What's "worse" than being in love with your best friend (who more than likely has no clue about it) and being spoiled with apartments and cars? Probably being stuck as being "just friends".

I was curious about how good Just Friends is due to its popularity on Twitter, but after finishing it just now, I'm only giving it 2.3 stars (★).

- - - - - - - - - -
Synopsis from Goodreads: August and Ethan have been bestfriends since the day they met at Ethan’s seventh birthday party. And now, twelve years on, their friendship continues to grow. But after magic, fame, money and an unexplainable miracle in a car accident, August realises maybe she wants to be more than just friends.
- - - - - - - - - -

So here's another one added to the never ending list of friends-to-lovers fictions. Honestly, I have no problem with this genre, because they're mostly cute (and sometimes extremely cringe-worthy) and relatable for people who have close relationship with a friend of different gender. Due to Just Friends' popularity and hype on Twitter, I was quite eager to read it, because if it was hyped this much, of course it's gonna turn out amazing, right? But bummer, I was disappointed by the outcome.


In my opinion, the plot fell rather flat. Instead of reading a story line, it felt like I was reading journal entries of a girl (and the dates made it seem more that way). Sure, there are parts that were good enough, but I couldn't pinpoint where the actual climax is. It was like the story was divided into several chunks, making the supposedly climax part drown in them.

The time line was quite a mess too, one time the character will be acting in the film set and suddenly in the next paragraph, she's already inside a restaurant having her lunch with someone. It's a bit... annoying to me, if I should say. The parts are supposed to be separated, even a small divider or any small sign signalling that we're entering a different scene would suffice. I find myself being confused most of the time trying to figure out where the hell is the scene happening.

I was hoping that I can relate to the characters of the story, but the moment August Bishop suddenly landed a main role in a movie and Ethan Knight bringing home millions of bucks that he got from the roulette, I knew that this one will not be relatable. The fame August received, and the money rolling into Ethan's pocket rather easily were unbelievable. Sure, it probably can happen, but the it would have been a lot better to add August struggling to handle the sudden fame and Ethan trying not to spend too much money. All they did was splurge, to the point that it was insane. Suddenly buying two cars and a huge apartment, I felt like it was all too much. 

Now that I'm here, why were Ethan's nightmares never explained?


I am not very fond of the language used, it is extremely simple and there are quite a number of grammar errors detected. I mean, if an amateur reader like me can even notice the errors, doesn't that mean something went wrong during the prepublication time? Was the book not proofread first? And like I mentioned before, because of how it was written, it felt more like a journal instead of a story, one of the reasons why I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped to.


I know that August Bishop is the main character of the story, but can we start with Ethan Knight first? Oh Ethan, just as his last name suggested, he is most likely a good example of a knight in a shining armour. His constant use of "my dear" towards August... how can one not fall in love with someone as gentle as him? Though I don't have a long-time boy best friend like August, I have enough experience to understand how it had been for August. Ethan was sweet to everyone, and protective towards the ones that he loved. What an amazing guy.

I can go on-and-on about Ethan, but I might end up spoiling the goodness and sweetness that he presented in the story. So let's talk about August Bishop.

August... Well, firstly, I love her name. It's quite cute to have a month name as your name, and I think Ethan would agree with me. From the start, I was okay with her character, but it gets to a point where I'm a bit annoyed with her way of thinking. To me, she's just a plain girl that fell in love with her long-time best friend, nothing else. Nothing special. I was disappointed that I could not see the "specialty" of her, seeing how fast her fame grew (even though it was only her first appearance in the big screen).

I have no problems with Max, he's a good friend and useful but sometimes can be quite unreliable. But he was there when August needed him, so that's good enough. And then there's Eleanor. Is it just me or she's a literary example of Taylor Swift? She goes on and off relationships with a lot of men, and though she can be sweet, sometimes I don't think I liked her that much.


The whole story is rather cute, despite the things that I'm not satisfied with. It's still a wonder for me on how August was able to remember all the ties she gave to Ethan on his birthdays and Christmas, yet it took her twelve years to realise her feelings for him. I appreciate that Billy Taylor wrote about friendship, love, cheating (only a little), magic, fame and wealth, though I admit that the story will be a lot better with major changes.

This story will suit new English book readers, because the language is simple and the story is not heavy. It's a shame for me to say this, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else from the same author.

It's the way he looks at you.
Every girl dreams of being looked at the way he looks at you.
Even me when I was with him. You just never catch him when he does.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Just one word will suffice: ka-effing-pow! 

This is my first time with a Jandy Nelson book, and just like that, she became one of my favourite authors! I'm giving 4.7 stars (★) for I'll Give You the Sun.

- - - - - - - - - -
Synopsis from Goodreads: At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
- - - - - - - - - -

There are so many things that I want to say about this book, so many things that I wish I can express beautifully, as beautiful as Jandy Nelson's words. I admit that I initially bought this book because it has such good reviews, but what intrigued me to actually start flipping through the pages was the fact that the story involves the life of a set of twins. I have no idea why, but I have always have a soft spot for twins. I often wonder how it would feel to have your own twin, whether the person will be a mirror of you, or a contrast of you. Jandy Nelson showed that by being twins, you may experience everything twice as harder, you love harder, you hurt harder, and the siblings connection are stronger.


I think the plot is very beautiful, and quite relatable should I say. Not that I surf, or extremely good in art, but I can relate to being intimidated by your own sibling, and not knowing whether you will ever be good enough.

The story is told in two different times, by two different point-of-views: the earlier years are told by Noah, while the later years, by Jude. We are able to know what happened in the past, and what will happen in the future, except that we missed the things in between. We know that when the twins are thirteen, they are the closest a twin as they can get, but when they are sixteen, everything is broken. No more telepathy, no more comfort talks, no more hushed secrets. 

