Names at Work: Name News From the World of Business and Employment

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Name Blind CVs
Numerous studies demonstrate that certain names are more likely to be chosen for a job than others. Not only is it harder to get a job if your name isn’t Anglo-Saxon, but there is a preference for names that common and easy to pronounce.

Because of this unconscious name bias, several major public and private employers in the UK signed a pledge last year to remove applicants’ names from CVs, and this applies to universities as well. This year, the scheme is being trialled in Victoria, which may also remove gender, age, and location from applications. Taking part is voluntary, and so far WorkSafe, Victoria Police, and Westpac are among those who have signed up for it.

Big Earning Names
Employment company LiveHire looked through its data set of 70 000 profiles to see which names made the most money. The top male earners were Stuart, Donald, Gregory, William, and Kenneth, while women named Heather, Joan, Carolyn, Kerry and Megan earned the most. Meanwhile, names that were struggling financially were Ethan, Francis, Lucas, Samuel, Joshua, Beverley, Amelia, Ruby, Isabella, and Dianne.

LiveHire says these results are for fun, and don’t have any scientific basis. In most cases the high earners have names that peaked in popularity several decades ago, while the Joshuas and Rubys are still young and have not had time to establish themselves in their careers. Older struggling names are possibly more common amongst those from a lower socioeconomic background. LiveHire says there is no need to change your name in order to earn more.

The Smartest Names
Genealogy website Moose Roots collected almost 15 000 names of great philosophers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, inventors, artists, and composers to identify their most common first names.

The top names of genius men were John, Robert, William, Charles, David, James, Richard, Johann, George, Paul, Thomas, Peter, and Joseph (the Beatles all had four fab genius names!). The smartest women were Mary, Elizabeth, Maria, Anne, Margaret, Susan, Ruth, Anna, Alice, Dorothy, Jane, Helen, and Charlotte.

Far from demonstrating that these names are necessary for genius, they just show the most common names over time, with names such as John, William, Mary, and Elizabeth being highly popular for centuries. I fully endorse naming your child after a wonderful namesake if you want to, but think choosing one with a more unusual name, such as Linus or Octavia, would be a lot more distinctive.

The Most Successful Names
Professor Albert Mehrabian from the University of California, has written a book called The Baby Name Report Card, based on extensive surveys of how people perceive names (or how they perceived them in 2002 anyway).

People thought the most successful-sounding women’s names were Jacqueline, Morgan, Elizabeth, Katherine, Victoria, Lauraine, Susan, Catherine, Kate, and Madeleine, and the most successful men’s names were Steven, Ross, Christopher, James, Robert, David, Kenneth, Parker, Thomas, and Madison. Who were these people who thought Madison seemed like a successful man, rather than a 10-year-old girl?

Names that people thought were bound for failure were Wilma, Weeza, Virgie, Trixie, Tina, Swoosie, Suzee, Soosie, Sissy, and Mush for women, and Rufus, Rude, Butch, Alfie, Gary, Normee, Bud, Petie, and Phonso. A definite prejudice against short forms and names nobody has ever heard of can be detected.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a baby name that a lot of other people like, but the crowd tends to be very conservative, and somewhat behind the trends.

Brand Names – in Line with Baby Names?
Research on brand names showed that in the 1970s and ’80s the letter K was a favourite for leading brand names, such as Kellogs, Kit-Kat, Kodak, Kmart, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. K stood out as memorable, because it is a plosive sound (like B, hard C, D, G, P, and T), and looks distinctive. However, it turns out that there are trends in brand names as well.

New research shows that the most common letters for the top companies in the Fortune 500 begin with A (such as Apple and American Express) and J (such as JP Morgan and Johnson & Johnson). This correlates with the most popular baby names of a few years ago, where names such as Alexander, Amelia, James, and Jasmine were the most common.

If brand names and baby names do come into fashion at the same time, not only does it explain why Kevin and Kristen flourished at the same time as Kodak and Kmart, but it suggests that leading brands in the near future will begin with A, E, J, K, and L – the most common initials of popular baby names last year.

