As Manchester is for once bathed in glorious sunshine which makes my thoughts turn to spring, it seems a bit unfair to still be banging on about all things wintery but as I’ve *finally* got my hands on some full size bottles from Essie’s Winter 2013 collection, I thought it would be rude not to share some swatches!
First up is ‘Toggle To The Top’, a dark red glitter in a dark red base. This was my first experience of using Essie polishes and I have to say, despite the gorgeousness of the colour, I was a bit disappointed as it chipped horrendously and for £7.99, I want something with a bit more durability. Determined not miss out on having such a lovely shade on my nails however, I decided to layer it over two coats of Barry M’s ‘Red Wine’ which not only gave it staying power but also means that the polish will go much further! The above photo is two coats of ‘Toggle To The Top’ over two layers of ‘Red Wine’ and sealed with a top coat. The glitter distribution in the polish is fabulous and gives a sophisticated sparkle to brighten up dull days.
The second polish I bought from the collection is ‘Parka Perfect’ which is a greeny grey shade with a subtle shimmer. Although my best description of it as ‘somewhere near the colour of blu tack’ doesn’t perhaps make it sound very appealing, this is one of my favourite polishes for a long time and I’ve already stocked up on a couple of bottles before it’s discontinued! Unlike ‘Toggle To The Top’, I had no chipping issues with this polish (I’m typing this wearing a five day old application of the polish and aside from a little wearing at the tips, I’m still chip free!) and it’s so flattering on the nail. The above photo is three layers and a topcoat although you could probably get away with two coats on smaller nails.
So whilst my first foray into the world of Essie polishes was a mainly positive one, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out to buy more in future unless the shade was spectacular or different enough to warrant it.
I’m not sure if it’s a rebellion against the dullness of January but I can’t seem to get enough of pastels at the moment (I’m also partly blaming Miu Miu’s S/S 14 campaign…). I picked up this turquoise (or ‘petrol’ as the website called it) leather pencil skirt and fluffy knit jumper from Topshop back in October and have been wearing them to death ever since! I always find Topshop very inconsistent when it comes to sizing, which is a shame as they had some really brilliant pieces for A/W 13, so I almost never tried on the skirt as I assumed, like previous Topshop pencil skirts I’d tried, that it would fit very oddly. Reader, it fitted like a glove (or at least a glove that gives you enough movement to walk and sit down in) and I’ve since bought an identical one in black.
I’ve teamed the skirt and jumper with my trusty Dune brogues, Essie nail polish in Parka Perfect and my Katie Mullally peg necklace. I love this necklace as it’s so unusual and it always picks up compliments whenever I wear it! I’m busy debating whether to invest in some New Balance trainers at the moment (another fashion ‘trend’ I was rockin’ at least 10 years ago along with dip dyed/ pink hair) and I think this pair from ASOS would go perfectly.
Now it’s no secret that I love a bit of Barry M when it comes to nail polish. Not only do their polishes come in a massive selection of colours and finishes but when it comes to wear and tear, they’re pretty indestructible and I can often get through an entire working week chip free! Although I love experimenting with polish, I’ve tended to stay away from textured polishes as I’ve worried the ‘gritty’ texture might start to get on my nerves after a few hours wear. That said, when Opi released their ‘Bond Girls’ collection of textured polishes earlier in the year, the jewel like tones almost tempted me to take the plunge if they’d been a tad cheaper (I love Opi but I’m not prepared to pay £10+ for something I might not like!). Thank goodness then for Barry M who seem determined to push the creative boundaries at the lower end of the nail polish market and have brought out a collection of textured glitter polishes at a purse friendly £3.99 each (plus some of the colours are pretty good dupes for a few of the Opi ‘Bond Girls’ polishes…).
I picked up three of the five polishes in the ‘Royal Collection’ – ‘Gold Majesty’, ‘White Pearl’ and ‘Purple Countess’ – on my lunch break last week and I think I can now declare myself a textured polish convert!
‘Gold Majesty’ is a textured polish packed full of, shockingly, gold glitter. I love, love, love this polish and it was the perfect shade to dip my toe into the textured polish water with! The glitter pieces are very small and densely packed together so not only do you get an amazing sparkle but the overall texture is like fine sandpaper. It went on without too much trouble (it’s a bit thicker than a normal glitter polish) and I used two coats although I could probably have gotten away with one as it covered so well.
Second up is ‘White Pearl’. Although I loved this colour in the bottle, on the nail it didn’t feel very ‘me’. Containing a mixture of white and iridescent glitters, it’s a very pretty shade and possibly once the weather becomes more wintery I’ll want something a bit more ‘Snow Queen’ but at the moment I’m just not loving it. The glitter pieces in this one also seem to be bigger than the ones in ‘Gold Majesty’ which means that the application wasn’t as easy and the final texture was a bit rougher than I would have liked.
The final polish I picked up was ‘Purple Countess’ which is a shade I think proper beauty bloggers would describe as ‘complex’. Although primarily a purple based glitter, it also has hints of browns, pinks, oranges and golds which catch the light and shimmer beautifully. I also tried this one with a top coat which really brought the glitter to life but sadly it didn’t photograph well (or at least the photos of no topcoat and topcoat didn’t look as different as they did in real life to make them worth posting). This is a great shade for autumn and also subtle enough for everyday wear if you don’t want to be too OTT but still have a hint of sparkle. Due to the finer glitter, ‘Purple Countess’ was much easier to apply than ‘White Pearl’ and took two coats to become opaque.
Overall I’m really impressed with the polishes and whilst I’m still not convinced about textured polishes in non-glitter shades, I can’t wait to try some more textured glitters. I might just have to purchase some of those Opi shades now…
I’m a bit of a nail polish addict to the point where I probably own more Barry M than can be found on a Superdrug counter! I’ve also started investing in ‘indie’ nail polishes and this morning my latest purchase from Lush Lacquer arrived (which I’ll blog about later as they’re so pretty they deserve their own post). Most of the current indie makers are based in the US so it’s nice to find a UK company who are flying the flag for us Brit based polish addicts! a-england have so far released four collections inspired by various literary, historical and mythical figures (Nail polish and literature? Be still my inner lacquer lit geek!) but not content with just making amazing polishes, the supremely talented creator of the brand, Adina Bodana, has collaborated with jewellery designer KristinM London on a range of fine jewellery to accompany her polishes.
Consisting of earrings, necklaces and pins with prices ranging from £45 – £85, the hand crafted sterling silver ‘Roses’ collection comes in finishes of silver and plated 18ct gold or rose gold. The Pre-Raphaelite beauty of the delicate designs really compliment the aesthetics of a-england’s polishes and the ‘Rose with thorn necklace’ in rose gold is on my wish list as I love how the thorny stem adds an edge of toughness to the delicate flower.
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to these thorny beauties but you still want to channel some Pre-Raphaelite drama then a-england’s polishes are well worth checking out with Bridal Veil, Beauty Never Fails, And The Moonbeams… and Tess d’Urbervilles being my personal favourites.