Pineapple Summer

I’ve been busy researching and writing some more serious posts, but today I’m bringing you something a little more light-hearted.

Summer ’17 was declared a Pineapple Summer – not just because pineapple motifs were suddenly everywhere. In my world, it all started with this video.

Pineapple Summer was officially declared over last month, so I thought we’d round up some names associated with the delicious fruit.

The below are all inspired by the names of different cultivars:


Ceylon (Red Ceylon)

Charlotte (Charlotte Rothschild)



James (James Queen)


Kona (Kona Sugarloaf)

Lisa (Cayena Lisa)


Marta (Santa Marta)


Michael (St. Michael)

Ripley (Ripley Queen)



A fun bunch of the more familiar names, and the less well-known. Any favourites?

Categories: Foodie Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Storms Are Named


Naming storms here in the UK is a relatively new phenomena – the Met Office and Met Eireann only started doing it in 2015. Since then we’ve had the likes of Storm Doris and Storm Barney; this post was inspired by the recent Storm Brian.

The main reason that they’ve adopted using names is to raise awareness, you see.

Names are quite good at that. In my absence, you may have heard about the attempt to get Britain excited about a new research vessel by opening the name suggestions to the public – which gave rise to the incredible Boaty McBoatface.

The names the Met Office and Met Eireann use are also crowd-sourced, but they select names from the most popular suggestions rather than it being an open vote.

Part of me is particularly heartened by the possibility that Doris may have been a popular name suggestion. I had a *slight* crush on the name Doris a few months back which just happened to coincide with her being published on a list of extinct names that made the rounds in the media.

I feel like I might be digressing slightly.

Before 2015, we simply did just call storms ‘The Great Storm of 1985’ and so forth.


However, at the same time, the US is also naming storms and since we’re a helpful bunch over here, we don’t rename any US-named tropical storms or hurricanes that head our way – we refer to them by the name our American cousins bestowed the storm. A recent example of this is when Hurricane Ophelia came our way and rather than renaming, e simply called it ex-Hurricane Ophelia.

As for home-grown storms, they only get a name if they’re thought to have the potential to cause significant impact in the UK and/or Ireland, i.e. when an amber or red weather warning is issued.

As for the names used, I’ve alluded to the process of picking the names, and below is the list of current names in use for this season.

Aileen, Brian, Caroline, Dylan, Eleanor, Fionn, Georgina, Hector, Iona, James, Karen, Larry, Maeve, Niall, Paul, Rebecca, Simon, Tali, Victor and Winifred

There are no names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z (for obvious reasons!), and names already associated with a prior catastrophic weather event – like Hurricanes Katrina and Irma – are also avoided.

The Met Office have done some research to check whether their theory that naming the storms raises awareness – and 89% of the people they asked were aware of the impact of Storm Doris bringing severe weather.

So it seems that it really does work!

Categories: Names in the News, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment



Costume Quest, screengrab by me

Halloween has never been my favourite time of the year since I’ve always had a preference for Bonfire Night which happens a few days later here in the UK. However, new blog attempt, new postive outlook and all that.

I was originally going to do a list of sorts of names associated with Halloween, but not being a celebration that I really celebrate I found myself struggling. Such a great topic to start back with really!

In the end, I’m sticking with a pair of names that I know I can really talk about.

Wren and Reynold.

From just looking at the names, I doubt that it’s obvious what these names have to do with Halloween.

My mind does work in mysterious ways, I acknowledge that – but I promise you this isn’t that out-there in thinking.

One of my recent favourite games to play is Costume Quest – which just so happens to take place on Halloween. Fraternal twins Wren and Reynold have just moved to a new area, and are sent out to trick or treat by their mother, but they’re not thrilled about it. Right at the start your first decision is which twin to ‘put in charge’, or rather, play as. You get kitted out in a less than impressive robot costume whilst your twin gets a rocket outfit (or what I originally took to be a rocket, research tells me it’s supposed to be a candy corn) looks even worse. In fact, it’s so bad that the monster you interrupt from his candy-raid at the first house you go to thinks your twin is also candy and kidnaps them.


