a-england Moments With Virginia: My Picks Swatch & Review

It’s my first nail polish review of 2021 and it’s none other than a constant favorite, a-england! If all goes to plan, it is going to be very a-england-y on the blog this year. I am going to be starting a color comparison project that I hope will be helpful for some. However, today we are looking at one of the four new collections a-england dropped on us at the end of 2020. It is based on works by Virginia Woolf and, I have to admit, I haven’t read much of her work. I had to read A Room of One’s Own for either a lit or geography class (cannot remember) but that’s it. I do have several of the books that inspired these polishes on my enormous to-read list, hopefully I will get around to those at some point. But I definitely got around to trying the polishes first. I am the proud owner of six of the seven new shades, the seventh being a light pink called Shakespeare’s Sister. I’m not a fan of pink, but definitely am a fan of these rich jewel shades. So perfect, there are colors here I would wear all year round!

All of today’s swatches are over Zoya Naked Base. Holo Taco Super Glossy Taco is my top coat of choice and used where noted.

a-england Virginia Woolf, 2 coats plus top coat

First we have the polish inspired by the author herself, Virginia Woolf. It is described as a “dark garnet red bursting with blazing hologram.” It is a very purply, berry red with a soft linear holographic. I think the red is too rich for it to be that super strong, flaming holo finish that a-england has done in the recent past.

a-england Virginia Woolf, 1 coat

Virginia Woolf covers really well in just one coat. The color is not even and there are lighter patches, but I cannot see my nail line.

a-england Virginia Woolf, 2 coats

The second coat darkens and evens out the color. It is perfect in two smooth, buttery coats.

a-england Virginia Woolf, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

The holo is definitely there, but you don’t get those super strong lines of rainbows.

a-england Mrs Dalloway, 2 coats plus top coat

It feels a little too Christmassy to look at the green next, but I’m going by the order the polishes are listed on the website! Mrs Dalloway is described as a “vibrant emerald green enriched by blazing hologram.” This one also looks like a normal linear holo to me, it’s not as strong as it is in another recent green, Punk. This is such a classic and classy green, wow, I am so glad this is part of the a-england green lineup!

a-england Mrs Dalloway, 1 coat

The coverage in just one thin coat is SO. GOOD. The formula is super smooth and just glides on. Maybe I am being super picky, but I see just a few light spots and I ended up doing a second coat to be on the safe side. I am sure many will be happy with it in just one coat.

a-england Mrs Dalloway, 2 coats

If Mrs Dalloway was not opaque in one coat, it definitely is in two! I think the overall color darkened just a little with the second coat as well as covering some potential lighter patches, so I am really glad I did a second.

a-england Mrs Dalloway, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

Again, you can see the holo, it just isn’t those super strong rainbows from collections like the British Subcultures collection.

a-england Orlando, 1 coat plus top coat

For some reason, I CANNOT get the a-england website to load, so my color descriptions from here on are taken from the Whats Up Nails website. If that changes, I will update the blog post and you’ll have no idea I was having issues! Orlando is a “black nail polish with an extraordinary holographic shimmer.” a-england has A LOT of black polishes, yet somehow they are all different?!?! This one isn’t as creamy as some and you can see the holo pretty well, but it’s also not a super duper strong flaming holo.

a-england Orlando, 1 coat

Orlando was the only polish in the collection I found to be a true OCW! After painting on this one, thin coat, I squinted at it and put it under some harsh lighting and found nothing to complain about. I just don’t see how it could get any darker or improve with another coat, it looks perfect.

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

The holo easily comes out to play in brighter lighting!

a-england The London Scene, 2 coats plus top coat

Next up we have The London Scene, which is probably the most holo of all these polishes. It is described as “a lovely grey nail polish with multi-chromatic holographic shimmer.” Wait, holo can also be multichrome?!? I’m not sure what that means, but I would call this one a flaming holo finish. Even in my duller light box which is better suited to color accuracy and not shimmery pigment accuracy, you can see some rainbows.

a-england The London Scene, 1 coat

Broken record here, but The London Scene has a super smooth formula. The coverage is also really good for such a light polish. It looks mostly opaque here, but in person I easily made the decision to do another coat. There were a few lighter spots I wanted to cover.

a-england The London Scene, 2 coats

Two coats is all you need to bring this one to full opacity! It’s barely any effort to apply this polish, it just glides on. It’s the good kind of gliding on, not the kind you do when you’re working with a streaky polish and praying to not have to do 6 coats.

a-england The London Scene, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

I did notice with this one that while the polish was still wet, it looked like there might be some visible brushstrokes, but those disappear when it dries. I think there is just so much holo pigment packed in here that you temporarily see brushstrokes through it before it settles and self-levels.

a-england To the Lighthouse, 2 coats plus top coat

Ugghhhh, how am I supposed to choose a favorite? All of these colors are just so good! To the Lighthouse is a “gorgeous purple nail polish with a ton of holographic shimmer.” I don’t think this one is a flaming holo despite the description saying there is a “ton” of holo, it’s a normal a-england holo!

a-england To the Lighthouse, 1 coat

To the Lighthouse covers pretty well with one coat! There are definitely some lighter spots that makes the base color look a little uneven. I also feel like this one looks warmer than it really is with just one coat.

a-england To the Lighthouse, 2 coats

Two coats brings you to perfection and matches the color you see in the bottle. For holos, these polishes all dry pretty shiny. Top coat does improve them, but not as much as it improves other holos in my collection.

a-england To the Lighthouse, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

While there may be a “ton” of holo in here, it looks like a standard holo to me, not quite the same as The London Scene. Please note that all these look better in person, I keep experimenting with my holo capturing light set-up and this set-up clearly ain’t it.

a-england The Waves, 2 coats plus top coat

Last up we have another stunning a-england blue. I love it any time a-england adds a new polish to their lineup, but it always feels extra special when they add a new blue or green! Gimme gimme gimme! The Waves is described as a “stunning blue shimmery nail polish full of holographic glitter.” Okay kids, this one does NOT have glitter in it, it’s just normal holo pigment! I think it’s important to make that distinction because glitter can dry a little textured and/or be more difficult to remove. This one is not, it’s the same as all the others in the collection.

a-england The Waves, 1 coat

The Waves covers the nail completely and evenly in just one coat. No visible nail line to be seen! HOWEVER, I may be crazy but I thought the color looked a tad lighter than it should with just one coat so I did another. Maybe to you it’s a OCW!

a-england The Waves, 2 coats

I love The Waves in two coats. It’s probably impossible to tell between these photos, but I think the second coat darkened the color up a bit and matched what I saw in the bottle.

a-england The Waves, 2 coats plus top coat in direct lighting

Holo and blue together is what oceany and also galaxy dreams are made of!

Woohoo, it’s my first long and wordy post of the year! Congrats, you survived. I absolutely cannot pick a favorite, all these are my favorites from the collection. You would think I would be especially singing the praises of Mrs Dalloway and The Waves, but I seriously do not believe they outshine the others, every polish I got from this collection is a stunner. I love how seasonless this collection is too. Yeah, the rich jewel tones are very fall and winter appropriate, but don’t tell me you wouldn’t wear To the Lighthouse on a gorgeous, sunny summer day. I’m going to be reaching for these all year!

Have you gotten any of the new a-england collections? Any other new collections you’ve been excited about recently?

xx, Ashley

I would link a-england’s website here, but aforementioned problem with loading the site is still persisting!


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