A room of one's own is nice, but a weekend to one's self is even better. Twenty-seven glorious diaper-free, tantrum-free, cleaning-mashed-food-from-the-carpet-free hours in Austin with friends, and this is what we did with ourselves.
An Iced Turbo, from Jo's very popular queue-around-the-corner coffee shop, shook off the two hour car-ride. And what a simple pleasure it is to stand out in the sun, waiting, while all of Austin and their dogs pass by.
Later, a chilled bottle of the sweetest local peach cider revived us again between shops.
Austin sells everything. Giant metal alphabet? Check. Cowboy boots in any size or colour that you could imagine? Check. Plastic dinosaurs with plants growing out of their backs? You'd better believe it.
Perhaps the best shopping spot of the day was Uncommon Objects. A giant maze of trendy junk, we picked through it all for about an hour. Too pricey to take home, sadly, were a large grey ampersand ($140) and a tatty little cardboard puzzle with interchangeable animal heads that Tilly would have loved (for an outrageous $28). But I did come away with an emormous map of Britain ($2) and a lovely little porcelain letter 'A' ($4).
The vintage clothing shops were a bit more work -- oh so many over-sized polyester little-house-on-the-prairie dresses. But the grey striped beauty above was just my size, with such a fun chevron detail on the front. But for the price, and rather worn-out condition, I thought I'd rather have a go at making it myself. One day.
And Anthopologie -- my first time! What fun to pick out beautiful clothes, try them on and twirl a little bit... and then put them all back again. Pure luxury.
Food in Austin isn't made by whole people, but by solemn little faces peeping out of windows. Pass your order and your money up into the truck, and the little face disappears, to be replaced by the sound of sizzling. A few minutes later, your name is shouted, and an arm pokes out through the window holding your food.
Sadly, I came down with a bit of food poisoning a few hours after lunch, and so missed the rest of the meals on our trip -- but, it was definitely a tasty crepe while I was eating it. So no hard feelings.
... or perhaps American's Got Talent, Street Music Edition. People were playing their guitars, banjoes, and harmonicas wherever they could squeeze a folding chair, out of their parked vans, and sometimes just leaning against a lamp-post, as if they were a permanent fixture of the street.
And here are some friendly faces doing a incredible job of not looking posed, as requested.
None of this would have been possible without the lovely Bonny, who insisted on looking every restaurant -- and then every dish on the menu -- up on yelp.com, and checking how many stars it had. My crepe now has 1 star, incase you're wondering.
And so ended our lovely trip. Luckily, it's equally lovely to be home again with Justin and Tilly and Bella (who had their own weekend of fun in San Antonio, with Justin's parents).