Red Cow Farm

Happy 2016 everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season and are slowly getting back into the swing of things for the new year. For me, the work has begun and the training is back and I’m ready to punch 2016 square in the jaw!

One of the ventures 2016 is going to bring, is a new business in my family. My dad who has been in the tourism industry from thirty years, is going to be starting up a tour company for over-50’s and hopefully I’m going to start helping out with this new journey.

Today we took ourselves out to one of our locations that we hope we will one day take groups to. Whether we end up touring there or not, today’s trip was a lovely little get away for us.

We headed to the Southern Highlands, New South Wales to the Red Cow Farm, which is a beautiful property that since 1992, has been developed into an amazing garden. The property is on five acres of land about an hour out of Sydney and is a great little hidden gem tucked away in Sutton Forest.

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Ten Things That Make Me Irrationally Angry

Like most people, I have a lot of pent up rage and frustration that I suppress on a day to day basis as not to lose my job or make my family hate me. Naturally, most people in my life don’t really want to listen to me complain about the things that piss me off so I thought, who would? Strangers on the internet of course. So I’ve compiled a list of ten things in life that make me irrationally angry. Not your average things that make sense to get indignantly furious about like racism, poverty and the fact that reality shows exist, but things that make me irrationally angry. So here goes.
1. When people say they love summer but spend the entirety of their day in the air conditioning. As someone who lives in a house without air-conditioning and works in a workplace where the air-conditioning doesn’t work and my only respite from the scorching Australian summer days is to hide in the walk in fridge, and trains in a place that is essentially a tin shed that feels not unlike working out inside a furnace, people that say they love summer in general make me irrationally angry because in my mind, summer in Australia is the absolute worst thing ever and I’m not entirely convinced that summer isn’t in fact the wrath of the Lord as punishment to us for the errs and sins of mankind. So when a person lives in a lovely air-conditioned house and drives their lovely air-conditioned car to their lovely air-conditioned workplace and say they love the summer time, I raise a cynical eyebrow before shaking my head in absolute disdain. Disclaimer: people that genuinely love summer and spending time out in the actual heat of the day do not make me irrationally angry. I think they might have some serious problems, but they do not make me angry.

2. When people assume that I must hate myself because I am very pale. As someone who’s nickname among friends and family is Snow this problem is one I face frequently. Now, contradictory to what the current beauty standards that tell you (that if you don’t have tanned glowing skin you may as well put a bag over your damn head and shrivel up and die), I actually like having pale, porcelain skin. It suits me best and is a testament to my very Irish ancestry. But I don’t live in Ireland. I live Australia and especially in summer, a lass as fair as I am sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. I’m proud of my non-sun-damaged skin and by God when I’m 50 I’m sure my skin will thank me for the hours I’ve spent in the shade, but people seem to have a real problem with my paleness. It is actually proven that many people actually associate paleness with vision impairment, as they seem to constantly be informing me of the fact that I’m very white, so I assume they just think that I haven’t noticed. People say, “Gosh you need a spray tan!” and laugh, loosely veiling their judgment with humour, to which I respond, “Do I? I need a spray tan? Why? Is there some sort of new health benefit of being orange that I haven’t heard about yet? I’m pretty up to date with what trends are currently in as far as health goes but I haven’t heard about this. I need a spray tan do I? Well jeeze, better get one lest I die.”

3. Self service checkouts. I am completely convinced that in the seventh circle of hell all one hears day in day out for eternity is “unexpected item in the bagging area”. Every time I use one of these infuriating machines, I feel like it’s a race against time to pack my groceries before that ghastly voice screams “PLEASE PLACE ITEMS IN THE BAGGING AREA”. Hold your damn horses lady!! I’m placing the items!!

4. Songs about how difficult life is when you’re rich and famous: It must be really hard, a real challenge, absolutely, stiflingly oppressive to be a multi-millionaire, who is known around the planet for making a sweet living off of doing that you love and are passionate about. The struggle, I’m sure, is real. You wake up you think, “hmm, should I wear my Manolo’s or my Louboutin’s to Justin Timberlake’s birthday party tonight? Do you think I should take a bottle of Moet or a bottle of Dom? Should I pick up my best friend Kim Kardashian in my Lamborghini or my Maserati? Ugh so many decisions! Oh dear, the paparazzi will be there and they saw my favourite Chanel dress last week! Better throw it away and get a new Versace one”. Now I get that the paparazzi are horrible and invasive and complete bastards most of the time, but surely your cool $50mil you made on your last album is a pretty decent compensation.

