A Place to Enjoy, Crochet

Crochet – Baby Blanket

I love making blankets and I was thrilled to hear my niece was expecting a new baby. So of course I got out my hook and made her a baby blanket. I found the pattern in a booklet from Simply Crochet Magazine.

Baby Banket

baby blanket in shades of blue and cream
baby blanket in blue

The pattern was worked in squares which were then attached to each other without the need for sewing it all together. It’s a really simple and effective pattern. The original baby blanket pattern was in rainbow colours but I chose to do it all in blue because my niece is having a baby boy.

baby blanket hanging on the washing line
blanket drying a little on the line before blocking

I made the blanket in Stylecraft Special DK in colours, Cream, Royal, Aster, Denim and Cloud Blue.

I also bought my niece some baby books as it’s never too early to read to your child.

What I’m Making now

I recently joined KnitCrate and have received some lovely yarn and patterns. In the first box I had this gorgeous summary orange yarn which came with a pattern for socks. I didn’t want to make the socks so I found a pattern for a summer shawl and I think it’s coming along lovely. I really like the colours.

Shades of orange crochet summer shawl
Summer shawl

In my second box I have my favourite colour yarn, shades of purple. I’m going to make the scarf pattern that comes in the box.

box of purple coloured yarn
my next batch of yarn

It also came with a fabric covered tape measure which will come in handy. Although if I’m honest, I own about 12 tape measures already, I bought a batch from Ebay with the hope of crocheting some cover for them. I did make a Jammy Dodger biscuit cover. I’ll need to check out a few more.

You can see the jumper I made in previous blog post here. And you can find the bunny head baby blanket I crocheted here.

A Place to Eat

This Weeks Meal Plan

Last weeks meal plan went pretty well. Apart from swapping the days around a little, we had everything on the list…and no take outs!

This week I’m writing this on Sunday despite getting the shopping early and starting it on Saturday. And guess what? I’m starting with a take out! So, annoyed. I was really poorly yesterday, practically comatose from lunch time onward. So when it came to dinner time it was suggested that we had take out so I wouldn’t have to cook. I would much have preferred for someone else to do the cooking, but I was too weak to argue.

  • Saturday – Take Out (silent grrr)
  • Sunday – Salmon en croute (ready made from Sainsburys)
  • Monday – Paella
  • Tuesday -Lasagne
  • Wednesday – fish or Chicken and chips
  • Thursday – Fajita pasta bake
  • Friday Slow cooked lamb with pilau rice from Joleisa

Fingers crossed there will be no more take outs this week. Shopping this week came to £160. Take out cost me £36. Puts it into perspective doesn’t it?

Katykicker

A Place to Eat

This Weeks Meal Plan

Last week didn’t go to plan. We had the Pizza and the hot dog sausage rolls, we also managed a past dish, but it was not on the days I suggested…and…slapped wrists for me..we had two take outs.

To be fair it was a difficult week, after my hospital appointment I just wanted to sleep, and then we had a funeral which just left me drained. So that’s when the take outs were ordered.

I’m trying something new. I’m changing my shopping day to Friday instead of Monday. That means I’m going to have to substitute this week by buying meals up until Friday, but after that we’ll be on a weekly budget again.

weekly meal plan

This Weeks meal plan menu

  • Saturday – Curry
  • Sunday – Gammon and potatoes
  • Monday – Pizzas
  • Tuesday – pasta bake/mac and cheese
  • Wednesday – pies
  • Thursday – Sausages (maybe toad-in-the-hole, or just with egg and chips
  • Friday – fish

My Recipe for Mac and Cheese

I love Mac an cheese because it’s so versatile, you can basically throw in whatever you want. Here’s how we like it best.

Ingredients:

  • 200g macaroni
  • 100g cheddar
  • 50g mozerella
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 300ml milk (or half milk and half cream)
  • toppings such as bacon, cauliflower, breadcrumbs

Method:

  • First step is to cook the macaroni with the packet instructions. I like to stop cooking a little sooner so it still has some bite.
  • Then melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to create a paste then slowly add the milk stirring all the time to prevent any lumps.
  • When it’s mixed smooth and heated up add the cheeses and stir in until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper and take off the heat
  • Add the macaroni
  • season with salt and pepper
  • place into oven proof dish and sprinkle on toppings. ( I always do two dishes for me and my daughter – she likes cooked and chopped bacon on hers and I like a little roasted cauliflower. Or we just make do with some breadcrumbs.)
  • Bake for around 15 minutes at 180 C

This week will be expensive because of doing two shops, but hopefully I’ll get it sorted by not paying out for take outs.

Katykicker
A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

Father’s Day Chocolate Treats and Competition

I’m a huge fan of Cadbury’s Chocolate, it might have something to do with living just five minutes away from the original Cadbury Factory in Bournville. As it’s nearly Father’s Day Cadbury’s are offering you the chance to win a personalised 850g bar of Dairy Milk just by filling in this form.

Here are a few of my favourite Cadbury Gifts for Father’s Day

Father’s Day Chocolate Gift £27.50

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys


A great Father’s Day chocolate gift with our Father’s Day Toblerone and Cadbury chocolates. Dairy Milk Bar with No1. Dad sleeve and a Milk Toblerone Bar with special ‘To My Hero’ sleeve. A great combination of large Dairy Milk Bar, Eclairs, Wine Gums, Cadbury Boost Bag and Cadbury Twirl Bites in a Cadbury Gift Box! Surprise your Dad with their favourite BIG chocolate in a Cadbury gift box.

Cadburys Heroes Treasure Box £10

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

A great gift to send to your hero! Our Cadbury Heroes Treasure Box gift box has a great selection of your favourite Cadbury chocolate bars including Dairy Milk bars.

Cadburys Chocolate and Corgi Model Gift Set £20

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

Limited edition Dairy Milk Corgi vehicles and delicious Dairy Milk and Bournville chocolate in a Cadbury gift box. A Dairy Milk bar with a NO.1 Dad cardboard gift sleeve alongside a Corgi Dairy Milk Tanker and a classic Dairy Milk Mini. A great gift for any Cadbury fan who collects Corgi – special edition die cast models.

Cadbury Bars and Beers Hamper £22

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

Send a fantastic gift of Hambleton’s Ales award winning micro brewery beer with a variety of the nation’s favourite Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. Cadbury Dairy Milk’s top chocolate bars with British brewed beer.

Maynards Bassetts Sports Mix Carton £3.29

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

Maynards Bassetts Maynards Sports Mixture in a gift carton, a longer lasting fuller-flavour gummy sweet. Made with natural colours.

Green and Blacks Organic Connoisseur Collection £14.99

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

Green & Black’s Organic Connoisseur Collection – A selection of unique Green & Black’s bars. Taste is at the heart of everything we do, but don’t just take our word for it. We are proud that our organic collection has won multiple awards at the Academy of Chocolate and Great Taste Awards. We are proud to be the chocolate of choice for many celebrity chefs, the Organic collection is perfect for those who enjoy intense flavours in their chocolate. The chocolate box includes the Tasting Wheel to help you get the perfect pairing with your food and drink. This impressive collection of Green & Black’s chocolate will make a beautiful gift.

Maynards Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts £3.29

Father's Day chocolate gift from Cadburys

Maynards Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts in a handy 400g carton makes a wonderful gift for friends and family alike. Filled with Maynards Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts sweets. One too many, and you might turn Bertie….

You can find these and loads more ideas for gifts at the Cadbury Online Gift Shop.

Please note that I am an affiliate for Cadburys gift shop and any purchases you make will not cost you any extra but may earn me a few extra pence. Thanks for your support.

Awin

A Place to Eat

My Weekly Meal Plan

I didn’t write a meal plan for the last week because I was away and since getting back I’ve been really overwhelmed with things to do, never mind writing down our menu.

Good news is, we managed our BBQ (which was on my last published meal plan) and got to use my new garden table. I’m a bit fed up of regular BBQ food though, I may have to look for some alternatives.

I’m in hospital this Tuesday for treatment so I’ve opted for something quick and easy to add to the menu, pizza!

A dish of colourful food to illustrate our weekly meal plan menu

This Weeks Meal Plan Menu

  • Monday – pasta bake
  • Tuesday – pizza
  • Wednesday – Hot Dog sausage rolls
  • Thursday – Lasagne
  • Friday – Fish and chips
  • Saturday – Curry
  • Sunday – pie and mash

I spent a total of £160 on this weeks shopping which I think is really good, so I’m hoping I can stick to that in the future. Next payday, I’m thinking of a little trip to a cheaper store to stock up on things like washing liquid and other cleaning products as well as cat food and maybe even a few freezer things for back up. It’s always good to have a well stocked freezer just in case no-one fancies what’s on the menu. I like a good stack of tins and packets too.

If I’m honest, we could probably manage a week or two on buying nothing but perishables (milk, bread etc.) I know my Mum used to have to do this sometimes. We do get lazy with cooking though. I also have a store cupboard of herbs and spices and it’s just a case of adding fresh meat, fish or quorn for a delicious meal. I really need to cut down on take outs because we can’t be bothered to cook. It makes such a huge difference to my meal budgeting. A take out for 7 people is very expensive.

