Weekend Post

On Naming Fairy Cakes

We’ve all named inanimate objects before, right?

Things were taken to a whole new level just the other day in my household: as we sat watching our fairy cakes bake we took it upon ourselves to assign names to them.

That guy looking incredibly pensive in the picture above? He totally dibbed the biggest one and thusly dubbed her Bertha. He then went on to name the most pitiful looking one Sherlock; cakes were named Moriarty and Mycroft shortly after.

Point of fact: they were all amazed to hear Moriarty is included in Kay’s wonderful book, which was duly produced by me once the debate over names for the cakes reached fever-pitch – so well done Kay! 

The whole naming of the cakes event certainly got me thinking, because it’s one thing to talk names with people who think about them all the time, it’s a totally different experience to talk to those who don’t. The guy above admitted to having named his computer Cecelia, and was suggesting all kinds of vintage names for our cakes like it was nothing.

Part of me wonders whether it’s because he sees ye olde names as so ridiculously outdated that their only use now is for comical effect, but I guess we upcoming generation of parents are poised to resurrect such classics 😉

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Weekend Post: On Rhyming Names & Angel Rangel

Swansea City. That guy right in the foreground? That’s hysterical Steve who has an inner McDs radar, and introduced me to Swansea all those years ago.

Football is finally back, and I could cry with joy.

Especially since one of my teams is currently right near the top of the premiership (the top tier of the football league system-thingie), having won their first games 5-0 and 3-0.

Yes, it’s the glorious return of Swansea City A.F.C. , the team I cheered on in their championship playoff with Reading back in the summer of 2011, when they won their way into the premiership. That’s where the picture above was taken.

It’s funny, because I’m actually moving to Reading at the end of next month and the Swansea scarf may have to be left at home.

However, I’ll be honest and admit that Swansea’s position in the table will likely change as we’re only two games in, and they have yet to play the big guns like Man Utd, Chelsea or Man City, but still, this is one happy footie fan.

Today’s post is inspired by a man who joined them when they were down in League 1, the third tier and the one my 1st team – Notts County – currently lies in.

It seems almost ridiculous that I’ve yet to properly introduce you all to my favourite Swansea player, who scored against West Ham in the 3-0 game today: Angel Rangel.

Well yes, I’ve mentioned him on the off-hand twice before, but never made it clear just how much my father and I enjoy shouting his name outloud when we hear he’s scored a goal. For some reason we often refer to him as Angle Wrangle, but this is highly incorrect and here’s a little discussion between a commentator and the man himself on how to say his name:

So yes, his first name and surname do indeed rhyme.

There is another slightly similar example in the premiership in the form of Demba Ba. Infact, most people on the radio and TV say his name more like it is Dem Baba, than Demba Ba.

I think when it came to Rangel, my initial thought about his surname was that, he can’t surely have a first name and surnames that actually rhymes? Most people seem to draw the same conclusions to the point that many fans I’ve sat with at games (especially in the early Rangel days at Swansea) would say his name and which-away they like, as long as they didn’t rhyme the two names.

So that’s whats been on my mind all week with the new football season finally underway. Rhyming siblings names is quite a sniffy subject after all, but this is the first time I’ve though of rhyming first name and surnames. Maybe it’s because my own surname doesn’t particularly lend itself well to the whole rhyming thing, that I’ve never really thought about it myself.

Actually, now I think about it, I do actually know someone in this situation; her first name is Kayley, but her surname is double-barrelled so she kind of gets away with it.

Still, you rock Angel Rangel.

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Weekend Post: Tuesday Conundrum Answers

Snapped by me at the ghost town formerly known as the Olympic Park

This post was supposed to be posted yesterday, but instead I decided to spend my time swanning around the Olympic Stadium area of the Olympic Park, because that’s just how my standard Saturday seems to go these days.

Tell you what, the set up they’ve got going for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games makes it look like it’s going to be a cracker, too.

Anyway, the aim of today’s post is to finally deliver you all the answers of the conundrum I sent out on Tuesday.

The Name that fell off altogether:


(ranked for girls in 2010)

The Names that changed gender:

Harper (#858, #1087) & Brook (#1665, #1788)

(both ranked higher for boys in 2010, now rank higher for girls)

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Weekend Post: Super Saturday etc.

Snapped by me at Stratford. l-r, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jess Ennis, Phillips Idowu & Laura Trott

I was in London yesterday, once more, and was part of a screaming crowd moments away from the Olympic stadium watching the nearest TV when Mo Farah capped off a brilliant night for British athletics and for those interested, I’ve covered Mo Farah’s first name before: Mohammed. And indeed, I’ve also covered the name Jessica as inspired by another one of the gold medalists yesterday, Jessica Ennis.