Since you were put in charge, you now have to go on trick or treating around the neighbourhood alone and attempt to get your twin back and home before curfew.

Long time readers may remember that historically I’m not a fan of Wren due to the character from Mortal Engines. However, in combination with Reynold it makes me smile. I used to be the kind of person that wasn’t so impressed by matchy twin names. Maybe I’ve softened in my old age, or maybe it’s because separate they’re actually two completely different names.

Reynold comes from Germanic origins of ragin, meaning ‘counsel’ and wald, meaning ‘rule’, whereas Wren is a bird name.

In terms of actual usage, the name Reynold is not hugely popular, in fact, less than 3 boys born in England & Wales in 2016 were given the name. It’s not as popular as related name Reginald (rank #296), or even Reginald’s nickname Reggie (rank #55).

As for Wren, the name ranks for both boys (#1363) and girls (#334), making it the more popular of the two names.

Categories: Video Game Names | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Three Year Pause

So, um , yeah. Hi again. How’s everyone doing?

I can barely believe it’s been three years, time really does fly!

The reason I’ve been so silent for so long is very complicated, and involves an incident with some cabbages and gin.

Well, not really. That’s actually my NaNoWriMo theme this year. I actually don’t really have a good excuse for why I’ve not been posting. Life got busy, you know?

This past month I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this blog, and if I want to start writing again for it again. My life is very different these days to how it was when I first started it back in 2010.

For a start, I now have this thing called a career. Some of you may remember I went off to University to study chemistry. The punchline to that life decision was a I have since gone on to forge a career in marketing thatI’m now starting to really get into the groove of.

My job these days has less copywriting than before, so that now means I’m back to looking for a creative outlet. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for a few years now (feel free to buddy me #ShamelessSelfPromotion), but it’s not really a challenge for me anymore.

So, time to do some stuff on this blog. I can’t promise that I won’t disappear again but let’s have some fun for now.

Looking around at the state of things, I really need to do some serious tidying – I took a scroll through the sibset listings and wow, more than a handful of those families have grown since they were featured. So, that’s on the to-do list.

I also let my domain name lapse, so need to think about that. And my blog’s email account that I daren’t even look at out of shame. I may just create a new email address elsewhere to spare myself.

Also, more importantly, there’s been three Eurovisions since I last posted, and you bet I’m going to talk about all of them. I get 2015 Eurovision may not be *that* topical, but I have a so-what attitude these days.  I’m also in the throes of organising a trip to Lisbon next year, so the hype for Eurovision 2018 is very real.

Stay tuned for a new post actually about names in the coming days.

And there really will be one, it’s been scheduled already. Something I rarely ever used to do!

Bye for now 😉


Categories: Blog News | 1 Comment

10 Pokémon Names That Could Work IRL

I’ve been a fan of Pokémon since the original series back in the first region of Kanto. Since then the series has steadily worked through Johto; Hoenn; Sinnoh; Unova; and Kalos of the most recent Gen VI.

A friendly discussion exists between myself and another friend who enjoys the games of the merits of naming your captured pokémon: naturally, I do, whilst he firmly believes it to be a waste of his time.

Either way, I as was working my way through a Nuzlocke challenge in Leaf Green, I couldn’t help but wonder if any pokémon names could actually pass for ‘actual’ names.

1. Amaura

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

Both Maura and Amaury are names – but not Amaura. This pokémon was only introduced in the latest games – X & Y – and evolves into Aurorus.

2. Roselia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

We can never have too many Rose names, right ? This one fits in amongst Rosie, Rosalie and Rosell. Roselia was introduced in Gen III, and also part of her evolution line are Budew and Roserade.

3. Magby

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

A few years back I had a major crush on the name Magda, and this pokémon has a name that resembles my one-time love. Introduced in Gen II as a new Baby Pokémon type, Magby evolves into Magmar and then Magmortar.

4. Swanna

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

People are starting to consider names such as Bear, Lion and Swan right now, but Swanna feels all the more appealing. Swanna was introduced in Gen V and evolves into Ducklett.