5. When people speak to you when it should be very obvious that you can’t hear them. Maybe you have headphones on. Maybe you just left the room and locked yourself in another one. Maybe you’re in the kitchen with the microwave on, the kettle boiling and the tap running. And then some bright spark tries to start a conversation. Jokes on you buddy, you’re the one that’s going to be mad when I ask you to repeat literally everything you just said. Note: I’m just as guilty of doing this to others as well as being the innocent victim.

6. Lists of what clothes/hair/makeup I should/shouldn’t wear. You know the ones I mean. Those obnoxiously condescending articles about what fashions men hate, or what hair styles should be avoided or what make up looks are an absolute no-no. You know what? It’s my body/hair/face and I’ll wear what I please. And seriously? Do people really think women are going to listen to fashion advice from the kinds of men they interview for those lists? They’re the kind of men that say women shouldn’t wear make-up because they like the “natural look” (by which they mean the heavily photoshopped look of the model who is wearing natural look makeup), but slag off girls on Facebook who aren’t made up to the nines. They’re probably the same kind of men who wear their pants under their butts and shirts that say “Alpha AF” on them unironically.

7. Able-bodied people who walk painfully slowly for no good reason. In the middle of the footpath, through the shopping centre, across the road, where ever they are, these people make me question everything. How is it that someone can walk so slowly and not get incredibly frustrated? Don’t you have somewhere to be? By God, I do, and why is it always my luck that I get stuck behind you? There’s no way you can be that chilled out.

8. Unknown, random people who write open letters to celebrities online wanting to help them out. Dear people that write pen letters on Facebook to the Lindsay Lohan’s and Miley Cyrus’s of the world because you think that you’re so perfect that only your pearls of wisdom will help them turn their lives around, even though you probably only wrote it in hopes that it would go viral and you’d get your five minutes of online fame.

9. Passive-aggressive, topically ambiguous Facebook statuses. These are usually accompanied with the offender saying that they are feeling some kind of negative emotion. And you just know that as soon as someone asks them if they’re okay or of something’s wrong, their response nine times out of ten will in fact be “nvm”.

10. Click-bait articles. Every time I see one I want to rip my hair out. You know the ones. “This seemingly normal thing happened to this woman BUT JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT NOT NORMAL THING HAPPENED RIGHT AFTER!” And you know it’s never going to be anything very interesting. The only thing worse than click-bait articles are the people who are constantly posting them.

Ally Does Halloween 2015: Mistress of the Dark

In Australia, many people have many different reasons for not celebrating Halloween. Some say it’s evil, some think it’s too “American” (despite originating in Ireland but whatevs). I don’t celebrate Halloween necessarily, but in my opinion, any opportunity to dress up and have a good time sounds good to me.

Last night was the Halloween Roller Disco hosted by Rollergirl Promotions at the UNSW Roundhouse here in Sydney. It was a great night of skating, karaoke, food and alcohol, but my job meant that my night looked like this.

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Did that stop me from dressing up? Uh, no. Being that I have black hair and am very pale, Halloween agrees with me, and I don’t ever have any issues coming up with a look and costume. This year I drew inspiration from the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira.

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My boots I have owned forever and are totally destroyed when you look up close. I bought them during my emo phase, not originally for costume purposes but nowadays, that’s all I ever wear them for. Every time I do a spring clean of my wardrobe I chew over whether or not I should bin them, but I always keep them for such occasions as these. I do not remember where they came from. My tights are Capezio Over the Boot skate tights in black with diamantes.

The rest of my outfit was sourced from Mission Australia Big Heart Op-Shop (thrift store). The black lace dress has a label in it that says Qingyishe so I guess that’s where that’s from and the chiffon blouse is from Target.

My eye makeup was done using the Chi Chi Cosmetics Sunset Palette and Nyx Gel Eyeliner.

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Obviously, I was missing Elvira’s second biggest feature after her hair (massive cleavage) but it was chilly working on the door.

It was a fun night, and even more fun trying to take the tonne of makeup off my face and even MORE fun entangling all of my teased hair (I teased the crap out of it to get it that boofy. Like seriously, it was more teased than an ugly child).

With my hair like that and those shoes on, I was nearly eight feet tall.

