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cool-baby-thinkingBrooke is a fellow Aussie name blogger, and she has a fantastic name blog called Baby Name Pondering. Here she ponders all manner of baby names, and specialises in names that are a bit different. Brooke finds name inspiration all over the place, especially in popular culture, so she covers names from your favourite TV shows, such as Khaleesi, and favourite movies, such as Argo. However, there are also popular favourites, such as Charlotte and Hunter. There are also specifically Australian names, such as Tempany. I highly recommend this blog to name nerds and anyone drawn to imaginative baby names.

What is your name?

Brooke Olivia

Have you ever wished you had a different name?

When I was younger, I sometimes wished my first name was more “exotic”, which  simply meant more than one syllable! I remember thinking at one point I’d like to change my name to Bianca. Somehow I felt that if I had a different name it should still start with B :). I’m very happy with my name now though.

What was the inspiration behind your user name Blue Juniper?

I read a book in my early teens where the main character was named Juniper, and I fell in love with it. I’d often have it as a user name online, and one day when Juniper wasn’t available, I put my favourite colour in front and that wasn’t taken. It felt right so it kind of stuck. I used it on Nameberry, and when I started a name blog I figured that’s how other Nameberries would recognise me.

When did you first begin getting interested in names?

It was around the age of ten. I found a pull-out booklet of names in one of my Grandma’s Woman’s Day magazines. After years of not being able to find any personalised products with Brooke on it, this booklet had both Brooke and Olivia! It also had cool names I’d never heard before, like Xanthe. I was hooked.

What inspired you to begin a name blog?

I spent a fair bit of time on Nameberry forums and Yahoo Answers, but the nature of those is that you’re either giving a quick answer on a name someone else likes, or asking for feedback. And I like names – especially different ones – so much that I  I felt I had more to say. I was encouraged by some of the other great blogs out there and thought to myself I could do that. The blog name sums up what my blog is about – names that inspire me and get me pondering.

Do you have a favourite blog entry on Baby Name Pondering?

I really like the series of Halloween posts I did last October – I wanted to profile some names that hadn’t been included on other Halloween lists. I also like my recent post on ’80s fantasy movie names. I grew up with those movies and still think that a lot of those names are really cool.

What differences do you see between Australian name trends and those overseas?

When you look at the top ten in each country you can see some definite similarities, but also some differences. I think we’re probably a little closer to the UK in that our tastes are slightly more conservative than the US. In the US there are a lot more variations in names, which I think is due to their larger population. With more people, there is perhaps more of a need to differentiate your child’s name, to make it stand out or feel more individual. It’s easier to stand out here where there are fewer people and the population is more widely spread.

Do you have a pet naming peeve?

Mangling name spelling. I understand a small tweak to differentiate a name, or make it easier to spell or pronounce, but I hate it when a name is twisted so much that you have to stop and think before you can tell what it was originally meant to be. It just looks ugly and is unnecessary. Recent examples I’ve seen include Jayceon (Jason), Zy’Cari (Zachary), Khynedi (Kennedy), Mattelyn (Madeline), and Kharmyn (Carmen). Changes should enhance a name, not detract from it.

What are some of your favourite names?

If I had to name my style I’d say eccentric preppy. Some of my girl favourites include Saffron, Sage, Imogen, Sutton, Rissa, Bay, Petra, Adria and Tamsin. My boys list includes Bram, Lorcan, Caspian, Dresden, Zared and Theon.

What names do you dislike?

Nevaeh. I get it, but I’m not a fan of how it looks or sounds. And I feel like people use it because they think it makes them look clever, which is one of my problems with so-called “kre8tiv” names. I also have to admit that I don’t get Atticus, which is a name enthusiast favourite at the moment. But I suspect that’s because I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird yet. One of my goals this year is to read it so I can see what everyone else sees.

Are there any names you love, but could never use?

I recently fell in love with Cassia, but I have serious doubts it would work with our surname, which is very similar to Cousins.

One of my guilty pleasure names is Winchester because I’m a big fan of the TV show Supernatural and I think it sounds cool, but don’t think I can bring myself to give a child a name so closely associated with a type of gun.

I also love Eddard, but our best friend’s and one of my cousin’s sons are called Edward, so it’s too similar for my liking.

What are your favourite names in the Victorian Top 100?

Imogen (#48) and Declan (#74).

What are your favourite names that have never charted in Australia?

Rissa and Caspian.

Do you have names picked out for your future children?

No, but I have a nice long list of ideas!

If you found out you were pregnant right now, what names would you think about using for the baby?

I like the idea of using all nature related names, as my husband and I both have first and middle names with nature related meanings.

Have you and your husband ever disagreed over baby names?

We’re not too bad, although I did have a few ideas that he vetoed due to people he knew that he didn’t like. He also used to joke about wanting to name a boy Agamemnon, after the Greek Commander in the Trojan war, which I feel is a bit of a heavy name! If I ask him which names he likes, he’ll just pluck some random name out of the air that he knows I won’t like to tease me. But since I started the blog he’s noticing names more, so if he sees a name he likes enough to mention, and I like it too, I add it to the list. When the time comes I’ll probably just hand him the list and we’ll negotiate a top pick.

What is something we don’t know about you?

My latest decorating obsession has been wall clocks. I have a feature wall in our living room with just clocks. So far there’s only (?) seven of them, but I’m often looking for interesting ones to add to the collection. But no cuckoo clocks as I think that would drive me a little batty!

What advice would you give to someone who was choosing a baby name?

Remember that the most important people who have a stake in the name are the parents and the child. Sure, it can be a good idea to get feedback from friends or family, but ultimately as long as the parents like it, and they feel that it won’t be a burden on the child, it’s probably a good choice.

It’s a good idea to do some research. And if, after you’ve looked through multiple name books (or blogs), you still have your heart set on your childhood favourite, then that’s fine. It’s okay to take all nine months of the pregnancy to be sure it’s a name that will work for a lifetime. And if popularity matters to you, check the top name charts!