The story builds steadily in both timelines, and slowly we learn more about Noah and Jude. How they found each other, how they lost each other. It doesn't move slowly nor it moves too fast, but it was enough to keep you flipping through the pages to know more of what had happened between the two. It will make you smile, make you scream inwardly in frustration, and even make you tear up, but it will all be worth it. There's nothing more that I love than the way how things relate, and how it ends.


I have to say, it took a while for me to adjust with the writing of the story. It may have been due to my two-years of book slump, but I find everything too overwhelming at first. Jandy Nelson's language was too... flowery, too colourful for me at first.

But as pages went by, I find myself hooked to the book, and I fell in love and fell in love and fell in love deeper for the words. It was so artistic, so full of colours and expressions, they were vivid and almost exploding from the book. I have never dog-eared so many pages of a book before.


Noah and Jude are the very definition of twins that I always love: different, yet stronger when together. Even though at first, Jude is more of the daredevil, and Noah the safer and silenter twin, everything changed the moment they lost their mother. It is like a switch is flicked, and their bodies swapped places. Jude becomes scared of everything, pushing people away from her, and Noah becomes the daredevil of the twins instead.

Initially, when I know a lot more of Noah than Jude, I could not help but dislike Jude because of her "selfishness", but when Jude comes rolling in, showing how hard she had it too, I easily grew fond of her. I love Noah even with his quirkiness, his way of thinking is just so out of the world and so... so Noah. And I love Jude, because even after everything that happened, Noah is still the first person that she will look out to. Like I said, they may be different, but they're the same in so many ways, so much stronger together.


I love every single bit of I'll Give You the Sun. I've never realised how much I need a story filled with so much art and colours like this one before. It taught me not to ever live my life in a lie, and always be honest. Always be honest to yourself.

The tool roars to life. My whole body vibrates with electricity as I split the rock in two.
So that NoahandJude becomes Noah and Jude.
"You kill them?" Guillermo says in disbelief.
"No, I saved them."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

After five months, I'm back with another haul post! I swear I still have no idea how I'm able to make a haul post for almost each month- I don't even want to calculate how much I spent on everything, oops? I just splurge on anything that I want, bad habit bad habit, I know. 

Oh well, this time, I'm back to the normal editing style, unlike the one in my previous haul post. It was too time consuming, and I currently have a lot more on my plate, with all the BTS comeback teasers and my journalling + reading process, I'm all too preoccupied! So, I just prefer to keep things simple now.

1. Large Notebook

Another notebook for my never ending collection! Got this from Daiso, and I'm planning to use it as a sketchbook. If I get back to sketching, that's it. I lost my previous sketchbook, and I'm still grieving over my lost sketches, so I'm probably not going to use this one any time soon.

2. Flamingo Post-It Notes

If I had to pick a favourite from the bird species, I would definitely choose flamingos! They look very graceful to me, especially when they stand on their one leg. And also because they're pink, of course. I've been collecting some random flamingo-themed things without quite realising it, and I'm so happy to get this cute post-it notes. It can stand too, which makes it easier for me to use when I get back in university to study.

Also got this from Daiso.

3. Bunny Post-It Note

One can never have enough cute post-it notes. Well, at least that's the case for me! Another adorable must-have post-it note from Daiso, and this time featuring my favourite animal, a bunny. Just as you can see in the right side, it can be folded and you can write a "secret" message in it. Pretty cute, huh?

4. Flamingo Washi Tapes

My washi tape collection is happily growing, I probably need to buy a washi tape organiser real soon. This one's another flamingo-themed item that I got from Daiso.

5. Disney Princess Stickers

Anything Disney will always be my personal favourite, especially when it comes to Disney Princesses! I love them so much to the point I get so happy whenever I see anything with Disney on it, even if the items were meant for a child. I guess I'll always be a child at heart.

6. Cactus Notebook

I'm very fond of succulents, I think they're very soothing and also adorable. But I'm horrible at taking care of them. Remember the two cacti I bought last year? (I mentioned them here) They both died several months after I bought them. I'm thinking of getting another cactus soon, but I guess I need to make a few researches on how to take care of them well before that.

Anyway, how cute is this notebook? I love the fact that you can make it stand, definitely good for writing my to-do lists!

7. Enamel Pins

I have decided that I'm going to start an enamel pins collection! I super love pins, I used to have all sorts of button pins on my bags and pencil case. Stopped buying button pins a while ago, but nowadays I just fell in love with enamel pins. I've been surveying shops from other countries for quite some time, and I'm so happy that I finally found local shops selling beautiful enamel pins! Look forward to this collection growing ♡

  • Magical Unicorn & Freckled Dreamer Girl by @eurekartstudio
  • Get Lost & Pearl by Typo

8. BTS - Wings Album (W, I & G Ver.)

Finally got my hands on Bangtan's Wings albums! I got them all for very cheap price (without the posters and photocards though) from Carousell, so I'm really happy. I actually bought all four versions, but the seller made a mistake and sent me two 'I' versions, so I end up selling the extra one to a friend.

Look at how beautiful they are ♡♡♡ But ugh Bighit why are you wasting the pages you could have filled in more pictures on the left pages! (┛◉Д◉)┛彡┻━┻

9. Novels (Frog Music by Emma Donoghue, Emma by Jane Austen & The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas)

I got Frog Music for RM10 only, what a bargain! I haven't read it yet, and I've never read any books from Emma Donoghue (I knew she wrote the bestselling Room), but the moment I saw this book, I just felt like I had to have it. I love the brightness of the cover, and the synopsis seemed like it have a good plot. Will try reading it soon!

