#HollysMustHaves: Winter Edit


Photography by Sophie Lobban

Winter seems to add an extra element of complexity to looking good. On the one hand, you can play with layers, textures and contrasting colours. Yet on the other, you have to dress warm enough to walk from one place to another but not so warm that you find yourself completely undressing every time you walk into a heated room. But you can be both stylish and comfortable during the winter. That doesn't mean going bare-legged or refusing to bundle up — It just takes a little creativity.

Your clothing and outfit choices can affect your personality, mood, and emotions. In winter it can become our natural instinct go grab the darkest pieces in our wardrobe, in an attempt to absorb heat and keep warm. However, subconsciously over time, it can become quite a depressive colour to wear, and I think as the colder months already can be more difficult on peoples moods due to the dark nights I think we all need to inject a little colour into our winter wardrobe! I love wearing colourful clothing because it either lifts the mood or expresses a mood that I am feeling that day.

Marks and Spencer create some amazing trend-led pieces and their latest collection with Holly Willoughby is no exception. Her winter launch reflects her signature style, comprising of 14 versatile pieces; jam-packed with colour, that if you were to add to your wardrobe would be guaranteed to last the whole holiday season and beyond. With prices starting from just £17.50, if anything that has caught your eye I'd recommend acting fast.

As I've always been a huge fan of a jumper and skirt combo I was immediately drawn to this pairing and had to have it. I decided to pair it with a leopard print faux jacket to add another layer to the look, playing with contrasting prints and textures. Which is your favourite item from the collection? Let me know in the comments.


This post is in collaboration with Marks and Spencer - all words are my own.

Let's bake: Toffee Apple Cake


Autumn is finally here. The nights are becoming darker, leaves are turning crisp and the air is slightly colder. So, as the nights draw in lets retreat to the warmth of the kitchen and bake treats with all the flavours of the season.

This Toffee Apple Cake is perfect for any part over the Autumn season; whether you're hosting a frightful feast for Halloween or a banging showstopper on Bonfire Night. This show-stopping bake is a marriage of flavours of classic apple desserts with spiced sponge, vanilla icing and a sticky caramel icing. If you bake only thing this autumn, let it be this cake.


For the cake:

- 400g bramley apples peeled and roughly chopped
- 250g light muscovado sugar 
- 225g softened salted butter
- 375g self-raising flour 
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 3 medium eggs, beaten

For the buttercream:

- 70g softened salted butter
- 250g sifted icing sugar

For the toffee icing and decoration:

- 3 small apples
- 50g salted butter
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 3/4 tbsp milk
- 100g sifted icing sugar
- 5 bay leaves to decorate

What To Do

1. To begin with grease and line 3 x 18cm round sponge tins and pre heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C if you're using a fan-assisted oven.

2. Place your chopped apples (no additional water needed) into a microwaveable dish and heat up for five to six minutes or until the apples are well-cooked and softened.

3. Mash the apples to a coarse puree and set aside to cool slightly.

4. Sieve the self-raising flour into a large mixing bowl and add all of the remaining cake ingredients together. For the apple puree, it doesn’t matter if it is slightly warm, but should not be hot or the baking powder will work before the cake mixture is in the tin.

5. Beat the mixture together until it is just starting to come together and then divide the batter between the three tins ensuring they are levelled out before placing in the oven. Bake the cakes between 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, risen and just firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out to cool on a wire rack.

6. Once the cakes are completely cool, make your buttercream ensuring the consistency is creamy and thick enough to spread. Sometimes it may be beneficial to place your buttercream in the fridge to completely cool if your kitchen is quite warm.

7. Weigh your buttercream mixture and divide by two, using a palette knife to spread the mixture into each layer of bottom two layers of cake.

8. For the toffee apples, put the apples in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Swirl around to remove any wax, then drain. Once they are completely dry, insert lolly sticks into the stalk end and set the apples on a sheet of baking paper.

9. Weigh and sift the icing sugar, and get the cake out of the fridge. It’s important to get the apples and icing sugar ready now, as you need to work quickly with the toffee icing.

10. Put the butter into a small saucepan with the muscovado sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Heat gently until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved, then bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes (it’s best to use a timer) or until it reaches about 113-116°C on a thermo-pen or sugar thermometer (although it’s not essential to be completely accurate).

11. Remove from the heat and quickly dip the apples into the toffee, rolling them around in the toffee to coat. Place on baking paper to set. Immediately add the sifted icing sugar plus 1 tablespoon milk to the pan, whisk until smooth (you may need to add another 1 tablespoon milk), then immediately pour the icing over the chilled cake, spreading it to the edge to allow it to drip over the sides. Allow to set.

12. Make a small hole with a skewer near each apple stalk and poke in a bay leaf. Place the apples on top of the cake to serve and once cooled grab a knife, cut into your servings and tuck in! 

Recommended servings | 12-14

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