a-england · Tennyson’s Romance



It’s no secret that one of my favourite nail polish brands is a-england, and not just for the absolutely stellar quality of the product. What makes this range a total stand-out for me, is how well thought-out and curated each collection is and the love with which founder Adina Bodana goes about in creating each shade. Inspired by her love of of Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, Tennyson’s Romance draws inspiration from a beloved poem of Adina’s, The Beggar Maid from Alfred, Lord Tennyson and brought to life by yet another of Adina’s favourites, the artist Edward Burne-Jones.

To see all previous reviews from this brand, click this a-england tab

The Beggar Maid (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Her arms across her breast she laid;
She was more fair than words can say:
Bare-footed came the beggar maid
Before the king Cophetua.
In robe and crown the king stept down,
To meet and greet her on her way;
“It is no wonder,” said the lords,
“She is more beautiful than day”.

As shines the moon in clouded skies,
She in her poor attire was seen:
One praised her ankles, one her eyes,
One her dark hair and lovesome mien:
So sweet a face, such angel grace,
In all that land had never been:
Cophetua sware a royal oath:
“This beggar maid shall be my queen!”


King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid by Edward Burne-Jones (1884)




The Beggar Maid | A steely grey base with olive undertones and a scattered holographic effect that gives off a slight pink shift under some lights. Self-levelling and almost a one-coat-wonder, this comes to a glossy finish.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Angel Grace | A vivid purple with a strong scattered holographic effect. A slightly thinner formula than The Beggar Maid, but bearing the same smooth application and shiny finish.

Coats: 2, no top coat


King Cophetua | Probably the black holographic shade to rule them all, the scattered effect here is beautifully rendered and this is truly a one-coat-wonder. Self-levelling and coming to a glossy finish, there’s no staining upon removal either.

Coats: 2, no top coat


In Robe And Crown | A rich burgundy hue with a scattered holographic effect, with a flawless application, glossy finish, and no staining upon removal. I’m all about the ‘banked embers’ look happening with this shade and love how complex it is.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Shall Be My Queen | A deep rose shade with a strong scattered holographic effect that applies almost fully opaque by the first layer. Self-levelling like the rest and coming to a glossy finish, with bonus no staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, no top coat


As passionate as I am about beauty, that also applies to literature and art which is why everything about the Tennyson’s Romance collection resonates so strongly with me. This is a perfect example of all the right ingredients colliding, and no one does that better than a-england. If I were to pick my faves, that would be The Beggar Maid, King Cophetua and In Robe and Crown — primarily because moody shades like that sit right in my wheelhouse. If you’ve yet to discover this brand, you really need to get on board because this is one unbelievably quality product that I honestly cannot recommend enough. Plus, just look at all this gorgeousness, am I right?

Visit a-england for retailers



PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Russian Soul opener


Russian Soul, the latest release from boutique lacquer brand a-england, draws inspiration from the ballet, in particular the gliding elegance and technical artistry of renown Russian dancers such as that of Maya Plisetskaya (1925 – 2015), Prima Ballerina Assoluta.

Since its inception, a-england has consistently turned out one incredible collection after another with shades that are not only beautiful & complex but also imbued with a strong sense of history not seen with any other beauty product. Founder Adina Bodana, a woman with one of the most generous hearts I know and whom I’m proud to call a friend, has quite possibly outdone even herself with this latest creation – prepare to be amazed.

*See swatches of more a-england shades by clicking on the tag in the sidebar 


Maya Plisetskaya Swan Lake

Maya Plisetskaya, Prima Ballerina Assoluta as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake

a-england Russian Soul

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Russian Soul 2

a-england | Russian Soul

a-england Katyusha swatch

Katyusha | An oxidized silver hue with a strong holographic effect, displaying an absolutely beautiful flow, density, and coverage (basically opaque at 1 coat). There’s this stunning green and copper shift seen in some lights, alternating to a more seafoam green at other times. LOVE!

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Katyusha swatch 2

a-england | Katyusha swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Waltz of the Flowers swatch

Waltz of the Flowers | An iridescent violet hue with a strong prismatic effect to the holographic particles in a slightly sheerer formula than that of Katyusha. Self-levelling and with a natural glossy finish, there’s such an ease to the flow that makes application a dream. Gorgeously regal yet still so classic and modern.

