01/04/2011 19:33 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Food &Amp; The City: The Word Of The Week Is Guilt

This week's unpalatable word is guilt, pure and unadulterated. I am tasting this nasty emotion because I have stopped my world and got off.

I have taken myself on a corporate retreat, I am the only person in the corporation and the business in question is my life.

I have never overtly skived like this before, and as I sit in a remote B&B clad head to toe in leopard print fleece, I am wondering what took me so long, because it feels great. Why is it so difficult to admit to yourself and the wider world that you need to get off for a second? Why are Greta Garbo's immortalised words "I WANT TO BE ALONE" so hard to utter with a straight face?

Apparently what she actually said is "I want to be let alone" and that is the bit I can relate to right now, not forever, not for long, just for a couple of days.

I want to sleep and not worry about having to wake up, I want to eat but not to cook, I want to ignore the phone and work and all my duties and clear the exhausted mind that sits beneath all the different hats I wear. Today's life is so reactive, no matter how early we set the alarm most of us still seem to spend our days chasing our tails whilst bending over backwards to get everything done.

It is not only pop stars who 'suffer from exhaustion' (a term which sadly due to under use in the true sense has become a euphemism for other issues) ordinary people everywhere are struggling daily with mental and physical exhaustion exacerbated by the challenging times we live in and the struggle to provide all that we have set ourselves up to expect. If the pop stars are exhausted from being ferried around and pampered no wonder the rest of us feel so damn tired!

But why do I feel so guilty? There was an article in one of today's papers to say that doctors in the US have proved that we endure physical pain longer for friends than we would for ourselves, their point was that it proves that people need people and therefore will endure pain to please, my point is that SELF is always the last person on the list and whose needs are met only if there is time.

The outcome of my corporate retreat is that SELF has been promoted to chairman with immediate effect and offered a few company perks in appreciation for her significant contribution.

Like they say on the aeroplanes "Please ensure you have your own oxygen mask fitted before you attempt to help others with theirs."

Now take a deep breath and relax ...

Got a question for Laura? Please send cooking conundrums and domestic dilemmas of any kind or visit