So when I find my Mr Firth and we settle down in a little stone cottage in Derbyshire with a border collie, and a library with entire walls of books and red leather armchairs, and a garden with clematis and wisteria and roses, and a gramophone, and we get down to the business of making babies - these are the names I like. I am advertising them here publicly so that I have effectively reserved them for myself - I know that my siblings read this blog occasionally and I live in fear of them exercising the privilege of actually being married and having kids and thus getting in first.
Archer - I've always loved the nickname Archie but thought it had to derive from Archibald, but then I heard this use of it which is a cute nickname but also works as a grown-up name. This is my number one favourite and no one in the family is allowed to steal it. Nor close friends.
Harry - Okay, so he might be called Harry Potter sometimes. It's not as bad as it could be though. At least he's not Draco or something.
(Middle name options: Theo, Zachary)
Kezia - after the character in Katherine Mansfield stories.
Elizabeth - this 'un will never go out of style.
(Middle -even first- name options: Rose, Jane, Zoe, Olive, Elinor, Chloe, Felicity, Amelia, Joy)
Bible names I quite like
Boys: Jonathan, Amos, Asher, Eli, John, David, Daniel
Girls: Esther, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Eve
And now, on to the names I dislike or cannot use (= you are allowed to use them). Disclaimer: if you gave your children one or more of these names, please do not be offended. It is merely my personal opinion, nothing more.
Names that are a bit boring even if slightly pretty
Boys: Thomas, William, Michael, Joshua, Ben
Girls: Hannah, Emily, Anne, Charlotte
Names I wish I could use but can't (feel free to poach them)
Rochester - just too fussy and easily identifiable in literature. It would be like calling your son Heathcliff.
Crispin - cool, but even I have to admit, a bit silly.
Bono - Just Mean. Too fangirlish.
Boyd - ever since my friend named her cat Boyd.
Riley - ever since this became a girls' name too, and ever since my sister pointed out it rhymes with Kylie.
Darcy - again, Really Mean.
Frederick - a bit old-fashioned.
Felix - cool, but it sounds like a cat's name.
Alfie - a sweet nickname, but who wants to be called Alfred?
Anthony - everyone in NZ pronounces it wrong.
Gwyneth - I think this is such a cool name but for obvious reasons it's too connected with a certain famous person.
Grace - pretty, and my middle name, but too popular.
Bijou - too foreign - the poor kid would always have to say and spell their name for people.
Clover - too hippie-sounding.
Ingrid - technically pretty, but it has always sounded like it belongs only to snobs.
Margaret - I love this but it's a little old-fashioned.
Raven - for obvious reasons.
Kate - because my brother got in first.
Virginia - again, obvious reasons.
Mercedes - damn you, car companies!
Hermione - too Harry Potter... what a shame...
Phoebe - too many people dislike this name.
Beatrix - too suddenly popular/cool
Austen - sounds like a boy's name and is just another example of me wishing I could project my obsessions onto my kids. I'd rather they liked Jane Austen than refused to read her out of principle.
Wendy - I love that J. M. Barrie made this up, but I have just known too many nasty Wendys.
Names I will never use even if you paid me
Andrew - evil boy at my primary school.
Matthew - boring boring boring!
Kevin, Duane - obvious reasons.
Richard - if you have read Northanger Abbey or Persuasion, you will understand why.
Dylan - ugly ugly ugly!
Adolf - need I explain?
Stan - ick.
Boris - sounds like a member of the Ukrainian Mafia. Is also an ugly name.
Catherine, Caroline, Rebecca - all: BORING!
Amaryllis - self-explanatory.
Kylie, Nicole, Angela - for some reason, I have always hated these names. They sound like the sort of names you might give your children if you never finished high school. I'm sorry to be elitist, but that is the honest truth.
Lola - destined to be a showgirl.
Maud, Eileen, Doris, etc - the worst of old-fashioned names.
Olga, Gertrude - ugly ugly! Along same lines as Boris.
Barbara - ick. Your child could have the nickname 'Barb', which sounds like 'Boob', or, even worse, Barbie.