5. Marill / Azurill

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

I’ve heard people refer to this pokémon as ‘Pikablu’, since it was Gen II’s answer to Pikachu. Azurill is the first form in the evolution line, followed by Marill (pictured) and then Azumarill.

6. Munna

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

I know people are fond of Minna, so maybe they could love Munna ? This Gen V pokémon evolves into Musharna.

7. Chespin

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

Chespin is the Grass started pokémon for Kalos (the region you can explore in Gen VI games X & Y); he evolves into Quilladin and then Chesnaught.

8. Starmie / Starly

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

A joint ranking for Gen I Starmie and Gen IV Starly, for obvious reasons. Starmie is one of my favourite Gen I pokémon, but due the team constraints is often left in the PC in favour of my water starter, Squirtle; Starmie is the evolved form of Staryu.

Starly is Gen VI’s answer to Gen I’s Pidgey, and evolves into Staravia (stunning name) and then Staraptor (less stunning name).

9. Floette

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

This pokémon comes from the newest generation, and is also part of the newest type of pokémon: fairy-type. Floette evolves from the hard-to-pronounced Flabébé, and will eventually evolve to Florges.

10. Delphox

via Bulbapedia

via Bulbapedia

This name to me rather resembles a less delicate Delphine. Delphox is the final form of Gen VI fire starter Fennekin, with the middle evolution being Braixen.

Categories: Name List, Video Game Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sibset of the Week: The Cleggs



For this week’s edition of Sibset of the Week, we’re looking to the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats political party, Nick Clegg.

First elected as an MP in 2005, he went onto to ascend to leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, and following the 2010 General Election joined his party with that of the Conservatives to create our current coalition government. His time in government hasn’t all been plain sailing however, and the likelihood of his party remaining in power after the 2014 General Election are but a slim chance at best – especially after he alienated a big section of his party’s voting demographic following the rise in tuition fees.

That said, we’re here to talk names, not politics. Nick married his Spanish wife Miriam González Durántez in 2000, and the pair have three sons:




It may seem odd to you that Nick Clegg’s sons would have distinctly Spanish names, but it’s worth noting that Nick Clegg speaks 5 languages – including Spanish – and had a Dutch mother himself.

The name Antonio is of uncertain meaning (rank #524), whilst Alberto means noble and bright (#1339). Miguel is the Spanish form of Michael, a name which means who is like God? and ranked at #508 in England&Wales in 2013.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Icelandic Naming Customs

It’s of endless fascination to me the difference in naming customs from country to country, and one particular country I always think of is Iceland.

Iceland is a Nordic country found to the north-west of the British Isles between the North Atlantic and Artic Ocean. Despite this, Iceland is considered a part of Europe, and it the most sparsely populated country in the continent. First settled in 874 AD by a Norwegian chieftain, Iceland has a long history linking it to the Scandinavian countries. It eventually became independent from Denmark in 1918 after centuries of rule by Norway and then Denmark, but the effects are still felt. Until recently, Danish was taught in schools, until the inevitable takeover of the pesky English language.

Due to centuries of influence, Icelandic culture is closely linked to Scandinavia. Unlike their Scandinavian friends who have since adopted current Western surname systems (i.e. father’s surname passed to all children), they continue to use the traditional Nordic system of surnames (although in many Nordic countries it has since been reintroduced as an option.)

In the Icelandic system, a person’s surname indicates the first name of their father (patronymic), or in some cases the mother (matronymic). This remains a widespread practice, although family names in the western sense do exist, mostly due to immigration. What this means is that when Jón has a a son, that son will take Jónsson as a surname, whilst a daughter would take Jóndóttir, not Jón’s own surname of Ólafursson, like we would presume to in the Western world. It’s also not unheard of if Jón father was actually called Einar Ólafur Arnarsson, but instead of being called Jón Einarsson, he was given the name Jón Ólafursson. Most cases, this is because Jón’s father might have been better known by his middle name. Or it could simply be because Jón’s parents liked the sound of Jón Ólafursson over Jón Einarsson.

