 at 7:39 pm -  Reply

    Hi Catherine, lovely to hear about you’re outing to see UB40, that was my era too…. remember it vividly. I would just like to thanku for all you’re positive, jolly and caring blogs you do. You always manage to cheer me up and to help me look forward in life, while this depression I have currently. You always show me hope with all you’re positive thoughts. From one cat lover to a next, thanku too from the bottom of my heart.x

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:29 am -  Reply

      Dear, kind, cat loving Caroline,

      Thank you for your lovely comments. I’m sorry you’re battling depression. I’m humbled to think that my positivity offers a little hope. If moments of hope help to push away the dark clouds that’s wonderful. Hold on to those glimpses of sunshine. I hope the clouds clear more with time.

      Sending you big, smiley hugs,

      Catherine x

  9. Anita March 30, 2018 at 9:30 pm -  Reply

    Great blog, so much identification with it so thank you for sharing. I’m still working on the love for myself which is the hardest task I’ve undertaken. Reading your words has renewed my commitment to persevering with it. Thank you and Happy Easter.

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:45 am -  Reply

      Hello Anita,

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your own experience. I’ve heard it said that work on ourselves is a lifetime’s undertaking. Keep on going. You sound very kind and warm. Those are two traits you can begin with when trying to convince yourself that you are loveable. Maybe you can then think of a few more. A method I’ve recently suggested to someone very close to me who battles extremely low self esteem was to hold an imaginary baseball bat (positivity bat) and when the negativity ‘baseballs’ come flying at you get the bat out and hit the negative thought with a positive one. I don’t know if that makes sense written down 🙂 Basically, every time you think something negative get in the habit of thinking of a positive about yourself.

      Sending you much love,

      Catherine x

  10. Elaine March 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm -  Reply

    Same thing happened to me at the local disco i know they played red red wine that night as it made my friend cry reminding her of the boy she met on holiday from the same area of
    Birmingham as ub40 think ali is a very underated singer

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:52 am -  Reply

      Aw Elaine, thanks for sharing about the local disco! You took me back to my youth. My cousin and I used to love getting dressed up and go dance in our teens. I love Ali, too, his voice is so distinctive!

      Love Catherine xx

  11. SheMag March 31, 2018 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    I have only one thing to say about those teasing kids, and that is…who’s sorry now?! Gorgeous inside and out, Ms H!

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:54 am -  Reply

      Oh you! You make this ol’ lady very smiley with a comment like that 🙂

      Thank you xx

  12. Kim Maisey April 1, 2018 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    A really powerful blog and one that many of us can relate to. Well done for speaking up for other invisible young people in the playground.

    • Catherine Huntley April 6, 2018 at 11:55 am -  Reply

      Kim, what touching words. Thank you xx

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