Filed In: a england

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

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