24 hour time…⏰

✨ New drawing ✨ on the struggle that is: 24 hour time…⏰

So I’ve been thinking recently: it can’t just be me that struggles with 24hr time? (which if you don’t know uses the numbers 00:00 midnight until 23:59 to tell the time). When I see it written down or digitally on a device I can’t decipher or process it at all without counting the hours on my fingers to work out the hour. So like above I just read 21:07pm. Not helpful…and I’d love to know how peoples brains can just instantly convert it!

I’ve always struggled telling the time, which I reckon isn’t helped by a mix of Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. It just doesn’t come to me naturally – anything numbers-related never has! I distinctly remember people at school in my teens being like ‘Why does your phone have 12hr time? That’s weird’. Almost like it’s a childish thing to have? Which it in no way is. I shouldn’t have to justify that IT’S JUST EASIER TO READ.

How do you manage with 24hr time (and is it just a UK thing that everyone uses it?) Do you also prefer 12hr time?

FIDGET GIVEAWAY! 🎉

The lovely people @actoyz have partnered with me to do an amazing fidget giveaway over on Instagram!*

I’m a big fan of their fidgets (they do awesome themed fidget keychains, see my last post!) and now you have the chance to enter and win A HUGE BOX of them!

It includes these @actoyz products:

🐳 Blue Boba Whale Comfort Keychain
🥤 Brownie Boba Plushie
🧸 Purple Bell Bear Keyring
🐰 Bunny pop-it
🍭 Green candy slime

To enter:❗Pop over to this Instagram post

❗Tag a friend below or comment an emoji
❗Like this post
❗Follow @actoyz
❗Follow me @21andsensory if you aren’t already!

The giveaway will run from today January 23rd-January 29th at midnight (UK Time) and a winner will be decided at random and DM’d!

Rules:

—YOU MUST BE FROM THE UK TO ENTER—

This giveaway is for the UK only (Very sorry about this, at the moment international deliveries are just too unreliable and ongoing issues with Royal Mail make it even more tricky)

*Gifted products for giveaway, huge thank you to @actoyz!

‘What I Want to Talk About’ Book Review

I was sent Pete Wharmby’s lovely book ‘What I Want to Talk About: How Autistic Special Interests Shape a Life’ by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Pete is an Autistic writer, speaker, parent, teacher, tutor and advocate who has immersed himself in working to improve autistic awareness, acceptance and making the world a more suitable place for the neurodivergent community. Pete is most active on Twitter where he has over 70,000 followers.

More about the book:

‘This book isn’t a memoir. It is a love letter to the phenomenon of autistic hyperfixation.’

In What I Want to Talk About popular autism advocate Pete Wharmby takes readers on a journey through his special interests, illuminating the challenges of autistic experience along the way. Funny, revealing, celebratory and powerful in equal measure, this is a book that will resonate with many, and which should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand autism with more accuracy and empathy.

amazon.co.uk

My review:

I finished reading this book on December 31st, having read it over the Christmas holidays. It gave me such an insight into how Pete’s (and many other autistic people) rely on special interests to help make sense of the world.

Special interests can allow us such joy as they can be a form of escapism and calm in an overwhelming world. Pete talks about his own interests ranging from Lego, Minecraft, Warhammer, The Titanic and music genres to name a few and I found it fascinating to learn more about each and how each has helped Pete throughout different times in his life.

It made me really want to delve into my own special interests and reignited that sense of wanting to research everything about a specific topic! I would definitely recommend this book, it wasn’t too long a read (and the font size was nice and easy to read).

Buy the book here.

You can listen to my podcast episode with Pete below! Why not subscribe here too.

Morphée Sleep Aid · Product Review 💤

The lovely people at @Morphée reached out to me to see if I’d like to try out their Morphée sleep aid 💤 (Product gifted, review unit).

So what is it?

Essentially it’s a sleep and meditation aid device that is meant to help you relax and unwind. It’s also fall asleep quickly and improve the quality of your sleep through different types of guided sessions.

My initial reaction was: ‘Oooh’ because the wooden rounded lid/base (works as both) was really smooth and tactile to touch. I love the look and feel of it and how the device sits snugly within it. The keys ‘clunk’ nicely between each little icon

Once I unboxed it I was actually interested to see it required charging (in my head the keys made it look a bit ‘manual/clockwork-like’). I plugged it in and left it for a couple of hours before I put it on my bedside table to try a few sessions. I had a look through the booklet (see photos below) and first off I tried one of the breathing sessions then listened to some nature sounds options. The second night I did a body scan session, I tried out both the male and female voice initially and then decided to stick with the female voice as it sounded a bit more calmer in my opinion.