For those interested in blog stats, page views for my post on the name Camille have gone through the roof since the Olympic swimming kicked off, courtesy of the French male swimmer Camille Lacourt.

That initially left me in somewhat of a predicament as it seemed like I’d covered the names of some of the big medal winners previously due to a rather annoying foresight.

Eventually I decided instead to pick out 5 surnames from members of Team GB who have so far won a medal, and hope that in the process of writing this post, our athletes would kindly not win any big ones (NB: but then Andy Murray had to go and thrash Federer about half an hour into the commencement of writing this post. Bah.):


Today, Ben Ainslie took his 4th gold in the Finn class of sailing. It has a link to my home shire too, because the name’s origins possibly lie in Annesley, Nottinghamshire. But it may also lie instead in Ansley, Warwickshire – which historically is the home shire for people from Coventry, such as lovely Elea of British Baby Names. However, back in the 1970s, Coventry became a part of the West Midlands county instead.

The name either means Anne’s field or hermitage field.


A man named Timothy Baillie and pal Etienne Stott took gold in the C-2 Canoe Slalom earlier on this week, with the other British duo of David Florence & Richard Hounslow taking the silver.

I wanted to mention this name because it makes a point about the spellings of names. Bailey is the most popular version of the name, ranking at #79 for boys in England&Wales in 2010, and the name means bailiff.


Jessica Ennis missed the Beijing Olympics due to injury, and she’s been the face of the London 2012 Olympics. A lot has been said about whether she’d be another Cathy Freeman (want to know more about her?) who was the face of Sydney 2000 and won her event, the 400m or another Liu Xiang; he was the face of Beijing 2008 and ended up pulling out after a false start aggravated an injury. There was speculation, however, that the pressure was a factor in his withdrawal. Happily, Jess fulfilled her dreams last night and took gold in the heptathlon.

We’ve talked about her first name previously, but consider her surname. Ennis, or Inis, is the name of a town in Ireland, and the name itself means island.


Mo Farah was born in Somalia, and came to the UK when he was 8. In 2011, he was voted European Athlete of the year and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get a BBC Sport Personality nomination at the end of the year following his 10,000 m win on Saturday as he was the first Briton to take the gold in the event. Want to see more Mo? He’s also due to run the 5,000 m.

As a link to another Team GB athlete, Mo Farah’s father comes from England originally, specifically from Hounslow. If you were reading carefully a few lines up you’ll know that a man named Richard Hounslow took silver in the C-2 Canoe Slalom.

Again, whilst Mohamed has been covered, Farah has not; it’s of Arabic origins and means joy. It’s also worth noting that Mo’s wife is also expecting twins in September, so congrats to them.


Well, the British Gymnastics team is having a good time as well aren’t they? Today we grabbed bronze & silver in the Men’s Individual Pommel Horse final, courtesy of Louis Smith (a bronze medallist in Beijing) and Max Whitlock. Both were also part of the almost-silver-winning Men’s team, until Japan complained.

A few weeks ago I covered the name Whitton, and if you combine him with the name of a legendary detective you get Whitlock. The surname comes from Old English and means white enclosure.

Congratulations to the wonderful athletes of Team GB and their amazing achievements.

Snapped by my father inside the Olympic Stadium last night

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Weekend Post: Good, Fresh, Uncomplicated Names

Eat’s ethos

Since I shared this photo in last week’s Spot post, I’ve been thinking about the Eat ethos, which is good, fresh, uncomplicated food.

What would be the naming equivalent?

Let’s break it down.


Fresh is often used (and I’m particularly guilty of this one) as another way to say unusual, but one could also see it as a name that hasn’t been overexposed.

In the end I settled for 4 set criteria for a name to pass this category and go on to the next category. For a name to be fresh in my eyes, it must not be:

  • A name that has been in the Top 100 for 10 years at some point in time
  • A name that ever been #1
  • A name that has been given to a high profile celeb offspring
  • A name that has risen more than 100+ places in the Top 500 since 2000

Taking this into consideration, names that fail this category include:

  1. Amber
  2. Amelie (up 1420 since 2000)
  3. Chloe
  4. Harry
  5. Jack
  6. Kayden (up 1326 since 2000)
  7. Lexi (up 1949 since 2000)
  8. Oliver
  9. Suri
  10. Thomas


For a name to be good, I believe it has to have little negative connections such as an evil forebearer (whether fictional or not) or less-than-lovely meaning.