Ever since I read Black Beauty, I've always wanted to read more classic literature. I was actually looking for Romeo & Juliet, but the cheaper version was out of stock, so I decided to try Emma instead. Jane Austen is a really famous author, and I'd love to read her works.

I also heard a lot of good things about The Hate U Give! It is said to revolve around current issues like racism, police violence etc., which really intrigued me. I'm hoping it will be as good as everyone is saying!

10. An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Fashion - What on Earth are You Wearing?

My first illustrated encyclopedia! Bought this with Frog Music, which is also RM10. The moment I had my eyes on it, I got super excited because all the illustrations are graceful and beautiful. And it definitely won't hurt me to learn a thing or two about fashion, wouldn't it?

Here's a preview of it's absolute beauty;

Well, that's all from last month! See you guys again in my next haul post ヽ( ≧ω≦)ノ

P.S: To those returning to university/college, all the best! 

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Annabelle: Creation (2017): Former toy maker Sam Mullins and his wife, Esther, are happy to welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. Years earlier, the couple's 7-year-old daughter Annabelle died in a tragic car accident. Terror soon strikes when one child sneaks into a forbidden room and finds a seemingly innocent doll that appears to have a life of its own.

My rating: 5/5 stars (★)

For years, I've thought that nothing can surpass the horror of the first Conjuring movie, but today I was proven dead wrong. Annabelle: Creation was almost everything a good horror movie should be, it had the right amount of suspense and terror. It just made you wonder continuously who's blood would be shed next, and who would be haunted once again by the doll. Another element making it a great horror movie is having one of the most scary thing: dolls.

If you have watched the trailer, you'll catch the gist of the story. A pair of couple who was unable to accept the death of their only daughter, ended up bringing the dead spirit back through the doll. Obviously, things didn't go well after quite a time living with the undead. The plot seemed rather cliche to me at first, but there was definitely a lot more than that. This was not the typical ghost-seeking-for-revenge thing, but more of demonic things. Ghosts can't hurt you, but demons, they're different than that. 

The Conjuring franchise used a lot of Christian things, and even though I'm not in that faith, it opened my eyes more on how people with other religion dealt with cases like this. Janice, one of the orphaned girls, even with her faith and Sister Charlotte's constant reminder that she was wrong, fell for the doll's call. I was angered throughout the whole story, because when someone warns you to not open a door, do not open it- but. But. When I think about it again, it was definitely not Janice's fault. The demon called for her, and it was hard for a young girl like her to resist it, no matter how scared she was. 

My horror-loving self loves every single part of the movie, and my hatred towards dolls increased tenfold more. The sound effect irked me, but it did a great job in adding the suspense. The execution of the horror elements were to be applauded, and I'm marking this with a small spoiler; my favourite horrific part would be when Linda was chased by a half-body bloodied woman that was crawling on the floor...

Well, that's it. I have a lot more to say to be honest, but I'm afraid that I will give too much spoilers. If you loved Annabelle: Creation too, do talk to me because I need someone to rant to!

For horror movie fans, this is a must watch!

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Arrival: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars (★)

Arrival is probably one of the only brilliant alien-related movie that I have ever watched in my entire life. I grew up hating any alien-related movies thanks to the Alien VS Predator franchise, so alien movies were just a no go for me. But somehow, I was glad that a friend of my suggested me to watch Arrival, because boy, this is a totally different from any cliched alien invasion movies.

The story started with Louise Banks reminiscing the time she spent with her daughter, who turned out dying because of cancer. I couldn't see the relation between her memories of her daughter, with the sudden arrival of the aliens (in their football shaped pods) at first, and throughout the movie, the biggest question is why on earth were the aliens on the Earth?

It was interesting to see that the aliens had their own language, their own way of expressing their messages, instead of some typical alien stories where everything and everyone speaks in English. Because we all know, English is not the only language existing in the universe, obviously. As a language student myself, I got hooked up the moment they tried to decipher the language of the aliens, even though it was quite unbelievable, the way they deciphered it. But anything is possible, and I just think that Louise Banks was really intelligent and brave. If she's a real person, I would have absolutely idolised her.

The aliens reminded me of squids, and it was kind of cute that Louise and Ian called the two aliens that conversed with them as Abbot and Costello. I'm upset at what happened to Abbot in the end, but Costello's message to Louise was overwhelming. Things went a lot worse when the people from different countries refused to cooperate with each other, confirming that some humans are dumb and cooperation between mankind was the very thing that we need when the world is collapsing. Helping each other is better than being at war with each other.

All in all, Arrival was a good movie. The plot twist in the end was mind blowing, though I got a little bit angered at how things actually turned out. But if you're a fan of alien movies or sci-fi, do add this in your to watch list!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016): Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.

My rating: 5/5 stars (★)

I lied, I'm rating this one 11/10 !!! I swear this is one of the most beautiful story, and it was so wonderful as it is a true story. I always find close relationship between a person with an animal a very beautiful thing. Especially when it comes to the one that are hard to tame or trained. We often see people with amazingly trained dogs, but we rarely get to see trained felines.

And it just added to my wonder about the fact that Bob is an actual street cat, he was not trained at all when he arrived in James' house. I was absolutely in awe throughout the whole movie, I was impressed by a cat actually acting, and I was utterly amazed that Bob is such a brilliant cat. The whole story is so beautiful and inspiring, I think I might re-watch it again any time.

Bob is obviously my favourite character, but I appreciate Val and Betty too, for helping James to recover. Other than the relationship between a man and his cat, Val and Betty both showed that just by supporting him, James will learn to recover all by himself. I think the world needs more people like Val and Betty. 

