I have never been to the hairdressers before…💇‍♀️

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss why I have never been to the hairdressers before…

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 how you cope with change and any tips you have!

Descriptions of each slide:

Slide 1:

Black and white icon of a woman with long hair and a cross in front of her with text underneath:

I have never been to the hairdressers before…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:I have never been able to go to a hairdressers. My mum (very kindly) cuts my hair for me at home…in a straight line across my back. Here are the many reasons why…I cannot deal with the idea of someone I don’t know touching my head. I think it doesn’t help that I don’t even like touching my own head or the feel of washing my own hair and it took me years to desensitise and be able to brush my hair myself!


Slide 3:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it:I am only able to use a specific brand of shampoo and conditioner as I cannot deal sensory-wise with any other scents or products in my hair. I am very sensitive to any scents especially to do with my clothes, hair and environment.

The potential of small talk whilst someone is cutting my hair is a huge fear (it would be a nightmare) and also having to explain why the idea of a head massage makes me feel physically ill would be awkward.

Slide 4:

Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I also have never been able to handle people going near my neck…even I struggle to wash near it or wear certain clothes because of it!

I’m not I could deal with a salon environment or even someone coming into my own home to cut my hair it would be too overwhelming. I am truly awful with change. I cry most times after my mum cuts my hair, even if it’s only after a little bit has come off, it always feels so different.


Slide 5:

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

I’d love to know if anybody else is part of the ‘Never had a proper haircut’ club…(I‘m sensing a pin badge design coming on haha) If so comment down below! I’d also love to hear from those who are able to go to the hairdressers as any tips and tricks are always great.

I’m off to ask my mum to cut my hair again as it’s become to long to manage…*prays I don’t cry*


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 (link in bio). Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath.

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ Podcast…🎙

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ podcast!

The podcast takes psychological research and translates it for classroom teachers so they can effectively apply it to their teaching practice to help improve outcomes for their students. Interviews with leading psychologists and other experts in the field of education, as well as deep dives into educational theory and a little bit of neuromyth busting. 

Lucinda is the host and has a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology, an MA in Special and Inclusive education, is a qualified teacher and taught psychology from 2002-2017.  Her passions lie in psychology and education and luckily the two are inextricably linked. She now produces a podcast ‘Psychology in the classroom’ and writes a weekly blog summarising psychological research on learning and education.

Here is the episode description:

Interview with Dr Cathy Manning from Oxford University and Emily from @21andsensory.

This week’s podcast covers Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is a very varied disorder which affects how people process sensory information and as a consequence how they respond to the environment.  Though often linked with Autism SPD doesn’t always go hand in hand with ASD. SPD can be triggered via all senses such as vision, noise, touch and smell and considering your classroom environment can really help to support young people who struggle with SPD.

You can find out about Dr Cathy Manning’s research here.

You can find out more about Emily and her work here or follow her on social media @21andsensory or listen to her podcast here.

The link to Mary Hanley’s research on displays is here.

You can also listen on iTunesSpotify & Amazon Podcasts

Autistic creatives to support and my thoughts on Autism Awareness Week…🌏

The super lovely Lydia has written an article which she posted today on her website mademoisellewomen.com all about Autistic Creatives To Support This Autism Awareness Week.


Credit Emily @21andsensory

Hi everyone. Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Within World Autism Awareness Week. Within World Autism Awareness Month. (Phew that’s a lot to get your heads around!)

I’ve felt very split about doing a post centred solely around Autism Awareness Week as I am very aware of the online discussions centred around it and many people mentioning that it should be centred around acceptance and understanding rather than just ‘awareness’ of autism.

It’s a tricky one.

I love how Victoria from @actuallyasplings worded her most recent post, she honestly sums up how I feel too so I’ve pasted what her post said below:

‘This week is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Week, the one week where everyone hypes up the awareness. I’ll be honest though; we do need more awareness, but without acceptance what’s the point? I also think awareness should be all year round, not just April; and I think we should be accepted full stop. 

I’ve seen so many puzzle pieces, and so much about AS, and honestly, this is not what we want or need. What we need is appreciation, inclusivity, and support. There are so many wonderful accounts striving for change, using their activism/advocacy to break stereotypes and this is what we need. People need to listen to Autistic voices, rather than try to silence our views. We are here to educate and inform, we have the lived experience and we want people to feel like they can ask questions and learn from us.

