a-england Tales From the Tower: Swatch & Review


Happy 100 blog posts to me! Yep, there have been 100 posts of me gushing about nail polish on the internet, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I still have so much polish to talk about, so don’t think you’re getting rid of me that easily! Today I have a full a-england collection to show you. It’s well in to spring now so of course it is perfect timing to talk about a collection that came out during the fall… I’m sure I have at least one reader in the Southern Hemisphere, yeah?

As soon as I saw the Tales from the Tower collection last year, it was an instant need. I adore all the base colors here and also adore the inspiration, having been to the Tower of London and because the Tower looms so large in medieval British history (an obsession of mine). This collection is a continuation of the pure excellence a-england gave to us with the British Subcultures collection. I have all eight polishes here, so you know there’s going to be a lot of pictures, let’s go!

For today’s swatches, I used a-england The Ridgeway as my base coat and Seche Vite as my top coat where noted. I used only one brushstroke on my pinky nail with each coat for funsies!


a-england Tower of London, 2 coats plus top coat

I have always found the name “Tower of London” to be deceptive, because the Tower of London is not just a tower. It’s a whole complex of walls and buildings from various eras packed together in am imposing splendor. You really have to see it in person to understand. The polish representing the buildings this collection is central to is described as a “grey gunmetal” in a flaming holo finish. This is a slightly softer, concrete medium grey and I love it a whole bunch.


a-england Tower of London, 1 coat

You’re going to hear this a lot for this collection, but the formula is so smooth and easy to control, especially with the paddle brush. a-england’s paddle brush is not obscenely large; I can cover my pinky in one stroke but I also don’t have to sweat flooding it. The first coat does go on a little patchy and sheerer in some spots.


a-england Tower of London, 2 coats

Two coats gets Tower of London perfect. The holo is so intense and apparent even with the first coat. I noticed that this one dried down a little shiny, unusual for something with so much holo!


a-england Tower of London, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

Hopefully you can get a good idea of how much holo pigment is packed into the flaming holo formula here.


a-england Crown Jewels, 1 coat plus top coat

The Crown Jewels are kept at the Tower of London (when you see them you get to stand on what is basically a human conveyor belt and you cannot take any pictures – got to see someone pulled aside and forced to leave for doing so, after they deleted their photos of course) and are the inspiration for this next polish. a-england describes it as a “rich royal burgundy with a fine gold lustre” and this one is also a flaming holo. The finish is reminiscent of all the polishes in the Tudoresque collection with the gold. I find in person and on my nails this polish pulls a little more purple-looking than red, I think due to all the shimmer.


a-england Crown Jewels, 1 coat

Crown Jewels is so rich, it only needs one coat! The formula is almost creamy, I wonder if the addition of the shimmer thickens it up a bit. The holo and the shimmer both stand out very well, especially considering that this has a darker base. It dries a tad dull so you will definitely want to top coat it.


a-england Crown Jewels, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

Holo and gold shimmer in perfect, glorious harmony.


a-england Koh-I-Noor, 2 coats plus top coat

Koh-I-Noor is a famous diamond displayed with the Crown Jewels, though I have to say I can’t remember seeing it specifically… bad tourist. The polish is described as a “glistening gold tone” and it is in the flaming holo finish. Despite what you see in the photo, it is a warmer gold that almost borders on coppery. The last photo in direct lighting is more color accurate to what I saw.


a-england Koh-I-Noor, 1 coat

Koh-I-Noor has a smooth formula and an even, though still a bit sheer, coverage. The holo is really apparent on the nail, more so than in the bottle.


a-england Koh-I-Noor, 2 coats

Koh-I-Noor is completely opaque in two coats. I think there must be a bunch of gold shimmer in the gold base, because this polish appears both metallic and holo at the same time.


a-england Koh-I-Noor, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

Look at those rainbows! The gold is at the beginning of the rainbow with this polish :]


a-england Yeoman Warder, 1 coat plus top coat

Moving away from jewels, we have Yeoman Warder, inspired by the guardians of the Tower of London, who also give tour guides! The polish is a “poppy red” which perfectly matches the uniforms of the yeoman warders. This one says it is a flaming holo finish, however I found that the base drowned out the flaming effect a bit and it just looks like a normal linear holo to me.


a-england Yeoman Warder, 1 coat

The base of Yeoman Warder is super rich and I got it opaque in one coat. I think people with a lot of free edge will probably need two. I personally could not see any nail line or unevenness in the base color with just one.


a-england Yeoman Warder, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

Yeoman Warder has a nice holo finish, but I would struggle to call it flaming.


a-england Ravenmaster, 1 coat plus top coat

The Tower of London is known for its ravens and the Ravenmaster, you guessed it, is their main caretaker! It is a position held by a Yeoman Warder, in fact. Doesn’t this collection have such a nice flow to it? Anyhoo, Ravenmaster is described as a “deep bronze green with fine gold metallic specks.” If you like dark swampy greens, you’ll be in heaven here!