It pains me to see the hurtful things James experienced because they were all true, all of them happened in real life. People view homeless and drug addicts in a very negative way, and I admit that I do too. But after watching this movie, I believe that not everyone is the same. Some people just end up the way they were because of some bad circumstances, but that didn't mean they don't want to change. All they need is good support, and in some cases, a love like Bob gave to James.

A must watch for everyone, especially if you need something inspiring.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

200 Pounds Beauty (2006): Hanna is a very large girl with a warm heart. She also possesses an unbelievable voice. Hanna wants to become a pop-singer, but due to her extra-large appearance, can only work as a faceless singer. She provides the vocals for a popular singer named Amy, a beautiful young lady that can’t carry a note to save her life. One day, she decides to have full-body plastic surgery to change her look.

My rating: 2.5/5 stars (★)

I was complaining a lot throughout the whole movie, simply because I had a whole lot to disagree. I know for a fact that this is a pretty old movie, it was released more than 10 years ago, but the fact that "beauty" is being defined with being skinny & having a "perfect face" still irks me to no end. In 200 Pounds Beauty, Hanna was treated unfairly just because she was overweight and didn't have the "perfect face" despite having a wonderful voice.

Though I think it was rather stupid, but it was understandable when Hanna wished to undergo a full-body plastic surgery and changed her look drastically. The people around her all forced her to decide on getting the surgery, and I'm more than positive that a lot of women (and maybe men) in real life had done the same thing because of the same reason. The very thing that people like Hanna need is self-confidence. Instead of going for a plastic surgery, Hanna could have worked out and go through a diet to gain the body that she would be comfortable in. Shedding the weight was definitely a healthier idea than getting a plastic surgery. Even after getting under the knife, Hanna ever gained any real self-confidence, which later got her into more trouble.

Despite all of the mess, I think the actual message from the story is really actually for all of us to accept ourselves for who we are, and not to change just for the sake of others. And that message is beautiful. I think the ending was rather good, even though I don't think it will ever happen in real life, because we all know that not everyone can be accepting, especially in a short amount of time. If you have watched the movie, you'll understand what I meant. 

To anyone reading this, remember that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Just because someone does not think you're beautiful, that does not mean you are ugly. You are beautiful, learn to love yourself more. Don't let anyone change you from who you really are.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Time Renegades (2016): A 1983 high school teacher and a 2015 detective join forces through their dreams to save a woman they both love.

My rating: 4/5 stars (★)

Stories related to time travelling and being given a chance to change something from the past are not really my cup of tea, but somehow I end up quite enjoying Time Renegades. Even though I still disagree with the fact that the main characters, Jihwan and Detective Gunwoo were able to change some things in history, the thriller part of the movie kept me on the edge of my seat.

While Jihwan is a teacher in 1983, Gunwoo is a detective in the present day (2015). And then there's Yoonjung & Soeun, who is a girl in 1983 & 2015 respectively, but shared the same face and are both teachers in the same school. Jihwan and Gunwoo's life collided through an event during New Year's Eve, and ever since then, Gunwoo was able to see the past through the dreams while Jihwan could the the future through Gunwoo's eyes. Jihwan learned that something will happen to Yoonjung, and he tried to save her using what he was able to see in the future, and Gunwoo, having being able to recognise Soeun from the dream he had, ended up falling for her and did everything he could to save her too.

If you change even a small thing in the past, everything in the future may change, and that was what had happened. Jihwan tried to save Yoojung, but some things were just meant to happen. That didn't mean nothing changed in the future, as Gunwoo struggled to help the woman he loved, but at the same time had to learn the changes in the future because of Jihwan's actions in the past. Every time Jihwan changed something in the past, one can't help but wonder whether something good will happen in the future, or if someone was going to be murdered earlier than they were supposed to be. You can't help but worry who would die and who would survive this time.

I'm surprised that I never heard much from this movie, because it was a rather good one. I love the element of surprise and thrill in it, and it kept me trying to figure out what will happen even until the end. The ending was quite unexpected, but I wouldn't really call it a surprising plot twist? I did love the ending however, I think the people who made this story did well.

Definitely recommending this to anyone who loves thriller and enjoys time travelling stories!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Well, hello there non-existent readers! I'm not even sure if people read my posts anymore (do people even read blogs nowadays?), but I miss being here so I don't think I'd mind if nobody reads this. But to those who are wondering (may God bless you for caring), yes, I'm still alive and living about. I've completed my diploma in TESL last month, and currently waiting for my graduation later this year. 

I haven't been doing much lately. Initially planned to search for part-time jobs, but for some reasons, the plan have to wait until after Eid Al Fitr. For now I'm just gonna relax and enjoy Ramadan with my family, and try to catch up the things I left out while in university. I've started writing (look at the amount of chapters I managed to post, yay!) and reading again, and my online graphic shop is running pretty smoothly, so for now all is well. 

I'm not sure my plan to get into a degree course of Creative Writing or English Literature can be achieved this year or not. Circumstances are showing that I probably can't, but I'll do my best. If not, well, I'll just continue my studies next year huh. 

Anyway, in order to make this long break worth it, I went through my 2017 goals and resolutions again, to see if I managed to achieve anything. It's not a surprise that I barely achieve any of them *lol. The only thing I can rather proudly say I achieved would be to write more. That's it. Oh well, it's always easier to plan that actually executing it perfectly, right? I'll be continuing my efforts in reaching the resolutions, but I've also decided to add a few things to the list. Let's call this, the Second Half of 2017 Goals ✨

  • Read more (in order to be able to continue writing, I need more things to read, so look forward to getting book reviews again soon!)
  • Learn how to sew
  • Re-learn how to knit
  • Less long naps
  • Update stories at least once a week

That's probably it, I may not even manage to pull off everything in the list. But hey, a girl can always dream, right? ♡

If you're reading this, drop a hi!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

I've received several requests for me to write a post regarding my teaching practicum experience and tips. I have no objections since I'm one of the earliest among my friends to go through practical, so it's good for me to provide a few tips to help them along the way. To the ones who are not familiar with me, please take note that I'm only taking Diploma of TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in University Sultan Zainal Abidin, Terengganu. I am not from any IPG or teaching institute, which means that I may be lacking in some of the skills and experience of being a teacher. 

