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.

Why it can be very difficult to manage change ⁉️

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss how difficult it can be as an Autistic person to manage change.


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.

Slide 1: Why it can be very difficult to manage change


Slide 2:

Changes can be big or small. Yet they still feel totally overwhelming and life-altering…even if they aren’t really.Something as small as not being able to find your normal shampoo or your favourite brand of cereal at the supermarket can honestly feel like  the end of the world in that moment. 

So imagine how big things like social occasions let alone life events can be to an Autistic person. They can be utterly huge and hard to process.


Slide 3:

It’s very difficult to describe how scary change can be as an Autistic person with sensory issues. I strive for normal, sameness and routine and when this is messed with I can’t cope.

The thing is…I might look like I am coping well with change. But I (and many autistic people) have mastered the art of ‘masking’ where we are very effectively able to keep up an ‘act’ or ‘front’ of managing when inside we are extremely distressed and overwhelmed. It’s so draining.


Slide 4:

This is something that can come flooding out once we reach our own safe environment like home. This might look like a shutdown or meltdown which can be worrying for surrounding family, friends, etc.

Sometimes we just need the space and time to decompress and process what has or is going on. And that is okay. It sucks in the moment when you can’t manage what is going on but I’ve learnt…the feelings do pass and life does carry on.

Slide 5:

If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page. Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast – there’s a new episode every two weeks

Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!

Autistic and trying my best.

Hello. I am Autistic and trying my best.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this statement a lot. I am trying my best each day to muddle on through life in general. I feel like a lot of my life has involved ‘muddling on through’ things that seem to come naturally to other people. 

But: I always try my best. I am super dedicated and hyper focused when it comes to producing the best output I can. However…trying my best takes a hell of a lot of effort as an autistic person. It’s keeping up a constant ‘mask’ or ‘act’ in most social situations. It’s suffering from sensory overwhelm and autistic burnout on the regular. But you’d never know it from looking at me. And you’d never know it when looking at others. I think we all just need to be aware that everyone in life is muddling through things and nobody really has it figured out.

That was a ramble but the short of it is: I’m going to keep muddling through. And so should you.

(Also sorry if muddling is a British sort of word to use but it resonates with me! It means to think or act in a confused or aimless way).

Examples of some everyday sensory struggles | Sensory Series 🖐

Hi everyone – I’m going to start a little text-based 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.

If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my 21andsensory Kofi Page

A catch-up with me (my latest podcast episode) 🎙

So on today’s episode it’s just me! I thought I’d do a catch-up episode, I will be chatting about:

  • Feedback on my last episode with my sister
  • What I’ve been up to recently, freelance work, projects and life updates
  • Being asked to illustrate a real-life actual book?!
  • Why my dog has been driving me crazy
  • Medication struggles
  • The anxiety and sensory issues surrounding getting back out into the world after lockdown
  • …and I generally just ramble!

Things I mentioned on the podcast:

Sensory Street info:

The Autism Friendly Cookbook info:

Spotlight on FASD podcast (episode I was on): https://youtu.be/TcQNRbq7FdM

An illustration on Dissociation and Depersonalisation…🧠

Hi everyone – hope you are all doing okay. Back in February I wrote a blog post on my own struggles with Dissociation and Depersonalisation, I find it really helps to write down things I’m going through (so if you fancy reading that here is a link). I thought I’d do a drawing as I know so many people deal with this daily and i think it’s important to educate others on what it’s like to live with.

My struggles started towards the end of 2020 when I had a one weird moment of disassociation. Then it started it happen more, I’d have sudden moments where I’d disassociate briefly for a few seconds. So to describe the exact feeling I experienced I would look at my arms in front of me and not feel connected to them whatsoever. I was initially quite freaked out by the randomness of these moments but they then became more frequent and started to not seem so new.

It kept happening when I was brushing my teeth. It was like looking at my limbs and I just wasn’t in control of them at all yet they were still functioning and doing normal actions which was really weird. I almost wanted to keep slapping my forehead to feel more ‘present’ almost like I’d zoned out briefly. I think this relates closely to ‘Depersonalisation’ where a person experience a sense of disconnect from their body or a feeling of watching themselves.

It felt like I was sat inside my brain like a visitor but I was looking at myself doing all these things but not really being there, I wasn’t right there in the moment experiencing things. I just don’t feel like I’m in the present and really experiencing things which is quite unsettling and it’s so hard to actually sum up what I am experiencing because I can’t liken the experience to anything else. It’s honestly the weirdest thing and doesn’t sound believable when I try and put it into words. I know that I am in control of my body and it’s mine but in those moments it really really doesn’t feel like my limbs belong to me in the slightest

I know that dissociating is something that can happen as a way of your body coping with stress, trauma, etc by putting itself into this protective state. Mind (a mental health charity in the UK) has a really informative page on dissociative disorders here which I recommend browsing if you are looking for more info on the topic: More info on Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders from Mind UK

When I experience these feelings of dissociating I try to do some grounding exercises to put me back into the present, here’s an example:

👁 Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you 
✋ Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you 
👂 Acknowledge THREE things you hear
👃Acknowledge TWO things you can smell
👅 Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste 

I’m always happy to chat further in the comments and my social media DM’s, and feel free to share any tips you have in the comments below.