Before 1925, it was perfectly legal to adopt a new family name, however since then one cannot unless you show you have the right to through inheritance, i.e. you can’t just pick a random new surname for your family, but the Cook family from Berwick-Upon-Tweed may continue to use Cook.

The flip side of this is when people from Iceland emigrate to, say, Gibraltar. They tend to abandon the traditional Icelandic naming system, favouring instead to adapt to the naming conventions of their country of residence, in most cases by retaining the patronymic of their first ancestor to immigrate to the new country as a permanent family surname.

Aside from surnames, Iceland is also well known amongst the naming community for it’s pretty strict rules regarding first names, which must be approved for use by the Icelandic Naming Committee. You might consider this unfair, until you factor in the thought that little Blaziken Jónsson will likely go on to pass on his first name as a surname – and then the need for rules suddenly becomes clearer.

There are criteria which a name must satisfy before being accepted for use:

  • Must be easily incorporated into the Icelandic language
  • Must contain only letters found in the Icelandic alphabet
  • Must be able to be declined according to the language’s grammatical case system

Gender-inappropriate names are normally not allowed; however, in January 2013, a 15-year-old girl named Blær (a masculine noun in Icelandic) was allowed to keep this name in a court decision that overruled an initial rejection by the naming committee.

Further up I mentioned the less common practice of matronymic naming, wherein the mother’s name is used instead. Continuing the example above, Jón could also have been named Jón Brynjuson (taking his mother Brynja’s name) – or even more uncommon is taking both: Jón Ólafursson Brynjuson.

Most cases of matronymic naming is similar to the reasons in the Western world for baby John to take his mother’s surname over the father’s, i.e. the biological father is not like to be a part of the child’s life, or maybe the mother is making a social statement.

One of the most fascinating impacts of this naming is found in a telephone directory, where people are listed by their first name rather than surname. When it comes to formal address, first names are again used, i.e. Jón Ólafursson would be introduced as either Jón Ólafursson or (more commonly) simply Jón – never Mr Ólafursson. Indeed, if Jón was at a social event with a man named Jón Dagursson, they would be referred to as Jón Ólafurs and Jón Dagurs instead as a way of distinguishing between the pair, with the ‘son’ part dropped – or would be referred to as Jón Stéfan and Jón Eggert (their middle names). These days, middle names tend to be the distinguishing factor.

I could talk about this fascinating style of naming at great lengths, but I think I’ll leave it there.

Categories: Icelandic Names, Naming Culture | 4 Comments

Sibset of the Week: The Baldwins



Holly Willoughby is another TV presenter that first crossed my path in the world of children’s TV. In the case of Holly, she co-presented the popular Saturday morning show Ministry of Mayhem that ran from 2004-2006 that my younger siblings all loved. She’s been a panelist on the show Celebrity Juice since 2008, which several of my friends watch – although I’ve yet to really understand it’s popularity with them.

Either way, I was planning on covering this family earlier on this year, but then Holly went and announced she was expecting her third child, meaning that this post had to be shelved until this week when she welcomed her third bundle of joy.

Holly married Dan Baldwin in 2007, and together they are now parents to three children:

Belle (b. 2009)

Harry William (b. 2011)

Chester James (b. 2014)

Bizarrely, Belle still trails behind Beau in the female England&Wales rankings – #321 to Beau’s #178 (with Beau ranking at #175 for boys). It’s always been an interesting fact to be, given that Bella is at #56, inside the Top 100 alongside many other -bel names (think: Isabella and friends).

It’s interesting to note that both Belle (#525 in 2009) and Chester (#581 in 2013) were in the 500s when Holly chose them, whilst Harry hit the #1 spot in the year her first son was born – 2011.

Categories: Sibset of the Week | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

10 Names From The Carolingian Dynasty

Today we’re looking into a dynasty that hails from France in the Middle Ages. The Carolingian Empire occurred from 800-888 AD and covered much of modern day France as well as surrounding countries, including much of what these days constitute the western part of modern-day Germany. Some of the names from the era are fascinating, and today we’re covering 10 of them.

1. Charlemagne

Perhaps the best known Frankish king from the Carolingian Dynasty (reigning from 742-814 AD). Charlemagne is an elaboration of Charles le Magne, which in English is Charles the Great. This name is commonly heard in my household as a nickname for friend Charlotte.

