Friday, August 10, 2012

a-England: Tristam, Iseult, and King Arthur

In the past, I've done a lot of manicures and a lot of blog posts using a-England polishes.  For the 4th of July, I made a water marble using a-England polishes, but the focus was on the marble, not the polishes I used.  I've used a-England under several Rainbow Honey manicures (with stunning results.)  From all of this, it's easy to see that I really love a-England polish - but I don't think I've ever written a blog post dedicated exclusively to them.  Today I'm fixing that.

This is my collection of a-England polish (and a stuffed pig.)  From left to right, we have Perceval, Iseult, Lady of the Lake, Elaine, Avalon, Order of the Garter, Tristam, Princess Tears, Morgan le Faye, Excalibur, King Arthur, Camelot, and The Shield.  (I also own Holy Grail, not pictured.)  By the way - I wrote that entire list without once looking at the website or at the backs of the bottles.  That should give you an idea of how much I love these polishes.

a-England is created by Adina Bodana - an Italian designer who happens to love everything to do with England and British mythology.  Naturally, I'd be all over this even if the colors weren't as fabulous and unique as they are.  I've never regretted a single polish I've purchased from Adina and want to own all of the colors someday.

Today I'll show you pictures of three a-England manicures I wore recently!  This post is going to be picture heavy, as usual!  And as you can see, I'm still trying out different watermarks.  Just go with it.

Tristam, Iseult, and King Arthur

Keep reading!

The first polish I have today is Tristam.  Tristam (or Tristan, Trystan, etc) is a Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian Legend.  He was by all accounts handsome, brave, etc.  Tristam also happens to be the name of Adina's cat.

Tristam (the Knight) had the misfortune of falling in love with a princess, but we'll get to that in a second.

Tristam is a deep blue, almost purpley color that has a scattered holo effect.

Unlike many holographic polishes, the color of this polish isn't overwhelmed by the holo effect when in the sun, and it is still beautiful in the shade.  This is a great example of a "classy holo" that anybody can wear!

Tristam is drop dead gorgeous.  Night sky gorgeous.  Hypnotizing, swoon-worthy gorgeous.

This color is so gorgeous I don't even know what to say.  The wear and application are perfect as well.   Truly one of my favorite polishes ever.

I wonder if the delicate Princess Iseult was as dazzled by her Knight when she saw him for the first time.

Iseult was an Irish princess in Arthurian legend, and the doomed love interest of Tristam.  They accidentally fell in love with each other.  Potions were involved.  Dire oaths were uttered.  Sometimes everybody dies, etc.  It's a very old and sad story, which I won't get into.  Instead, let's look at the polish.

This is Iseult.  The pictures I have of Iseult are some of the worst nail pictures I've ever taken.  I don't understand what happened, but 70% of the pictures I took were either washed out, blurry, or both.  By the time I'd realized the pictures were poor, I'd already changed my manicure and didn't want to redo the shoot.  That's not quite as tragic as a doomed love affair, but it's still pretty tragic.  I managed to salvage a few pictures of Iseult, but I do apologize for their poor quality.

Iseult is a pearly, shimmery pink.  It's incredibly delicate and ladylike.  It is one of the prettiest pinks I own.  I love how feminine my hands look when I am wearing this polish.

There is subtle, silvery-white shimmer within this polish.  I still had visible nail line at two thin coats, but three should be fully opaque.  Unlike most pale and pastel shades, this lacquer had absolutely no application issues whatsoever.

Iseult is a dream to look at, to wear, and to apply.  If we imagine the two polishes named after Tristam and Iseult as the actual people involved, it's easy to see why they fell head over heels for each other.

The final polish I have today is called King Arthur.

I don't really need to explain King Arthur, do I?  Everyone reading this should know the basic idea.  But just in case you've never been anywhere else on the internet (or in life) but this very website - he was basically the most badass King Britain ever made up.  The character of King Arthur as he is popularly known most likely never existed.  Many stories and legends revolve around King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.  I grew up reading stories about King Arthur and imagining the adventures he had, and I'm sure countless children have, do, and still will.  His Legend has inspired countless movies and tv shows.

That should be good enough!  So here's King Arthur's polish.

A deep Tungsten grey with darker flecks of color, this polish is both subtle, solid, and highly shiny, somehow.  I'm not sure how that's accomplished.  Regardless, I really, really like this color.

King Arthur is full of steely resolve, and is quite neutral, yet extremely reflective.  You can see the bars of my balcony reflected in my nails in the above two shots!

The color of King Arthur is hard to pin down - it's very clearly grey, yet leans blue in some lights but yellow in others.  It's a great fall color, but I'm proud to wear it in August, too.

I love how rich and sumptuous this grey is.  It almost seems like a warm and comforting color, even though it's grey.  And even though it's metallic, I didn't have a single problem with brush strokes.

Does King Arthur live up to its name?  I really think it does.  Not only is it a beautiful color, a deep, true grey like this is also (in my opinion) an essential color to have in your polish wardrobe.

Now, there's one other feature of King Arthur I feel compelled to draw your attention to.  Adina has created a polish inspired by the eyes of her cat, Tristam - possibly the most handsome feline to ever walk the earth.  The polish is called Princess Tears, and I'll review it in another post.

Adina and Tristam - courtesy Nailpedia.
Well, guess what, Adina!  King Arthur matches my (husband's) cat too, even though you didn't mean to do it.

Our cat doesn't like me much.  She's standoffish, snotty, and doesn't like to be touched (by me.)  But it just so happens that her fur matches King Arthur really well.  So I had to subject her to some "bottle shots."  Check out how well she matches!  I'd put her in a shoulder bag as a chic new fall accessory if it wouldn't mean my immediate death.

She wasn't happy.

Well, that's my post!  Thanks for reading.  I'll have more a-England manicures to show you in the future, without a doubt.  Have a great weekend!


  1. Awe, poor standoffish kitty! I know what you mean, though, my cat Tobias switched allegiances as soon as my fiance moved in.

    I have a grey similar to your King Arthur one and I love it so much. There's just something about Gunmetal (Sally Hansen - Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear) that I adore. I'm horrid about picking off my nail polish at the first sign of wear/imperfection so I tend to shy away from dark colors during the work week ;)

    1. Haha, this cat is mine by adoption...I married into owning this cat. She's my husband's and doesn't like anybody but him! I need a fish or something.

      I change my manicure so often, it never has time to chip or wear away. But if I didn't, I'd probably be like you.

  2. Came for the angry cat - wasn't disappointed.

  3. I really love Tristam! Great color! I have a chihuahua that I've had for 12 years and ever since I've married my husband she loves him more than she loves me! What a traitor! :P

    1. Geez, what a traitor indeed! Well, this cat has always been my husbands and shows no signs of changing allegiances, unfortunately. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi I have tagged you for the liebster award :3 you can find the details here, I hope you haven't yet done one and you'd like to :)

    I also have Tritam and Iseult, they are beautiful polishes and the stories behind each make them that much more endearing to own :)

    1. Thank you! I've received the Liebster award a few times now...I really need to write a post about that!