Book Review: ‘Almost Adulting’

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So you may have heard my recent check in via the app Anchor (if you haven’t it’s a podcasting app for mobile – I’m going to be doing more recording of my sensory experiences and advice on it, scroll down my blog for the post I did!) anyway on my latest podcast I mentioned that I was going to be doing a book review soon on my blog and I mentioned how I think it might be helpful for others to read too!

So as you’ve probably seen by the heading (and the shiny image above) the book is called ‘Almost Adulting’ and it’s by a super lovely lady called Arden Rose. She is an Actress, Producer, Comedian, YouTuber and now a published author as well!

So Arden’s book centres around how to survive your future adulthood. This is written in the form of  journal-like-sections relating to different topics such as:

  • Self-Care (think eating well, washing regularly, making time for yourself to unwind and de-stress)
  • Making internet friends
  • Dating and Relationships
  • Clothing and how to dress on a budget
  • How to travel alone
  • Moving out and decorating your new space
  • Going on adventures and making the most of life

Arden documents her own struggle with OCD in the form of trichotillomania. Trich is defined as having a compulsive need to pick out or pull out your hair. At the age of 13 Arden realised that after pulling out all her eyelashes and eyebrows she was struggling with Trich and needed help. It became a habit for her in times of stress and she started as a freshman at high school with carefully drawn eyebrows and a cover-up coat of eyeliner. I won’t mention anymore because the book explains it much better than I ever could but the way she copes and distracts herself with other mechanisms definitely makes this book a worthwhile read.

I really do recommend it especially to teenagers as it does give you a heads up of things to come later on in life but even as a 23-year-old I found it useful (I don’t feel like I’m an adult yet but all the little adult things I find myself doing add up I guess.)

The book involves a real mix of essay-like chapters, great advice in the form of motivational lists and also features a lot of quirky illustrations. Arden writes in a very open and honest way which is enlightening but also put me at ease – it’s hard to do adult things all the time!

After reading this book I felt kind of more content because it occurred to me that adulthood creeps up on us all. And nobody knows what on earth to do in the start. It’s all about practice and challenging yourself to go out into the big wide world (and trying to keep up with all the bills, chores and socialising at the same time!).

Image credit: Carolyn Suzuki (whose awesome illustrations are on the cover!)

My zen garden experience ⛩

Today I visited a Japanese Zen Garden and thought I would document my experience there! It was a very quiet and calming place with lots of bamboo, wildflowers, wooden decking, carved benches and waterfalls.

There was a huge zen garden with tiny pebbles that could be raked into different patterns and a viewing deck to look out from. Large wind chimes kept blowing in the breeze and being shaken gently by visitors as they went past them. There was a smooth lake with huge Koi Carp fishes swimming just beneath the surface (although they seemed to like to hide under the bridge!)

Overall it was a super peaceful and calming experience and I could have quite happily have sat in the garden for a while longer if it hadn’t been raining a lot on and off here!

Where is your nearest calm spot to walk or sit in? Is it your own garden? A public play area, field, garden centre, allotment, beach, etc? Comment below with the place or space that brings you the most calm. Also feel free to comment below any questions you might have for my up and coming Sensory Q&A blog post – thanks!

Filmed using an iPhone 6S and edited using Instagram Stories: 📸​​ @21andsensory

A sensory experience review…

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I was lucky enough to go on a little adventure a few weekends ago to the Isle of Wight (UK). It’s a lovely little island with loads to see and do – so much so I already want to go back and explore more!

Whilst I was there I went to an AWESOME water show called Waltzing Waters which I thought I would do a little review about.

Here is some more information:

“The world’s most elaborate water, light and music production. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before”…a triumph of artistry and engineering. Visitors are overwhelmed by thousands of dazzling patterns of moving water synchronised with music in spectacular fashion.”

Anyways: it was SPECTACULAR. So kind of think of it as awesome music throughout the ages coordinated to a water display. There were hundreds of nozzles spraying ridiculously high-powered jets of water so high and then falling and twirling into phenomenal shapes.

I know these sorts of water shows can be quite popular at resorts in America and especially in places like Dubai in shopping centres and public places. Somehow I had never really come across one before and because this show was based on the Isle of Wight only a handful of people turn up to each set time – which was fab as no crowds and lots of seating to choose from!

I just wanted to do a little write up to almost sort of say as a sensory being how lovely I found the whole show and that I really recommend seeing a show whether you have sensory problems or not 😊

One of my next blog posts will be a Q&A on all things sensory! Feel free to comment below with any questions you might have – tweet me or comment on my Instagram!

Awesome Video Resources ✨

So I thought (seeing as I watch a lot of videos and tutorials on Youtube) it might be quite good to put together a list of helpful videos / YouTube channels to share on my blog…

Megan Rhiannon:  Megan is a 19 year old Autistic girl who makes fab Youtube videos and autism talks on her channel. Be sure to follow her for great tips and advice.

Routines can often leave us feeling bored and uninspired. Sonia is a brilliant YouTuber and artist who explores the importance of Escape as part of the creative process. Cheer up after a bad day or week with some of Sonia’s suggestions!

Lucy Moon is a fab YouTuber who openly discusses her battles with anxiety and mental health. She does a lot of chatty videos as well as vlogs and provides some great advice.