Linking up to Katy and her Meal Planning linky

Katykicker
A Place to Read

What I’ve been reading lately

I like keeping a track on the books I’ve been reading and as my last post was in March I have some catching up to do.

So here is what I’ve been reading the last two months. This post will contain affiliate links which will cost you no extra if you click and purchase anything, but can earn me some money. So thanks in advance to anyone who uses them.

Jess Kidd – Himself

Back in March I read a book by Jess Kidd called the Hoarder. I loved the quirky way the main character could see Angels and it was quite different from anything I’d read before. So, I decided to go for another Jess Kidd book and the one I chose was, HImself.

The Blurb

A charming ne’er-do-well returns to his haunted Irish hometown to uncover the truth about his mother in this “supernaturally skilled debut” (Vanity Fair) and turns the town–and his life–upside down.

Having been abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, Mahony assumed all his life that his mother wanted nothing to do with him. That is, until one night in 1976 while drinking a pint at a Dublin pub, he receives an anonymous note implying that she may have been forced to give him up. Determined to find out what really happened, Mahony embarks on a pilgrimage back to his hometown, the rural village of Mulderrig. Neither he nor Mulderrig can possibly prepare for what’s in store…

From the moment he arrives, Mahony’s presence completely changes the village. Women fall all over themselves. The real and the fantastic are blurred. Chatty ghosts rise from their graves with secrets to tell, and local preacher Father Quinn will do anything to get rid of the slippery young man who is threatening the moral purity of his parish.

My Verdict

Another quirky book but this time the main character can see ghosts. I love the characterisation that Jess Kidd provides. These characters just jump out at you and you can see them in your mind’s eye as well as if they lived next door.

This was a great ‘detective’ story with a very unusual twist. Very dark in places but also full of humour and a fair amount of swearing!

I loved it and will definitely be reading more Jess Kidd.

Safe With Me – KL Slater

The Blurb


Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even.

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

My Verdict

This is one of those books where you just don’t get to like any of the characters you are reading about. They all have something to hide, they are all quite weird in their own way. I think this makes it difficult to digest, everyone needs a hero, or a victim. Of course, there are some major twists and turns that may change your mind.

Anna, kind of reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant, you could tell that her actions where guided by something awful that had happened in the past. But even Eleanor had redeeming qualities, or at least made you feel a little empathy towards her. Anna’s awful background is made quite apparent, but I still lacked empathy for her. Maybe, that’s just my opinion, or maybe that was the intention?

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – BBC dramatisation

The Blurb


A full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s celebrated apocalyptic comic novel, with bonus length episodes and outtakes.

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4….

Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – are assembling. 

Witchfinder Shadwell and his assistant Newton Pulsifier are also en route to Tadfield to investigate unusual phenomena in the area, while Anathema Device, descendent of prophetess Agnes Nutter, tries to decipher her ancestor’s cryptic predictions.

Atlantis is rising; fish are falling from the sky; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.
Everything, that is, but for an unlikely angel and demon duo, who have been living on Earth for several millennia and have become rather fond of the place. If they are to prevent Armageddon they’ve got to find and kill the one who will bring it about: the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him…

Adapted, sound designed and co-directed by Dirk Maggs (Neverwhere, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) this first ever dramatisation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel features a large cast including Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Josie Lawrence and Paterson Joseph.

My Verdict

I read this book many years ago and didn’t remember much of it. As a big Terry Pratchett fan I was not impressed with it not being a Discworld book. I did download it with one of my free credits on Audible and I LOVED every moment of it.

It’s just fantastic to listen to, the cast do an amazing job and I will definitely listen to it again. It doesn’t matter that it’s not Discworld, the story is still funny in the Terry Pratchett way along with the story line you’d find typical of Neil Gaiman.

The Humans – Matt Haig

The Blurb


THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. OR IS THERE? 

After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where he is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, Professor Andrew Martin is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst an alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.
Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race . . . ?

My Verdict

After reading this I’m determined to read much more of Matt Haig. How have I not read anything by him before?

I love his gentle story telling and how he makes it feel like it’s coming from a completely different perspective. It’s so alien!

It’s a fantastic look at the human race and their qualities good and bad. It certainly gives you food for thought.

Both humorous and heartwarming, and a little dangerous at times, it provided me with a story I found difficult to put down. I can’t wait to be reading more.

Audible

All the links so far have been to Amazon books, but I always listen on Audible. You can read about my Five Reasons to Listen to Audible on my other blog.

