Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wyrd Wednesday - Let's go pastel!

Yesss, I'm trying to get back to my weekly sections. I have no idea yet what I'll do for Friends' Friday or if there'll be a Minnie's Minute this week, but let's give it a try. For those who don't know, Wyrd Wednesdays are for talking about this and that, random posts that won't usually be about nails and manicures (I say usually because today, actually, there will be some nails!!).
So, today's a double Wyrd Wednesday since we're on February 29th and that's really weird. My calendar says it's August's nameday today, makes me wonder if Augusts actually have another nameday in the year or if they have one only every four years... yeah, I know, I can get lost on stupid questions sometimes. But the weirdest thing for me today is the weather: a couple of weeks ago, we were flirting with -10°C during the day (not that I minded) and now it's Spring. And spring means pastel. Well, it also means spring cleaning, but this week's cleaning is a difficult business, I can't seem to get around starting it, so let's not dwell on that. So, Spring and pastels. Of course, for nail polishes, we're showered with Spring collections, but truly, most of them seem to be the same to me. I know that there are minor differences between China Glaze's Electropop collection and their past Up & Away, but honestly, not enough for me to take out my credit card. Which I wouldn't anyway, since I'm on no buy! So I'm trying hard not to notice the few Spring shades that could appeal to me and to remember that I already  have many pretty springy things in my Helmer that I haven't shown you. Or I did, but I'm trying them again, which brings me to my impromptu manicure of the day, once again inspired by the ever-talented Pshiiit.

The inspiration is easy to spot, it's on her blog banner, and in details, it's here. A couple of days ago, I felt like wearing H&M Peppermint Fusion, and on seeing again the banner on Pshiiit blog, I realised that the base colour seemed to be quite close to Essie's Lapis of Luxury, that she used in this nail-art. This morning, as I was shopping, I checked at the Essie corner and confirmed my impression. Coming back from shopping, I was having lunch (watching NCIS LA with cutie Chris O'Donnell!!) and noticed that my manicure was starting to look tired, but before I took it off, I gave it a try at copying Pshiiit. With some shock, I realised that I didn't have the konad plate with the roses, but I went through my plate stash and found another that could do. So there you go: H&M Peppermint fusion covered with Essie Matte About You, stamped with Excalibur and plate BM 221. 
I didn't expect it would turn out so well at first try, and now I'm bummed that I have tipwear and that I have to take it off!!
Though my shopping didn't include anything nail related, I did go for some pastel: if you have a peek here, you'll see some items from the Home collection for Spring 2012 from a well-known chain of supermarkets. I needed new pans, well, the small pink one and her big sister the baby blue one are home... I know it's silly to buy a pan because it's pretty, but well, I first bought the small one, found out it was actually really good and went for another one, so I guess it's not that bad!!
On another note, I can't resist showing you this: Virgine asked what a lightbox was, well, here's mine fresh out of the box (I just wanted to see how big it was and it's completely upside down). I just turned my back two seconds and I had a model!!

And now I'm done and I leave you with a beautiful song from Loreena McKennitt: Minnie offered me her latest cd yesterday, it's an intimate live recording including, among others, this 

Honni Soit Qui Mal Y Pense - A England Order of the Garter

Our tale has come to an end, but for Sir George to become a saint (and not any saint, no less than the patron of Britain and its most prestigious Order of the Garter), he had to do more than slay a dragon. The Christian reading of St George's legend tells us that it was because George signed himself with the sign of the Cross that he was able to wound the dragon, and that before slaying it, he asked the people of Silene to convert to Christianity. The Dragon becomes an embodiment of Silene's miscreant sins and the errand knight can now become a Saint.
As for George's link to the Order of the Garter, it comes from the fact that the dragon was brought back to Silene by the Princess who held him on a leash with her girdle. The girdle became a blue garter and St George's exploit an example of bravery and curtesy to follow for all those who are elevated to this most noble order of chivalry.

The final polish from The Legend has, as you can see, perfectly captured the colour of the garter. Being quite picky on blues, I had not elected to buy that one at first, but I can only thank Adina from the bottom of my heart to have offered it to me, because it's wonderful!
It really stands apart from the other six in that there's no holographic shimmer and the colour seems "out of place", but in fact, it's completely spot on, since the legend is one thing and the legacy another, yet they're all part of the same heritage...

