Ebb & Flow | Southampton

Back in may on a flying visit up to Hampshire, I met up with my best friend for a much needed catch up. We aimed for Southampton purely for ease and if I’m being completely honest, for Wagamamas. Seeing as the nearest one to where I live now is over 2 hours away it made sense and well, I just LOVE Wagamamas. After trying to contain my squeals and not tackling her to the ground with an enormous hug after not seeing her for almost 6 months (she had been on a study abroad to America) I tried to fit in mouthfuls around the constant rapid conversation. Suitably stuffed with an incredible vegan curry and enough ice tea to put some southern states to shame, we went for a wander around West Quay.

I hadn’t been home to Southampton in ages and when I did, I never came back to West Quay and it hit me then how much of my teenage years had been spent in this shopping centre. As lame as that is bound to sound, walking past new shops that I no longer recognised I was hit with a strong wave of nostalgia. How much time had I spent lurking inside Underground with my super straight hair and fake piercings, looking at all the clothes I wasn’t allowed to buy? How many hours had I spent in Shakeaway playing table tennis? How many memories were tied to seemingly pointless objects, like the bench outside of Lush? Southampton was my home and it wasn’t going anywhere, it was just changing a little bit.

A new edition, hiding down the far end of the high street was a quirky cafĂ© called Ebb & Flow. I never really ventured to this part of the high street so I couldn’t even recall what it was before but I did vaguely remember seeing a blogger reviewing it. We decided we had earned a drink and possibly something sweet after all the walking and talking so we dove in. What struck me first of all was how beautiful the interior was, quirky yet homely it had the perfect balance. To whoever was behind the design process and execution, kudos to you! After helping ourselves to menus and finding a seat near the window to people watch, we settled on fruit smoothies as unfortunately there were no vegan or lactose free sweet options. The entire place was empty and for some people that may have been off putting but it was nice to be able to wander around, take some pictures and natter as loudly as we wanted. We placed our drinks with a lovely woman whose name on the till came up as BeyoncĂ© and in a few minutes had huge freshly made smoothies completing the aesthetic in mason jars.

As we went back to our table I spied board games. Now, if there is anything worth knowing about me it’s this- I adore board games. Born and raised on them, you’ll often find me even in the midst of a house party dragging out articulate to play whilst off my face. From hours spent playing monopoly to arguments about using names in scrabble (I’m firmly team yes for using names), I love them all. So many of my childhood memories are linked to playing payday or trivial pursuit and I have so many fond memories of playing frustration with my grandpa. Grabbing connect 4 and after taking many instagram worthy photographs we settled down into the plush arm chairs and made ourselves at home. Even though we didn’t eat at Ebb & Flow there were a few delicious sounding veggie options that could have been altered to make vegan and we vowed to go back just for more of the smoothies.

The next few hours slipped by and before I wanted to, I was heading back towards the train station. Before I set off I remembered the rule I was raised with- that to know the merit of any eatery, even if the food is exquisite, is to check out the bathrooms. Going up a beautiful, old and slightly twisty staircase in what looked like a hallway to a house, I must say that the bathrooms passed inspection and gained an extra point for having a full length mirror.

I feel like we stumbled across somewhere I can make new memories and spend a good few hours enjoying good drinks and even better company. Ebb & Flow, I’ll be back- even if it is just to marvel over your interior.  

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