Anyone can join audible and you can start with a 30 day trial. After that you pay £7.99 which gives you a free credit against any download, no matter what the price. You can also look out for deals and offer, at the moment you can get a daily deal for just £1.99 and also buy 3 audible books for the price of two.

I really never thought that I’d get into listening to books but I honestly love it. All of the above books I listened to on Audible and I’ve also started listening to free audio shows. I’m currently 95% through The Power of Vulnerablity by Brene Brown, if you’ve not seen any of her TED talks I’d recommend you do. I’m a bit fan.

Anyway, click on the banner below to find out more about Audible. I will get more to listen to if you do 🙂

A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan

My meal plan, a photo of a plate of colourful food

This weeks Meal Plan

  • Monday – BBQ
  • Tuesday – lasagne
  • Wednesday – Mediterranean fish
  • Thursday – pizza
  • Friday – chicken and chips
  • Saturday – Take out
  • Sunday – Pies

Last week’s meal plan went okay, apart from not having the Mediterranean fish, so I’ve put that again this week.

We may have a move around of meals this week as we’ve been promised warmer weather and I’ve a freezer full of BBQ food. I guess we’ll have to wait for the right day though. I’ve also got a new garden table that I’m itching to use…so please weather, be kind this week.

Also, we won’t be home on Friday and Saturday. My plan is to treat the older two left behind to a take out. Hopefully it won’t cost too much for just the two of them. Friday they can stick in some chicken and chips from the freezer, or have whatever they can find. They are old enough to fend for themselves.

Shopping last week was a bit of a nightmare as I had a ‘funny turn’ while doing the online shop and had to give up. I wasn’t even sure if I’d been through the payment page, but I did and the shopping arrived on Monday…well, about three quarters of it did. We still managed up until the weekend though, then I had to do a quick top up shop at Iceland. Total shopping this week works out at £160, plus little extras for milk, bread etc. As there are seven of us, I call that a good week.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do next week as I will be away the weekend. I may have to forward plan and get the shop done early but still to arrive on Monday. I just hope I don’t forget!

Linking up with Katy’s Meal Planning Linky.

Katykicker
A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan

Meal Planning

I haven’t done a meal plan here in a little while because I was doing it on Monday after the shopping had arrived and it seemed disadvantageous. I do my weekly shop online on Sunday, so now I’m planning earlier so I know what I want to buy, rather than what I’m going to cook with what I’ve bought. It’s not rocket science really is it!

This Weeks Plan

  • Monday – Mediterranean fish and new potatoes
  • Tuesday – Turkey Meatballs and spaghetti
  • Wednesday – Hot Dog Rolls and fries
  • Thursday – Pasta bake
  • Friday – Fish and chips
  • Saturday – Curry
  • Sunday – Chicken roast

The fish on Monday is a pre-prepared one. Graham will need a chicken alternative due to his fish and seafood allergy

The Turkey meatballs we buy ready made and I make a lovely tomato based sauce for them. I don’t eat spaghetti (yes, even I’m a pain sometimes) so I’ll have mine with pasta instead.

Quick recipe – Hot Dog Rolls

Hot Dog rolls are surprisingly delicious. I buy frankfurter sausages and ready made puff pastry. Roll out the pastry and cut it into strips just a little longer and just over twice as wide as the sausages. The put the sausage in the middle and smear with mustard and tomato ketchup (or whatever relish you prefer.) Then I slit the pasty on either side of the sausage at slight angles kind of like wings on each side. Then brush with egg wash and fold the sides alternately. Or you can just wrap them up like sausage rolls. Brush the tops with egg wash and bake until puffed and golden (About 15 to 20 minutes.)

Young’s Frozen fish is our favourite brand. We have found that beer battered fish is less soggy when baked. If you want a fish without a soggy bottom then I’ve found getting it out of the freezer 10 minutes before cooking works best.

Curry on Saturday will be from a jar, we are currently trying all brands to find our favourite.

The Sunday Roast is not a family favourite, so I’ll provide some pasta dishes for those that complain.

Shopping

We actually went to the supermarket last week, and still have some food left that will help with this weeks shop. I will be back to shopping online this week though.

One thing I picked up which I wouldn’t normally buy is cold teabags. Now I have to drink a lot of water because of my treatment and I get fed up of plain water. So, I thought I’d try something different. These are okay, a little less stronger than squash and they gave you the sort of flavour you’d expect from a bottle of still flavoured water. They were a bit more expensive but I found I could leave the ‘teabag’ in and keep refilling my bottle and the flavour lasted for about four 500ml bottles, so better value in the end.

Fingers crossed it all goes to plan this week.

Katykicker

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A Place to Enjoy, Crochet

I Made My First Jumper – Just in time for summer!