Those swatches are from the first round I did, so I have to apologize for my sick fingers, my nail infection wasn't completely healed back then. This picture shows how much the colour shifts depending on the light, yet stays vibrant and glowing.

I have tried to capture the pink and purple glitter in Order of the Garter, I'm not sure I managed!!

So thanks to Adina, I'm wearing bright blue on my nails, and Honni Soit Qui Mal Y Pense!

My overall impression about A-england The Legend: 

Dear ones, I have a confession to make: my first reaction when hearing about The Legend was... disappointment. I knew Adina was preparing a collection with greens, and I knew her love of Arthurian legends, so my mind immediately jumped to this

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (painted here by John Howe, all rights reserved), one of the oldest legends from the Round Table, a wonderful tale of magic and courage, in which Gawain shows how and why he owned his title of the Perfect Knight. If you can lay your hands on this legend, read it (a translation was made by my most honorable master JRR Tolkien and it usually has that very same picture on the cover).
But that would have been me making a collection of green polishes, because I'm a medieval geek, while Adina's first love remains Pre-Raphaelite painters, and St George was much more of an inspiration for them than poor old forgotten medieval Gawain...
This being said, and I cannot blame anyone but my silly mind for this disappointment, this collection is nothing short of fantastic. The mere fact of taking such an inspiration and declining into colours is a beautiful idea, but the true wonder is the final result: polishes that are truly unique, and with dozens of new colours being released every year, it's not small achievement. As I said earlier (or maybe elsewhere, I'm not sure), at first glance, I thought "ok, I'm gonna get the black, the grey and the golden, I already have tons of mauve holographic and green, well, not my colour". But you cannot think this way with A-england, because it's not just "a black, a grey or a mauve". Those polishes are jewel in themselves, to be worn like you would wear a ring or a necklace, they will really pour magic on your nails and turn you into a princess, even if you're wearing jeans and a t-shirt. And the quality? I'm quite shocked to see what we are given to buy by certains brands in terms of quality while we can have A-england polishes for 9£. The polish literally flows on the nail, stopping right around the cuticle, drying in a instant for a glorious shine. I have nothing negative to say, it's just fantastic.
It often happens, when you're a NPA, that you like 80% of a collection but get it all, "just to have it", and then some colours gather dust in your Helmer. With The Legend, not having them all feels like not having chapters from a book. There's such a unity, such a sense of completion that I do not regret for one second the money I spent on them (though it heralded a no-buy desert which I'm walking through right now!!). And thank you again Adina for adding that last jewel in my parcel, I never knew I needed it!

With all this, I'm truly happy to announce that A-england is becoming more and more available around the world. More countries have been added to the shipping list on, the US shop Llarowe has the entire range and good news for French girls, you can now find some A-england polishes on Bec & Ongles
Thank you for having followed me on this legendary path, and see you tomorrow for some more magic (and soon, I'll put up a comparison post for A-england polishes, to give you some more reason to want them all!!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Enters the hero... A-england St George & Ascalon

Suspens was at its highest yesterday as we saw poor Princess Sabra crying and veiled in black being taken to the dragon. But fate had other plans for the princess and as she waited for her doom, tied to a tree, Sir George rode by. She tried to send him away, but he faced the dragon and wounded it with its spear.

My recently-found love for teal has found its soulmate... St George is a beautiful dark teal, packed with holographic shimmer that gives it incredible depth. It is a subtle holo effect, even more than usual with A-england, but it's beautiful because the rainbow remains in the green/blue zone, the result is quite unique!
I tried to catch it on pic as best as I could, so once again, sorry for the over-exposed photos...

Once St George had vanquished the dragon, he brought it and the princess back to the city, where the beast was slain before the people with the legendary sword Ascalon.

In the short time since the collection was released, Ascalon has become a favourite, and it's no surprise. If I talked about multichromes and mesmerizing colours before, they are nothing compared to the scope of colours and effects that  are contained in this polish. At first glance, it's a basic gunmetal, but it flashes mauve and green and silver, and still, the holographic shimmer gives it a depth and a magic that I've never seen in another polish. I have tons of pictures of this one, because it's worth it!!