By all means, celebrate April how you wish, but please take Autistic people into consideration. Share our accounts, our posts, and more importantly listen to what we are saying’

Victoria Ellen @actuallyaspling

Victoria did such a great job of describing how I was and still am feeling about World Autism Awareness week. Yes awareness is great but we want and deserve more as Autistic people. We really do deserve acceptance, understanding and respect.


Also just wanted to say that my latest 21andsensory Podcast episode has gone live and you can listen down below! I am uploading them every two weeks at the moment.

In this episode I speak to Glenn who is the manager of Waltham Abbey Focus which is a disability and SEN football team at the top of their game! Glenn chats about all things football-related and we discuss a documentary that’s being made about the team with the intention of raising awareness of disability football, and promoting it as an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

21andsensory Gift Guide! 🌲

A 3-part Christmas Gift Guide courtesy of me @21andsensory!

  • Memory / Photobook: Try websites such as Vista Print, Cheerz, Free Prints, SnapFish, Photobox, Papier, maybe do a 2019 memory book?
  • Tangle: Just such a great fidget, it’s so easy and simple!
  • Chewigem Hexichew: Great idea for more moderate-heavier chewers
  • Fluffy Socks: Who doesn’t love a pair of super cosy socks?!
  • Ear Defenders: Worth looking at the Kidz online store and their store on Amazon (they do adult ear defenders too – don’t let the name put you off!)
  • Stationary: Try pound/dollar stores, WHSmith, Target, Kikki K, Ryman, PaperChase, The Works, Flying Tiger, etc
  • Fidget cube: This is the official fidget cube from Antsy labs but there’s lots of versions all over Amazon and in toy stores
  • Plushies / Squishmallows: Worth shopping around on Amazon or looking in toy stores like The Entertainer
  • Bubble pop keyring: Again available in toy stores too
  • Activity books: HobbyCraft and The Works are great for activity books in the UK. Also again worth shopping around online and looking on Amazon
  • Scented candles: Yankee Candles can be quite overpowering sometimes so I recommend trying out candles before buying them or gifting a voucher for a candle store! Also supermarkets and places like TK/TJ Maxx do great more affordable scented candles that usually aren’t as strong.
  • Reuseable ear plugs: Worth shopping around for online or even getting fitted for you own pair
  • Marble Fidget: Can also be found in pound/dollar stores too
  • Weighted jacket: Honestly cannot recommend the Sensory Direct weighted jacket highly enough – I bought my own (not sponsored) and honestly love it. Even the hood is weighted!
  • Weighted lap pad: Also worth looking at all the weighted products on the Sensory Direct store.
  • Books on Autism: so SO many great books available online on Amazon and in book stores such as Waterstones.
  • Books by Autistic people: I only had room to mention 3 above but please Google books by Autistic people further – there are such a wide range of fab books out there to read I couldn’t possibly name them all. Also look back through my blog posts to see which books I’ve read and my reviews on them! Listed above is ‘Camouflage the Hidden lives of Autistic Women’, ‘The State of Grace’ and ‘How to be Autistic’.
  • Retro games / game consoles: Have a look online at CEX, Amazon, Game, HMV, etc
  • Music subscription: Worth looking into a Spotify or Apple Music subscription as a gift/voucher
  • Vinyl / CD’s: Your best bet is to look online, in local vintage vinyl stores or on sites like Ebay for some good finds
  • Lava lamp: Double check you buy one that comes with the bulb as they can be quite specific and hard to find!
  • Liquid timer: Also available online in sensory stores!
  • Chewigem Eternity necklace: A stylish yet chewable necklace
  • Soft toys: again worth looking on Amazon and shopping around different toy stores

  • Happiness book and so many happiness journal books are available these days. I would recommend looking online at Amazon reviews and in larger book stores too
  • Mindfulness book and again mindfulness journals can be found everywhere these days. I’ve found lots of stationary stores have ranges of them too
  • Sunglasses: Vouchers for/towards sunglasses or tinted glasses can be super helpful!
  • Sweets / Candy: There are cute subscription boxes that will deliver sweets/candy to your door monthly, or just buy some old fashioned sweets from a local store or pick ‘n’ mix!
  • Noise Cancelling headphones: Worth researching into both Sony and Bose noise cancelling headphones. They both seem to be leading the way in terms of NC / ambient sound reduction. Also some great (much more affordable) NC headphones are available on Amazon at different price points – great whatever your budget! Might be worth getting a voucher towards headphones as that allows the person to go into a store and try before they buy.
  • Chewigem Chubes: Great for tying to the ends of hoodie drawstrings if you are a nervous biter like I am and end up ruining the strings on all your jumpers
  • Peapod keyring: The cutest and most satisfying fidget!
  • Chewigem Twister Bangles: So funky and subtle at the same time.
  • Arts and Crafts supplies: Again pound/dollar stores are great for Arts and Crafts bits and pieces. Also have a look at stores such as HobbyCraft,
  • Puzzles: SO many great puzzles online at Amazon, The Works, Argos, The Entertainer, the list goes on…
  • Fairy lights: Battery and mains fairy lights can be bought cheaply from pound/dollar stores, Primark, larger chain supermarkets, etc