Celebrity Baby News: Sporting Round Up

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AFL footballer Mitch Robinson, and his fiancee Emma McNeil, welcomed their daughter Charlie on March 10, a sister for Chance, age 2. Mitch plays for the Brisbane Lions.

A-League footballer Roy O’Donovan, and his wife Ellen, welcomed a son named Alfie on March 17 this year. Roy is an Irish footballer who has played in Ireland, the UK, Brunei, and Indonesia, and is currently signed with the Central Coast Mariners.

Former cricket champion Brett Lee, and his wife Lana, welcomed their daughter Helena in December 2015. Brett also has a son named Preston from his previous marriage to Elizabeth Kemp. During his international career, Brett was recognised as one of the fastest spin bowlers in the world, and won numerous awards. As well as working as a cricket commentator and coach, Brett has also had some success as an actor and singer in India, where he is a popular figure.

Former rugby league footballer Jason King, and his wife Jackie, welcomed a son named Cruz in 2014, a brother for William, aged 2. Jason began playing for the Manly Sea Eagles in 2003, and retired in 2014. He also played for New South Wales and Country Origin.

Athletics champion Tamsyn Lewis, and her husband, former cricketer Graham Manou, welcomed a daughter named Izabella Indie on August 9 2014 [pictured]. The couple have a dog named Indie, and Izabella’s middle name is after their pet. Tamsyn began competing nationally in 1994, and has won 17 Australian Championships, and has won gold at three Commonwealth Games. She works in the media, and covered the most recent Olympic Games in Rio: she now competes under her married name. Graham played for South Australia and the Melbourne Renegades, retiring in 2012.

Waltzing With … Eve

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The Spring Equinox has just passed, and I’m planning on doing lots of gardening in the school holidays. So here’s a name suited to the season of new life and growth.

Biblical Namesake
Eve is derived from the Hebrew name Hawwah (in modern Hebrew, Chavah) which comes from both the word for “breath” and for “life”. It can be translated as “she who lives” or “source of life”.

The goddess Asherah, who was the wife of God in early Semitic tradition, held the title Chawat, which is the source of the name. Interestingly the word is from the same root as the word for “snake”, as these creatures are symbols of wisdom, and serpents were sacred to Asherah.

As the first pages of the Old Testament tell us, Eve was the first woman, created by God as a wife for the first man, Adam. God fashioned Eve from Adam’s rib while he slept. The story is quite similar to a Sumerian myth: in this case, the word for “rib” was a pun on the word for “life”, which explains why Eve was made from this body part.

Eve and Adam began in complete harmony with nature, living in the Garden of Eden as caretakers to the plants and animals, and eating only fruit and other plants. The couple were in a state of blissful innocence, and wore no clothes, for the Bible tells us that they were “naked and not ashamed”.

Apart from the simple requirements of daily gardening and animal husbandry, a raw food diet, strict veganism, and total nudity, God really only had one major rule and that was not to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is an impressive way of saying The Tree of Knowledge of All Things, or even just The Tree of Knowledge. He decreed that the punishment for this crime would be an immediate death sentence.

The Tree of Knowledge was right in the middle of the Garden of Eden so you couldn’t avoid seeing it, and it was an especially beautiful tree, laden with the most delicious-looking fruit. This was the start of the original “trouble in paradise”.

The snake was said to be the craftiest and most cunning of all the animals God had created, and in those days it walked upon legs. It was also able to talk, or perhaps Eve and Adam had the innate ability to understand the speech of all creatures.

This crafty, leggy, chatty snake schmoozed up to Eve and, without ever actually suggesting this would be a good idea, or that she should do it, the snake cleverly planted the idea in Eve’s mind that eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge would open her mind to untold wisdom. It would make her the intellectual equal of God, and the experience wouldn’t lead to death after all.

So what with these cunning arguments, and the tree being so delectable and accessible, Eve ate the fruit. She handed it over to Adam, and he ate it as well. It’s worth pointing out that the Bible says that Adam was right next to Eve the whole time, and had presumably heard all the same crafty snake talk without butting in with any counter-arguments, or insisting they’d better leave right now. Nope, he just hoed right in on a forbidden fruit binge.

