Filed In: a england

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

 

elizabethermine

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

 

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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

 

 

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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

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (Heavenly Quotes)

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Excalibur Renaissance

 

Inspired by the words written by English poet Christina Georgina Rossetti (sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti – poet, painter, illustrator and founder of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood), Hurt No Living Thing is the latest addition to the a-england collection of Heavenly Quotes (click on the a-england category tab at right for swatches of all shades), a mysterious colour-shifting topper shade that can be worn along, or layered over any other hue to create a truly unique finish.

Hurt No Living Thing
Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing

Hurt No Living Thing (CAN $12.95) | A semi-sheer and somewhat murky dove grey base hue with mauve/pink finely ground shimmer, in a formula that is absolute perfection – self levelling, with an excellent flow, and ultra glossy at the finish. Its gossamer-like nature means it can definitely be worn alone – perfect for those who appreciate a subtle look, but the transformative properties of Hurt No Living Thing are all magnified when it gets layered over any other colour – giving anything it touches a fey & ethereal appearance, shrouded and even a little mysterious. Top Coat only on final swatches

Worn alone: at 1 coat, the pink shimmer is obvious, but goes deeper into the background with each subsequent coat (2 & 3 respectively) – leaving the grey hue dominant with the pink shimmer at the core. Full opacity, even at 3 coats, is not reached when worn this way.

Layered: with just 1 coat of Hurt No Living Thing applied over 2 coats of Sleeping Palace (previously reviewed here), a deep eggplant purple holographic hue, the newly created tone is incredibly difficult to capture in words – it’s as though a veil was thrown over the entire look, and something completely unique has emerged. Almost surreal, actually. (Note that for these swatches shown further below, Hurt No Living Thing was applied to all nails except the index finger).

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 1 coat swatch

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (1 coat)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 2 coats swatch

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (2 coats)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 3 coats swatch

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (3 coats)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 1 coat swatch sunlight

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (1 coat, in sunlight)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 2 coats swatch sunlight

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (2 coats, in sunlight)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing 3 coats swatch sunlight

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing (3 coats, in sunlight)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Sleeping Palace

a-england | Sleeping Palace, Hurt No Living Thing

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Sleeping Palace 2

a-england | Sleeping Palace, Hurt No Living Thing

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Sleeping Palace 3

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing, Sleeping Palace

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing over Sleeping Palace swatch

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing over Sleeping Palace (on all nails except index finger)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing over Sleeping Palace swatch 2

a-england | Hurt No Living Thing over Sleeping Palace (on all nails except index finger)

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Heavenly Quotes

a-england | Heavenly Quotes

 

There’s nothing I love more, than a nail lacquer shade that makes me stop and stare in wonder; Hurt No Living Thing not only manages to do that, but continues to surprise me with every colour I layer it over. True to the quality that a-england polishes have become known for, this shade is a beautiful addition to the inspiring Heavenly Quotes series and a must-have for any a-england addict fan. The possibilities are endless, and the colour combinations you can create with Hurt No Living Thing are only limited by your imagination … then there’s the name; there is something so poignant and beautiful about the simple little message on this shade. Gives the phrase ‘make the world a better place’ a whole new (and drop-dead gorgeous) meaning.

Find more information on a-england lacquers via:

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Excalibur Renaissance 2

*Disclosure: Press samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

a-england Excalibur Renaissance

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Excalibur Renaissance opener

 

To explore the world of a-england, is to not only have the opportunity to wear some of the most incredible lacquers, but to soak in a bit of history, culture, and art as well. When Adina Bodana, founder and creative force behind the brand, launched her first collection – The Mythicals (click on the a-england tab in the sidebar for swatches & reviews of all shades), the romanticism and concept behind these varnishes instantly captured the attention of polish lovers worldwide. When the original version of Excalibur from that first collection seemed to fall out of favour, it was replaced by a variation of the shade (Excalibur reissued/reborn): still bearing the gleaming silver tone of the legendary sword for which it is named, but with a more 3-dimensional overall feel.

But as with most legends, this tale took another turn as well …

In bringing back the original silver of Excalibur – with an improved brilliance, I might add – Adina has shown that she listens to her fans, in particular those who so strongly requested this shade’s return. Excalibur Renaissance proudly joins The Mythicals collection, a gleaming addition with a long-standing pedigree.

 

a-england Excalbur Renaissance

Excalibur Renaissance – A true metallic silver foil, in a medium-thick formula and excellent pigmentation as to almost make it a 1-coater. Fairly quick drying, you need to not only work quickly in your application, but to also maintain a steady hand in order to keep any potential visible brush strokes to a minimum, although expect some levelling off which also goes a long way in presenting a smooth appearance. Incredible brilliance (almost mirror-like) at the finish, making a top coat basically superfluous. Coats applied: 2, no top coat

 

a-england Excalbur Renaissance swatch

a-england ♦ Excalibur Renaissance

 

a-england Excalibur trio

a-england ♦ Excalibur trio

 

a-england Excalibur trio 2

The original version of Excalibur from a-england’s première collection, The Mythicals (reviewed here), bears a few differences worth noting from this latest Excalibur launch:

  • slightly thinner flowing formula
  • a few degrees paler in tone
  • not as brilliant/gleaming
  • glossier natural finish

The reissued version of Excalibur (reviewed here), has obvious differences from the other two as well:

  • shimmer foil metallic with bronze glitter flecks/scales
  • the most intense brilliant finish of the three
  • nor risk of visible brush strokes with this formula

 

a-england Excalibur trio 3

a-england ♦ Excalibur trio

 

a-england Excalibur trio 4

a-england ♦ Excalibur trio

 

a-england Excalibur original swatch

a-england ♦ Excalibur (original)

 

a-england Excalibur reissue swatch

a-england ♦ Excalibur (reissue)

 

a-england Excalibur trio swatches

a-england ♦ Excalibur collection

 

What makes Excalibur Renaissance such a stand out, is that it respects what the original shade stood for, but with subtle overall improvements. Different enough from the reissued version to merit owning both, this shade is spectacular whether worn alone as an elegant attention-getter, or as a counterpart for stamping and nail art enthusiasts (skills that sadly elude me). For fans of metallics as well as those who never picked up the original shade, here’s your chance to remedy that oversight. The people have spoken, and Adina has listened: Excalibur lives again.

Find more more information on a-england products (as well as a complete list of international stockists):

 

a-england Hurt No Living Thing & Excalibur Renaissance closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration