Tag Archives: a-england

So I missed a day due to vacation and lazy! Yeep! I’ll have to do something extra next week. The mani I left with (Chanel Peridot) didn’t last four days, so I bought some cheap-but-surprisingly-decent polishes at H&M and Claire’s, so I should use those. One of them is a truly hilarious glitter that changes color in sunlight. Hopefully we’ll get some proper sun again so I can take some photos.

Today, however, I have a mani I did before I left — a-england Lady of the Lake and OPI DS Diamond with a bit of China Glaze Ink. It was my first attempt using scotch tape, and it went …acceptably well?

Both of these are scattered holos–Diamond is the lavender-pink, and Lady of the Lake is the violet. Ink is approximately the color of blue ink, and comes with a super-thin nail art brush.

I did this in a slightly silly way (as I said, it was my first attempt) — first, I painted a single layer of DS Diamond and let it dry, then I cut a triangular shape out of tape, slapped that on my nails, and painted Lady of the Lake around it.

Naturally, the edges came out a bit ragged, so I added psuedo-detailing with Ink.

This actually looked a great deal nicer in person than it does in macro. I got several compliments on it, and really enjoyed wearing it.

I bought DS Diamond at a salon (just a random one I happened to stop in because they had a lot of older OPI on display), Lady of the Lake directly from a-england, and Ink was part of the mad stash liberation/redistribution by the Superlatively Coiffed and Always Well-Dressed U. ;)

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Is that all? Myths and stories can be as real as anything else. They can inspire and broaden your worldview and take you over forever, if you let them. I loved certain of the King Arthur tales when I was a child, and a book called Castles brought many of them to life for me, along with Beowulf and Grendel, and others. I’m not entirely sure what happened to that book; it may still be in a box in storage somewhere, or it may have been given away or sold at some point along the way.

a-england creates beautiful, beautiful colors inspired by myth and legend. She had a sale on the Legends collection recently, and I picked up a few things. The first two I have to show you (along with a relevant Zoya) are Galahad, a turquoise creme, and Morgan Le Fay, a gleaming silver-white that I used as a topcoat. The Zoya, Nimue, is the shimmery dusty purple.

I decided to attempt a sponged gradient manicure with Galahad, but my first attempt went rather badly, ending up significantly more textured than I might have liked. I wiped that off and tried again, this time with colors closer in tone and not quite so aggressively different in finish. Creme to metallic = not such a great idea. Creme to shimmer = a-okay! …or at least, more acceptable.

Nimue is a soft, dusty purple from last fall’s Mirrors collection. It’s described as a metallic “thistle” purple, and that’s pretty accurate for the color, but the finish feels more like it’s just got a very strong silvery shimmer. I painted my two accent nails (left pinky, right thumb) with two coats and sponged several times on all the others. It was easy to work with, though compared to the a-england polishes, everything feels difficult. :) As a point of trivia, Nimue is one of the names accorded to the Lady of the Lake. a-england also has a Lady of the Lake polish, and it is also a dusty purple, but with a holographic finish. You’ll see that one later. :)

Galahad is the most perfect turquoise polish I have yet tried. The formula is amazing, as is the case with all the a-england polishes I have; it goes exactly where you tell it to, dries faster than many, and self-levels. I used one coat as a base on all but my accent nails. The accents didn’t come out perfectly opaque, but I am inclined to blame my technique rather than the polish.

Morgan Le Fay is a sheer polish that I am more inclined to use for layering, but I’ve seen people wearing it alone and it still looks lovely. It looks shimmering and white in the bottle, but gleams silver once on the nail. It’s beautiful and illusory and all of this looked so much better in person. I used one coat over all my nails.

I bought the a-england polishes directly from their website — these do ship from the UK, so it might take longer than you might like, but shipping is free. You can also find them at Llarowe, if you don’t want to risk overseas shipping or your country isn’t among those she ships to direct. The Zoya came from Zoya’s site, though I do see the seasonal collections at Ulta, and sometimes stragglers lurk around for a while after.

Under the cut is my first try at a sponged gradient, this time with Galahad and Excalibur, a brilliant silver a-england polish. It didn’t go so well. I’m still working out the kinks on my technique, and may poke a few other tutorials for ideas.
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It’s hard not to love holos. I don’t have many (yet), but they’re so much fun to wear. This time I picked a couple of scattered holos — OPI DS Illuminate and a-England Dragon.

Illuminate is a coppery-brown with a rather chunky holo effect and a green sheen. Dragon is a lovely scaly green with a golden shimmer and finer holo.

Both are smooth and easy to apply, shown is two coats of each, but Dragon could nearly have gotten away with just one. Like most holos, they remove easily as well.

Indoors, you can see the green on Illuminate a little better.

As well as the gold on Dragon.

The OPI was gifted to me by the U. the Great and Terrible (and rad), and Dragon was bought at Llarowe.


Let’s kick this off with a goofy name for a fairly pretty skittles-style manicure. I had just gotten all but one of these in a package from Beautometry that morning, and absolutely could not resist putting them all on. Please forgive my relatively terrible application; I’m still working on my “technique”.

I have huge weaknesses for gray polishes and bright and sparkly holos, so I did a sort of gray-to-black ombre manicure, plus a little hit of red at the end for punch. From left to right: Glitter Gal 3D Holographic in Silver, a-England Ascalon, Pretty & Polished Black Swan, and Glitter Gal Shade Shifters Soft Daybreak with one coat of GG 3D Holo Silver on top. Invisible on the thumb is one coat of Zoya Dove under a layer of Glitter Gal 3D Holo Light As A Feather, which is a soft gray holo that is gorgeous in person, but looked like a vaguely sparkly gray polish in every photo I took. Bah.

Linear, scattered, scattered, linear. It was a brilliant afternoon when I left the house, so these are in bright sunlight. This and the last one show off Black Swan & Ascalon’s holo sparkle the best, I think.

This one really shows off the Silver holo’s glow. One thing that I was unable to capture is the lovely lavender duochrome that Ascalon displays, most especially in the shade or indoors. In certain lights it looks entirely purple, which was pretty amusing at times, as you might expect.

Look at the gleam on that last finger. And yet I’m a little sad that I went for the full holohands look — Daybreak on its own is a beautiful coppery/brick-red shimmer with a blue-green duochrome plus occasional purple and pink gleams. Chalkboard Nails has some gorgeous swatches of it by itself and over black, which shows the other glory of the Shade Shifters line. Also, I could have called the mani “Daybreak on the Holo Deck”, which would have been especially silly. :)

The black holo, as I mentioned is Black Swan by Pretty & Polished, a wonderful indie company. I’ve got a few of their other polishes, and they’re fantastic. You’ll definitely be seeing more later.

The three Glitter Gal polishes and the a-England are available at Beautometry, as well as Llarowe and Ninja Polish, as well as possibly other independent retailers. I’m not going to say they’re cheap, because they are not, but, hey, if you can, why the hell not? I’m a pretty stodgy believer in spending money on what makes you happy, if you can.

All polishes were purchased by me for my own purposes.

Now for a brief conversation about why I like to paint my nails:

I used to bite my nails to an extreme degree. After I stopped and my nails recovered, I took a considerable delight in painting them, mostly borrowing my friend’s polishes, and often in gothic shades — midnight blue, forest green, royal purple, blood-red, glitter black. After a while I lost interest, got distracted, and my nails were usually bare, though I accumulated a few bottles as a matter of habit. For a long time, my gender identification was such that I avoided participating in many habits that I considered traditionally feminine. Then a couple of years ago, I regained some comfort in the art of being femme and began to pursue an interest in makeup and this included painting my nails.

It is not a stretch to say that nail painting is pretty symbolic for me. I still have three years to go before I reach the point where the biting is no longer over half my life. Mmm, stress-driven self-harm. Some days it’s nice to celebrate the ending of certain habits. It helps to drive home the fact that habits can be changed.

Now, my ducklings, I am going to go finish watching Gosford Park, because it’s delighting me with all the marvelous British household drama. Awkward kissing for the win!