Their minds now open to all knowledge, the first bit of information they received was they were walking around in the nude, and that made them feel suddenly ashamed. Hastily they sewed themselves loincloths out of fig leaves, and then hid from God, because another vital bit of info they’d gotten was that they’d done something incredibly bad, and now had this horrible gnawing feeling, which was guilt.

Part the knowledge they had imbibed was the ability to pass the buck, because once God started asking them a few probing questions Adam was quick to pin it all on Eve, and Eve was just as fast shifting all the blame on the snake.

Of course when God learned the truth, the proverbial hit the fan and there were major penalties handed out. The snake became legless so he had to crawl in the dust, and from now on humans would hate and fear him. Eve would suffer horrible pain during childbirth so that sexual desire would be its own punishment, and she would be subservient to her husband. The earth itself would turn against Adam, so that he would have to work and suffer for every mouthful he ate.

Finally God banished Eve and Adam from the Garden of Eden, because he was afraid that now they knew everything their next step would be to eat from the Tree of Life, which was right next to the Tree of Knowledge, and gave immortality to those who ate from it. Mysteriously, this tree wasn’t mentioned before and God never warned them off it. But he was worried now, and set some fiery cherubim to guard it.

It was only after all these events that Adam gave Eve her name, to show that she would become the mother of all humanity. Before this, Adam just called her Woman. It’s food for thought that Eve’s name came only after she had lost her innocence, and that Adam only knew her name when he had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve is a name born out of hard-won wisdom.

According to Christian tradition, Adam and Eve repented of their sin and were forgiven by God. They ascended into Heaven upon the Resurrection of Christ, and have been canonised as saints, with their feast day being Christmas Eve, aptly enough.

There has been a tendency to see Eve as responsible for the Fall of Man. She is often cast in the role of temptress, and the phrase “the wisdom of Eve” refers to feminine wiles. It is further extrapolated that all women are somehow more sinful by nature, and the Bible is sometimes used to justify women being kept in submission, even though hardly anybody seems to think that men as a sex should have to struggle and suffer for every bite of food.

Eve is a fascinating character. Unlike Pandora, she was not given to man to plague him, but made to be his companion, “flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone”. She is the first mother yet she isn’t primarily a fertility figure, but one who is hungry for wisdom and brings knowledge to the world. In a sense, her act made the world as we know it – not the natural world created by God, but the human world of thoughts and ideas, of good and evil, of choices and consequences.

Name Information
Eve has been used as an English name since the Middle Ages, and was introduced by the Normans; there is a French saint named Eve who is the patron of the city of Dreux. The Latin form Eva was more common, but in everyday life the person might have been called Eve. The name has remained in use ever since, and in Ireland was sometimes used to Anglicise the name Aoife.

Eve first joined the charts in the 1950s at #409. The award-winning drama All About Eve came out in 1950, starring Anne Baxter as the scheming Eve Harrington. In the film, the name Eve is deliberately chosen to evoke a sense of deception. Another film of this decade was the 1957 The Three Faces of Eve, with Joanne Woodward winning the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a woman with multiple personality disorder.

The name Eve stayed around the 400 mark for decades, but began climbing steeply in the 2000s. It joined the national Top 100 last year. Currently it is #87 nationally, #95 in New South Wales, #65 in Victoria, and #46 in the Australian Capital Territory Territory. Last year it was one of the fastest-rising names for girls, going up 14 places, and was a fast-rising name in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

In the US the name Eve was almost continuously on the Top 1000 from the late 19th century until the mid 1980s, peaking in the early 20th century around the 400s. The name went off the charts in 1985, but reappeared in 1998 – the same year that rapper Eve Jeffers-Cooper, who performs under her first name only, began her career. Since then it has risen, and is now #475 and fairly stable.

In the UK, Eve joined the Top 100 in 1999, the same year British actor Clive Owen welcomed a daughter named Eve, and peaked in 2001 at #50. It left the Top 100 in 2010, the same year American rapper Eve began dating British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper, now her husband. It is currently #161. Eve is still popular in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, and is in common use in France.

