Victoria Bell

And here it is, the final bedroom of 2012. Not just a bedroom, a bulging Christmas sack of a bedroom, including recipes for festive biscuits and a bangin’ rhubarb cocktail for you to get your mouth round. Victoria but more widely known as Plum, is the hostess with mostess, she has a Christmas tree that puts the Rockefeller Center to shame and is having six peeps round to her Hackney Manor for dinner on Christmas Day.1IMGP63202IMGP6328

Plum is part of the WI, Vice President of Dalston Darlings and Co-owner of Pinned it! Made it! She is 30, a foodie and all round good egg. And, in addition to this, she is a freelance events, PR and marketing person. You think this sounds like a serious case of slashitis, it is. And this is reflected in the speed of her chat – she speaks at an amazingly fast pace, zigzagging from conversation to thought, back to conversation. On my visit she served me home made christmas biscuits, and a rhubarb cocktail, created with rhubarb syrup made by her dad. She lives here with her boyfriend Mr Ruffles.
WIYB: Your real name is Victoria, how did you get the name Plum?
Plum: You know how you don’t really pick a nickname; they’re usual bestowed upon you? When I was 17 my friend and me did a load of magic mushrooms and she decided then that I would be called Naughty Miss Plum – a suitable name for my alter ego. And then, obviously, Plum stuck. But when I was little I was into Victoria Plum, you know, the books written by Angela Rippon.
WIYB: I had the Victoria Plum bed spread, but I didn’t know Angela Rippon wrote it.
Plum: Me too and I only found out recently that she wrote it.
WIYB: So, what does your bedroom mean to you?
Plum: It’s my sanctuary, calming and restful. The rest of the house is more eclectic; this is the most girlie room. The trunk at the end of the bed is a dressing up box. I love dressing up and I’m drawn to anything sparkly. After a night out, my friends and me will usually end up in here getting all my clothes out.
WIYB: You mentioned eclectic, are you into collecting stuff?
Plum: Yeah, I’m obsessed. Mr Ruffles and me collect stones, postcards and fridge magnets from every place we go. If I read a book I can never throw it away or give it to a charity shop. We have duplicate books that we had before we met, but we could never throw the spare copy away, just wouldn’t be right. And especially as some are gifts that people have written messages in the front of. I often by books as gifts, I always write a message inside for the person. I love books; I could never have a Kindle either. I’ve only just joined a library!
WIYB: What are you reading at the moment?
Plum: The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht.
WIYB: Would you say you’re a bit superstitious about objects?
Plum: Yes, they hold memories and milestone events, places and times. I got this ring [red and blue stone, silver, middle left finger] in Goah. I had already seen it but wanted to wait until New Years Eve until I bought it.
WIYB: Is there a story behind your tattoo?
Plum: I had a nasty accident a few years ago. I was a victim of a hit and run. I lost my teeth and my skin was torn away from the back of my legs. I had to wear dentures for some years and had my skin grafted from my thighs to the backs of my legs. I was reading a book called The Gargoyle at the time. The male character in the book gets badly burnt; he is recovering in hospital and the nurse says, ‘It’s our scars that make us who we are.’ But he disagrees and says, ‘I am more than my scars.’ It really struck a chord with me and immediately knew I wanted it as a tattoo. I thought the back of my neck was the best place for it, as the scars are on the backs of my legs. I am very proud of my tattoo and it was a birthday present from Mr Ruffles.
WIYB: If your bedroom were on fire, what would you save?
Plum: Minu our cat, I’d grab as many of my clothes as I could and my jewels.
WIYB: Thank you so much for your time, the booze, the biscuits and the recipes. What Christmas songs will you be playing at Ruffle Plum Towers on Christmas day?
Plum: Oh a bit of, Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, Last Christmas by Wham and Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt. 
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Cookies recipe – Makes roughly 3614IMGP6277
300g plain flour and a fair bit more for rolling your dough out
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g dark-brown muscavado sugar
100g treacle
1 large egg
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth.
Beat in treacle and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms (its going to be VERY sticky) Place dough on a floured silicon baking sheet or very floured flat non-stick surface; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; put in the fridge until firm, 1 to 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 180c. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured baking parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/8 inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.
3. Take the dough from the fridge and loosen from the paper. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets making sure they’re not too thin or else they’ll burn and taste horrid!
4. Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, roughly 10 to 18 minutes for the entire batch of 36, depending on size. Cool and completely on baking sheets. When cooled you can decorate them by mixing one part icing sugar to two parts water. Add in a teaspoon full of edible glitter and brush with the glaze. Leave to cool and then munch.


Serves 2
50ml freshly squeezed lime juice
Teaspoon squeezy ginger
50 ml Rhubarb Vodka
Soda water
Ice for the glasses and the shaker 
1. Squeeze your lime juice
2. Add your ginger to the lime juice
3. Make sure your glasses are cooled, add ice cubes to the glass or you can chill them in the fridge in advance
4. Add ice to a Boston Shaker glass to cool the shaker, then add your cocktail ingredients which will cool as they’re added
5. Use a cocktail spoon to give it a quick stir to make sure the ginger doesn’t get stuck to the side of the glass
6. Shake until the glass starts to frost – this is how you know your cocktail is cool enough to serve
7. Throw the ice in your glass away and then serve the cocktail through the strainer 
8. Top up with soda water and have your-elf a very Merry (!) Christmas! 

Follow Plum Twitter @PlumTweets /

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