A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to test the new Fiat 500 car. I don’t get the chance to drive in London very often so having my own stylish car for a day was a real luxury. The Fiat 500 is a fantastic city car: I was able to run errands across three boroughs of London, quickly and effortlessly, and still have time to have brunch with my husband. I am going to share my experience in two blog posts; this is the first one so keep an eye out for the second one next week.
Fiat is a brand I have always trusted and loved. Being Italian, I grew up surrounded by Fiat cars. It is the largest Italian automobile manufacturer, but most of all it is a company that is deeply rooted in the history of my country.
My parents used to drive a Fiat car, my neighbours had one, my friends’ parents had them too. The Fiat cars are unmistakably Italian and iconic, like the old Cinquecento (500) car launched in the 50’s which is still today a symbol of Italy around the world.
In its new and modern form, the Fiat 500 is a functional, comfortable, fast and efficient car. But it hasn’t lost any of its original charm.
At 10:00 on Saturday morning I picked up the car, a Fiat 500 S Convertible with TwinAir engine, in Bossa Nova White colour. You see Fiat 500 everywhere on the streets of London, but I had never been inside one. The interiors are elegant and refined, with a round design of the controls and chrome details on the dashboard. The front seats are comfortable and spacious, with several storage compartments to keep your phone, keys, coins and drinks.
For my day out with Fiat, I planned to drive to Chelsea and Pimlico for some shopping, but on the way there we decided to take a detour to a coffee shop in Wandsworth Common.
Flotsam & Jetsam is an independently owned café situated on the south side of Wandsworth Common, in the pretty Nightingale Triangle neighbourhood. They serve good Aussie style coffee (roasted by Allpress) and all-day brunch. Be prepared to queue, as Flotsam & Jetsam is extremely popular in the area.
I had been talking about visiting Flotsam & Jetsam for months, but it’s not close enough to cycle so I had always put it off to another time. I finally had the chance to go there on the Fiat 500!
I had to circle around the cafe a few times to find parking (on-street parking is mostly for residents), but I finally I found a spot just around the corner from the cafe. It was a tiny spot, but the Fiat 500 easily fit in.
I used to drive every day in Italy, but here in London I rarely do, mostly because I don’t want to have the hassle of parking. I often wish I had a car though, especially when I have to go to the supermarket for a big food shopping, or buy furniture, or carry my photography equipment to a photoshoot.
Since we were in the area, my husband and I also went for a walk in Wandsworth Common which looked beautiful in the autumnal colours.
We weren’t at the park too long: it was cold and besides we had a busy schedule of eating and shopping to follow! Next stop was Battersea for a walk by the river and brunch, but I will tell you more about that in my next post.
Driving around Chelsea and Pimlico in the Fiat 500 was incredibly easy and effortless.
One of the prettiest corners of London is the little square at the junction of Pimlico Road and Ebury Street. We parked right by the square as I needed to go to Daylesford Farm Shop (they stock a beautiful range of tableware and kitchen accessories).
I also couldn’t resist buying a bunch of white tulips at the local florist Wild At Heart.
Around 15:00 we started the drive back to SW4, but not before making another detour for tea and cake at the new Dominique Ansel Bakery.
The Belgravia patisserie creates one flavour of the Cronut pastry each month, so after tasting the Salted Butterscotch and Cocoa Nib in October, I went back to try the November flavour of Sour Cherry with White Almond Ganache and Vanilla Sugar.
Cronut lovers will be happy to know that on a Saturday afternoon it was still possible to find cronuts, although we did buy the very last one (the pastries notoriously sell out quickly).
As much as I enjoy eating fried dough, I haven’t yet fallen in love with the cronut yet. I think Dominique Ansel Bakery has got more to offer than just cronuts, especially the eclairs and cookie shots are worth trying. The shop is very big with a lovely seating area, and outdoor space which is going to look lovely in the summer.
After a long caffeine-fuelled day, it was time to go back home and return the Fiat 500. I enjoyed my day out driving in South West London with Fiat! Keep an eye out for my next post, in which I will take you to Battersea for brunch at Queenswood.
Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with Fiat UK. All opinions are my own.