The posts about my experience in teaching practicum will be divided into two parts, since I've only went through halfway of the journey for now. I initially planned to mention about how I dealt with the classes in the campus, but I decided to omit those because I don't think they're of any help to my friends. I'll only mention them briefly below.

Okay, here it goes. This is going to be a very long and messy post, so please bear with me.

Before the teaching practicum

Alright, so let me get this straight. My whole life, I've never wanted to become a teacher. The times that I answered "I want to be a teacher when I grow up" during my primary school years don't count, because I'm still too young and foolish then. I noticed that it's hard for me to teach. I tend to quickly become impatient when I teach someone, especially if they couldn't understand what I taught. Being short-tempered made it hard for to teach even my own friends.

I don't know what went through me when I was applying for universities two years ago, but due to those decisions, I ended up going to UniSZA for Diploma in TESL. Life had been topsy-turvy being a TESL student, a lot of dramas whirled by and I went through many ups and downs. I had regrets in taking this course, but life had to go on. The longer I was in the course, the more I realised I might have made the biggest mistake of enrolling in the course. It was a struggle to learn things that I don't enjoy, but thanks to my supportive family and friends, I managed to survive.

And then the days that I dread the most came. Teaching practicum.

Preparing for the teaching practicum

I was absent on the day we had to pick the school that we want to do the practical, so I was given no choice to choose my practical colleagues. I end up partnering with two other boys, and Alhamdulillah, the school that accepted me for the practical was only 5 minutes away from my dorm house.

For the first week, us teacher trainees only needed to go to the school for PBS (I forgot what this stands for...), where we had to attend the school and make observations. After a week observing, we'll do a report regarding the school and send it to the faculty.

During the first week, I started feeling that maybe, just maybe, becoming a teacher was not so bad. The school that I attended for my practical was only a small school, which means that it was pretty much a close community, so I had quite an easy time to fit in. The teachers were all nice to me, and I think it was partly because I was the only female teacher trainee for this batch in the school. Thanks to a few events, I was also able to get to know a few pupils.

Things still seemed nice then.

Teaching practicum, Week 1-6

Finally, the start of the real thing. I was given two classes to teach, Year 2 (2 Al-Amanah, the lower class) and Year 4 (4 As-Siddiq, the upper class). Basically, the first week was a torture for me. I was always horrible with lesson plans, and I'm really not the most creative person you'll know, so I often panic all the while I was in the school compound. But slowly, with the help of the teachers and my own friends, I managed to pass. Not with flying colours unfortunately, but it was enough.

Alright now, I'll separate the info and tips that I got in several parts, to make it easier for you guys to read.

  • Making lesson plans
For some teacher trainees, they can plan lessons for the whole week. But this can only be applied to classes with advance students. In my case, the pupils that I have to teach were very lacking in English proficiency. Their vocabulary level were extremely low, and don't get me to start on their grammar level.

Due to this, I had no choice but to write lesson plans every single day, because I need to see whether my students were able to understand what I taught or not. Planning lessons were the hardest for me, but after six weeks, I can say that I can already write decent lesson plans now. I don't know about other teacher trainees, but lesson plans are very important as it outlines the lesson that you are going to teach.

  • Preparing the teaching aids (AVA; audio-visual aids)
Since I had to write lesson plans each day, it means that I have to prepare the AVAs daily too. For teacher trainees, we have no choice but to create interesting AVAs for the lessons, all in order to get good grades of course. My suggestion, if the school's multimedia resources are available, use them. It's definitely a good way to save money and time by showing the students videos, or teaching them using PowerPoint and slideshows. 

I was quite unlucky because the classes in the school could not provide the multimedia resources, so I had no choice but to settle with Mahjong papers, manila cards, flashcards and other physical AVAs, which require quite a sum of money. Teacher trainees from IPG are blessed because they receive allowance to cover for these things, but as for me, the university did not provide anything. Everything, every single material that I bought had to be paid using my own pocket money.

I mostly use Mahjong papers (because they're huge) and flashcards (easy for the kids to remember) in my lessons. I also draw a lot on my AVAs, which always succeeded in attracting my pupils' attentions. Here are a few obvious tips for creating good AVAs:

  1. Make sure the letters are HUGE. The students at the back need to see the words clearly as well.
  2. Use bright colours. If you opt for black, blue and red markers only, use colourful manila cards. If you're using Mahjong papers, write the words using colourful markers. Colours excite the pupils, and they remember better.
  3. Don't make it too wordy. Write down only the important words.
  4. Don't use too many AVAs in one time. It distracts the pupils and it will confuse them.
  5. Use pictures. Draw. Pupils love it when the teachers draw something; they're so easy to impress lol. But printing pictures are acceptable too, of course.
  6. Be creative! Don't just settle with normal texts and flashcards. Make dices, big books, etc.

  • Class management
No matter how good you are in preparing lesson plans and AVAs, you'll end up struggling with class management. No worries, all teachers went through this at first. But just a heads up though: kids nowadays have very little respect for teachers. This is the very first thing that I realise when I started my teaching practicum. I can say that most of the students can be labelled as disrespectful, and some to the point of becoming 'rude'. I'm not embarrassed to admit this, I did cry several times because of the disrespect that I get, but there wasn't much a teacher trainee like me can do in a short span of time to change their attitude.

