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Kerri McLean

How my late night addiction to cookery and sewing videos on YouTube left me with mayonnaise on my face

Kerry McLean


Viewing hours of videos can lead to silly moments

Viewing hours of videos can lead to silly moments

Viewing hours of videos can lead to silly moments

Why is it that you're most easily distracted when you're at your busiest? Over the last week I haven't had a moment to spare, theoretically at least. I've been up to my eyes with work and travelling around the country.

Back at home, I've been hunched over books on my dining room table, either attempting to stay on top of my own studies for university or ensuring that the kids are doing the work they have to. And all the while, the massive, never-ending task that is housework has loomed in the background, threatening to swallow up large portions of my day.

I'm in the midst of a really busy period, one which doesn't show any signs of letting up, so you would think I would know to use every second to its full potential. Yet somehow, I have found myself getting distracted by the most unimportant activities this week.

As is so often the case, I was led astray by a friend. She sent me a link to a new sewing blog and, being a keen if somewhat dodgy sewer, I thought I'd have a look at one of their videos. Three hours later, at half two in the morning, I went to bed, knackered but now fully aware of how to make a raincoat for my dog and a bikini for myself. The only problem being that I haven't worn a bikini since 1995 (and have no desire to inflict that sight on the world again!) and my dog would have any attempt at a coat pulled off and ripped to shreds in minutes.

A couple of nights later, when I should have been online researching Freud and his psychoanalytic theory of personality, I was instead on YouTube, watching a never-ending stream of cooking videos, the sort that are just a couple of minutes long and where you only see the bowl or the saucepan from above.

The lack of sleep this week has really taken its toll.

Every so often a pair of hands comes into shot to add something in or mix something up but you never hear their voice or see their face. At the end of each short show the hands appear again with the final, finished, mouth-watering dish, whetting my appetite not for the food but for another how-to cooking video.

I wasn't watching to get inspiration and to try the recipes out in my own kitchen. I knew I had no intention of cooking them, so why did I leave myself knackered watching these videos? I've absolutely no idea other than they serve as great stress relievers. There's something about watching these calm, 'make and do' programmes that let me switch off the hyperactive part of my brain. Instead of worrying about what I need to do and if what I've already done is okay, these shows work a bit like bubblegum in my head, a nice treat that doesn't take too much effort. But I know that I have to find another way of stepping outside my busy brain as the lack of sleep this week has really taken its toll.

After one of my marathon viewing sessions, I had a grand total of three hours of sleep before the alarm went off and it was time to get up and get everyone on their feet and moving.

I was in the kitchen, explaining that day's schedule to my husband, when I realised that he was staring at me with his mouth wide open. As I had been talking to him, I had lifted my big white bottle of moisturising cream from the counter, squirted some onto my hands and started rubbing it on to my face. Only it wasn't my bottle. It was instead a squeezy bottle of mayonnaise, the contents of which I had been applying vigorously onto my skin until my husband's initial shocked reaction followed by fits of giggles told me something was wrong.

Being a kind and caring man, he leapt to help, not me but our children, calling them to come and see what their mother had done to herself, thereby giving them all what they told me was the best start to their day.

I may not have learnt more about Freud's theories this week, but I did learn that mayonnaise stings when it gets in your eyes…

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