I've worked out why I was having problems with IE and, in between reboots, I've fixed it too!
I don't know why it's been happening or what was causing the problems, but IE works fine and dandy if I let Skype load up and log me in first!
I even tried closing it in task manager to see what would happen and, as long as I close it with the red cross as soon as the IE window opens then start it up again, it works like a dream... a PITA, yes, but I know how to solve it now!
I am ace! lol