8 names that would fall down at this hurdle, but would’ve passed the previous category include:

  1. Adolf – self explanatory
  2. Azrael – aka The Angel of Death
  3. Bellatrix – think Harry Potter
  4. Dolores – means sorrows + think Harry Potter
  5. Gretel – Hansel&Gretel tale
  6. Louhi – name of a death goddess in Finnish mythology
  7. Memphis – the US city known for crime
  8. Mordred – rival of Arthur in Arthurian legend
  9. Nuala – the Nuala in Irish mythology was less-than-nice
  10. Persephone – means murder /to destroy


What makes a name complicated? One could say it is a name which causes little spelling/pronunciation issues, such as James and Ruby.

8 names that fail this test, but passed the previous two include:

  1. Caoimhe – pronounced KEE-va
  2. Ceridwen – pronounced ke-RID-wen
  3. Eluned – pronounced EH-lee-ned
  4. Heliodoro – just generally a mouthful of a name
  5. Joachim/Joaquin – just generally a name that causes me a headache when it comes to pronunciation
  6. Schuyler – pronounced SKY-ler
  7. Solveig – pronounced SOL-vay
  8. Xanthe – pronounced ZAN-the

So, without further ado, here’s the list of  some of the names I think  pass all three tests:


  1. Angus
  2. August
  3. Barnaby
  4. Bruno
  5. Caspian
  6. Cosmo
  7. Ever
  8. Ezra
  9. Fergus
  10. Gray
  11. Indigo
  12. Ivor
  13. Rio


  1. Avalon
  2. Blossom
  3. Coral
  4. Gwen
  5. Hero
  6. Ingrid
  7. Josie
  8. Lux
  9. Nova
  10. Orla
  11. Roma
  12. Rosemary
  13. Vera

Do you dispute any of these choices? Are there any names you think qualify too?

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Weekend Post: I Will Not Name Thy Child After Booze

One of the major no-nos when it comes to baby-naming has always been to do with the idea of naming one’s child after a refreshing alcoholic beverage, such as Shandy, Whiskey and Chardonnay.

However, there’s always a but with these kinds of things.

You see, ever since I reached legal drinking age (which is 18 in the UK, hola), things have gotten a lot more complicated than the simple straight line it used to be.

But before we talk alcohol, let’s back track to when I was 2ish and was gifted an adorable grey cat plushie by my Grandmother, this one to be exact:

Corky ze Cat

I named him Corky. Well, specifically, he was Korkey up until I was 7 at which point I ‘corrected’ the spelling of his name to Corky, and thus he has remained. At one stage I did genuinely wonder about using Corky as a middle name, but alas, there’s a good chance the toy I cherish to this day will be going to one of my [hypothetical] children, and thus I wouldn’t want to use Corky if an already significant member of the household bears the name.

You know what I found out at the pub? There’s an alcoholic beverage (specifically, a flavoured liqueur) by the name of Corky’s. How it slipped past me until now is quite remarkable, but it’s true:

Twisted Corky’s

Fish Bowls featuring copious amounts of Corky’s

What the real deal looks like

The tale, sadly, does not end quite there. You see, I’ve yet to discover a taste for beer, so tend to drink cocktails when out and about on the tiles. One of the gothic-y pubs I tend to end up at has themed cocktails, namely 7 deadly sins and 7 heavenly virtues. The names of the 7 heavenly virtues rather means that I fear that I can never look at a virtue name the same way:

7 Heavenly Virtues

I do wonder whether I’m reading too much into this, I mean, Stella, Tia and Bailey are all popular names despite the existence of Stella Artois, Tia Maria and Baileys. I mentioned many months ago about a character in the popular TV show Waterloo Road called Sambuca ‘Sam’. However, some are put off using the name Amoret because of it sounding similar to amaretto.

Then there are the names Tiger and Sol, both names shared with popular beers from opposite sides of the globe:

World Beers

Oh, and as if the name Lolita hasn’t got a bad enough reputation already – she’s also the name of a Tequila Cocktail:


The line seems somewhat blurred to me these days, I mean, I’ve always really liked the name Corky. It’s almost a state of uncertainty these days – should I write off a name simply because someone somewhere decided to use the name for a cocktail?

And that my dears is the kind of thing I ponder about whilst down at the local.