  1. The first impression is very important: BE STRICT. Act like you'll beat them up if they don't listen to you. If possible, don't even smile to the students in the first few classes = this can help to make the students scared of you (them being scared is the only way for you to gain respect actually, so don't be afraid to be strict)
  2. Set up rules in the class. State what they should and should not do in the class. It can be "no making noises or playing during lesson time" or "no speaking Malay in the classroom during English time", but make sure the students understand and follow the rules. Give punishments if they disobey the rules.
  3. Get to know the pupils' names. Memorise them. When they misbehave in class, call out their names and make them do something (answer a question or ask them why they aren't paying attention). Pupils hate it when the attention was given solely to them, so it helps when you can call out their names.
  4. LOUD VOICE. This is very important in order for the whole classroom to listen to you. If their voices get a little too loud for you to be heard, knock the board/desk several times to grab their attention again. Be loud, but don't scream. Screaming is definitely a no no.
  5. Build a good rapport with the pupils. This helps the pupils to love your class, and at the same time, still be respectful towards you. SET A LINE BETWEEN YOU AND THEM. Being friendly and nice to them is good, but make sure they are aware that you are still the teacher, and they need to differentiate the times when they can play around and the times when they need to behave well.
  6. Create more group activities. Children love doing hands-on activities with their friends, so opt for more group activities. It is also easier to control their behaviours this way.

  • Others/extras
- Make a star board for the students. If the student behaves well in class, or performs any good deeds (your call, it can be completing their homework or simply trying to talk English with you), give him a star for it. The star board can be a big star board on a mounting board, or small name tags where you can draw mini stars for each of the pupils. Make it a competition where the student with the most stars receives a reward by the end of your teaching practicum. This works very well for my students, they're excited to become active in class for the sake of the stars. I'll show the star name tags that I made for them in my next post.

- It's also important for those who are going to become teacher trainees or new teachers, to always give your level best in everything. Be polite to the other teachers, and don't ever show your bad side to anyone in the school. Always show your positive side. Please, please, please don't make the teachers or schools staffs lose trust in you, because that's when you're going to be doomed. If there are anything that you need help, do not hesitate to refer and ask help from the teachers. They do have more experience anyway.

For now, these were the only things that came up into my mind. It's a bit messy, but I hope it helps a little to a few of you. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me. I'll answer them in the next post. 

Thank you for reading, and you're welcomed to share your own tips too if you have some!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

The Last Princess: Deokhye, daughter of King Go Jong, was the last princess of Korea at the turn of the 20th century. Under Japanese colonial rule, she is taken to Japan as a hostage. Her father attempted to keep her safe by having her secretly engaged, but due to the king’s sudden death, she was forced to relocate to Japan when she was only thirteen, and was then married off to a Japanese nobleman at the age of nineteen. With the era's harsh conditions, she struggles to maintain the hope of the Korean people. Jang-Han is a fighter for Korean independence whose mission is to bring Princess Deokhye back to South Korea.

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)

I swear I have never seen a movie about the royals as heartbreaking as The Last Princess. I can literally hear my heart breaking, and almost all the time, I wanted to bawl my eyes out (if not I watched it with my family, I'd totally finish 10 boxes of tissues). Warning: spoilers ahead because I need to rant

Okay, so The Last Princess is a story about how Korea's royalty ended, how they lost their last princess. It is based from a novel, which was also based from the true story from the country's own history. The movie started when Deokhye, the princess of Korea, was still a young girl. She was cheerful and radiant, bringing smiles to everyone she passes by, and definitely the apple to her father's eyes. Even from a young age, it is obvious that the princess will grow up to become a fine young lady, strong enough to be independent on her own. I love the scene where her father sent out a traitor while he was holding her, and she repeated her father's words bravely. 

In order to protect the princess, her father engaged her to a boy who can keep her safe, Janghan. Shortly after that, the king was pronounced a sudden death due to being poisoned. What made matters worse was that it was the princess herself who found her father dying. Despite that, the princess grew up into a wonderful princess, loved by the people. During the Japanese colonial era, Princess Deokhye had been the one to inspire and motivate the Koreans to keep moving on. When the Japanese noticed this, they sent her to Japan in order to contain the Koreans from rebelling and fighting them.

That was the start of the horrible years for Princess Deokhye. Many years passed and Janghan managed to reunite with the princess, but it took a lot of efforts for him and the other Koreans trapped in Japan to get the princess back to their homeland. The dedication they poured for their country and the princess were sacrifices that no one should ever forget. It was heartbreaking because Princess Deokhye and Janghan were separated even after the struggles, and she was forced to marry a Japanese nobleman.

Even though in the end, when Janghan was finally released, and he went back to bring the princess back to Korea, everything seemed almost too late. Almost. Though most of the Koreans did not even know the existence of the princess any longer, her loyal people still remembered her and the part where she was reunited with her people brought tears to my eyes. The last princess of Korea definitely suffered a lot, and more people should remember her and her sufferings, and also the things that she did for the sake of her people. The traitor never got the punishment he deserved in the movie, and that was the very part that pissed me off even until this very second.

The Last Princess definitely deserves more than five stars, and it should be given more recognition. I recommend this if you're into Korean historical culture, or just a great tear-jerking movie that provides you with real history at the same time. Do leave your thoughts on this movie too!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

I'm back with another haul post! As you know (or you don't?), I hoard a lot of stuffs, especially if I think it's cute, which means that I buy a lot of nonsensical things each month. I'm combining January and February because posting them separately feels funny (since it's already March).

I'm also trying a new way of uploading my haul pictures! Do you think it's cute?

1. Watermelon Clutch
I'm obsessed with anything watermelon, and I was so happy when I found this baby. I'm currently using it to keep my journal stuffs (washi tapes, stickers, sticky notes, etc.)

