21andsensory on Patreon

I now have a Patreon page…So why have I set this up?

  • I’d love to have some support to create more content including illustrations, podcasts, videos and written work. It’s always just been me juggling all these formats and although I do sometimes get commissioned to do work I’d love to have support to grow each format even more.
  • I thought it could be an interesting way to get to know more people and upload sneak peeks, behind the scenes content, polls and Q&A’S and exclusive Patreon-only podcast episodes!

How much is it?

I am sticking with one standard tier of £3 a month

21andsensory Supporter

You’ll be an official 21andsensory Supporter! (and maybe I’ll run a poll and you can help me suggest much better names haha).

You can always edit or cancel your pledge anytime you want. Your support honestly means so much to me, and I’ll be sure to update Patreon regularly! Also: please don’t worry if you can’t pledge I totally understand and really appreciate any form of support.

See all the benefits below!

What’s included

  • Being a lovely supporter of my work
  • Work-in-progress updates and sneak peeks
  • Photos, videos and written posts
  • Polls and opportunities to ask me questions
  • Lens posts of my artwork and things in progress
  • Exclusive Lens Access
  • Patreon-only Podcast episodes

If you have any questions do feel free to comment down below or DM me!

Alexithymia and World Autism Acceptance Day 🌍

It’s #WorldAutismAcceptanceDay (within #WorldAutismAcceptanceWeek) and I thought why not share some of my own lived experience via the format of illustration and share more info about something that a lot of autistic people can struggle with…


‘What the hell is that?’
‘Erm okay fancy word’

Here’s the definition:
According to @autistica ‘Around a half of autistic people have difficulties understanding and describing their own emotions. This is known as Alexithymia. Alexithymia can make anxiety feel worse for autistic people. In Greek, it loosely translates to “no words for emotion.” It is estimated that 1 in 10 people has alexithymia, but it is much more common in those with depression and in autistic people. 1 in 5 autistic people have alexithymia.’

Interesting, right? 1 in 5 autistic people and 1 in every 10 people potentially struggle with Alexithymia. That’s a lot of people.

My own experience with Alexithymia was that it was something my autism assessor said she thought I struggled with, but I’d never even heard of it (even at the age of 25 when I was assessed). I definitely find it super difficult to explain my feelings to others because I genuinely cannot recognise or process my own emotions, but I didn’t know it had a name and meaning behind it. It’s hard to not be able to communicate your feelings and something else I read on Autistica’s website was: ‘They may also struggle to show or feel emotions that are seen as socially appropriate, such as happiness on a joyous occasion.’ THIS. I feel sad and very upset at the happiest things, I find happy occasions and news so incredibly difficult to deal with emotionally (and in many other ways) and it’s hard because visually people can tell you aren’t really responding appropriately.

Here’s a few personal examples of how I struggle with Alexithymia and being Autistic (I could give many but I won’t bore you!):

  • I feel incredibly sad at weddings. No idea why. People seem to think it’s the happiest day of your life but I have always reacted weirdly (and attending weddings is hard as an autistic person anyway!)
  • I cry at happy endings: in TV, Films, etc. I just cannot handle them. I will literally avoid watching the last season of something so I just literally stop the story and tell myself that was where it ended so I don’t have to deal with the emotion. I avoid watching films a lot.
  • I feel sad on holiday. I struggle when I am not in my home environment and I just can’t process being in a new place, not eating or being able to find my normal foods, and don’t get me STARTED on sleeping in an unfamiliar bed.
  • Not reacting appropriately to good news such as job offers, acceptance letters, etc. I just don’t ever feel that sense of achievement or happiness.
  • Not reacting appropriately to bad news such as accidents, emergencies, etc. I am oddly calm / unemotional in these moments because I don’t have the ability to process things until days or weeks later.

I hope maybe this has given you more of an insight into what Alexithymia is and the everyday struggles of autistic people and people with mental health conditions.

