In My Kitchen, February 2018.

The morning beach snap featured above might seem incongruous in a post about kitchens. This is the view just past the banksia trees and over the gravel track from our camping kitchen, around 30 steps away. On still days we carry the table and chairs down to the beach, placing them in front of an abandoned boat shed, and dine in style while watching the light shift over the bay.

Camping Buddha

From February to April, we travel between two kitchens-a camping kitchen by the sea and our home kitchen, the more demanding task master during this season of abundant garden crops. As the two kitchens are only 1/¼ hours apart, an easy freeway drive, we alternate every three or four days. When setting up the beach kitchen, we aim for functionality with solid metal stands, stoves and shelves and frivolous decor mostly sourced from local opportunity shops. I’ve tried minimalism and it doesn’t work for me.

In my beach kitchen I usually mix 1970s Chinese enamel ware and cookware with a few old Balinese sarongs ( my curtains) and junk from the local op shops. Old hippy mid-century retro Chinese vintage, with a touch of Greek fishing village might best describe the style. Things change each year, depending on what floats my way.

The beach suburbs from Dromana to Sorrento are loaded with vintage shops and ‘oppies’, Australian term of affection for a charity shop. Today I found some wonderful treasure to add to my beach kitchen. These Balinese placements were a steal and are both functional and decorative. They turned up in Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul),  Rosebud.

I can’t resist old dolphin bottle openers. Neither can my eldest son, who owns quite a few and displays them swimming together along a loungeroom cabinet.  These two have found a home in the beach set up and get a workout on hot days. Pass the dolphin.

An old preserving pan for $3 from another op shop found its way into our beach kitchen. So many uses and lightweight.

A birthday gift from my children, this wok burner is perfect for camping. With fierce heat and stability, it’s a joy to fire up a big wok full of mie goreng. This one will be added to our home verandah on our return.

A pile of books for a few gold coins. Freshly donated, all new looking and many unread, they were stacked in piles on a table, the eager volunteers keen to do their job and get them up on the shelves. I remarked to Mr Tranquillo that books on a table are far more appealing than those shelved in bookcases. Books on tables invite fondling, turning and perusing. He reminded me that it’s an old marketing ploy. When a line in a shop isn’t selling, you simply take it off the shelf and display it on a table. No price reduction, no promotion needed. This stash will live in the caravan and once read, will be returned to the op shop or perhaps the communal laundry, which has become a freecycle centre at our beach camp.

A  five-minute meal, a bowl of lightly curried mussels, French style, served with some chunky bread. Easy food from my beach kitchen.

Moules marinière à la crème et au curry
Moules marinière à la crème et au curry.

The secret is out- best op shops on the Mornington Peninsula:

  • Salvos, Dromana
  • Vinnies, Rosebud
  • The Rotary Warehouse, Capel Sound
  • The Habitat for Humanity, Capel Sound
  • Search and Rescue op shop, Blairgowrie
  • Jack and Andy’s, Sorrento
  • and plenty of smaller oppies in each small beach suburb along the way. 

‘She threw back her head and cried with pleasure

One woman’s trash is another one’s treasure’.

Thank you Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for hosting this series once again.

37 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, February 2018.”

  1. Whoever said “Less is more” lied. One must take everything and a kitchen sink, whilst camping, as your photos clearly show. But Alas – it’s all functionable and most necessary even if one doesn’t use it.
    If only those sarongs could talk – what a journey they could tell. And to be blessed with rehousing those stunning Balinese pot stands – they could come in hand for up-market frisbee. Oh! the life of gypsies – well done.


    1. It is one of the many things we have always shared Peter- the love of Chinese ware , the multi function sarong and a good grasp of multi- function clutter. I remember with fondness the days we used to trawl through the Chinese shops in inner suburban streets of Melbourne. Such fun.


