Girl In The Palace
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We popped down to the park today to show Arlo the recently restored Crystal Palace Sphinxes! They are 163 years old and sit in 3 sets of 2, flanking rows of steps that originally led up to The Crystal Palace (of the Great Exhibition!) They've been restored to their original terracotta red. It's just a bit mad that these remnants of the Victorian era are just sitting down the road in the park. They were in dire need of this makeover when I moved here a few years ago so I'm really pleased they're now being looked after. Arlo was more impressed by the many dogs that passed by with their owners while we were at the park. He absolutely loves dogs and has been trying to say 'dog dog' for a while now! I love his little red wellies, mainly because he can't scoot off in them as quickly as he can in his other shoes! 

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We enjoyed a lovely Sunday stroll today and stopped by one of the most recent additions to the local shopping triangle. I've bought some vegan brownies from Blowing Dandelion at the Crystal Palace Farmers Market before and so was pleasantly surprised when they opened up shop locally. That's right, an artisan chocolate shop selling raw, vegan treats opened 5 minutes walk from my front door! So in other words, you know where to find me! A chat with the barista revealed they are venturing into making vegan chocolate this year too, not just raw treats so I can't wait to try those. We grabbed two coffees, a hazelnut brownie to share (not) and sat outside as it wasn't so cold today. I definitely recommend popping in for a look and a delicious vegan treat. Enjoy and Happy New Year from the Girl in the Palace team!

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Hidden under the road at Crystal Palace Parade is The Crystal Palace subway, a beautifully designed set of Victorian pillars and arches that make up the old station leading to the site of The Crystal Palace. The subway isn't open to the public and is spoken of in hushed tones and whispers, for only the locals seem to know of its existence. Thanks to the team at Open House London, it is open this weekend and I was truly amazed to find such a spectacular cavern hiding beneath the main road, out of sight and so well preserved. It was built as a solution for the posh Victorians who couldn't be bothered schlepping up the massive hill upon which The Crystal Palace was situated. I get it, I do that hill with a buggy and it's a killer. Instead of being dropped off at the low brow low station and facing the uphill trek, the train would instead continue through the hill and arrive at the beautiful and convenient "High Level Station", so long as you could afford a first class train ticket that is. Since then, it's been used as an air-raid shelter during the war and has even held a few raves in its time. I'm not so sure the Palacians would be up for that much craic nowadays! It's been on my must see list since we moved here, so delighted we got to see it today!