Read more about Alexithymia on Autistica’s website here

Sensory-Friendly Shopping (IKEA Edition) 🛍

Black sign on ikea shop floor saying:

Sensory-friendly shopping
Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th March,
10am - 12pm
In our continued efforts to curate an inclusive shopping experience for all, we shall be making changes to our normal operating practices.
Only essential in-store announcements will be made.
Where possible, lights will be dimmed or switched off.
Assisted shopping where required and dedicated check-out support.
IKEA yellow and blue logo

I saw this ‘Sensory-Friendly Shopping’ initiative from IKEA when I was out briefly the other day. Now this is great – it’s a step in the right direction and it means a lot to me to see these sorts of signs. However: I initially was excited because I thought it might be two whole days: when it’s actually 10am-12pm on two weekdays. I think IKEA can do better.

Why not a weekend day? And how about a sensory map to guide you through the store? (I find IKEA’s way finding systems and signs overwhelming despite the fact they guide you through overhead signs and arrows on the floor).

I think so many different people can benefit from a sensory friendly shopping experience and I want to talk about and see more discussions around it!

Also…I wouldn’t have known this was happening if I hadn’t been walking past or in the store as it’s not mentioned on their socials

Image alt text:

Black sign on ikea shop floor saying: Sensory-friendly shopping Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th March, 10am – 12pm In our continued efforts to curate an inclusive shopping experience for all, we shall be making changes to our normal operating practices.

  • Only essential in-store announcements will be made.
  • Where possible, lights will be dimmed or switched off.
  • Assisted shopping where required and dedicated check-out support.

IKEA yellow and blue logo

Eyesight changes and the struggle of new glasses 👓

I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss Eyesight changes and the struggle of new glasses 👓 

Click through the slideshow above or read the written description below…

In my Sensory Series I share text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations on my Instagram and here on my blog) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory related. 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! Feel free to comment down below how you cope with all things new or glasses related 👀 

Alt text:

Slide 1:

Black and white icon of  a calendar with a black glasses icon with text underneath:

Eyesight changes and the struggle of new glasses

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.

Slide 2:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: 

You might know how much I hate change and new things. I know ‘hate’ is a strong word but it’s the best word I can think of to describe the utter upset and hatred I (and many other autistic people) have for all things new or newly changed.

Recently my glasses prescription changed and I had to get new glasses. I really put off picking them up. I hate how bubbly they always make your vision feel as you get used to them – it actually makes me upset.

Slide 3:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:

I’ve always been funny about glasses (no surprise there) and I’d love to stick with the exact same brand and style but they change so quickly and you can’t always replace the lenses in ones you already have.

I am also overly protective of my glasses and have to put them back in their designated case every night without fail and can’t leave them lying around. Also: No matter how nicely you ask…you can’t try my glasses on. EVER. I absolutely cannot handle it.

Slide 4:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:

Eye tests in general (at least in the UK) can set off sensory overload and require a large amount of processing instructions quickly. It can be scary but it’s more than okay to ask up front or during an eye test for instructions to be said slower. It’s also okay to ask them to move between lenses in front of your eye more slowly.

An example I have is that I can’t  process my left and right quickly when I am told to look in those directions so I take my time to think.

Slide 5: 

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:

Random very sensory thing: does anyone else jump when they do the weird puff of air in your eye…I hate it so much!

Do feel free to comment down below if you also have difficulties with change, newness and/or glasses in general and maybe we could share our struggles and any tips too.

I’d also love to know any other topics you’d like me to cover in these Sensory Series info posts!

Slide 6:

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 or Redbubble here

Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath – @21andsensory across social media.

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?


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!



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!

New grant funding! — Sensory Street

We are excited to announce that we have been successfully awarded a new grant – the Research England Participatory Research Fund through the University of Reading. This funding will be used to develop an evidence-based, co-produced guide to make supermarkets more accessible for autistic shoppers. The guide will be expertly designed by our team member […]

New grant funding! — Sensory Street

‘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.


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.