Becky (presenting the videos) is the founder of Sensory Spectacle. Sensory Spectacle share lots of information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and also provide experiential learning environments which can be used in workshops, at events, etc. Becky also is invited to speak at conferences about sensory processing difficulties and the experiential work she is doing.

This video is part of a  ‘Homelife’ series is a short video each week sharing information about why we might see some of these characteristics in people with sensory processing difficulties.

Conan Grey is a young creative and Youtuber. In this video he discusses how to deal with mood swings, anxiety and being able to relax (as well as get on with your day) no matter how you are feeling.

Amelia and Grace Mandeville are two sisters who enjoy making Youtube videos about their daily lives, experiences and even film the odd comedy sketch too! This video discusses how to survive school and some top tips.

Charlotte is a lovely YouTuber and also a fashion promotion student and intern, occasional blogger and veggie enthusiast! This is a great video describing her first year at uni. She discusses a range of topics including loneliness, excessive working and anxiety.

ASMR / Relaxation videos: I can’t not mention them! If you search on Youtube for ASMR videos (and google their definition) they are some of the most relaxing videos out there!

So there you have it – 8 brilliant YouTube channels which I have found super helpful – let me know of anyone I should be following and that I can add to my list!

21andsensory Podcasts!

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So I went and bit the bullet as you can probably tell by the title…and my brand new podcast is live! My podcasts are on a site/app called Anchor – it’s a free podcast and audio platform. Feel free to sign up and create an account and you can download the mobile app and listen on the go (you can also listen without signing up!).

The Anchor app will allow me to record on the go (without a computer) so I can create podcasts anytime anywhere and add new content regularly! I’m hoping to use it as almost a form of an audio diary and share my sensory experiences as and when they happen! Tips and advice will definitely feature so watch this space…

You can search for my username on Anchor which is simply: 21andsensory.

Or listen here: Anchor FM: 21andsensory

Update: You can now also listen and subscribe to my podcasts on the Apple Podcast app here or search for 21andsensory.

Research into Sensory Processing Disorder✨

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I received a super interesting email about a research study into Sensory Processing Disorder from a lovely lady called Stephanie. Stephanie is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at Indiana University Kokom in the USA. Have a little read of the info below and contact her to participate in the study!

Are you a parent or caregiver of a child with diagnosed or suspected sensory processing disorder or “sensory issues”? Do you write about sensory processing disorder on public websites (e.g, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, Mommyish, Babble, Baby Center Blog), your personal blog, or on social media?

If so, I would like to invite you to participate in a research study on talking about sensory processing disorder conducted by Stephanie Medley-Rath, a sociologist at Indiana University Kokomo. You are invited to complete a survey and participate in a private, online focus group on Facebook. This research explores how people make the invisible visible. In particular, I aim to learn how parents, caregivers, and individuals disclose invisible conditions (i.e., sensory processing disorder) in various settings.

I intend to have participants describe how they make their child’s invisible condition visible to their child’s teachers, doctors, parents of friends, neighbors, other family, among others. The purpose of this study is to examine the content (i.e., what) and the process (i.e., how) of narratives about sensory processing disorder.

If you would like to participate, please contact Stephanie Medley-Rath at smedleyr@iuk.edu. I will then send you an email with more details about your participation, an attachment of the informed consent document for your review, and a link to the survey to begin your participation. Thank you!

Stephanie Medley-Rath,  Assistant Professor – Sociology.

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Disclaimer: I have popped this research study up on my blog as I feel like its something interesting and potentially useful to anyone reading up or living with SPD too – I have not been paid or sponsored in any way.

It’s a sea of colour…


Supermarkets. Interesting places. But they are also very busy, bright and colourful environments. This can be very overwhelming for someone with sensory issues….

Take the confectionery/sweet aisle as an example. When I walk down there it really is a sea of colour. So many bright and colourful packets shout at me for my attention. 

This can be really difficult when I just need to find something specific and go. I can’t see properly and I can just hear noise when I look at the packaging like all the brands are yelling their names. 

There is so much sensory input when I am in a place like a supermarket:

  1.  Atmospheric but actually quite annoying background music…
  2. Lots of different smells from different counters (deli, fish, cheese, bakery, the list goes on!) also in the toiletry section too.
  3. Changes in temperature…an odd one I know but there’s a mix of fridges, freezers and when else do you walk through that sort of thing?
  4. Trolleys. I can’t always be trusted with them – I can’t concentrate on navigating narrow or busy aisles!
  5. Shiny, slidey and sometimes unpredictable flooring…
  6. Navigating the shop. Why aren’t there maps…?
  7. People. They are unpredictable and I can never judge what direction they are heading in!

I also can find it quite hard to focus, e.g if  someone is with me and talking to me it requires a lot of energy to keep switched on and to reply.

I realise that I have listed all the difficulties I could come across in a supermarket situation. However I want to make it clear that I (and everyone else in the world) have good days and bad days and these over-sensitivities do not always grate on me.

It’s weird to try and explain the varying degrees of sensory-ness I experience. To seem fine one minute and a bit odd or overwhelmed the next….however I am definitely able to have more good days as an adult ✨

How do you cope when you go out shopping? Any good coping mechanisms or tips? Feel free to share and comment below 😊