At this time of year, poppies are available to buy in every town square and from every newsagent's counter as we approach Remembrance Sunday. This year, November 11th will mark 99 years since the end of the First World War.
We wear poppies at this time of year to remember the fallen, many of whom are buried in European fields that were planted with blood-red poppies shortly after the Armistice was called.
You're probably familiar with the incredibly poignant poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, which begins with the lines: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses row on row".
Poppies are now synonymous with remembrance, with their seeds collected every year and re-sown into the ground to keep their spirit alive. But did you know that poppy seeds have a lot of practical uses too? They can be used in baking, and they're also great for your skin.
Baking with poppy seeds
Poppy seeds have a slightly nutty taste, with the small grains great at taking on the flavour of other ingredients. One of the most common recipes you'll find them in is lemon and poppy seed cake, but why not experiment with different citrus fruits like lime or grapefruit for something a little different?
The seeds are also often used in bread recipes, adding extra texture to traditional white bloomers and rolls.
Poppy seeds are good for you too, as they're packed with natural minerals, so will help to boost your iron and calcium levels, but make sure you're getting these from other sources too, like spinach, red meat and dairy products.
A natural exfoliator
Some exfoliating products use synthetic beads to clean the skin, but at Heyland & Whittle, we pride ourselves on using natural ingredients in all of our products. The grainy texture of poppy seeds means they are a brilliant organic exfoliator that will be kind to your skin and the environment.
You'll find them in our Gardener's Soap, which is perfect for busy hands to get rid of dirt and rough skin thanks to the poppy seeds, oatmeal (another natural exfoliator) and spices that it contains. This is an incredibly moisturising soap and it also smells amazing, with a warm, spicy fragrance.
Our Oatmeal and Spice Soap also features poppy seeds, meaning it's ideal for banishing dry or flaky skin through its exfoliating properties. This handmade soap is perfect for unclogging blocked pores too, making it a good option if you suffer from oily skin. Its scent is zingy yet spicy, so it's great for waking you up on a cold winter morning!
Although we might primarily see poppies during the autumn, they can have benefits for your skin all year round, so treat it to a good scrub with natural poppy seeds.