2. Coloured Pens
To be honest, I already owned a lot of coloured pens, but I can never help it whenever I find ones with cute designs. This set of pens are not really a favourite, the ink is a bit hard to flow, but I love the cute design a bit too much.

3. Monami Sign Pen
One of best pens to journal! I could use them to write and even colour using them! Definitely a fav ♡

4. Alpaca Washi Tape
The cutest alpaca washi tape everrrrrrrrrrrr

5. Biscuit Sticky Note
Got this from Daiso and it's been my fav ever since (because duh it's biscuit, how can I not love?)

6. Cat Sticky Note
Not sure if I should call this sticky notes? It's very small and you used it to mark a page or something. Also got from Daiso.

7. Pink Pencil Box

8. Fluffy Socks (red stripes)
9. Fluffy Socks (polka dots)
Got both of these socks from Daiso (Daiso is literally heaven and hell for me, I love everything in Daiso but Daiso also is the reason why I'm broke) and I'm happily using both socks to go to sleep. It warms my feet and makes me feel cute too at the same time ⋐(ల◕◡◕ల)⋑

10. Black Numbers Totebag
Just like what We Bare Bears said, there will never be enough tote bags! Bought this to use for my teaching practicum so I can bring my AVA (audio-visual aids) in it.

11. 80's Glam Sharpie
Love love love the colours, there's never anything wrong with Sharpie pens, but for some reasons I haven't been using them much.

12. Pilot Whiteboard Marker
Originally bought to be used at school for teaching purposes, but the school where I'm doing my practical now has no whiteboard, so I had to settle with chalks. Using these markers for my AVA, and I really recommend it since they're really smooth.

13. Giant Grey Teddy Bear (name: Maru)
One of my friend gave this to me as a birthday gift. It's seriously huge, almost my own size! And so fluffy tooooooooooo. I named her as Maru (^(工)^)

14. Chicken Plushie (name: Cuckoo)
Also a birthday gift! Named her Cuckoo despite being a chicken ◔ ◡ ◔

15. Floral notebook
I definitely don't need another notebook, but how could I resist such a cute notebook??

16. Worldmap clutch/bag
Not sure if I should call it a clutch or a bag... but this one is also used to store more of my stickers and sticky notes for journalling purposes!

17. Craft papers

18. Stickers

19. Die cut papercrafts...? (not sure of the name)

20. Washi tapes

21. BTS Stickers & Jungkook Artprint (by jin.blossoms)
My first BTS fanart stickers and artprint! They're seriously so pretty and god I'm so in love with jin.blossom's arts ♡

22. Panda and Polar Bear Sticky Notes
I think the panda and polar bear are characters from an anime series? I can't remember the title (was it Polar Bear Cafe?) but I'm loving this sticky notes!

23. Nametag
For my teaching practicum. I would prefer to use the name Humaira, but I was scared the kids I'm teaching might have a hard time to pronounce it.

24. Mermaid ring (by wander.bug)
Hands down, the prettiest ring that has ever existed ♡

25. Mermaid bracelets (by robxofficial)
Robxofficial has officially become my favourite place to shop for mermaid bracelets. I already have 3, and currently eyeing 3 more designs. Will upload soon if I buy the other 3 designs too ♡ Plus, the owner of the store is amazingly nice to me and even drew me some mermaid stickers! Definitely fav!

26. Novelty socks
I'll never be able to say no to cute socks, especially the Ariel one.

27. Tonymoly Peach Hand cream
I'm a sucker for hand creams and god this peach hand cream by Tonymoly has the cutest packaging in the whole world! I've always wanted to have this peach beauty, and I'm so grateful to mom for buying it for me recently. Thanks mom ♡

28. Mermaid Keychain
I was like a happy child when I found this baby when I was doing my grocery shopping. It's a mermaid and a pink one too, combination of my favs!

29. Cleo Magazine (January Edition)

30. W.Dressroom New York Perfumes (April Cotton & Peach)
The April Cotton perfume went viral thanks to Jungkook of BTS, and I'd be lying if I say I myself was not curious as how it smelled like. But the main reason I bought these perfumes was because I wanted a Peach perfume (and dah alang-alang tu, beli je la yang April Cotton jugak lol). They both smelled sweet and mild, which suits me a lot because I don't really enjoy heavy scented things.

31. BTS Official 2017 Calendar
This is from the official Season's Greetings, but I didn't want the other things in the set so I settled with getting the calendar only. The pictures were all very beautiful :')

32. Phone Case (비스쿹 ♡)
This phone case was inspired by one of the love of my life's sweater, and his name is the one written in Hangul. Congratulations if you can read it and guess who's the man ♡

So, there you go! My hauls for January and February. I definitely bought way more than these but most of the other things were rather... say, insignificant? I hope some of you did read this post until the end, and to those who do, thanks a lot and love you guys!

Do look forward to my next hauls!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Passengers: On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions. As Jim and Aurora face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction... until they discover the ship is in grave danger. With the lives of 5000 sleeping passengers at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Ever since they released the trailer for Passengers, I had been dying to watch it! Well, why wouldn't I? There's Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, and the fact that people see it as the space version of Titanic:

"You die, I die."  Aurora

Passengers was nowhere near my expectation. I had expected both Jim and Aurora to have woken up at the same time the space ship started to break down, but boy I was wrong. Spoiler ahead, so beware! It turned out that only Jim woke up from the hibernation process. The only companion that he had was Arthur, an android working at the bar. During the first few months, thanks to Arthur's words (that android sure is such a sweetheart), Jim lived on around the space ship, trying on all sorts of luxury that he could. He tried different ways to try waking up the crews but to no avail. He was all alone for more than a year.