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Waltz of the Flowers swatch 2

a-england | Waltz of the Flowers swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Kalinka swatch

Kalinka | A silvered lavender hue with yet another strong holographic presence, in a formula similar to that of Waltz of the Flowers; a slight sheerness with the first coat but becoming fully opaque by the second layer. There’s a hypnotic effect to the prismatic flashes, especially when seen in direct sunlight (don’t drive and stare, please!)

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Kalinka swatch 2

a-england | Kalinka swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Polovetsian Dances swatch

Polovetsian Dances | A midnight violet/indigo hue in a formula that is ultra colour-saturated making it almost a one-coat-wonder, with a formula that displays a perfect density, flow, coverage along with self-levelling properties. The holographic particles are more scattered here, with the richness of the base colour providing your nails with that ‘galaxy’ effect (adding a layer of top coat will really make this stand out). BONUS: non-staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added

a-england Polovetsian Dances swatch 2

a-england | Polovetsian Dances swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch

Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace | A lush ebonized charcoal hue with a deep violet undertone and a killer amazing formula in all regards: flow, density, coverage, opacity, gloss and evenness. With a scattered holographic effect similar to that of Polovetsian Dances, this shade is a true one-coat-wonder, although I would still add a second layer for more depth. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. By the way, adding top coat to this beauty takes things to a whole other level of gorgeousness (see the last swatch).

Coats: 2, no base or top coat added on the first 2 swatches, top coat on the last swatch

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch 2

a-england | Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace swatch, Russian Soul

a-england Natasha's Dance swatch 3

a-england | Natasha’s Dance/War & Peace swatch with top coat, Russian Soul


In case it wasn’t already apparent, I have so much love for this brand – not to mention the highest level of respect for its creator, Adina. For starters, you can just tell that each and every shade is meticulously thought out and developed with uniqueness and quality in mind. This collection is a departure from other prismatic hues in the brand’s range, in the sense that there’s this gorgeous natural glossiness seen at the finish of each shade that I personally haven’t seen before, with stellar formulas just sweetening the deal. Picking one favourite out of them all is not possible and I’m so happy I don’t have to either. I may never be a Prima Ballerina Assoluta, but my nails can definitely channel that elegance thanks to this Russian Soul.

Visit a-engand to shop the collection & to find your nearest retailer

a-england Russian Soul closer


These ethereal beauties have been kindly provided/As always, all opinions are my own

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection


a-england The Blessed Damozel opener

There are lacquers, and then there are lacquers; what makes a-england polishes stand out, is an ephemeral quality that is hard to pin down, but is strongly felt nevertheless. With her love of art, beauty, and literature – in particular the Pre-Raphaelite period, Adina Bodana (the creative genius behind this brand) continues to draw inspiration from one of her favourite artists of that period, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The latest addition to her Heavenly Quotes Collection, is The Blessed Damozel – a lush purple hue with what appears to be plume-like swirls of colour running throughout the base, all of which only add to its hypnotic appeal.

Originally published in 1850 (and subsequently revised twice after that), Rossetti’s poem, The Blessed Damozel, was partially inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’, a story of love, grief, unrequited yearning, and celestial bodies. Interestingly, Rossetti’s poem preceded his painting of the same name, with a maiden (the ‘Damozel’) in heaven gazing down in eternal mourning at her earth-bound lover.

Purple, a hue long associated with both royalty and that of death, also happens to have been a favourite with artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement such as Rossetti; the undulating pattern seen in the bottle of a-england’s The Blessed Damozel combined with the intensity of colour, perfectly captures the essence of a deep abiding passion clouded by loss. In other words, Adina has done it again and has managed to bring a piece of literature to life in nail lacquer form.