I’ve not tried to crochet an item of clothing before but I thought this jumper looked fun and easy to make. It’s a nice baggy style which is how I like my jumpers and I loved the wool chosen. It was Stylecraft Life dK in Silver Nepp. It has lovely flecks of colours throughout. I did find it came up a bit big, probably my fault with tension. I’m still not good on measuring tension and I tend to come up big. I chose the size 16-18 as I’m a 16, but I wished I’d gone a bit smaller now. But no worries, I’ll be wearing once the winter arrives, I’ll be able to layer up and keep warm.

I found the pattern in Simply Crochet Magazine issue 81.

How Did I do?

For my first attempt at a jumper, or even any item of clothing, I think I did quite well. It’s wearable anyway. The sleeves seem a little long and they are baggy. but if you look at the model wearing it in the magazine you will see it is actually supposed to be like that.

I really enjoyed the pattern, especially the bobbles, they are so easy and fun to make.

To do a bobble stitch you simply keep working the trebles into the same stitch. On the sleeve and the bottom of the jumper I worked 5 trebles into one stitch, on the motif I did slightly bigger bobbles by working 7 trebles into one stitch.

The Motif

To make the motif I had to follow a chart. I have done this before with my Spring blanket and it’s really quite easy to do, it’s all about counting!

I really love my crochet, it relaxes me and takes my mind off other things. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see a project come together.

Mix It Up Linky
A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

The Squishy Things in Life

My children love tactile things like slime or squishies. We have spent many an hour destroying having fun in the kitchen making our own slime. But when the disasters became too unbearable we went on to buying stuff instead.

Now you may think this is an easy task, most stores sell some sort of slime or Squishies, just take a look in The Card Factory or The Works. They probably even sell it in the supermarket. But, we are a fussy lot and we like ours to be particularly squishy, or squidgy or smell just right.

We love Etsy for this, it’s a risk buying online because you don’t get to smell or squidge before hand. But then most products sold in the shop come in sealed containers so you don’t know what you are getting until you open them anyway. We have come to love a few Etsy sellers that have not let us down and we would like to share them with you.

Slime Marshmallows

Kristi from Slime Marshmallows is our ultimate favourite seller for slime. She always contacts us after an order to make sure it’s sent out at the right time if it’s for a special occasion. Slime does have a ‘shelf life’ but if I’m honest, we still have some fabulous slime from her that has lasted for ages.

All slime orders come with: borax powder, a small bag of extras, a personalised note and a care sheet. You can generally choose whether you want a basic pot or a stronger one. The stronger one is more expensive but your slime will last longer in it.

The orders are always a delight to receive and they often come with extras which can include either: glitter, foam balls, fimo slices or beads!

Her shop items change regularly but I’ll show you some of the favourites we’ve tried or wanted to try.

In Your Dreams £6.50
Love Potion £3.50
Rainbow Chiffon Cake £6.25
Unicorn Ice cream cloud £5.95

I bet you never thought slime looked so good! It also smells and feels amazing. (oh, okay, I admit, I like it too!)

Squishies

The thing about squishies is; they are fabulous while they last. Sadly, as they are meant to be squished and squashed they do tend to fall apart. So, don’t expect them to last forever…unless you don’t squish them which defeats the object.

They also come in many shapes and sizes. Some like them hand size so you can just squish away while doing other stuff like watching tv or homework. Some like them bigger for that stress busting squish experience. I think they are cute so I like to have one on my key ring. Big or small, it’s so nice to give them a little squish every now or then.

Squishes can be really soft or a little firmer, some squish and come back into shape immediately and some are slow rising. Everyone seems to have a preference.

Here are a selection I’ve found to share with you.

Some Squishies look yummy but don’t eat them!

(my son found half a doughnut under my daughters desk in her bedroom and told her she was disgusting for leaving food in her room…I went to see and found out it was a squishy doughnut!)

Popcorn Squishie £1.50
Mochi Squishies £1 each
Disney Squishies £4 each
Pack of 7 slow rising jumbo Squishies £15.81

I’d like to finish off with this fabulous party kit I’ve found. We have had all sorts of crafting parties for birthday’s in the past. Last year, Boo went to a birthday slime making party which she loved. However, this is a squishy party kit with everything included for 10 children to design their own squishes. All you need is a table with a disposable table cloth and the kids will have a wild time. So tempted to try this myself for Boo’s birthday this year.

10 person Squishy party pack £67.18

I hope you’ve enjoyed my squishy, slimy post 🙂 I have included affiliate links which if you click and go on to buy something you will help me earn a few pennies at no extra cost to yourself. So thank you x

awin