Tag Archives: nail polish

A-England: Chivalric Nail Polish

In the internet age it’s never been more possible to try out a truly global collection of clothes, accessories, and cosmetics. Thanks to concepts like Etsy.com, it’s even the case that you don’t need to be in contact with megamonolithic corporations to buy what’s being innovated overseas – I recently bought a beautiful bracelet from a small vendor in Ankara thanks to the magic of the internet, and have barely taken it off since it arrived – leaving the fashion-conscious shopper with a wider range of choices than we’ve ever had before.

And perhaps it’s because of that that I really enjoy finding and supporting local fashion industries. Now, living in London I have no shortage of options: this city is overflowing with creative and interesting people making beautiful things and getting their brands to local and global attention, from the stall-holders in various markets to London-domiciled fashion houses of small, medium, and vast size.

One of my favourites is a-england.  Based in Wandsworth, this nail polish company currently only ships to the UK, but if you’re abroad and able to get someone to ship on to your location I’d definitely encourage you to take the risk, as their products are beautiful.

With collections themed around romantic ideals of English mythology , “Gothic Beauties” (both in the modern and in the literary sense), the works of one of my favourite artists, and quotations by famous Romantic and Arts & Crafts poets  the polishes themselves are thick, glossy, and bestowed with a real depth of colour that I’ve rarely seen in other brands.

Beauty Never Fails
Beauty Never Fails
Holy Grail
Holy Grail

I own Beauty Never Fails and Holy Grail, which in addition to having rich depths (Beauty Never Fails for example looks rather like a sepia photographic of a clear view of the Milky Way) are excellent partners for each other. a-england also sell their magnificent polishes in pairs and in three-part harmonies, meaning that if you’re not quite sure what to wear with what, you’re in good hands already.


10 Mini Canvases: Nail Art’s Apotheosis


 “Never trust a man who expects you to have long, perfectly manicured nails.”
This was the wise advice imparted to me by a friend, as a gentle precursor to “never trust anyone who expects you to be anything”. Still, ‘perfectly manicured’ is a relative term. Mostly, it’s about having 10 mini canvases for nail doodles.  Plus, it’s a bit like doing discreet cosplay, but just for the fingertips.
These are tips from someone who has limited patience, refuses to invest in expensive products and is intimidated by people who do this kind of thing professionally.
• Top coat is the best.
• For complex things, try doodling them on paper first. Then, try doodling them with your non-dominant hand (unless you’re ambidextrous in which case, so much envy).
• If your design is too tricky, find a way to simplify it. Rather than drawing the thing itself, draw an aspect of the thing.
-Example: Movie Loki is pretty much omnipresent at the moment, and impressive as it might be to have 10 miniature Hiddles-replicas on the end of one’s fingers, it would be a) not really feasible without having to resort to decals and a whole bunch of faff and b) actually a bit creepy. Still, the colour scheme of green, gold and black is doable. Use a fine brush or dotter pen to make a zipper pattern, and you’ve got a nod to the character. Then, use your dominant hand to have a pop at a sort of head/helmet outline (and then practise your best scowl for when people use the word ‘fangirl’ at you as a pejorative).
Loki nails (click for bigger)
Loki nails (click for bigger)
• A simple design (like a ghost) can be striking and fairly quick to do. (Ghost pun courtesy of iguanabones’ bootiful comics.)
-The basic idea is a splodge of white on a black background, dragged into a sort of tail. For the eyes, blob two bits of black and there you have a cute ghost.
Ghost nails (click for bigger!)
Ghost nails (click for bigger!)
• If you have a thing that you are really into (like, say, a comic) and it could easily fill ten separate designs, then go for it. Be prepared for it to take ages. Then, when it’s all done, be prepared for people to look at your nails and say “I don’t get it?” until you feel obliged to try and introduce them to Gillen & McKelvie’s current Young Avengers run.
Young Avengers nails (click for bigger!)
Young Avengers nails (click for bigger!)
• Or just do Batman nails. Everyone knows Batman.
Batman nails! EVERYONE LOVES BATMAN. Click for bigger.
Batman nails! EVERYONE LOVES BATMAN. Click for bigger.
• Get a decent camera, or a friend who will take decent pictures of your manicures for you, because trying to take hand selfies on a cameraphone is rubbish.
• Never trust anyone who thinks your nails are any less than awesome.

Amazeballs is right

I’ve a passion for metallics, especially in nail polish, but this just about takes the cake:

Lacquistry: Amazeballs

It looks absolutely fantastic, and is reviewed (and indeed modelled by) Polish All the Nails. If it’s anything as beautiful as it looks in the picture, it looks like the first step in turning one’s nails into an illuminated manuscript, which I highly support.


Which means one thing, and one thing only: HALLOWE’EN.  It’s my excuse to dress like Tim Burton shagged Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham every day.

Which brings me neatly onto Spellbound Nails’ Hallowe’en nail polish.  I love nail polish.  I have good nails, and I wear nail polish more or less constantly.  Spelbound’s Hallowe’en collection is… actually, just look at it.

tumblr_mtlbhsX0by1rw75c4o1_500 tumblr_mtlbhsX0by1rw75c4o2_500

Bloody hell.  Isn’t that glorious?  You can buy them here.  I am going to have to try pretty hard not to buy all of them.  There’s everything I could possibly want.  There’s even heat-reactive colour-changing ones – what the hell is that trend?  Is that a trend?  It’s the 90s in fashion again thing isn’t it.  Yeah.

Pantone polish picks

Each new fashion season the Overlords of Colour at Pantone scour the catwalks to identify the key trend shades that designers are collectively loving on, which eventually trickle down into our high street stores. The palette for fall autumn 2013 includes the typical nature-inspired hues that crop up at this cooling time of year, muted greens and the fiery shades of dying leaves, with some rich jewel tones thrown in to ensure looks won’t blend into the scenery. Pantone’s colour of the year, Emerald 17-5641, still isn’t showing up in affordable fashion as much as this green addict would like, but Nails Inc have, um, nailed it with their limited edition polish shade Queen Victoria Street. Here’s the rest of this season’s colours for your fingertips.


Nails Inc Queen Victoria Street, £11; Models Own Freak Out!, £5; CND Shellac Limeade, £13.99; Rimmel Pompous, £2.99; Illamasqua Alarm, £14.50; Hits Speciallita Demeter, £7; Essie Sew Psyched, £7.99; China Glaze Fuchsia Fanatic, £5.56; OPI Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!, £9.68; NARS Night Clubbing, £14.