2. Carloman

Whilst Charles and Carl have made it to modern day usage, this other offshoot has not. This was the name of several Frankish rulers, including the 8th-century Carloman I who ruled jointly with his brother (the above aforementioned Charlemagne) for a time.

3. Pepin

Alternatively spelled Pippin, the origins of this name are uncertain. Pepin the Short was the first Carolingian king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne.

4. Louis

The only name on this list to have any modern day usage, and he goes on to become incredibly popular amongst the Renaissance French Royals until Louis the Millionth* (*that’s a lie, he was the 16th) met his fateful end. First used by the son of Charlemagne, this name was brought to England by the Norman with the spelling Lewis. The name is the French form of Ludovicus, which comes from Ludwig.

5. Lothaire

Perhaps too close to the word lothario for anyone to seriously consider the name, but this name has had a prolific usage amongst the continental royals (specifically in France and Italy). Lothaire was the son of Louis I and ruled over the region we now know as Lorraine. Lothaire is the French form of Lothar.

6. Gisela

In modern day usage, this is the German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese form of Giselle. The name is of Germanic origins and means pledge. This was the name of the daughter of Charles III, who went on to marry the Norman leader Rollo in the 10th century. Popular in France in the Middle Ages.

7. Rotrude

A female name that sounds as hopelessly unfashionable as Gertrude, and yet, I’m intrigued. Rotrude of Treves was the first wife of Charles Martel, who was the grandfather of Charlemagne. She’s a variant of Rotrud, a name of Germanic origin that means famed strength.

8. Drogo

You may have thought this name came from George R.R. Maritn’s imagination, but you’d be wrong. He’s a Norman name that potentially came from the Germanic element dragen, meaning to carry. Alternatively, he could come from the Germanic element drog, meaning ghost. This was another name brought to Britain by the Normans, but he sadly hasn’t survived to modern day usage.

9. Ermentrude

Perhaps even more hopelessly unfashionable than either Rotrude or Gertrude, and like Drogo, this name appears in the Song of Ice & Fire series of books for a lesser character, Lady Ermentrude of House Hayford. The name is the French form of Ermendrud, which derives from the Germanic elements: ermen, meaning whole/universal (aka the source of Emma) and drud, meaning strength. These days, you’re more like to meet an Emma than an Ermentrude. This was the name of the 9th-century queen consort of France, Ermentrude d’Órléans (825-869).

10. Ansgarde

The first wife of Louis the Stammerer and mother of later Carolingian Kings Louis III and Carloman II. Her name is of Germanic origins and means godly enclosure.

Categories: Historical Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sibset of the Week: The Hares

Cressida Cowell, via

Cressida Cowell, via

Today we’re looking into the extended family of one of my favourite authors from my childhood: Cressida Cowell. From the moment I was gifted How To Train Your Dragon not long after it’s release, I was a big fan of her dragons series – and have previously covered her own children in this feature. Today we’re back to look at other members of her family.

We’re starting with that of her maternal grandfather, Major Hon. Alan Victor Hare and his wife Jill North, who had two children:

Marcia Persephone (b. 1946)

Alan Simon Mercury (b. 1948)

Both have wonderful Greek mythology middle names that I can’t not love. The name Mercury is that of the Greek god of trade (later given to the closest planet to the sun), and fittingly the name means to trade. The meaning of Persephone is uncertain, although many relate it to the Greek words pertho and phone, which means to destroy and murder, respectively. In Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, and was kidnapped by Hades. It’s said that her return to the surface for part of the year brings the change of seasons.

Cressida’s Uncle Alan went on to marry Hon. Alexandra Amery, and the pair have two daughters with charmingly alliterative:

Alice Alexandra (b. 1989)

Florence Freda (b. 1993)

Whilst Marcia married Michael John Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakeham, and the pair had three children, including Cressida herself:

Cressida (b. 1966)

Emily (b. 1967)

Caspar (b. 1972)

Categories: Sibset of the Week | 1 Comment

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