The Blessed Damozel by Rossetti

The Blessed Damozel (1875-78), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (credit)

The Blessed Damozel poem

The Blessed Damozel (poem originally published in 1850), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (credit)

a-england The Blessed Damozel

The Blessed Damozel | A deeply regal violet with ultra fine inner shimmer in a formula that leans slightly towards the thick side, but which levels out easily and beautifully, with no pooling towards the cuticles. The high saturation of colour means you can basically get away with one coat for full coverage, although I personally prefer the look of two. As the finish is shiny but not glossy, adding a top coat really enhances all the inner fire of this shade and truly makes it stand out. Bonus: non-staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, plus top coat

a-england The Blessed Damozel 2

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection

a-england The Blessed Damozel 3

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection


a-england The Blessed Damozel swatch 1

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection

a-england The Blessed Damozel swatch 2

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection

a-england The Blessed Damozel swatch 3

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection

a-england The Blessed Damozel macro swatch

a-england | The Blessed Damozel, Heavenly Quotes Collection (detail)


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for this brand, and my love for a-england (and its founder) have been well documented over the years in many posts (click on the a-england tab in the sidebar to see swatches of the entire range), but something about The Blessed Damozel has resonated with me on an almost visceral level; it satisfies my need for broodingly moody shades but stays clear of looking too blackened, provides a multi-dimensional depth of tone thanks to the inner shimmer, and just looks so incredibly velvety and luxurious on the nails. Doesn’t get better than that, I tell you.

The Blessed Damozel is part of a-england’s permanent collection. Find more information on the entire range via a-england.co.uk – Find your nearest retailer here.

a-england The Blessed Damozel closer


Press sample kindly provided by a-england for my unbiased consideration

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess opener


With her passion for art, literature, and beauty, Adina Bodana (aka: the creative mastermind behind boutique nail lacquer brand, a-england), draws inspiration from the life & works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti to bring forth her latest collection, Rossetti’s Goddess – four complex shades that bear a multitonal and magical prismatic gleam.

Rossetti, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, infused an undertone of sensuality to the medieval-revival style of his art and poetry, most of which was strongly influenced by his life’s personal events that also included his long-running love affair with muse Jane Morris – the wife of his friend and peer, William Morris. With the Rossetti’s Goddess Collection, Adina once again manages to effortlessly marry touches of history to beauty and has single-handedly created a new industry category, or what I like to call: Art/Lacquer. Rossetti’s intense and somewhat brooding artistic undercurrents are clearly displayed with this capsule collection – all done in that impeccable a-england way.

As with other prismatic shades in the a-england family, the four shown here come to a satin rather than glossy finish – which can be a unique look as is, but become so much more elevated when layered with top coat.

All swatches shown are with 2 coats of lacquer (each) and top coat.

a-england Rossetti's Goddess opener 2

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess


a-england Rossetti's Goddess macro

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess 2

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess

a-england Rossetti's Goddess 3

a-england | Rossetti’s Goddess


Rossetti's Jane Morris portrait 1868

Portrait of Jane Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868)


a-england Jane Morris swatch 1

Jane Morris | A slate/steely grey shade with strong violet reflects and light silvery glints. The prismatic effect is quite evident when seen in person, but can be rather camera-shy unless taken with flash, all of which serves to nevertheless add a stunning dimension of tone. The formula falls on the thicker side (the thickest of the 4, in fact) and is basically opaque at 1 coat – a plus if you’re in a hurry.


a-england Jane Morris swatch 2

a-england | Jane Morris


a-england Captive Goddess swatch 1

Captive Goddess | An icy cerulean blue with aqua reflects and a scattered, but still clearly visible holographic effect. The formula is a bit of a contradiction; relatively thick in flow but with a sheer-leaning application, but still very easy to apply and which becomes completely opaque by the 2nd coat. The paler hue of this shade makes the prismatic part of it appear to pool along the sides and tips of the nails (more so than the middle), which only adds to its uniqueness.


a-england Captive Goddess swatch 2

a-england | Captive Goddess


Rossetti Jane Morris as Proserpine 1874

Jane Morris painted as Proserpine, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874)

In Greek (and Roman) mythology, Hades – God of the Underworld – falls in love with beautiful Persephone (Proserpine), daughter of Zeus and Demeter (Goddess of Agriculture & Fertility, also known as Ceres) and kidnaps her to become his wife. Demeter in her anguish to have her daughter returned, refuses to allow any crops to grow until Zeus intervenes on her behalf and manages to convince Hades to release his reluctant bride. Told not to eat or drink anything in the Underworld or risk staying there forever, Persephone rashly eats a few pomegranate seeds in gratitude of her upcoming release,  which then binds her forever to Hades for part of each year. Demeter to this day, continues to grieve for her missing daughter during that time – Winter – and refuses to permit anything to grow upon the land, relenting only when the two reunite once more each Spring.


a-england Proserpine swatch 1

Proserpine | A smoky deep teal with a multi-layered scattered holographic effect. The formula here is nothing short of amazing: self-levelling, perfectly opaque at just 1 coat, and stays exactly where placed without pooling along nail edges or cuticles. While deeper lighting dims the prismatic flare to a certain degree, sunlight brings it to absolutely gorgeous and brilliant life. BONUS: non-staining upon removal.


a-england Proserpine swatch 2

a-england | Prosperine


a-england Incense Burner swatch 1

Incense Burner | The undisputed Pièce de Résistance of the collection, this shade almost defies description; an aubergine/olive multichrome hue with a strong topaz flash and a formula that can be described in one word: STELLAR. The first coat lays down a rich eggplant purple, and while that seems to be the general colour of this shade, that changes depending on one’s angle of vision and the light – at times calling forth a greener hue, then morphing into a more mauve/brown/amber tone. Truly hypnotic and very unique in my collection, I can assure you.

Trying to capture the many facets of Incense Burner (inspired by the actual incense burner seen in the lower left hand corner of the above painting of Proserpine, symbolic of her attribute as a Goddess in her own right) can prove tricky at best, so I’ve included a few extra photos to portray its gorgeousness as accurately as possible. Enjoy!


a-england Incense Burner swatch 2

a-england | Incense Burner

a-england Incense Burner swatch 3

a-england | Incense Burner

a-england Incense Burner swatch 4

a-england | Incense Burner


No more words are really needed, are they? Following the tradition of putting forth an amazing product, Rossetti’s Goddess from a-england is a collection worthy of both its historical inspiration and the brand itself, known for quality above all else. My favourites here are hands down Incense Burner and Proserpine (dark, mysterious & brooding shades get me every time), although Jane Morris and Captive Goddess are simply perfect for the season now and will no doubt transition beautifully once the weather starts to cool again, faithfully completing the cycle of the myth itself. Bravo & well-done, Adina.

Available now through a-england, where you can also find a complete list of stockists for your location.

a-england Rossetti's Goddess closer

Press samples kindly provided for my unbiased consideration

a-england | Elizabeth & Mary Collection

a-england Elizabeth & Mary opener


Rivalry, assassination plots, and the crown at stake … Elizabeth & Mary is the latest collection from a-england, which draws inspiration from two of Great Britain’s most well-known monarchs: Elizabeth I, also known as the ‘Virgin Queen‘ as well as ‘Gloriana‘, and her cousin Mary Stuart, also known as Mary, Queen of Scots.

There are five shades in this collection – three prismatic, one filled with fine reflective glitter, and one with a luminous shimmer – all in a-england’s solidly performing formula.

What I absolutely love about this brand (apart from having some of the most beautiful nail lacquer shades), is how founder Adina Bodana merges touches of history with each collection, which in turn manages to inject a more personal touch to her lacquers – they almost develop ‘personalities’, if that makes any sense.


a-england Elizabeth & Mary

a-england | Elizabeth & Mary Collection


a-england Elizabeth & Mary 2



Queen Elizabeth I, The Ermine Portrait (1585), Nicholas Hilliard

Queen Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603), the last Tudor monarch (and some say the greatest that England has ever known), reigned for 45 years, a period which saw literature flourish throughout the land. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth I, never married and was finally succeeded by James VI of Scotland, son of Mary, Queen of Scots.