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Weekend Post: Mumsnet

Just a pretty French fountain

Ever heard of Mumsnet? Some call it one of the most influential sites here in the UK – the politicians were all clambering over each other in a race to interact with the mums there.

Well, the other day I stumbled across a topic with one mum asking what’s the most unusual name you love? Here are their answers, most of which are given with meaning, unless they’re a word name or I simply don’t know:

Airibeloved jasmine (Japanese)

Andromedato think of a man (Greek)

Ariasong, melody, air (Italian)


Bellatrixfemale warrior (Latin)

Blythehappy (Old English)

Boyciewood (Old French)

Calypsoshe that conceals (Greek)

Ciarblack (Irish)

Clemencymercy (English)

Clothildafamed battle (Germanic)


Cyrusfar-sighted, young (Greek)

Darwin dear friend (Old English)

Deccaten (Latin)

Desdemonaill-fated (Greek)


Eppie – diminuative of either Hepzhibah or Euphemia



Hebeyouth (Greek)

Hepzhibahmy delight is in her (Hebrew)

Hermia – feminine form of Hermes


Icabodno glory (Hebrew)

Iolantheviolet (Greek)

Isisthrone (Egyptian, possibly)

Kit – short for Katherine or Christopher

Lena nn Lenny

Lolita – nickname for Delores

Lysanderrelease of a man (Greek)



Misha – Russian diminuative of Mikhail

Mnemememory (Greek)




Perditalost (Latin)


Pier – Dutch form of Peter

Posy – nickname for Josephine

Ptolemywarlike (Greek)


Ramseywild garlic island (Old English)

Saulasked for (Hebrew)



Struanstream (Gaelic)

Tikvahhope (Hebrew)

Torrenchief (Irish Gaelic)

Vitalife (Latin)

Wolfgangwolf path (Germanic)

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Weekend Post: Euros 2012 Finds

I’m in the sports mood, given that I was busy taking in the sights and sounds of Silverstone yesterday, indeed, the pit garages look awfully empty en ce moment – just imagine how crammed they’ll be in just a fortnights time!

2 weeks to the British GP!

There’s also the Euros still going on as is the racing at Ascot, and I’m pretty sure Wimbledon kicks off next week since the weatherman in the background just gave the weather conditions for Wimbledon next week.

Given that I’ve mentioned the Euro Finals several times of late, it seems only fair to give you a tour through some of the more notable names of players in the teams contesting the title.

Alba – One of the current players for Spain is Jordi Alba.

Alou – Midfielder Alou Diarra is representing France.

Ashley – There are two Ashleys on the England team – Ashley Cole and Ashley Young.

BastianBastian Schweinsteiger of Germany is being tooted as one of the best players in the entire Euros tournament

Evra – The name of one of France’s defenders, Fabrice Evra.

Florent – The first name of Malouda, midfielder for France.

Glen – The first name of England’s defender, Johnson.

HélderHélder Postiga is a striker for Portugal.

Holger – The first name of Badstuber, who plays defender for Germany – the emerging favourites for the Euro 2012 crown.

Howard – Englishman Howard Webbe has refereed games for Euro 2012.

Iker – Spain’s current goalie and captain is Iker Casillas.

Ivan – There are three Ivans on the Croatia team – Rakitic, Strinic and Perišic

Joleon – One of England’s centre-backs is Joleon Lescott.

Kassai – The referee for the Spain vs. Italy and the England vs. Ukraine game was Hungarian Viktor Kassai

Kostas – Three members of Greece’s team bear this name: Chalkias, the goalie; Katsouranis, the centre midfielder;

Kyriakos – One of Greece’s central defenders is Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

Lasse – The first name of Schøne, midfielder for Denmark

Ludovic – Attacking midfielder Ludovic Obraniak is representing Poland.

Łukasz  – Piszczek is one of Poland’s right backs.

Maggio – One of Italy’s wing backs is Christian Maggio.

Mesut – Turkish-German Mesut Özil is one of Germany’s attacking midfielders.

Mexès – Defender Philippe Mexès is representing France.

Milan – Winger Milan Petržela is representing the Czech Republic.

Nasri – Midfielder Samir Nasri is representing France.

Nikica – One of Croatia’s centre forwards is Nikica Jelavic.

Ola – The professional first name (really his middle name, Nils is his first name) of Toivonen, striker for Sweden.

Persie – Robin van Persie is one of the strikers for The Netherlands

Rami – Centre back Adil Rami is representing France.

Rasmus – The first name of Elm, midfielder for Sweden.

Réveillère – Defender Anthony Réveillère is representing France.

Ribéry – Left-winger Franck Ribéry is representing France.

Rui  – The goalie for Portugal is Rui Patrício.

Ruslan – The first name of Rotan, midfielder for Ukraine.

Rybus – One of Poland’s midfielder is Maciej Rybus.

Shay – The goalie for Ireland is Shay Given.

Slaven – The manager of Croatic is Slaven Bilic.

Sokratis – Centre back for Greece Papastathopoulos’s first name is Sokratis.

Theo – Inspired substitute during England’s game with Sweden, Theo Walcott plays in midfield and is just Theo, not Theodore.

Thiago – Central Midfielder Thiago Motta is representing Italy.

Valbuena – Midfielder Mathieu Valbuena is representing France.

Vyacheslav – The first name of Malafeev, the goalie for Russia.

Wesley – The first name of Sneijder, one of the midfielders on The Netherland’s team

Xabier ‘Xabi’ – the sole scorer in the Spain v. France match was Xabi Alonso.

Zlatan – The first name of Ibrahimovic, striker for Sweden.

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Weekend Post: Bowling Alley Aliases

That epic 92 score, yeah, that’s mine 🙂

It may seem an odd topic to cover, but a valid one since going bowling is one of the easiest ways to spot names, given that there a giant screens down the length of the building, each displaying on average 4 names.

As it so happens, in the past 12 months or so, I’ve been to French bowling alleys more than ones in England. This is possibly because it is one of the easiest activities to do with people who don’t speak your language proficiently; the only French/English you need to know is how to shriek with delight when you get a strike. In this case, the French version of yeah is ouais, which is pronounced pretty much the same way as the English word way.

One of the best things about French bowling alleys is that if you want to see what your name translate in France, the bowling alley is the place to go. I’ve already mentioned this week that my sister went from Heather to Hayley at a French bowling alley, and another friend went from Bethan to Bella. Personally, I usually become Lucie, as that is the more popular spelling in France.

As for my many other friends with whom I’ve shared a lane:

  • Cait became Kate (this could happen anywhere, though)
  • Caprice became Capucine (not through the attendant mis-understanding her, more to do with Caprice choosing to be Capucine in France)
  • Helen became Hélène
  • Lénaïg became Lena (this is a French girl; her name is a Breton form of Helen)

Speaking of the French, want to hear some of the awesome names I’ve seen on other French people whilst at the bowling alley? Here you go (I’ve approximated the ages):

  • Sisters Anya & Alexia; between 13-18 ish
  • Brothers Camille & Yannick; mid-20s ish, possibly twins
  • A 30-something female Laurence
  • Twin sisters Louna & Jade; 4-6ish
  • Brothers Quentin & Julien; both under 10.
  • A 50-something Sylvie – was with her 18-25 yr old son, Florian
  • A teen-aged girl named Tameline
  • A 20-something Younes, male – was with either a male friend or relative of similar age named Bouna
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Weekend Post: Names We Grow Up With

from chartstats.com

I’ve been clearing out shelves and all manner of drawers of late, and that’s thrown up a couple of old possessions. And with old possessions comes a shower of thoughts about names. Two names that were thrown up both date from my childhood in the initial usage I found them in, but both are starting to be considered rather fashionable choices these days.


Anyone remember the Cha Cha Slide? I’d completely forgotten about the craze surrounding the song until I found my copy last night. he song hit UK airwaves in 2004, and I could proclaim that I still remember the moved, but then again, the lyrics chanted out what you were supposed to do. I remember this song always being a hit at school disco, and I had a friend mention to me today that it was playing at the club he was in last night.

The man behind it was known as DJ Casper, but Casper wasn’t his name, Willie Perry Jr. was. That said, Casper is increasingly popular these days. The highest ranking spelling of his name is Kacper at #171, whereas Casper is at #364 and Caspar at #678.

Casper is the Dutch and Scandinavian form of Jasper, which means treasurer in Persian.


I went to primary school with two girls named Louisa, yes, two. Call it luck of the draw if you want, but here’s the stats: in 1996, Louisa ranked higher than she does today; at #187 in 1996, 7 places higher than Florence, compared to #253 in 2010. Of course, we could only speculate about the years before 1996, since we only have the Top 100, but what we do know is that from 1996, Louisa rose to #175 in 1998, and then dropped to #211 in 1999.

Louisa is the female form of Louis, which is hugely popular in England&Wales for boys right now: Louis is at #69, Louie at #74 and Lewis at #27. The name means famous warrior.

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