But then he found Aurora, sleeping soundly in her hibernation pod. He was so lost and almost sent himself off into space to give up on living, but he fell instantly for Aurora. After a lot of contemplation, he decided that he could no longer be alone and woke Aurora up. Wait a moment- I just remembered that Sleeping Beauty's name is Aurora! SO BASICALLY AURORA IS LIKE A SLEEPING BEAUTY TO JIM HOLY FISH I JUST REALISED THIS

Aurora woke up, thinking that she too was a victim of the space ship's breakdown. Scared and hopeless, she leaned on to Jim for support, and together they both fell in love for each other. I was upset with Jim's selfish decision to wake Aurora up, but it was also heartbreaking to him being alone in the space ship. But truth will always find its way up. Aurora found out the truth and was so angry at Jim. Well who wouldn't, she was basically doomed to die on the ship; but so was Jim.

When the space ship started to break down more, Aurora and Jim had no choice but to save the ship from destruction. Their desperation for the sake of the other 5000 people was heartbreaking, and the ending still broke my heart. But at least Aurora and Jim were together till the end, they were never alone and they had each other. 

It was a great movie, but if I was given a chance to go on a space adventure to another planet, I'd say no. No thanks.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

The Great Wall: When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of the world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront the unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 out of 5)

I've always been a fan of historical movies and dramas since I was small. I guess traditional and historical cultures (along with their beautiful unique attires) really intrigues me. I found out about the production of The Great Wall back when I was still a fan of Luhan (no don't remind me of that time). I was excited to see yet another possible good historical movie being made. It was true in a certain way, though.

During the Song dynasty, a few miles north of the Great Wall, William, Tovar, and three other survivors from a European mercenary group searching for black powder are pursued by Khitan bandits. A lot of chases and mystery deaths before Will and Tovar ended up in front of the Great Wall of China. They were captured as they don't belong there, and before long, some monsters called Tao Tei started to attack the wall. Tao Tei were monsters that were sent to them supposedly from hell as a reminder for what their late King's greediness had caused.

Oh god I hate the monsters, they reminded me too much of lizards. And these ones were huge and a lot more disgusting and too vicious. The fight between the warriors and the Tao Teis went amazingly, in both good and bad ways. The warriors were well prepared with their weapons and attacks, and I was certainly in awe. Especially the female warriors in blue uniforms, especially General Lin. I could say that these blue warriors were the bravest as they fight the closest to the monsters. Despite the preparation though, the lost a lot of warriors but the Tao Teis retreated back for a while. Somehow, Will ended up siding with the Chinese, much to Tovar's frustration as he wanted to flee with the black powder that they got with the help of Ballard.

I think two of the biggest matters they portrayed in the movie are trust (xìnrèn) and the greediness that humans have. The Chinese soldiers trusted each other with their lives, fighting till their last breath to protect each other. And because of irresponsible greediness, other people had to suffer over it. Greediness is never ending, and it leads to destruction.

All in all, I enjoyed The Great Wall. Will and Lin's interactions were great as they cooperated well together with Strategist Wang, and it was nice to see Peng Yong trying his best despite being seen as a weak soldier. This is probably not the best historical movie I've watched, but nothing is really dreadful about it. If you enjoy historical movies, do watch The Great Wall too!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

I'm not really the type to set up goals and make new year resolutions, I rarely ever plan anything because I'm horrible in following plans. But late last year, I bought myself a planner and decided that maybe I should start planning my daily schedules better. I probably won't reach much of the resolutions, but it's not wrong to try, right?

Positive vibes only.
This is the one the one that I seek for the most. 2016 had been a year where I've learned the most from the people around me, and I've decided I should not let myself be filled with negativeness anymore. I'll do my best to only accept positiveness, and spread positive vibes as much as I could.

Write more.
I normally would say "read more, write more", but sadly this year I probably won't be able to read much due to my teaching practicum. I'll be able to read again for the later half of this year, but in the mean time, I'll focus on my writing more. I'm planning to further my studies in Creative Writing, so this goal is a must reach!

Blog more.
2016 had been a year where I'm rarely active here on my blog, compared to during my high school years. I'd like to start blogging and sharing more again like I used to! And I'd love to be active again on my Tumblr too, soon.

Graduate with a decent CGPA.
If only I'm smarter, I'd aim for getting 4 flat, but that's pretty impossible. I have only a semester left, which will consist of a language camp and a teaching practicum. I'm hoping to get good grades for both, so at least I'll graduate with being in the dean's list.

Less anger.
I have quite a temper, and this will continuously be a worry for me. My relationship with my family and friends were always put up to test due to my temper, I lost some friends due to my temper, so I need to learn to stay calm and be less angry.

Journal every other day!
My journal last year only consisted of less then 10 pages. I've always loved to write, and journalling is something very fun to do. I'd like to at least fill half of my journal for this year. I'll show my journalling progress real soon, whether here or on my Instagram account: @mermaird

More mermaid things for my collection.
If you know me in real life, you'll know how many mermaid/Ariel/ocean related items that I have. I'm looking for more, basically anything that's related to mermaid and ocean: beauty products, clothes, figurines, stationery, etc. So, if you found any interesting things, do contact me!

Eat healthily, be fit.
I should eat less unhealthy food and start working out again.

Spend money wisely.
This one is gotta be the hardest. I'm known to be a huge spender, and I spend money impulsively. It's going to be hard to control my urge to buy just everything that I think is cute, but I'll have to try anyway.

Kick start the My Love for Biskut Project.
Ooh, what's this? A secret maybe? 

Basically, my new year resolution & goals consisted of things that I strive for every day, nothing too heavy. Other things will probably be listed in my Bucket List that I'll soon add in my "About Me" section.

What are your New Year resolutions? Do share!

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira