Monday, 26 August 2013

Finding the perfect purple...

Every nail polish addict has a favourite drug...I'm far too greedy to settle for just one, but I do have a particular weakness for metallic purple polishes.  It doesn't matter how many I've already got, it doesn't matter if I know the shiny one I've just seen in the shop/online is an almost exact dupe of something I've already got three of...I.Just.Can't.Help.Myself.  I know, it's a sickness.

I've collected here some of my favourites for comparison, just in case unlike me you don't like to own many incarnations of the same purple :) 

Right, onto the nitty gritty....

Purple comparisons - Natural light - A-England, Nails Inc, Leighton Denny and Essie
Looking for the perfect purple?
These four are some of the lushest purples that money can buy. From left to right we have: Avalon (A-England, review here), Rebel (Leighton Denny), Sexy Divide (Essie), Regent's Palace (Nails Inc).

Of these, the most similar are Sexy Divide and Regent's Palace. Both are deep dark rich shades with a red edge - Regent's palace is packing some burgundy shimmer that's hard to make out here but I'll be comparing this to Chanel Taboo in a future post and its more obvious there.  Avalon and Rebel are cooler toned purples.  For me, Avalon has the most 'pop!' and is a much more in-your-face purple whereas the darker shades have a richer texture that reminds me of plush velvet....but maybe that's just me.

Purple comparisons - Natural light - A-England, Nails Inc, Leighton Denny and Essie
brands (L:R) - A-England, Leighton Denny, Essie, Nails Inc

I love Rebel, it's such an amazing colour, but it has the weakest formula of the bunch.  It's quite thin, needs three coats to get this level of opacity, and looks streaky and awful on the first coat.  It does even out perfectly though.  In terms of brushes and other such nail geek concerns I'd say they're all about equal.  In terms of quality the A-England and Essie offerings are the best.  Wear time on all four is pretty good with perhaps the Nails Inc being marginally less hard-wearing than the others (I find that generally with NI polishes).  Apart from Rebel (which is 3), all polishes are two coats of colour with Nail Envy undies and SV on top.  I made an arse of 'Rebel', squidging it near the tip, turns out its a tricky business operating a camera with semi-wet nails.  Avalon also appears to have tip wear, but that's because I swatched after wearing Avalon for 4 days for my last review.

Purple comparisons - Artificial light - A-England, Nails Inc, Leighton Denny and Essie
Purple Comparison - Artificial Light

I paid £11 (full price, John Lewis) for Rebel, £6 for Avalon (gem of the month, RRP £9, A-England website), £3.33 for Sexy Divide (TK Maxx bargain - 3 for £9.99!!! RRP £8, Boots) and finally £3.33 for Regent's Palace (again, TK Maxx marvel, RRP £11 from John Lewis).  At these prices I'd say buy them all! But if you were paying full price, and you could only get one....then I'd say Essie 'Sexy Divide' is the best purple for your money, with Avalon a close second.  There's no way I'd pay full price for the Nails Inc.

Coming soon....Regent's Palace vs. Chanel Taboo (not as crazy as you might think!)


"Through the western isle
I hear the dead awaken
Rising slowly to the call Avalon"
"Isle of Avalon" - Iron Maiden

Avalon by A-England - Natural light
Avalon by A-England - Natural light
I don't think that Adina of A-England was thinking of Iron Maiden's awesome song "Isle of Avalon" when she was naming this polish, but I like to think so.  Avalon is this month's "Gem of the Month" on the A-England website.  For anyone that hasn't heard of this awesome concept it's this - every month, one polish will be chosen as the 'gem' and will be just £6 for that month.  Quite often the site isn't updated bang on the start of the month, so usually it's still available for the first week of the next month.

I can't resist a good purple...more on that later when I compare this beauty to the other metallic purples in my collection.  I can honestly say that Avalon has come in and gone straight to the top of my favourites list.

What can I say about A-England that I haven't said before? Nothing really. This is a very special brand, with excellent quality and a stunning array of shades.   It's clear that a lot of love goes into these, and for £6 that's less than 'drugstore' price for a polish that's boutique quality.

Avalon - by A-England - Artificial Light
Avalon - by A-England - Artificial Light
For some reason my camera made this look blue-er than IRL.  This is a sumptuous royal purple metallic shimmer polish.  It's a definite one-coater, although here I'm wearing two coats sandwiched between my usual Nail Envy base and SV top.  It's lush, I love it!

My nails might be sad little nubbins, but don't they look fancy :)

If you missed this month's A-England Summer Sale you're out of luck because it ended today....but I did get some nail mail today so expect more A-England loveliness to come....For those that did miss the sale, bear the "Gem" in's like a mini-sale every month :)

ps. Check out Iron Maiden's "Final Frontier" for "Isle of Avalon", it's all kinds of awesome

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A-England sale!

A-England are having a summer sale! From 21-26 th August only, for UK customers only, they have 18 shades reduced to £6 each with free postage. There are some amazing shades in there...I'd personally recommend Lady of the Lake and St George. Also, this month's "gem" is Avalon, and is also just £6 for the whole of August. It's utterly fab, I'm wearing it now in fact, and I'll be blogging it soon.  Hurry off to A-England's website and grab yourself a bargain ;-) I have!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Dreamer - Hits Mari Moon

My mani this week is the utterly gorgeous Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" from the MultiGirl collection of multi-chromes.  This is a stunning multi-chrome, and like all the Hits polishes the effect is really strong (see my post on "Unconventional", another incredible polish from this collection).  This is a picture heavy post as I tried to capture all the colour variations, but its one of those shades that really has to be seen to be believed. 

I apologise for the state of my nails...they are sad little nubbins, I had to cut them all off to take up climbing!  I also apologise for the terrible state of my cuticles.  I'm going to have to find a way to mix adventure and proper hand care...

Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight
Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight
And now for the with all proper multi-chrome polishes, the colour that you see depends on the angle of your nail relative to the main light source.  The dominant shade in "Dreamer" is the electric blue shown in the picture at the top, this is the shade you see viewing your nails straight-on.  At slight angles either side of this a strong purple appears, that blends into magenta as the angle increases.
Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight
I started out with Nail Envy basecoat, an 'underwear' coat of Rimmel Black Cab, two coats of Hits Dreamer, and finally a coat of Seche to finish.  The formula on the Hits polish is fantastic.  I'd guess that on its own it would take at least 3 coats to be opaque, but with a coat of underwear you could easily get away with a single coat.
Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight
At the most oblique angles to the light source this polish takes on the colours of a beautiful sunset - shades of gold and red.  What I was trying to capture in the pics above and below is that at certain angles you get a mix of all colours and it looks like a beautiful oil slick of red, blue, purple and gold.  For some reason the moment that this perfect show of colour happens most is when I'm in the middle of driving and that's really not the best time to be snapping pictures so you'll have to make do with my best attempts stationary....

Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight

I picked up my Hits polishes from the fabulous Sally Magpies, which I highly recommend for finding fabulous exotic overseas brands and indie polishes here in the UK. 

Hits Mari Moon "Dreamer" - Sunlight

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A-England Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty

A-England Briar Rose - Full Sunlight
A-England Briar Rose - Full Sunlight
Today's review is of another stunning polish from A-England's Burne-Jones Dream collection (previous review of Rose Bower). According to the A-England website this collection is inspired by the four paintings of The Briar Rose series created by Sir Edward Burne-Jones depicting the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty.  Briar Rose is the namesake of Burne-Jones' collection and is an enchanting dusted Rose colour packed with A-England's signature scattered holo particles.

As with all A-England polishes the application and formula are flawless, with excellent opacity.  This could easily be a one-coater, although I'm a habitual two-coater and pictured here I'm wearing a single coat each of my usual Nail Envy base and beloved seche.  Briar Rose dries to a lovely glossy finish, so in this case the Seche is for maximising wear time rather than shine.

A-England Briar Rose - Indirect Sunlight
A-England Briar Rose - Indirect Sunlight

Briar Rose is an elegant and sophisticated shade.  Rose is a classic shade but this incarnation looks totally modern on the nail and the holo finish as ever gives A-England polishes that added edge of glamour that makes each of them so special.