Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested: A model stay at the Mannakin Cabin

19 September 2017

Creativity, fresh country air and fun new friends: a model stay at the Mannakin Cabin!

I’ll admit it: as a writer, my fingers are glued to my laptop keys on most days. Given that I also work with the telly on in the background, occasionally pausing to fire off the odd text to a friend, you could saythat my daily life is pretty dominated by tech. Not only that, I live in Southend-on-Sea; a noisy, busily thriving Essex town just under an hour away from London.  

So when I came across the Mannakin Cabin,a charming log cabin for two situated in the middle of fresh Lincolnshire countryside – not to mention the middle of a commercial mannequin yard – I was immediately drawn. Acres of lush greenery with added creative quirks?  Sign me up!

(Being a confirmed ‘crazy cat lady’, it also helped that the cabin’s listing specified ten “very friendly and affectionate cats” on site, from whom any guests should expect the occasional visit…)

So my partner James and I packed up the car and headed off through greencountry  lanes to the quiet, picture-book village of Fulbeck, where we found the cabin after a slow drive through the mannequin yard itself (more about that later).

Roz, Mannakin’s founder and owner of the log cabin, was waiting to greetus with a glass of wine, a tour of the yard, and an all-important introduction to the resident cats, kittens and horses. The sun was setting as we arrived, giving a wondrously soothing feel as we sat out on the wooden decking and chatted away, surrounded by a gently rustling panorama of tree-lined fields.

The tour of Mannakin’s yard was eerily fascinating: clusters of mannequins dotted around, dressed, positioned and organised in all manner of imaginative ways! Roz explained that the yard is very much a creative hub where all kinds of projects are worked on (the log cabin isregularly occupied by film and photography crews), and we very much enjoyed inspecting and commenting on the intriguing displays…loyally accompanied by a few of the cats.

The Mannakin Cabin itself was once situated on a holiday park, and has since been lovingly refurbished to provide clean and cosy, open-plan accommodation for two. We discovered a freshly-dressed bed at one end, asquashy leather sofa and a woodburning stove in the middle, a basic kitchen area stocked with plenty of crockery, and a work desk/dining table perfectly situated by a window that overlooks miles of refreshing farmland.

There was a welcoming feel from the moment James and I stepped inside our new holiday home, and we appreciated the array of thoughtful touchesthroughout, including a little fridge stocked with breakfast essentials, a pile of logs for the woodburning stove, and some up-to-date magazines to browse through.  

(There were plenty of hints as to where we were, too – such as a mannequin hand doubling up as a loo roll holder, a softly twinkling ‘torso’ lamp, and an elegant coathanger holder that wouldn’t have lookedout of place in Audrey Hepburn’s boudoir!)

After a relaxing morning spent enjoying fresh coffee and playing with the kittens – the decking is perfectly positioned to catch the sun rising! – it was time to explore. Being deep into the countryside, thereare no shops within walking distance of the cabin, so we jumped in the car and set off.

National Trust-owned Belton House(think real-life Downton Abbey) was our first destination; a mere twenty-minute drive from the cabin and offering stunning, flower-filled grounds to take a turn through.  

The vast house itself was traditionally opulent – we weren’t surprised to learn that it had been used as a setting for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – and we took a fascinating ‘Below the Stairs’ tour to see how the servants had lived and worked at the turn of the twentieth century.

If you’re reading this and thinking country life isn’t for you all the time while you’re away, rest assured that bustling city delights are just around the corner! We visited Nottingham and Newark during our staytoo, both of which offered city vigour and plenty of pit-stops for coffee and shopping.
Evenings were spent out on the decking (well, we just had to make the most of such a calming space while we had it), accompanied by wine, snacks and a woodburning chimenea, bliss! Oh, and we enjoyed frequent visits from the cats and kittens, too, whom we soon got to know very well…it wasn’t uncommon for some of them to join us for lazy afternoonnaps.

I’ll admit that the idea of no telly and limited WiFi concerned me at first, but by the end of our three-night stay I found myself utterly converted to time spent amongst fresh air and wine-fuelled conversation.So much so that James and I have resolved to find more opportunities todo the same at home!

We were sorry to leave after such a relaxing break, but we returned withsome lovely memories…not to mention an abundance of interesting photos to share! So if you love cats, creativity and countryside, well, need I say more?  Get yourself off to the Mannakin Cabin for a restorative and seriously quirky stay to remember.

Stays at the Mannakin Cabin start from just £35 per night for up to 3 guests.


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