a-england Ravenmaster, 1 coat

Ravenmaster is yet another OCW. This collection just continues the theme of the British Subcultures collection by delivering us seriously opaque formulas! If my painting job looks worse here than normal, it’s because mine bottle had a slightly wonky brush. Despite that I still found the formula to be super easy to work with.


a-england Ravenmaster, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

The gold shimmer/flecks/whatever in Ravemaster stand out a little better than the holo, I think, but the holo is still there. This one is supposed to have a flaming holo finish but I don’t know if that translated as well on the nail as it did in other polishes in this collection.


a-england The Princes in the Tower, 1 coat plus top coat

I have a bit of an obsession with the Wars of the Roses, so I was touched to see a polish dedicated to The Princes in the Tower, the two sons of Edward VI who were likely murdered/disappeared on the orders of their uncle Richard III some time after the death of their father. The Tower has been home at various points in time to many people whose lives were needlessly lost in dynastic struggle, and this case is probably shrouded in more mystery than most. Read up on it if you don’t mind having no definite answer (though you’ll certainly find a lot of opinions of people who feel very strongly one way or another – I myself want more physical evidence, stories aren’t enough). Blabbing about one of my favorite topics aside, this polish is described as a “velvety blue black” that dries to a semi-matte finish but also has holo which is more apparent with glossy top coat.


a-england The Princes in the Tower, 1 coat

I only used one coat of The Princes in the Tower for my swatch photo because it looked great in person, but looking here I can see a few lighter spots that might have needed a second! You can see the slightly flat finish, although I find this is typical of a lot of holos.


a-england The Princes in the Tower, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

This has such a gorgeous night sky effect when you top coat it and get some light on it. a-england does these super dark shades so well *swoon*


a-england Lady Jane Grey, 2 coats plus top coat

Lady Jane Grey was another famous prisoner of the tower and another victim of a power struggle, this time the death of Henry VIII’s son Edward VI being the trigger. She was Queen of England for only nine days before being imprisoned and finally executed. Her story and Katherine Howard’s story both particularly haunt me, there is something so absolutely disgusting about teenage girls getting executed for events that they themselves probably did not mastermind. In honor of Lady Jane Grey, a-england has presented us with this lovely lavender flaming holo.


a-england Lady Jane Grey, 1 coat

Lady Jane Grey is a little bit sheer and uneven on the first coat, I got a few lighter patches that will definitely need to be covered up. The formula is really nice to work with, it is on the thicker side for a holo. Speaking of holo, those rainbow flames are already making themselves visible here!


a-england Lady Jane Grey, 2 coats

I found Lady Jane Grey only needed two coats for full coverage. Again, the formula is super nice and you can really take your time working with it. It stays right where you put it! Like most holos, this one dries a little dull, top coat will bring it completely to life!


a-england Lady Jane Grey, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

Aw yeah, lavender rainbows are super pretty! Even though this collection was released in the fall/winter, it has colors perfect for every season. I really like this one for spring.


a-england If the Ravens Leave the Tower, 1 coat plus top coat

Last but not least is my favorite polish of the collection! “If the Ravens Leave the Tower” is inspired by the superstition that England will fall if there are less than six ravens hanging out at the Tower. Their wings are actually clipped to keep them from being able to fly far and, a piece of trivia I did not know until now, the ravens at the Tower are enlisted in the army. They can be dismissed for disorderly conduct, what on earth! Crazy English people aside, this polish is described as a “green-blue teal” in a flaming holo finish. I would call it a grey teal myself, it’s dusty and stunning.


a-england If the Ravens Leave the Tower, 1 coat

It seems fitting that the last polish of the day is, once again, a one-coater! The formula was super smooth, a dream to apply.


a-england If the Ravens Leave the Tower, 1 coat plus top coat in direct lighting

Wow, I love this polish so, so much! That base color with the flaming holo finish is almost too beautiful, I can’t take it! Paint my entire goshdang life with it, I don’t need anything else.

Not a single dud in this collection! If you held me at gunpoint and demanded to know my favorites, I would say you need to get If the Ravens Leave the Tower along with Tower of London and Ravenmaster, they are just gorgeous. Personally, I am happy to have every single one of these in my collection. I’m thinking about doing a comparison post of all my a-england polishes in the future because I’m sure that I have no dupes but there are some that probably have nuanced differences that only crazy people like me see. I have one more a-england collection to share with you, then hopefully I can get myself going with those! Thanks for reading, whether this is the first post you’ve been with me or the one hundredth. I would probably keep blogging even if no one read my posts just so I could get my nail polish love out of my system, but it means so much to me that people actually want to take some of their precious time on earth and hang out for a bit, staring at gorgeous polishes. See you all next post!

xx, Ashley

I think I ask this every a-england post, but tell me what your favorites are! And let me know if you would be interested in seeing comparisons. I don’t have every single a-england ever, but my collection’s not TOO shabby.


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