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Maggie and Dan are expecting their third child next month, a brother or sister for their daughters Zoe and Gemma (sometimes called Gigi). They’ve already chosen a boy’s name, but are having more trouble deciding on a name for a girl.

Maggie and Dan are Australians living overseas, and the most important thing is that the name needs to be easy to spell and pronounce, both for English-speakers and non-English speakers. They don’t want a name that’s too common, but nor do they want one that’s too unusual.

Maggie likes the idea of a name that would be equally suitable for a lawyer or a rock star when her daughter is grown up. I take that to mean a name which sounds both professional and “cool”, and is flexible enough to suit a wide variety of people.

So far these are the names on Maggie’s list:

Sasha – this was going to be Gemma’s name, but they changed their minds at the last minute. It was also on the list for Zoe, so the name is one they have seriously considered for several years, and they still love it.

Eloise – Maggie loves this name, and thinks it’s beautiful and goes perfectly with their existing names. Dan isn’t so keen, but Maggie thinks she might be able to convince him.

Laila – Maggie loves it, but Dan is on the fence. The spelling is an issue: Maggie doesn’t like the spelling of Layla, but thinks Leila will be said LEE-luh.

Skye – Another name Maggie loves, even though it’s not her usual style. It seems like a clean, fresh name that would go perfectly with their children’s names. Dan doesn’t dislike it, and could probably be talked into it.

Lily – Like Skye, this seems clean, fresh, and suitable. However, it’s very popular, so Maggie wonders if this would just be an okay choice, despite being very pretty.

Claudia – a name that Maggie has loved for years and years, but overlooked for both her first daughters’ names. She thinks Dan could be convinced.

Other names she likes: Phoebe, Frankie and Ruby (Ruby is a family name).

They will choose a middle name which goes well with the chosen name, and will complement it without competing with it. They might use Olivia, Isobel, Eloise, or Lily; they can’t use Rose.

Maggie and Dan’s surname is similar to Wheeler.

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Maggie, what pretty names you have picked out for a girl! I can understand why it would be more difficult to pick a girl’s name after naming two daughters, but you certainly aren’t lacking in ideas.

I can see this as an alternative for Gemma, as the names are quite alike in structure. Sasha has two different pronunciations even amongst English-speakers – SASH-uh and SAH-shuh. If you’re looking for a name with no pronunciation issues, then I’m not sure Sasha is the best choice, but it’s still workable. Sasha Lily seems like a pretty combination.

I agree that this is a lovely name which goes very well with Zoe and Gemma, while having its own distinctive feel. I wonder if you would also like Esme, a rising name which I think would be even easier for non-English-speakers to say. Or maybe Eleanor? Eloise Claire and Eloise Celeste are two very French name combinations.

I think if Layla and Leila are both off the table as spellings, then Laila is the easiest spelling and should be easy enough to cope with; it’s very easy to pronounce as well. Apparently some people say Laila to sound like Lila, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I have never met any of these people, and perhaps you won’t either. I suppose Lila isn’t possible? I like Laila Juliet as a name combination, if you can handle all that L sound.

You’re right – this is a clean, fresh sort of name, it’s very easy to spell and pronounce, and it does sound nice with Zoe and Gemma. The name Skye “Wheeler” puts a very strong image in my mind that is rather charming and certainly memorable. To me this is perhaps more rock star than lawyer when combined with your surname, and maybe more folk singer than either! Skye Isobel would be a very Scottish combination.

I can easily imagine pretty Lily as a sister to Zoe and Gemma, but you’re right that it’s quite popular. You could always go with something like Lillian (or even Lucy), and there are lots of other flower names, like Daisy, Poppy, Violet, and Ivy. None of them quite have that pure simplicity of Lily though. Again, this puts a very attractive image in the mind. Lily Eloise is a sweet combination.

You’re lucky that a name you’ve loved for ages is still rising and fashionable. I think this is a beautiful and elegant name, although perhaps not as relaxed and friendly as Zoe and Gemma. I’ve noticed that people who like the name Claudia often like Clara as well. I like Claudia Ruby as a name combination, although Claudia Lucy and Claudia Felicity strike me as nice too.

Phoebe, Frankie and Ruby are all spunky names which seem like reasonable matches with Zoe and Gemma. Phoebe is easy to pronounce, once you know that PHOE is said FEE and BE is said BEE, but it’s not an intuitive spelling. I like the idea of Ruby being a family name, as that makes the name’s high popularity unimportant.

Maggie, you’ve picked out some great names, and it almost feels as if you could pick any one of these names and we happy with it. But which one will you choose?

UPDATE: The baby was a boy, and his name is Felix!

POLL RESULTS: The public’s top three choices for a girl’s name were Claudia (17%), Sasha (16%), and Skye (15%).