Eve is an ancient name, but one that has gained a very modern image, as it’s a favourite in sci fi to give to a “first woman” of some kind (the first gynoid or clone, for example), and also works well as an acronym, such as the robot EVE – Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator – in Wall-E.

This is a slim and trim modern classic underused for centuries due to the association with the biblical character, who is both our mother to revere, and blamed for our fall from grace. It is interesting that both Adam and Eve joined the charts in the 1950s, but Adam became popular almost immediately while Eve languished.

It’s never been able to match classic Eva (its Latin form) or popular Zoe (the Greek version), but it feels as if Eve’s day might be arriving. It fits in so perfectly with current trends for names such as Ava and Evelyn, and is a possible formal name for the popular nickname Evie.

Based on overseas trends, you wouldn’t expect Eve to go very much higher than it is already, but as every country has its own profile for Eve, we’ll have to wait and see what happens here.

(Painting is Adam et Eve au jardin d’Eden by Gustave-Claude-Etienne Courtois, 1853-1923)

Celebrity Baby News: Gillon McLachlan and Laura Blythe

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AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, and his wife Laura Blythe, welcomed their fourth child on September 21 and have named their daughter Luna Ivy. Luna joins big sisters Edie, age 8, and Cleo, aged 6, and big brother Sidney, age 4.

Gillon comes from a sporting famiily as his father Angus was a first class cricketer, and his uncle Ian McLachlan, the former Minister for Defence, also played cricket and was President of the South Australian Cricket Association. Gillon is the brother of sports commentator Hamish McLachlan, who has been featured on the blog as a celebrity dad. Gillon himself has played amateur Australian rules football and represented Victoria in polo.

Gillon has been employed by the AFL since 2000, and was appointed CEO in 2014. Gillon and Laura met while they were both residents of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne.

(Photo shows Gillon and Laura with their three eldest children)

Thank you to Brooke from Baby Name Pondering for sending in this story, which was published in the “Herald Sun”. All celebrity baby name tips gratefully received!

August Bartholomew and Chester Alfred

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Twins
Evie and Georgia (twins Oliver and Harrison)

Girls
Ada Mae
Alice Eira
Annalise Joella
Brynn Evelyn
Cassandra Jean Kaye (Maxwell)
Charlotte Jeanette
Clio Madison
Dixie Joy
Edith Mary
Elke Isabel (Lilah)
Ellie Mavis
Elsie Ruth (Gemma)
Freya Anita
Georgie Janet
Indigo Alaskah (Ella, Tate, Mason, Ruby, Koa)
Ivy Stone
Josie Joan (Dougal, Peggy)
Maeve Hilary
Millie Florence
Olivia Juliet “Liv”
Quinn Ivy (Louis)
Reid Louise (Elliot)
Stephanie Victoria
Tess Annie
Vivienne Rose

Boys
Aston Marc
August Bartholomew
Axl Anthony
Chester Alfred (Sonny)
Douglas James
Elliot Charles Lawrence
Felix Leo
Finn Bruce
Harvey Gray
Henry Flynn (Violet)
Julian Ryder
Kobus Michael
Lachlan Thor
Lyndon Patrick (Saxon, Rory, Toby)
Maki Arlo (Keith)
Nixon Josh
Sullivan John (Neve)
Oakley Jackson (Macklin)
Oliver Rory
Oskar Lewis
Otto Roy
Patrick River
Tasman Aiden
Thomas Alastair
Zaylen Cruz (Javier, Zierra)

(Photo shows Iandra Castle (Mount Oriel Homestead), a heritage-listed Edwardian estate near Greenthorpe, NSW)

Celebrity Baby News: Country Music Babies

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Country music singer Mollie McClymont, and her husband Aaron Blackburn, welcomed a son named Ned some time this year. Mollie is a member of the country music trio The McClymonts, along with her sisters Brooke and Samantha.

Country singer-songwriter Sara Storer, and her husband David O’Hare, welcomed a son named Joe in 2015; he joined older brothers Tom, Bill, and Harry, all under the age of 8. Sara has won 18 Golden Guitars at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, seven of them in 2004, which is the most number of Golden Guitars won by a performer in a single year.