PHEW. Hope you found this gift guide helpful, I tried to link as many gifts as physically possible!

21andsensory Christmas Gift Guide!🎄

A 3-part Christmas Gift Guide courtesy of me @21andsensory!

  • Memory / Photobook: Try websites such as Vista Print, Cheerz, Free Prints, SnapFish, Photobox, Papier,
  • Tangle: Just such a great fidget, it’s so easy and simple!
  • Chewigem Hexichew: Great idea for more moderate-heavier chewers
  • Fluffy Socks: Who doesn’t love a pair of super cosy socks?!
  • Ear Defenders: Worth looking at the Kidz online store and their store on Amazon (they do adult ear defenders too – don’t let the name put you off!)
  • Stationary: Try pound/dollar stores, WHSmith, Target, Kikki K, Ryman, PaperChase, The Works, Flying Tiger, etc
  • Fidget cube: This is the official fidget cube from Antsy labs but there’s lots of versions all over Amazon and in toy stores
  • Plushies: Worth shopping around on Amazon or looking in toy stores like The Entertainer
  • Bubble pop keyring: Again available in toy stores too
  • Activity books: HobbyCraft and The Works are great for activity books in the UK. Also again worth shopping around online and looking on Amazon

  • Scented candles: Yankee Candles can be quite overpowering sometimes so I recommend trying out candles before buying them or gifting a voucher for a candle store! Also supermarkets and places like TK/TJ Maxx do great more affordable scented candles that usually aren’t as strong.
  • Reuseable ear plugs: Worth shopping around for online or even getting fitted for you own pair
  • Marble Fidget: Can also be found in pound/dollar stores too
  • Weighted jacket: Honestly cannot recommend the Sensory Direct weighted jacket highly enough – I bought my own (not sponsored) and honestly love it. Even the hood is weighted!
  • Weighted lap pad: Also worth looking at all the weighted products on the Sensory Direct store.
  • Books on Autism: so SO many great books available online on Amazon and in book stores such as Waterstones.
  • Books by Autistic people: I only had room to mention 3 above but please Google books by Autistic people further – there are such a wide range of fab books out there to read I couldn’t possibly name them all. Also look back through my blog posts to see which books I’ve read and my reviews on them!
  • Retro games / game consoles: Have a look online at CEX, Amazon, Game, HMV, etc
  • Music subscription: Worth looking into a Spotify or Apple Music subscription as a gift/voucher
  • Vinyl / CD’s: Your best bet is to look online, in local vintage vinyl stores or on sites like Ebay for some good finds
  • Lava lamp: Double check you buy one that comes with the bulb as they can be quite specific and hard to find!
  • Liquid timer: Also available online in sensory stores!
  • Chewigem Eternity necklace: A stylish yet chewable necklace
  • Soft toys: again worth looking on Amazon and shopping around different toy stores
  • Happiness book and so many happiness journal books are available these days. I would recommend looking online at Amazon reviews and in larger book stores too
  • Mindfulness book and again mindfulness journals can be found everywhere these days. I’ve found lots of stationary stores have ranges of them too
  • Sunglasses: Vouchers for/towards sunglasses or tinted glasses can be super helpful!
  • Sweets / Candy: There are cute subscription boxes that will deliver sweets/candy to your door monthly, or just buy some old fashioned sweets from a local store or pick ‘n’ mix!
  • Noise Cancelling headphones: Worth researching into both Sony and Bose noise cancelling headphones. They both seem to be leading the way in terms of NC / ambient sound reduction. Also some great (much more affordable) NC headphones are available on Amazon at different price points – great whatever your budget! Might be worth getting a voucher towards headphones as that allows the person to go into a store and try before they buy.
  • Chewigem Chubes: Great for tying to the ends of hoodie drawstrings if you are a nervous biter like I am and end up ruining the strings on all your jumpers
  • Peapod keyring: The cutest and most satisfying fidget!
  • Chewigem Twister Bangles: So funky and subtle at the same time.
  • Arts and Crafts supplies: Again pound/dollar stores are great for Arts and Crafts bits and pieces. Also have a look at stores such as HobbyCraft,
  • Puzzles: SO many great puzzles online at Amazon, The Works, Argos, The Entertainer, the list goes on…
  • Fairy lights: Battery and mains fairy lights can be bought cheaply from pound/dollar stores, Primark, larger chain supermarkets, etc

