Friday, 31 August 2012

a-england Gothic Beauties Collection

I have been itching to post about the Gothic Beauties collection for months and they are finally here! 

Gothic Beauties

I spent a few days in London this week and squeezed in a visit to Adina and company before heading back home. My timing couldn't have been better!

When I first heard of the concept I was immediately sold: a small collection of five black nail varnishes with an elegant and mysterious twist. For those who have been following me here and on Twitter, it'll come as no surprise that I loved these even before setting eyes on them! These nail varnishes are so me that I just had to get them all.
Indoors - natural light
Outdoors - daylight
Adina is very passionate about her brand and everything that she does, and created each shade with a lot of care and thought. Talking to her is a real delight and her love for her polishes is contagious.

As with all a-england nail varnishes, each shade has a story behind it. These gems are based on characters from literature who either have a darkness within or end their lives in tragic circumstances. This darkness is represented in the base of all of these colours: Camelot, a-england's signature black creme.

The formula on these is excellent as usual: it goes on smoothly and requires minimal clean up if you have a fairly steady hand, which is a bonus considering black polish can be tricky to get off from your cuticles.

They are so richly pigmented that one coat would have probably been enough; two ensure perfect coverage and leave no staining upon removal. One thing I love about a-england polishes is that you have the flexibility to just apply one coat if you're doing your nails in a hurry! They are also great for stamping, as I have recently discovered.

I applied a coat of The Knight base coat, two coats of each polish and one coat of The Shield top coat for the photos below. A skittles mani seemed apt so you can see the differences between each colour:

Jane Eyre (little finger) is packed with red and coppery micro particles which resemble embers. It's very effective, yet subtle, and a perfect fit for the character it is named after. 

Ophelia (ring finger) is my personal favourite. The darkest of all, it is brimming with purple and some fuchsia particles. The purple is piercing, much like Avalon - I think the two together would make a lovely mani!

Avalon (top) - Ophelia (bottom)

Lady of Shalott (middle finger) is full of blue particles, with a hint of purple/pink to add depth.

Tess d'Urbervilles (index finger) is probably the most noticeable of all, with its emerald green particles. I think I saw some teal in there too, but don't quote me on that.

Dorian Gray (thumb) started as a black but became pewter in the process. It has shimmering gold particles that add intensity to this shade and it's very classy and wearable. When compared to King Arthur, Dorian Gray is more sepia, like an aged version of a-england's other dark silver/pewter shade.

King Arthur (top) - Dorian Gray (bottom)
King Arthur (back) - Dorian Gray (front)
Despite being black, you can still notice the difference between one polish and the other indoors, but they really come alive in the sunlight. Besides Dorian Gray, which is the most unique of the five, Tess d'Urberville and Lady of Shallot look lighter than the other two (Ophelia and Jane Eyre).

If you are desperate to get your hands on the Gothic Beauties collection and can't wait for the a-england website to sell them, you can order them from tomorrow, Saturday 1st September, by emailing your choice to Did that make your weekend or what?!

I understand from Adina that two new shades will be available before the end of the year, so stay tuned. 

By the way, in case you are not familiar with each character, a perfectly executed description of them, as well as a full review, is available at Eugenia's highly recommended blog: ommorphia beauty bar.

Last but not least, I am sure you all want to see handsome Tristam, looking very grown up indeed, so here's a little photo for your viewing pleasure:

Tristam, Adina's gorgeous cat

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Nail art ideas using a-england Guinevere

I haven't had a lot of time to post lately but I am still experimenting with my nails on a regular basis and try to take photos whenever possible. 

Nail art has been growing on me since first attempting it back in February and I now try to enhance my manicures with simple designs.

I have a couple of ideas to share with you, both using the same base colour. As you are probably aware, I am a big fan of lilac cremes and Guinevere is one of my favourite nail varnishes.

The first option is with a-england Elaine and three different sized dotting tools. It's really easy to do, all you need is a steady hand!

The second option is what I would probably consider cheating: stamping! I'd fancied getting some Konad plates for a while, tempted by the possibility of achieving symmetry and more intricate patterns, so I gave them a go.

For this mani I used a-england King Arthur, as I wanted a subtle silver shimmer instead of a more eye-catching, contrasting look. The plate is M65 and I chose the roses design for a delicate and utterly feminine result.

The photos below are in bright sunshine to appreciate the roses more clearly.