The 10 Best Podcasts by Autistic Creators to Listen to this Autism Awareness Month!

Check out this awesome article on Discover Pods website that my podcast featured in!

Also just as a side note (on a topic I don’t really mention but it relates to podcasting)…

If you’d like to support my podcast and its production it would mean a lot if you’d like to donate anything via my Kofi link below. I totally appreciate any form of support (when people like, share and comment on my work that’s amazing!) but if you’d like / are able to support me further that would be awesome. I currently do all of my 21andsensory work in addition to my day job, so I illustrate in my spare time and I liaise with guests, record, edit and produce my podcast on my own.

I am also considering starting a Patreon page in order to share exclusive content like videos, behind the scenes photos, written posts and extra podcast episodes so keep an eye out for that potentially!

Anyway…I just want to say thank you for all of your continued support, I super appreciate it.

The nightmare that is….clothes shopping 🛍👀

Hi everyone, here is a new drawing I did explaining what a nightmare clothes shopping can be for autistic and sensory people! (aka meeeeee)

  • *Needs new clothes* – I have trusty go-to t-shirts, jeans, etc that I find comfy and wear until they quite literally are falling apart. I’ve been like this since I was a child, I could never let go of clothing and really would wear things to the bitter end.
  • Tries searching for exact replacements – this requires much searching online for exact replacements (this is a pain because clothing lines change so frequently and I never think to buy multiples in case I don’t like them…and then I do like them after a while and it’s too late!)
  • They arrive and get put away… so I cut every single conceivable tag, label, instruction booklet out of them and neatly fold or hang them up which is super satisfying and I genuinely feel quite happy that I’ve managed to come across clothing I might be able to bear.
  • 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. DAMN IT. They ALWAYS, alwaysssss still feel way too new to wear. Sometimes washing the clothes a few times helps with this feeling but I am an absolute nightmare when it comes to wearing new clothes (so much so that I prefer to shop second hand a lot as then clothes feel more worn in and after a few washes smell okay enough to wear).

Things I have found that help: I get this a lot with shoes. It can take me YEARS to get into new shoes. Again buying them secondhand from places like @depop help but if I do decide to get brand new shoes (a tip my mum came up with) is to take them out of the box and put them in my room so I get used to the look of them and them being part of my life.

It sounds ridiculous I know but it really is an autistic / sensory thing – I am awful with change and new things and I am much kinder to myself now knowing I am autistic and that this is just a part of who I am and how my mind operates.

Do you struggle with clothing? Any top tips you have feel free to share in the comments below!

New 21andsensory Podcast Episode with Special Guest…My Sister! 🎙

My special guest on today’s episode is…my sister! Subscribe here or listen below!

We chat about:

  • My sisters career as primary school teacher and what Masters course she is studying
  • Her heart condition and how she manages it
  • GCSE’s and ALevels and the stresses of exams
  • Special needs and mental health within Schools
  • Understanding the role of School’s SEN departments and the process that it takes to become a Special Needs Coordinator (SENCO)
  • What it was like growing up with me…
  • Questions from my listeners (taken from my Instagram Stories) for my sister
  • And some bloopers to look forward to at the end!

I was a guest on another podcast! 🎙

Hi everyone! I am just popping on to say I was a guest on @spotlightonfasd and the episode went live today! I spoke about my Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. Something I haven’t shared here before is that I have an adopted brother who has a diagnosis of FASD and is Autistic.

FASD stands for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It is a term used to describe the permanent impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol during pregnancy resulting in a spectrum of physical, emotional, behavioural and neurological characteristics. I spoke on the podcast about my experiences growing up with my brother and how he made my parents realise my sensory processing difficulties.

Please go have a listen! Available wherever you get your podcasts and on YouTube above 🎉

More info on the Spotlight on FASD podcast:

The UK’s first podcast dedicated to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). We aim to shine a light on FASD and bring conversations out of the shadows.

We’re getting stuck in and chatting about everything from diagnosis to dentistry, education to executive functioning. Combining the latest research with lived experience, our conversations will be real and raw. We believe there us nothing to be afraid of and with open discussion, those with FASD and their caregivers can thrive. Join us on our journey.

Spotlight on FASD Links: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook