Marie Louise McConville: I've been bitten by the decorating bug during lockdown
I don't know how to tell you all this so I'll just say it - I've caught the bug.
One minute I was fine, staying indoors, limiting my contact with others and the next, I had it.
But anyone who has been in my company recently need not worry because the bug I've picked up is the decorating one as opposed to Covid-19, thank goodness.
I don't know whether it's because I've been spending so much time at home but suddenly I have this overwhelming desire to redecorate, modernise and spruce things up - much to Darren's despair.
Having been working from home since March, I think I have spent more time than usual staring at the walls and dusting the furniture and noticing all the little marks and scratches on things.
If we were living in normal times, going out to work and coming home tired, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't much notice the weird mark on our wall that looks like someone threw a string of spaghetti at it at one point and it left an imprint.
Well now, it has to go.
I've decided we will start with the living room and I've settled on the colour `blush' as the theme (no Darren, it is NOT pink).
The thing I can't decide whether to just paint or wallpaper too.
I should point out here that I have absolutely no DIY skills at all - can't paint, can't paper, can't build, can't change a light bulb, can't do anything practical, not a thing.
When we moved into the house six years ago, it was a new build so it has only ever been painted (by other people) but now, I have a real urge to paper and add a nice design to brighten the place up.
But how much bling is too much bling - is a chandelier too over the top?
How about bedazzling the fireplace?
I'm not sure I will know where to stop.
I'm also considering a wooden floor to replace the carpet we have.
I'm the first to admit, I am quite traditional with my style but things at home really need modernising so that's what I am trying to do.
But now I am obsessed.
All I think about is curtains and cushions and rugs and light shades and furniture all the time.
Sometimes I can't sleep at night because my head is full of layout ideas and accessory possibilities and don't even get me started on website surfing.
First things first though, we had to hire a professional.
Someone who knows what they are doing and will no doubt work for a box of Black Magic so, my wonderful father-in-law Michael (who we bubble with) has stepped in and taken over as project manager.
I'm on colour scheme and accessory duty while Darren is here for all the heavy lifting and shifting.
Let's get this lockdown adventure under way - I feel the need, the need for all things blush.
Fans of popular UTV sitcom Birds of a Feather are rejoicing after learning the show is to return for a Christmas special - however Pauline Quirke won't be making an appearance.
Actresss Linda Robson confirmed the show will return for a festive special, which was filmed over lockdown.
She also revealed that while she and co-star, Lesley Joseph will be appearing, Pauline Quirke will not as she has given up acting to concentrate on her nationwide acting academies.
Linda said: "Pauline couldn't do it. We really missed her, but it's her choice".
I'm not sure it will be the same.
Tis the season and all that, so how do you fancy winning the `world's wackiest party game' to keep things interesting at Christmas?
As festive shopping gets under way, if you are on the look out for any educational games which are also fun, why not check out Merchants of Fun in north Belfast?
Just opened at North City Business Centre at Duncairn Gardens, the shop sells board games and card games from all around the world.
None of the games on offer rely on wi-fi and all help kids with their learning.
Opened by west Belfast man, Rory Kelly, the shop stocks an endless supply of colourful games, and customers can also sample games before buying.
Further details are available on the Red Knight Toy Group on Facebook.
To celebrate the opening of the new shop, we are giving away three `Beat That!' games.
Described as `The Bonkers Battle of Wacky Challenges', this family game is bound to keep things interesting over the festive season.
If you fancy winning a `Beat That!', simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, November 17, 2020
(Q) Where is Merchants of Fun based in north Belfast?
Normal Irish News rules apply but please note that there will be a delay in processing our competitions during the current restrictions.
The winners of the Hammer to Fall competition are Margo Trimble, from Annalong, Maureen McMahon, from Omagh, Tony Close, from Randalstown, Aine Morgan, from Coalisland, and Helen McLaughlin, from Derry