PHEW. Hope you found this gift guide helpful, I tried to link as many gifts as physically possible!

An important pie chart 🥧

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Hi everyone! Hope you like my important pie chart drawing ✏️ does anyone else have a range of clothes but also just stick to your favourite, old, most worn and comfy clothes? I find it SO hard to wear new clothes and new shoes 👟 (it has taken me actual years to get into new shoes!). It’s so difficult sensory-wise to get used to new clothing 👕 and it always ends up that my clothes have to be washed multiple times before I feel comfortable wearing them…

Do not get me started on itchy / scratchy tags and labels, ugh! They are the worst 😭 how do you cope with clothing and footwear? Any top tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below. Please feel free to share my post on social media platforms but do please credit me @21andsensory thanks!

Mental health = Confusing 🤦🏻‍♀️

Hello everyone – hope you’ve all had a good weekend. As well as sharing my drawings I’d like to share my thoughts and ideas on my Instagram as well 💭 mental health (to me at least) = confusing. My mental health is confusing to me because my issues and feelings can randomly intensify and l also struggle with episodes of depression which can be really debilitating 🧠

Obviously everyone’s mental health is very different but I do think it’s important to be supportive to each other both online and in the real world. I also think it’s great that self care is becoming more of a ‘thing’ now and it really is important in order to keep functioning in life.

I find that my mental health mixed with my sensory issues is always tough to deal with but I try to make time for self-care and enjoying the little things in life (e.g like running a bath, reading a good book, drawing,etc).

Yes, I have my own mental health problems. But I am always here to chat if you feel like you need someone to talk to or just a bit of support. (Please feel free to share my drawings just credit @21andsensory)

Say no to clothing labels! 🚫

Ah clothes… 👕 They’ve always been a problem for me (and I’m sure many of you out there too). The struggle to find clothes without super annoying tags/labels and be made of a non-itchy / bearable fabric is SUCH A PAIN.

I understand why tags and labels are inside clothes to give us size/washing/manufacturer information but what I don’t understand is why they aren’t easily removable. I either suffer with a tag in a t-shirt or the back of my jeans or I cut them out and suffer with the STILL scratchy bits of tag left behind. I think we’ve all accidentally made holes in t-shirt trying to remove annoying tags.

I have some good go-to brands when it comes to label-free clothing, recently I found clothes in Uniqlo such as t-shirts and jeans without a tag at the back. Yes it’s a miracle and yes I got excited. Does anyone else know of any reasonably priced clothing brands that come without tags? Please share in the comments below – I’ll be eternally grateful!

My mum was telling me about M&S (UK) who have an adaptive clothing range for children (up to age 16) with disabilities which is fab and has been expanded since launch. There are around 1.5 million children in the UK who have a sensory or physical disability and so it really is a great step in the right direction (teens and adults next? I hope!).

It’s hard to explain but if you are a sensory-being like me a simple tag can really overwhelm you. Imagine having something that irritates you and affects your mood throughout the day – it’s such a small thing but I have had tags cause me huge meltdowns because I just cannot function with it touching and hurting me.

This overwhelm also applies to uncomfy clothes, aka special occasion clothes. I do not feel naturally comfortable in a dress/skirt/tights/fancy top/etc but I am able to wear these when I have to and the occasion is fancy (ugh)…I will however immediately put on a jumper and jeans on arrival home 😀

Another little drawing by me – feel free to share but please credit @21andsensory – thanks!

200 Blog Posts!

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 20.28.29.png

My last post discussing being sensational was my 200th post on my blog! I also now have over 260 subscribed followers of my blog so I thought I would take the opportunity to thank everyone for following – it means a lot that people actually read what I say and I absolutely love reading the emails and comments I get.

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter and Instagram: @21andsensory