(Photo shows Sara and David with sons Tom and Harry, and baby Joe on Sara’s lap: Bill was the photographer)

Famous Name: Esme

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Famous Namesake
Last week it was the 122nd birthday of Esme Fink, born on September 15 1894, and known as “Molly” from her middle name, Mary. She was an attractive blue-eyed blonde with a charming, fun-loving personality, and came from a respectable Melbourne family who had fallen on hard times, so her mother was desperate for Esme to meet an eligible bachelor as soon as possible.

While staying in Sydney, Esme caught the eye of of a middle aged Indian rajah who was there for the races and had become part of Sydney’s elite. His name was Martanda Bhairava Tondaiman, and he was the ruler of the princely state of Pudukkottai in British India, today in southern India. Martanda was smitten with Esme, and after a few months proposed marriage.

The happy couple wed almost immediately, and after being sneered at in the Australian press, travelled to India. Right from the start the British authorities were hostile to Martanda’s choice of bride. They had already warned him that a “mixed marriage” would not be formally recognised, and King George V decided that Molly Fink was a dreadful name. The final straw came when Esme became pregnant, and a poisoning attempt was made on her.

Esme and Martanda returned to Australia, where their son Martanda Sydney was born; Martanda became known in racing circles, and Esme as a socialite. They left Australia for London in order to demand recognition of their marriage, but when it became obvious their son would never be acknowledged, Martanda abdicated in exchange for substantial financial compensation.

Esme and Martanda settled in Cannes, where Esme’s friends included the photographer Cecil Beaton, and hostess Elsa Maxwell. Esme loved fashion, and was the first person to ever buy a Schiaparelli evening dress; she known for her extravagance, and eccentricities such as taking a pet tortoise for walkies while dressed to kill.

After her husband’s unexpected death, the Aga Khan proposed marriage to her, but she turned him down in order to live the high life independently. When World War II broke out she travelled to New York with Cecil Beaton and Anita Loos, and with her money frozen because of the war, worked illegally in a department store to make ends meet, while raising funds for Australian and Canadian servicemen.

She was estranged from her son after he was imprisoned for jewel theft, and as her funds dwindled became something of a recluse, taking comfort in alcohol and her Pekingese dogs. She died in 1967, leaving her extensive wardrobe to the Fashion Museum in Bath.

Name Information
Esme is the Anglicised form of Esmé, derived from the Old French word esmer, meaning “esteem, respect, love”, and pronounced EZ-may. It was first given to Esmé Stewart 1st Duke of Lennox, a cousin of King James VII, born in 1542; his mother was French. The name was used for eldest sons in his family for a few generations (the chain was broken after one of the Esmés died young, after which the name wasn’t used again by the family).

Esmé as a boy’s name never really took off, even in Scotland, and by the 19th century Esme was becoming better known as an English name given to girls, although still in some use for boys by the aristocracy, especially those with ties to Scotland.

The reason for its gender switch could have been because it sounds like a cross between Esther and May, or perhaps it became conflated with Ismay, a medieval English girl’s name thought to be derived from the Germanic name Ismagin, meaning “iron strength”. It is better known as a surname (the owner of the doomed Titanic was J. Bruce Ismay), and the surname Esmay is a variant. Ismay and Esme both came into use around the same time in the modern era, and at one time Ismay was usually given to boys – both names became more commonly feminine in the 19th century.

Another possible blow to the name Esmé remaining masculine was the scandalous 1894 novel The Green Carnation, published anonymously but written by Robert Hichens. The lead characters in the novel were Esmé Amarinth and Lord Reginald Hastings, closely modelled on real life lovers Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. An instant success in both Britain and the US, its readers were shocked and titillated, and a reviewer described it as “impudent … bold … delicious”.

The book had to be withdrawn because it depicted homosexuality, but the damage was done and the novel set the stage for Oscar Wilde’s public disgrace and downfall. The Green Carnation was one of the works used by the prosecution in the case against Oscar Wilde for gross indecency, which saw him sentenced to two years hard labour. Use of the name Esme for boys became extremely rare after the late 19th century, and I can’t help wondering if the book helped cement the idea that the name was not only feminine, but effeminate on a man.