      1. You have yet to see some of my Chinese ware that I able to bring home from the regional markets around Guanxi. A particular tea pot I love turned out to be over 500 yo. I shall pour you tea from it soon.


  2. Love that last quotation! I also love my friends who don’t embrace minimalism for the vicarious pleasure of seeing their collections, usually quite beautiful. I do find minimalism easier to live with but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few meaningful pieces around me to enjoy. Those dolphin openers are lovely! Have not seen or heard of them before. Enjoy your time of two kitchens…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. During my married years I used to be such a minimalist but, at the moment, I could not think of anything more fun than dropping in at your ‘camping kitchen’ and begging for a seat and a plate! And then have a fossick around all your treasures . . . Love the Balinese placements and would so like to mess around that pile of books . . . Have a Vinnies just ten kms down the road . . . now why have I not been tho’ the finds there may not be as innovative as on the Mornington Peninsula . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They might be Eha. Frequent visitations are required to unearth treasure. The volunteers like a chat and I have a golden rule- just buy one little thing each time- a book or magazine is one way of donating.
      A friend has just arrived from York, and in her brief time back in Melbourne is begging for an op shop day with me. Melbourne’s op shop scene is so big, but a tour of the Peninsula oppies


  4. whoops , not finished. A tour of the peninsula oppies includes a drive past some lovely coastline, windows down, Grace Kelly style, interspersed with a good coffee somewhere or fish and chips under an old pine tree by the bay.


  5. Your idea of camping is so appealing — I’m with you on the non-minimal approach that nonetheless doesn’t overdo extra spending. Reusing those beautiful and functional items and then being able to pass them back to the charities if not needed is so lovely.

    best… mae at


  6. i love your eclectic look here francesca. all those wondrous op shop finds too. those dolphin openers are so cute. the buddha is very cute, and must rain blessings down on your kitchen creations. what fun, travelling between kitchens. thanks for joining us in IMK land. cheers S x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Our local library has an amazing cookbook section, so I tend to borrow them and just jot down or photograph the recipes I liked. I realised when we moved (and then moved out again to renovate ) that I had way too many cookbooks with too few recipes being made from them. My stash ended up at our local opp shop and are now in someone else’s kitchen!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. We set it up each year from the end of January to the end of April, After April, the foreshore park closes and the bush regenerates. There are enough fellow campers to keep an eye on things but in some years we’ve had break ins. The key thing is to not leave anything desirable there. Most thieves don’t want my junk, but I do lock up my stoves and anything precious – laptop/phone/money/alcohol- comes in the car with us.
      We are also surrounded by the extended family. My mother gave up camping in her caravan only two years ago at the age of 93.


  7. Francesca, I LOVE your style — your comment section, too (as delightful to read as your post) amd learning more about YOU and what makes you tick. Kindred souls around the globe, xo! After I/we lost everything a few years back, I realized how much “some” things meant… things that defined “me”… never mind the minimalist mindset and all of its merits. I’m in favor of simplifying, but treasures that make you SMILE are worth accumulating — again, if need be — a blessing to re-discover with an even more appreciative outlook. Life’s too short not to “layer!” Do what makes YOU happy and know that you made others happy by sharing your heart and home… and camping kitchen!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Kim, we share a lot of life changing experiences. Reaching over the water and passing you a wine. I agree, after losing everything, we do exactly what we want with the clutter and stuff that’s passed our way. I love my camping kitchen- it’s like a cubby house.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You warm my heart. Minimalism makes me uncomfortable particularly the extreme, prescriptive sort. Nor am I a fan of hoarding. Unused & unwanted items are best donated and shared, to find their way home with someone else who will treasure them. I love the description…Old hippy mid-century retro Chinese vintage, with a touch of Greek fishing village might best describe the style. 
    Happy holidays ♡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale. When we hit the road with our van, most of this summer junk goes into storage or is recycled. Our road trip version will be simpler- and hoping to do a road trip or two in May and June.


Now over to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.