a-england Virgin Queen swatch

Virgin Queen | Pewter prismatic hue with a light pink undertone (more apparent in sunlight), making it more of a warm-leaning shade. Indoors, Virgin Queen can appear to have more of a grey/coppery-olive cast, with a more subtle holographic sheen. The formula here is a touch thick, but still easy to manipulate and appears basically opaque at one just coat. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Virgin Queen swatch 2

a-england | Virgin Queen


a-england Gloriana swatch

Gloriana | Chilli-pepper red hue filled with fine and ultra-fine gold sparkle. Self-levelling and almost a OCW (one coat wonder), Gloriana bears the same density to its formula as Virgin Queen, with a richly glowing tone and utterly brilliant at the finish. My photos make it appear a little rough, where in fact the surface does wind up smooth. Bonus: non-staining, although you may experience some glitter migration upon removal. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Gloriana swatch 2

a-england | Gloriana


Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.23.14 PM

Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 – 1587 Painted about 1610-1615, artist unknown (National Galleries of Scotland)

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1567) ascended the throne at merely 6 days old, when her father died. Seeking to restore Catholicism in England, she became a pawn in all the royal intrigue and power struggles that were taking place, and ultimately wound up imprisoned in England for 19 years, before finally being executed at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, at the age of 44.


a-england Queen of Scots swatch

Queen of Scots | Beyond captivating, that’s for sure (no pun intended). An inky/deep royal blue shade in a category all its own: at once metallic, pearlized and satiny. I honestly don’t know how else to describe this finish. What you see here, is just one coat. ONE COAT. The shimmer in Queen of Scots is ultra-fine and the type that seems to just glow from along the centre of the nail beds, while the blue colour is deep & rich, yet manages to steer away from looking blackened. The formula is an odd mix of thick-ish density but yet still quite easy to apply, leaving no visible brush strokes behind. Relatively non-staining upon removal, provided you apply base coat first as a precaution. Coats applied: 1, plus top coat

I had a strong urge to mattify Queen of Scots, and my instincts proved correct: the resulting look is unlike anything I’ve seen before, while the finish feels like the most buttery suede – and just like that, I am obsessed with the way this looks.


a-england Queen of Scots swatch 2

a-england | Queen of Scots

a-england Queen of Scots swatch matte

a-england | Queen of Scots, matte

a-england Queen of Scots swatch matte 2

a-england | Queen of Scots, matte


a-england Crown of Thistles swatch

Crown of Thistles | A regal amethyst hue with a fairly evident prismatic tone (more of a strongly scattered holographic appearance, as opposed to linear). Interestingly enough, seen in sunlight, Crown of Thistles definitely appears warm-leaning, and yet under fluorescent lighting, it appears to veer decidedly cool. Quite the chameleon and one of the most sophisticated vivid purple shades I own (not a term I usually ascribe to this colour, but it sure fits here). Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Crown of Thistles swatch 2

a-england | Crown of Thistles



Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.57.35 PM

The birthplace of Richard III and place of execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, Fotheringhay Castle was founded in 1100 AD by Simon de St, Liz (Senlis), Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. Today, only the earthworks and the conical motte remain of the castle, its stones having been robbed and carted away by locals in order to build their own homes after Mary’s execution.


a-england Fotheringhay Castle swatch

Fotheringhay Castle | Lustrous olive/mossy green with a strong prismatic shimmer, in a formula that was perhaps the thinnest applying of the five, but easy to work with just the same. I could easily have left it at one 1 coat for full opacity, but I personally prefer the look of Fotheringhay Castle with 2 coats – really brings out the holographic bits. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Fotheringhay Castle swatch 2

a-england | Fotheringhay Castle


I’ve made it no secret that I am a huge fan of a-england, but I also like to give credit where it’s due, and there is not one disappointment in any of these five Elizabeth & Mary shades. Unlike some other brands that can finish quite glossy, these lacquers have a more refined shine, and benefit from added top coat, turning them truly stellar – although Queen of Scots becomes an object of supreme beauty (for me, at any rate) once mattified.

Available now, find more information on a-england’s Elizabeth & Mary Collection (as well as the full range and worldwide stockists) by visiting a-england.com.co.uk

Click on the a-england tab (at right) to see swatches of all other a-england lacquers

a-england Elizabeth & Mary closer

Press samples provided for my unbiased consideration