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

 

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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

Beauty Award win for ommorphia beauty bar

Apple-Has-a-Champagne-Colored-iPhone-5S-Prepared-for-Unveiling-Report-Says

 

This past November, I entered my blog in a competition sponsored by ‘made in blog‘ to be recognized as one of Canada’s best. In fact, I only realized on November 14th that this particular contest was going on — literally 4 days before registration closed! Making it just under the wire, I didn’t think I stood a chance, especially since most of the other entrants (over 172 in all) had registered weeks before I did.

Once the registration closed, the voting began; round one was open to the public and the top ten blogs with the highest number of votes, would then go on to the next round. To my delighted surprise, mine was voted in as one of the top 10! WHAT?!

The next round was up to a panel of judges, who then narrowed the field down to the top 3 blogs in each category. Drumroll, please…..

ommorphia beauty bar came in 3rd place for Best Beauty Blog in Canada!

To say I was stunned, would be THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR. I’m still sporting a huge smile on my face! I consider this a huge honour and I’m so proud that all my hard work has not gone unnoticed. Thank you to every single one of you fabulous readers, that took the time to place your votes (insert giant panda hugs to you all, here!). A special thank you also goes out to a very special person: Adina Bodana (of a-england lacquers) for her immense support & for encouraging her followers to vote for me – sending you all my love, cara!

 

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the “vote for me” badge I first posted

 

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the badge showing my blog’s top 10 ranking

 

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the winning badge: 3rd Best Canadian Beauty Blog

 

MIB Best in Beauty winners

the judges’ verdict, as posted on the contest page

 

To have come in as one of the Top 3 Best Beauty Blogs in Canada amongst such incredible competition, is truly humbling. I congratulate my fellow winners in this category and look forward to doing even better next year … you just know I’m gonna bring it, lol!

Made in Blog acts as a mediator between brands and agencies in the introduction of efficient relationships with bloggers, connecting bloggers and brands throughout Canada.

a-england – Ballerina Collection

a-england Ballerina opener

 

I will just go on the assumption that by now, you’ve all heard of the amazing-ness of a-england lacquers – if not, then I urge you to check out my reviews of this entire range by clicking on the sidebar tab … and I challenge you to not fall instantly in love with everything.

One reason that every collection from this brand is so eagerly anticipated, lies in how founder & creative genius, Adina Bodana, manages to merge a touch of culture & history with every release. Another reason is due to the formula: perfection – in every detail, from the flow to the colours.

This capsule collection draws its inspiration from Dame Margot Fonteyn, easily recognizable as one of the world’s most unparalleled classical dance ballerinas of all time, along with that of her lifelong career partner, the incomparable Rudolf Nureyev. These four shades are all takes on this theme – as ethereal and hauntingly beautiful as that of a perfectly executed pas de deux, with an overall elegance to each that cannot be denied.

A word on the formula: while some prismatic lacquers may need a specific base and/or top coat to amplify their effect, these four a-england shades apply ridiculously easily straight from the bottle, without any visible brush strokes and all ending with a high-gloss natural finish, while top coat seems to enhance, rather than diminish their holographic-ness.

Read all about my amazing GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!


a-england Ballerina

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


a-england Ballerina 2

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


a-england Ballerina 3

a-england ♦ Ballerina Collection


margot-fonteyn-1919-1991-in-1960-when-everett

Margot Fonteyn 1919 – 1991 (source) c. 1955

Born Margaret Evelyn Hookham on May 18, 1919 to an British father and half-Irish half-Brazilian mother, she quickly rose through the ranks of the Royal Ballet School of London where by the age of 20 she had already assumed 3 leads. In 1956 she was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire, eventually being appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta by Queen Elizabeth II


a-england Fonteyn

Fonteyn – pale lavender-tinted silvery holographic hue with a slightly diffused but still linear prismatic effect. An absolutely PERFECT formula that can literally be a 1-coater, applying in a self-levelling way and ending with a glossy finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Fonteyn flash

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fontey swatch

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fonteyn swatch 2

a-england ♦ Fonteyn


a-england Fonteyn swatch flash

a-england ♦ Fonteyn (with flash)


Sleeping Beauty MF

Margot Fonteyn As Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty ballet c. 1950 (source)


a-england Her Rose Adagio

Her Rose Adagio – Faded rose hue filled with a scattered (yet still rather dense) prismatic effect. Bearing a slightly thinner formula than that of ‘Fonteyn’, although still ridiculously easy to apply and with the same smooth & glossy finish. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Her Rose Adagio flash

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch 2

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio


a-england Her Rose Adagio swatch flash

a-england ♦ Her Rose Adagio (with flash)


Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn as Odette in Swan Lake c. 1945 (source)


a-england Encore Margot

Encore Margot – Palest icy blue-tinted silvery holographic hue with a soft scattered prismatic effect. Cool leaning in tone and bearing a similar formula to that of ‘Her Rose Adagio’ – as well as the same amazing self-levelling & incredibly glossy application. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Encore Margot flash

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch 2

a-england ♦ Encore Margot


a-england Encore Margot swatch flash

a-england ♦ Encore Margot (with flash)


Nureyev & Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn & Rudolf Nureyev in Pelleas and Melisande c. 1969 (source)

In 1961 when Margot Fonteyn met then-unknown Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, their rapport was instantaneous and their dance partnership has now become legendary, spanning the rest of their careers with numerous unforgettable performances. In 1962, their first full-length ballet together, Giselle, received 30 curtain calls – an unprecedented achievement


a-england Dancing With Nureyev

Dancing With Nureyev – Violet-blue holographic hue with a formula that can only be described as sublime: a perfect density, opacity, glossiness and self-levelling application. The prismatic effect falls mostly scattered, but with linear hints as well – especially along the perimeter of the nails. Coats applied: 2, plus top coat


a-england Dancing With Nureyev flash

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch 2

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev


a-england Dancing With Nureyev swatch flash

a-england ♦ Dancing With Nureyev (with flash)

 

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being of ballerina (and a mermaid, and a princess), so anything classical-dance related has always had the ability to completely captivate me. The four shades of this latest a-england collection manage to make even the often-extravagantly flashy finish of holographic polish, appear elegant, sophisticated, and eminently wearable – at times as delicate as tulle, at others radiating a brilliant intensity as that of stage lights. I may never be a prima ballerina, but I will revel in wearing this magic across my fingers. Applause, welcome.

The a-england Ballerina Collection is available now. Find more information on this brand via website/twitter/facebook/Instagram

GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win one (1) entire set of this a-england Ballerina Collection by the following:

  • Send an email to ommorphiagiveaway@gmail.com
  • Write Ballerina in the subject line
  • Include your full name & address information in the body of the email (all kept strictly confidential)

This giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY and limited to one entry per person – duplicate entries will be automatically discarded. The contest will run from today (Monday, December 9th, 2013) until Monday (December 16th, 2013) 11:00 pm EST, after which one (1) winner shall be chosen and notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond/confirm, after which a new name/winner will be drawn. All entrants must be of legal age (18) to enter and failure to comply with any of the above rules will result in elimination. Neither myself nor my blog are responsible for any product damages that may be incurred during shipping.

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE!


a-england Ballerina closer

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