The name Esme has been used several times in literature, quite apart from this scandalising roman-à-clef. J.D. Salinger wrote a short story called For Esmé – with Love and Squalor; Esmé is an orphaned English teenager who befriends an American soldier. The name is referenced in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has a nasty piece of work named Esmé Squalor.

Another villainess is mutant Esme Cuckoo in Marvel’s X-Men series, while powerful witch Esmerelda “Esme” Weatherwax in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld  fantasy series is a force for good. In Saki’s darkly comic 1911 short story Esmé, the title character is an animal and the person who bestows the name does not know its sex, so chooses Esmé as suitable for either male or female. Knowing Saki, it’s hard not to wonder if The Green Carnation helped inspire the choice of name.

More recently the name has featured in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, as Esme Cullen is the gentle, caring vampire den mother. Her name is half the basis for her granddaughter’s name, Renesmee.

Esme was #139 in the 1900s, and peaked in the 1910s at #120 – the same period Esme Fink was in the papers as a society beauty and putative rani. Esme left the charts in the 1950s. Since then it has made a mild come-back, and is around the 600s.

In the UK Esme did not make the Top 200 during the 19th century. However, it has been rising steadily since the late 1990s, and joined the Top 100 in 2008. It is currently #38 and still going strong. One influence on the name may be the British model, DJ and actress Esmé Bianco, who played Ros in Game of Thrones. The name is popular in Scotland, at #57.

Esme doesn’t have a strong history of use in the US, and only joined the Top 1000 in 2010, two years after the first Twilight movie. Numbers have risen, and it is currently #682.

For many years in Australia this name was associated with gossipy old Esme Watson from A Country Practice, but it has been given a new lease of life. It’s a vintage name that feels contemporary and stylish, and by now its masculine origins are long past, although not forgotten. It’s an artistic name with plenty of literary clout, and popular culture has brought it new admirers.

You can spell it Esmé if your state or territory birth registry will allow it (some won’t), but Esme looks neat and pretty, and by now I think nearly everyone knows how to pronounce the name without the aid of an accent. Adding an extra E to spell it Esmée in an attempt to feminise or Frenchify it is redundant, as by now the name already is feminine, and it’s not a French name but a British one.

(Photo is of Esme “Molly” Fink, taken by Cecil Beaton)

Celebrity Baby News: Media Babies

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Talkback radio host Chris Smith, and his partner Susie Burrell, welcomed twin boys on January 24 and named their sons Aengus and Henry [pictured]. Chris presents the afternoon show on 2GB, and, like all shock jocks, is considered a controversial figure. He has two other children from his previous marriage to Ali Smith. Susie is a nutritionist.

Weather presenter Sarah Cumming, and her husband, AFL coach Stuart Dew, welcomed their second child in October 2015 and named their son Jack Harry. Jack joined big sister Frankie, age 3; Frankie’s birth was featured on the blog.

Celebrity Baby News: Jake Stringer and Abby Gilmore

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AFL footballer Jake Stringer, and his partner Abby Gilmore, welcomed their second child on June 2 and named their daughter Arlo Lauren. Arlo joins big sister Milla, age 2, whose birth was featured on the blog. Jake plays for the Western Bulldogs.

Thank you to Ebony from babynameobsessed for contributing this story. All celebrity baby name tips gratefully received!

Name Update: Welcome Twins!

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Rachel and Nicholas were expecting twins, siblings for their first child. They wanted names that fitted in with contemporary trends without being too popular. They picked out names for two girls fairly easily, but later scans revealed that they were having a boy and a girl.

Rae and Nick’s twins arrived safely in July, and their names are

CHARLOTTE MAE and BENNETT GEORGE,

a sister and brother for Mason.

Rae and Nick had a long list of “name rules”, which was making it hard for them to decide on names they really loved. The names they ended up choosing break several of their rules, but sound so lovely together that you can see they did the right thing by picking them.

It’s good to have rules, but always remember – they are your rules, and it’s for you to decide whether you want to follow them.