After using it for a couple of weeks I like how simple the interface is – once you’ve read the booklet or the webpage online you know what each key does and because of the simple iconography surrounding the outer edge it’s easy to understand. The sessions are all listed in the back of the booklet if you are looking for a specific one (it’ll give you the number so you can find it). But otherwise it’s kind of interesting to quite literally feel your way round it and turn the key and see what session you get (when you have chosen a theme).

It’s very portable and easy to throw into a bag when travelling which I like the idea of as a sort of calming companion. Also: My current go to session is the sea nature sound (no.6 nature sounds) 🍃

Also I feel like you don’t just have to stick with using the Morphée at just bedtime, it could be a calming in a stressful moment during the day.

How does it work?

The key on the left side allows you to choose the theme, you can select one of eight training sessions per theme. 

The key on the right allows you choose the session (over 200 of them!)

Below is a description of each from the website: 

  • Breathing sessions: These 16 sessions allow you to relax by shifting your attention to your breathing. They allow you to calm your mind and cut yourself off from your day and fall asleep more peacefully.
  • Nature Sounds: 8 sounds of nature recorded in the four corners of the globe. For a complete immersion in nature: sea, jungle, storm, or cat’s purr…
  • Visualisation: 16 visualizations that transport you to a soothing universe: the beach, the mountains,… To help you disconnect by visualizing pleasant situations.
  • Cardiac Coherence: 16 sessions of “cardiac coherence” to reduce the frequency of your inhalations and exhalations and calm your heart rhythm. Helps you relax your body and fall asleep.   
  • Body Scan: These 16 “body scan” sessions invite you to shift your attention to your body. To slow down the flow of thoughts and to promote physical relaxation.
  • Movement: These sessions invite you to gently contract certain muscles and feel them relax as you breathe out. They allow you to focus on your feelings and release muscle tensions. 
  • Napping: 16 dedicated sessions for a break in the day: 4min of relaxation followed by 8 or 20min of silence (depending on the format chosen), at the end of which the sound of birdsong announces the end of your siesta.
  • Relaxing Music: Discover the relaxing music composed by Gilles Maugenest especially for Morphée.

The key at the bottom lets you choose the duration of the session which is either 8 or 20 minutes.

How many stars would I give it ?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’d give it a solid 4 stars, I think I would give it 5 stars if it was more affordable and maybe if the icons and physical buttons glowed in the dark so you could see them at night? 

More product info:

  • Price: £79.95
  • All sessions are conducted by sleep professionals
  • Non-digital, wave free and without screen for optimal efficiency
  • Over 200 combinations of guided meditation sessions
  • Battery operated (7 days autonomy) or plugged in
  • Dimensions: 10 cm x 7cm
  • 100 Night-trial
  • 2 years warranty

They also do a version for children called ‘My little Morphée’

If you’d like to look at the Morphée website click here


*Product gifted (review unit), this post is not sponsored but I was asked to give an honest review.

Magazine Cover Illustration ✏️

I was commissioned by the lovely people at The Royal College of Psychiatrists to create the front cover for their Summer 2022 RCPsych Insight magazine! 

This issue explores how and why the College is leading the way in demonstrating the value of a visibly neurodiverse workforce and much more. It’s a digital and print magazine that’s sent out to thousands of members!

The idea behind the design is that the person (representative of an autistic psychiatrist or doctor) is looking down on a maze and are trying to navigate it by getting the four balls to each corner all at once…which is tricky.

The person is trying to get these multiple balls past things such as stress and stigma to get to the four positive corners. I wanted to show there are hard things in the way of the positives but they are well worth getting to.

The link to read the magazine (it’s free) is here!

The struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products 🛍

  • Black and white icon of two shopping bags 'The struggle of buying and using new products'. The a pastel green line with '@21andsensory' underneath and in the top right hand corner of the post there is a pastel green box that says ' SENSORY SERIES' in to show what series the post is part of.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I recently bought a new mobile phone as my current phone was practically a landline and needed to be plugged in multiple times a day to stay on. It’s something I had put off countless times as I hate buying new (and even second hand) things because they feel new to me no matter where they have come from. I’m finding it almost upsetting to use, as it feels ‘too new’. I keep putting it back in it’s box to keep it safe.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: Dealing with new things is something I have always struggled with and I find it is hardest with new clothes and especially new shoes. For example I was bought a pair of Converse shoes by my family a while back. It took me around 4-5 years to physically wear them because they just felt ‘too new to wear’. I stick to wearing the same clothes or using the same electronics until they fall apart or don’t work anymore.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I’ve tried things like unwrapping and unboxing new things and putting them out in my room to make them feel less new and different or trying them on briefly...I haven’t found it helps much. I like to buy second hand if I can because then it helps to know that things have already been worn or used and I am not the first person that’s owned them (although for both new and second hand clothes they need multiple washes in order for them to smell right for me to wear!)
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: If you swipe to the end slide you can see one of my previous illustrations I did on struggling to wear new clothes. I know that it is the way I am, and there’s very slow ways of coping with it, but I am trying to be proud of the tiny steps I manage to make. Do feel free to comment down below if you also have difficulties with change and newness (if you’d like to!) and maybe we could share our struggles and any top tips too!
  • An illustration with a main title and a comic split in 4 sections Title: Clothes Shopping (Autistic / Sensory Edition) Four sections: - *Needs new clothes* Drawing of a pale green t-shirt with threads coming loose and holes in it, a pair of grey drawstring shorts with a large stain on them, a pair of blue skinny denim jeans with threads coming loose at the bottom and rip on the knees, and a pair of orange and white socks with a hole by the big toe. Text saying ’DAMN IT’ next to them to show how annoying this is! - Tries searching for exact replacements: A woman with black hair sat at a white desk with a blue and white tangle fidget and cup of tea in a mug with her grey MacBook laptop open in front of her. Text says *SCROLL* and *CLICK* next to her to show she is searching online for new clothing - They arrive and get put away… a folded pile of t-shirts in pale green, orange, blue and pink next to a pastel purple jumper hung up on a black coat hanger. Next to the jumper there are two ‘sparkle’ emojis to show the jumper is brand new - 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. Shows a brand new pale green t-shirt, blue denim skinny jeans, pastel purple jumper and grey pair of shorts hanging up on a black metal clothing rail which are still brand new and have never been worn. A woman with black hair and a pale blue t-shirt is next to the clothing rail sighing and her hand is resting on her forehead in disbelief.
  • 21andsensory logo (person holding up a white board with '21andsensory' on it. Underneath it says: If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page (link in bio). Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath.

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss the struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products.

In my Sensory Series I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory.

I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way, feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too! Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below.

Alt text in Image ID.

DIY Sensory Box

Hello! Today I wanted to share some top tips for making your own DIY Sensory Box. My sensory box is something that’s definitely evolved over the years, as I’ve been able to tolerate more (but also less) things sensory-wise. I think of it as a box to dip into when in any mood as it can be helpful when feeling overwhelmed or burnt out but equally when you just want to experience a little bit of joy and indulge in something like a visual stim you love.

So:

Start with a plastic tub or storage box – I’ve found that one without a lid or an open-top one can be handy if you want to dip in and out of it quickly (I found having a lid meant I stored stuff on top of it and I’d forget I had it / not end up use it!)

I have suggested a few things you might like to pop in your own sensory box in my drawing and in more detail below:

Fidget Toys: Any fidget toys you already have, think of this box as a collection of lots of different sensory items you already own, there’s no need to buy anything new (unless you want to!). Put a range of them in!

Favourite Books: Put a couple of your all-time favourite books, magazines, activity books, notebooks, anything you can read or do in the box.

Safe Snacks: Pop in any go-to snacks you love (that won’t go out of date too soon). I love anything crunchy like crisps or that are the right sort of chewy like skittles, fruit pastilles or mints. Honestly so handy when you need some sensory input and helps as a distraction.

Visual Stims: Anything visual! For example bubble / liquid timers, spinning fidget toys, that sort of thing.

Headphones: Ear defenders, ear plugs, headphones or earphones.

Nice Textures: For example a favourite feeling fabric, I have some sequinned things in mine as I like the visual of sequins and the texture of moving them back and forth

Calms Scents: Essentials oils, candles, etc. Only scents you like and can tolerate. (I don’t have many and that’s also okay if you don’t too!)

Soft items: Soft toys, squishies, soft blankets, fabric off-cuts, that sort of thing!

Also: I very much appreciate that not everything will fit into a sensory box…but I have a solution: a Sensory Corner! There’s a video on YouTube channel (see below) all about my version of this if you are interested, it’s essentially a dedicated corner that you can set up in any room and really tailor to your own sensory needs and include bigger things like a nice comfy rug, interesting lighting that sort of thing!

Currently Reading 📚

I am currently reading ‘Ways to be Me’ by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott. This is the third book in the series and I have really enjoyed the whole series (and don’t want it to end!)

You might notice as well that this book has a plastic cover over it…I’ve joined my local library! This is the first book I have borrowed through it and I have never been so excited to receive a lil’ membership card and be able borrow books, ebooks and listen to audiobooks too!

I’ve said in a previous Instagram post (about the 1st book) how I feel so much for the main character Tally. A lot is flooding back to me about the hell that was my school years as someone who didn’t know they were autistic and masked her way through. 

Check out my book highlight over on my Instagram for some more fab autism related book recommendations 🙂