Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Heat Is On!

 When at home on hot summer days, my favourite clothes are tunics and kaftans ... they help keep me as cool and fresh as possible in the relentless July and August heat. Simrane in Paris makes beautiful ones that come in fine cotton and pretty colours and prints. My favourite styles are the Kurta (tunic) and the Kurta Long Dress (kaftan), but I also love their summery, hand-printed table cloths. You can find the entire collection online hereor visit their store when in Paris next: they're located in the heart of Saint-Germain and only a stone's throw away from the Café Flore, at 23-25 Rue Bonaparte/corner of rue Jacob (I have no ties with Simrane and bought all pieces myself over the years).

I continue to have fun creating mood boards, and playing with colour schemes, textures and materials. Although these are decorating schemes, they also provide a new source of inspiration for wardrobe and accessory choices. I think I mentioned before that I have a few domestic decoration projects lined up and I look forward to sharing them with you when the time comes.

Blue and white is one of my favorite colour combinations for summer, it always is so fresh and crisp. Here with a Kurta Long Dress, accessorized with a Pendant necklace in ecru (available here) and a horn bracelet. 

Provisions ... herbs, melon and tomatoes, and a few cases of rosé. 

The basil spends most of the day on the wall of the kitchen terrace, but as it wouldn't survive the intense afternoon sun I've planted it into a basket so that it can easily be transferred back inside.

You couldn't design a bowl that is more wondrous than this roadside Queen Anne's lace wildflower:

Another Kura Long Dress,  this one is currently still available AND on sale (unluckily, I bought mine just a week before the sale!) I've accessorised it with a shell necklace and a horn bracelet as above.

Wild Immortelle in the fields

Immortelle flowers fully deserve their name .... they keep their shape and a beautiful colour even when dried (the yellow becomes a little more mustard over time) and therefore are perfect for decorating. I also use Immortelle in an essential oil version as skincare (5ml mixed with 5ml Pink Geranium and 60ml Primrose oil), and while my complexion shows no signs of immortality, it is a lovely combination of oils that feel good on the skin.

The glazed pottery urn below is a miniature version of the Southern French Vases d'Anduze planters, and I thought it would be a perfect little receptacle for a ball-shaped Immortelle arrangement: I cut the floral foam to fit the urn's opening, removed the leaves from the flower's stalks, trimmed them to a length of 1 to 1½ inch and pushed them into the dry foam.

If you (like me) can't find a ball-shaped florist's foam in the right size, you can easily make one yourself by shaping a (more widely available) brick. As you can see, it doesn't have to be perfect ... the flowers will cover any irregularities and you can always vary the flower's positions by pushing the stalk more or less deeply into the foam.

My fun Picture This app tells me that this curious plant is called Woodlands Pipe

On days when thunderstorms are looming and the sky is dark and moody,  I reach for my Kurta Long Dress in muted colours. Here accessorized with a gemstone pendant on a leather string and a leather bracelet with gemstone beads.

July is the month of red, white and blue, on both sides of the pond. Hope those who were celebrating had a great 4th of July and Bastille Day!

Another Kurta Long Dress, here with a shell and pearl necklace and horn bracelet as above. 

The name "Kurta Long Dress" is well chosen ... it does go all the way down to the floor!

During the summer months, we eat quite late, usually around 9pm. Apart from the occasional plate of pasta, we have simple dinners made with fresh, local ingredients and accompanied by a chilled bottle of local rosé and a hunk of crusty baguette. To give a classic Tomato and Mozzarella/Burrata salad some extra flavour I add strips of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives and ground pepper.  

I found that the same toppings make a wonderful, meat-free alternative to Melon and Ham, which is of course another summer classic. The sun-dried tomatoes have so much flavour and therefore are a perfect substitute for ham. Sprinkled with mint, capers and balsamic vinegar glaze  I much prefer this variation to the traditional one.

White and Indigo

While lighter blues bring a wonderful freshness to white, darker blues add a calm and elegant touch.

I love the butterfly sleeves of this kaftan I bought in Thailand a few years back. Keeping the accessories simple with a Pendant necklace in black (available here) and a gold-rimmed bracelet.

Hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful and happy summer!



  1. Lovely and not an H scarf in sight! As beautiful as they are, I have to admit that it’s a welcome change to put them away for a few months (betting they appreciate the break, as well).

    I crave all of your refreshing blue and white summery looks and admit to envy over your kurta and caftan collection - my summer attire of choice, too. I remember Simrane well and guess it will definitely have to go on the March shopping list. The fabrics are exceptional.

    The tomato/burrata salad with “additions” looks wonderful, and I’m sure it tastes even better in Provence than it does here. I, too, have to move my basil out of the blistering afternoon sun to avoid meltdown, but it’s worth it - five batches of pesto in the freezer so far and counting!

    Thank you for such a lovely glimpse of a summer Provençal life.

    Stay cool, Swans,

  2. You are the epitome of cool, calm and collected in your lovely long dresses! No summertime blues for you, unless you are sporting them in combo with the white! I have often commented that you and blue are a match made in heaven! I sing the refrain!
    Your flower arrangement turned out perfectly and I love the small planter!
    Recipes are a refreshing touch and I am going to try the melon and sun dried tomatoes! Too darned hot to heat anything in the kitchen save for the coffee maker!
    Hoping you and all of your boyz enjoy these lazy days of Summer! Much love and many mwahs, T xx

  3. Absolutely fabulous, all of it: you, your gorgeous different Kurta long dresses and the kaftan … oh what a treat for my eyes! Not to forget your flower attangements, mouth-watering food pictures and all moodlifting combinations of patterns and shades.

    You certainly spoiled us, this time. Thank you!

    Wishing you a wonderful summer and further inspiration for us, your subscribers, to enjoy in the future./Agneta

  4. What a beautiful post, dearest Tai! Love it all!!! The Simrane dresses, the flower arrangement, the dishes, your choice of colours and photographs.
    Have already had a look at Simrane collection and feel very tempted to order a dress for me. Such lovely fabrics for Summer!
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead, Dearest.
    Much love, Manuela