My girlfriend first introduced me to the phenomenon known on blogging as a haul. To those unacquainted with this term it basically involves taking a photo journal of all the stuff you've purchased for a given amount of time and providing a few comments about the quality of the product. From browsing the web I've noticed - particularly in the blogging realm - a tendency towards hauls being a trend broached only by females about women's products (generally makeup/clothing items).
Why is this the case though? I like stuff. I'm nosy. I'm interested in what other blokes are buying. I want to know what they think of it. I'm making a stand now. For too long we've endured make-up-ridden hauls which just confuse us. Materialistic men of the blogosphere unite. The revolution starts here. Here's what I've purchased in the past couple of months; this is a makeup-free-zone. Viva La Revolution!
'Uncharted 2: Among Thieves' & 'Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception' (CEX, £10 & £15)Oddly, I started the third installment of the series and became so gripped by Drake's globe-trotting, pirate-blasting, damzel-rescuing adventures that I bought the second. The graphics in these games are without contest the best I've ever seen. Whether it's seeing the hero dwarfed by the monolithic dunes while trekking through the desert, raiding centuries-old tombs of crusaders or escaping a rapidly sinking cruise ship this series of games really demonstrates why video games can be considered an art form. The way cut-scenes are presented wouldn't be out of place in a high budget animated film and when combined with the rich audio score the overall experience is like playing an interactive film. I found the big set piece moments in the most recent game more compelling and some minor control tweaks make the game a better offering. I will certainly be purchasing the first game to complete my reverse-chronology of completing the series.
Classic Vans (Offspring - Birmingham Selfridges, £26)An epitaph to my white vans: You served me so well through May 2012-October 2012 but that snag just became too much for you to deal with and my big toe finally broke through to fresh air. Rest in peace.
Despite my grief at losing my white Vans, the temptation of seeing this new pair in a sea-foam green proved too much and I replaced them almost immediately. Yes - I do feel cheap and dirty and treacherous for forsaking the memory of my fallen white companions. But would I do it again? Of course. The feeling of finally wearing a crisp new pair of knock-abouts rather than the grubby pair I had been used to makes the start of every day when I slip them on that bit sweeter. One issue is the slightly more flamboyant colour means they are less compatible with my whole wardrobe - you should've heard the shrieks of, 'You can't go out in that!' when my girlfriend saw me combining them with my pea-green chinos!
Nike Tiempo Mystic IV Turf Boots (Pro Direct, £40)
I've recently founded a 5-aside football team at my University and so required a new pair of boots. I do own a pair of Nike Mercurial Vapour blades but as all league games are played on Astro I am very paranoid of rolling my ankle. I wear a 10 in most shoes but got these in a 9.5 to fit snug. The genuine leather part of the upper shoe is very sturdy - particularly when compared to my Vapours whose material is thinner than Keira Knightly on an orange-a-day diet. This is nice as it means its easier to generate power without harming your foot. After my first game playing in these boots we had a cross-bar challenge warm down which I won hitting the frame twice thanks to the power and accuracy of my new footwear. The sole's grip feels very firm and assists rapid turns of pace very nicely. Like with all boots when they first came they were slightly rigid but a 40 minute 5-aside game remedied this issue.
Adidas F50 Detachable Shinpads - Black (Pro Direct, £8)
From reading this haul you guys are going to think I'm some sort of freak, always nervous of impending injury. But seriously, I do like the feeling of being shielded from harms way and at half RRP these pads were a sound investment. I find ordinary shinpads can become quite uncomfortable after a while which is why having the detachable ankle support is very useful for comfort. They seem to provide pretty good protection while remaining light enough to not inhibit quick movement.
Asylum Aztec Tiger Sweatshirt (Foot Asylum, £15)
(Apologies for creased photo) I updated my wardrobe this month taking advantage of the superb online sale at Foot Asylum. I've wanted a grey sweater for a while as they're so multi-functional as they can be worn with various other items. The tiger print is done in a really interesting way which I've yet to see on anyone else. An issue I have with buying items like this from - for example - River Island/Topman/H&M is the inevitable, awkward scenario where you see Joe Blogs across the road in the exact same outfit. With something like this I am far less fearful and being able to chuck it over what I'm wearing is a must in this typically bleak British winter.
Hawksworth Yorky Fisherman Jacket (Foot Asylum, £24.99)
I was interested by this jacket as although it looks like its made of a normal material, it is actually waterproof. For me this means I get the practicality of finally having something to shield me from adverse weather without the ugly, unfashionable look of a normal waterproof of anorak. From the distinctive tobacco colour to the contrast toggles, its a very interesting garment and at that price reduced from £69.99 the purchase was an inevitability. Again, another benefit of this item is it separates me from the masses clad in their Jack Wills gillets and their black Superdry waterproofs.
American Poetry: The Twentieth Century (Amazon, £15)
This volume is quite hard to get in England as its published and distributed only in America. It covers a comprehensive range of America's most important poets including T.S Eliot, Pound, Henry Adam and many more. I've always been very interested by the poetry of our cross-Atlantic cousins and so this volume will doubtless be a very valued part of my library for quite some time. Although its not a massive issue to me, the cover inside the dust-jacket of the book came attached upside down so the book seems like its being read back to front.
Garnier Anti-blackhead Deep pore wash (Superdrug, £2.99)
I purchased this cream as I'd previously used an acne cream with salicylic acid in and had found it quite effective - I'd been recommended to use salicylic acid as it's apparently useful against fighting spots. The previous gel I used was by Murad and had 0.5% salicylic acid content and I really found that it worked for me. Unfortunately the Murad gel has a pretty hefty price tag so I was on the hunt for a replacement. I found this by chance when my girlfriend was shopping for eyelashes (she was born with them, why does she need more?!) and decided to give it a try. Afterall, I need a good skin treatment so I don't look like a spotty teenager fresh from school when I begin my search for post-graduate jobs.
There you have it - not a bad haul all in all. Hopefully it proved a little more interesting than the girly hauls more commonly found on blogs. Gone is the makeup - in comes the football boots. See ya later pretty skirts - whassup Adidas shin pads? Sayonara to the latest Ugg boots - hello to cutting-edge PS3 games. Men of the blogging world, the revolution is here; our time is at hand.