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This is Halloween!

You know what this Saturday is? That’s right! Halloween.

Now, I don’t celebrate Halloween (no one really does in Australia) but this year I will be working at a Halloween Themed Roller Disco!! It’s hosted by Rollergirl Promotions and will be held at the UNSW Roundhouse and is sure to be a killer night (Geddit? Killer.).

For me, the most fun thing about any kind of party like this is the dressing up! I adore dressing up and Halloween is perfect for me because when I was fifteen I went through an emo phase (as we all do, don’t try to hide it) and because I’m a borderline hoarder, I still have heaps of that stuff so I’m all set for a costume!

But if you have a Halloween Party this weekend and you don’t know what scary costume you should wear, I’ve come up with a list of the most TERRIFYING things I could think of to give you some costume inspiration!

  • A sheet ghost
  • Dracula or for the ladies, Carmilla everyone’s favourite lady-loving vampire
  • The Wicked Witch of the West
  • The thought of Donald Trump becoming President (oooh that’s one is truly horrifying!)
  • The Corpse Bride
  • Commitment
  • Grab your friends and go as a herd of zombies
  • Frankenstein’s Monster
  • Sydney Housing Prices

I hope that gives you some costume inspiration. They were my top picks for most scary costume ideas.

But seriously, have fun this weekend, party on, stay safe, and if you\re in Sydney and still have nothing to do, come join us at the Roller Disco. (Tickets here)

A Rant About My Work

When people ask me what I do, I always have difficulty giving an answer. I could say that I’m a barista, but that’s really only a slice of the pie of what I do. I could say that I work in a cafe, which I do, but I don’t feel that like really encapsulates everything I do. All too often, I get people saying to me, “what do you do?” and I feel like saying, “I work here! Can’t you see that?” but most people assume that if you’re working an a cafe and not doing something else, namely university, you must be wasting your life.

For whatever reason, people love to look down on people who work in hospitality (unless you’re a chef, then you’re cool). Some people just love the idea of someone waiting on them so much that they forget that the person serving them is a human being with feelings, who takes pride in how they do their job and gets disheartened by their patronising comments.

So I work in a cafe. Yes, this much is true. A small, family-owned cafe nestled away in a small village about ten minutes away from where I live. The area is mostly inhabited by older people who have lived there forever and in their eyes, you have to have at least three generations of family buried in the cemetery there before you qualify to call yourself a local. We get stable owners, mums and dads from the public school next door or the preschool a few doors down, students from the Veterinary University down the road, early morning tradespeople on their way to work, church groups, visitors from the local  retirement home, and the occasional passerby who just happened to stumble upon us.

I’m one of the few staff at the cafe who is not part of the family, (even though by this point I sort of feel as though I am) and I’m the longest serving non-related staff member. I was fortunate enough that the family who owned the cafe took a chance on a girl like me with no experience who needed a job and I’ve now been there for three years. But when people ask me what I do, I feel like saying that I work in a cafe isn’t good enough.

I make coffee, complete with pretty latte art and I cook food from time to time. I plate everything to make sure it looks nicely presented. I clean everything and try to keep the place looking immaculate. I try my best to never let a customer leave without feeling welcomed and well looked after. Most weeks I’m there from Wednesday to Saturday and I work long days, some days from open at 7am to closing at 4pm. I serve people all day, often on my own, keeping the customers happy and getting them what they want in a fast and efficient manner, juggling take-aways, coffees, milkshakes, food, etc, etc, etc. When we’re quiet, I’ll be cleaning away making sure the place is spick and span. And I work hard. So when people ask me what I do and I say I work in a cafe and they look at me like I’m not doing enough, it makes me mad.

I’ve learned a lot working in hospitality. It can be the worst some days. Some days I come home and don’t want to speak to anyone. But other days it can be so rewarding. There’s nothing like seeing the smiling face of a nice regular customer to brighten up a bad day at work. It’s rewarding to have people say the coffee you made them was delicious or that their food was wonderful. I’ve learned a lot about working in hospitality and could easy manage a cafe myself if I wanted to. Hell, I could own my own if I chose to.

Don’t look down on hospitality workers. We work long hours and long days. We’re on our feet constantly, always smiling and being cheerful, even when we feel like crying and having a meltdown. Where would you get your yummy food or great coffee if we all decided we were too good to work in cafes?