There will be delicious smells wafting from Bree-Arne Manley’s kitchen this Mother’s Day.
The Point Lonsdale National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, wife, and mum of 2, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), said she’s looking forward to baking on Sunday in her new accessible kitchen with her sons Jayden, 9, and Daniel, 6.
Bree, 37, said she’s always loved baking and started helping her mum at age 4. But when she was diagnosed with MS at 19, it became more difficult to do, so she had to give it up.
Now with her new kitchen, funded through her NDIS plan, Bree-Arne is back baking again with her own 2 boys. So grateful for it, she said she’s looking forward to creating the same beautiful baking memories with her sons as her mum had created with her.
“My new kitchen is just brilliant,” Bree-Arne said. “I’ve got my independence back.
“I just love being able to cook again and bake stuff with my boys. It’s so much fun.”
Bree said her accessible kitchen has created lots of firsts for her and husband Lachlan.
“I was so excited. For the first time since Jayden and Daniel were born I was able to make them pancakes for breakfast. I’ve never been able to do that before. Lachlan has always had to do it,” she said smiling.
“I also got to bake their birthday cakes for the first time in their lives too and now I’m looking forward to baking together on Mother’s Day, the best gift of all.”
Designed to Australian Accessible Standards, Bree-Arne’s kitchen will continue to meet her changing physical needs with a range of clever features included.
“It has plenty storage I can easily access – my cupboards pull out so there’s less chance of me dropping things,” she said.
“There’s also room under my kitchen sink so I can fit my walker or wheelchair in to wash up or get myself a glass of water. I can also adjust the bench height just by pressing a button. It lowers and raises to suit my needs.”
Bree-Arne said she’s also got an oven, which opens from the side like a microwave.
“It means I can safely move hot dishes from the oven to my bench, and if I want to pop something heavy in the oven, I can slide out a shelf built in underneath it and pop my dish on it. It just makes life easier,” she said.
“Having the oven installed at waist height as opposed to chest level is great. It means I don’t have to lean over the oven door, and it reduces the chance of me burning myself.”
Loving her cups of tea, Bree-Arne said she got to a point where she couldn’t even make one for herself, she had to rely on others.
“It was pretty demoralising, but now I’ve got this nifty swing kettle. It means I can make one myself. It’s brilliant. It makes pouring a cuppa so much easier for me. It’s got a raised tilting platform and I just touch the handle and it tilts to pour. I don’t even have to lift it. If I want to refill it I can just use a small jug.”
Bree said her new kitchen and her tipper kettle have been “life-changing”.
“I’ve always loved cooking when I was abled,” she said.
“I’ve always been really independent and determined to do things myself. I hate asking for help, but when my MS started to get worse it just became all too hard – the bench height, accessing the sink, not being able to lift dishes in and out of the oven, it was exhausting.
“I also fell over in the kitchen quite a few times. Once I actually hit the oven with my head and broke it, so having it where it is now at the right height is perfect.
“I just found it so hard watching Lachlan have to do everything, but now we can share the load. I can contribute and I got to tell you it’s such a great feeling,” she said.