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of this wonderful adventure!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The sad fate of Sabra - A-england Princess tears & Bridal Veil

So, I left you yesterday with the horrible news that the lottery in Silene had chosen Sabra to be the dragon's next victim. The Princess faced her fate bravely, and went to the dragon, tears in her eyes and a black veil as a bridal attire...

Princess Tears proved to be the most difficult polish to capture. In the bottle you can see the shift in colour from lavenver to grey and green, and it's quite visible on the nail too, but evasive on pics.

Bridal Veil was THE polish I wanted from this collection at first sight. I don't really know why, but there's something about black holo polishes that makes me crazy. I'm lucky to possess the holo black version of OPI's My Private Jet, but still, I can't resist. So get ready for many pics of that jewel!!

See you tomorrow for the arrival of the hero and the happy ending!

Bicentennial Contest - The Results

So, the contest is over and it's now time to announce the last winners and recap the former ones!
C'est le moment d'annoncer les dernières gagnantes et de récapituler les résultats précédents!

I'm announcing the winner of the last prize right away since she was the only one to give it a try, Lisa is adding two awesome glitter polishes to everything she had already won, which was
Lisa arrive en tête du palmarès avec le dernier lot et les deux qu'elle avait gagné précédemment

The OPI/Avoplex nailcare products and first set of water-decals and

OPI Quarter of a Cent-Cherry and OPI DS Mystery.

Then we have Virginie with the Sephora set, Body Shop cream and second set of WD.
Virginie recevra le set Sephora, la crème Body Shop et le deuxième lot de WD.

The Hello Kitty + Debby prize goes to Cecilia
Cecilia remporte le lot Hello Kitty + Debby

And since I want to thank everyone who took part, the first prize that had not been claimed, the one with two Orly polishes and one Nicole by OPI will go to Ninie 2590.
Et comme je tiens à remercier toutes celles qui ont participé, Ninie 2590 recevra le premier lot qui n'avait pas été réclamé, les deux vernis Orly et le vernis Nicole by OPI.

Please send me an email with your full coordinates at
Merci de m'envoyer un email à avec vos coordonnées.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The time has come for The Legend... A england Dragon & Princess Sabra

Hi! I have kept you waiting a long time, longer than I had planned, but today's the big day when I start showing you the wonders of A-england's new collection, The Legend. Legendary objects call for legendary times so I will break down the collection into four parts leading up to that fantastic day that is Feb 29th. 
The big thing that made me wait so long between the preview and the review is that I invested in a lightbox and wanted to have it before swatching so that I could (try and) show the complexity of those shades. But now it's time to go and explore the Legend of St George and the Dragon (if you want to see the wonderful Pre-raphaelite paintings that inspired the collection, I can only direct you to the reviews from Fashion Polish and Ommorphia).

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Silene dwellt a dragon that plagued the land and its inhabitants. To soothe its wrath, the king had fed him all the sheep of the realm and when there were none left, he devised a lottery system to elect a child of the land to be given to the dragon.

The bottle pic shows at once the multichrome quality of Dragon with its shades of green and gold and the beautiful holographic shimmer that enchanted such shades as Tristam and Lady of the Lake.

Basic colour is forest green, but it seldom shows as such since the gold is peaking through .

And there I managed, with some toil, to catch the holographic quality of Dragon. As always with A-england, it's not "in your face" holo, but a subtle, elusive rainbow that will enchant you and make you stare at your nails just like dragon's eyes were known to ensnare and bewilder anyone who dared to face the beast.

But one day, much to the king's dismay, the name that came out of the lottery was none other than Sabra, his beloved daughter and princess of the realm.

Princess Sabra is a gold polish with a green tint (I will make comparison posts once the review is over) and a stronger holo effect than the one in Dragon. I tried to capture it as well and had to go crazy on light, so sorry for the over-over-over-exposed photos!

Princess Sabra is also named "Tristam's eyes", in reference to this adorable little fellow, owned by (or owning?) Adina, the creative fairy behind A-england: 

As another human being deluded into thinking she owns cats, I  have to admit that Adina managed to perfectly capture that special shade of a cat's eye, it is quite impressive!

Now for the technical bit, those two polishes were up to the usual A-england standard (and that goes for the whole collection so I won't repeat it each time) with super easy application, good opacity, quick drying and wonderful glossy finish. I will keep my detailled impressions about the collection for the last post, but I'm truly amazed at what Adina managed to do...


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