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  1. The polls roll out every year telling us what are the most popular baby names - this year the top five most popular baby names 2017 are: 

     

    Girls

    1. Emma
    2. Olivia
    3. Ava
    4. Isabella
    5. Sophia

     

    Boys 

    1. Liam
    2. Noah
    3. Mason
    4. Lucas
    5. Oliver

     

    But what’s in a name?

    Our name may or may not define us as an individual but it certainly is the thing that identifies us.  It is the first thing that a person learns about us and something we carry with us from the day we’re born (or as soon as our parents can decide) right through the rest of our lives.

    We probably don’t think about our own names a great deal it’s only when we come to have our own children all of a sudden a name becomes the most important thing other than the necessities that we will give our little one once they are born.

    You often read facts that the simplest names belong to those who later down the line have the most successful careers, maybe because they are memorable and uncomplicated but I find that often the more unusual the name although slightly harder to remember once mastered are the ones that stick with us because they are unique and different.

     

    Here are 9 things to consider when choosing a name for you new arrival?

     

    1. How popular is your chosen name? 

    It’s difficult to know if your unique name will suddenly become popular the following year or even fall in popularity.  To ensure as best you can that your chosen name will remain unique take a look at sites such as BabyNameWizard.com or Nameberry.com.  As many first time parents spend little time around children another way to see how popular or unique your chosen name really is is to speak with local  teachers and parents to see if you come across a name the same and hope your unique name remains that way.

       

     

     

    2. How will it go down with family and friends?

    It’s tough to know whether releasing your chosen name prior to the birth of your new baby is a good or bad thing.  Once you say it out loud you may well get a lot of push back from those that aren’t so keen on it.  

    No doubt you’ll find though if you stick with it as soon as your baby arrives those thoughts will soon dissolve and people will suddenly adore the name once it belongs to a real living little person.  This shows that everyone will come round in the end and you should stick to what you love and ignore the thoughts of others. 

     

     

     

    3. Some people just won’t get it.

    Although keeping a name to yourself may seem a great idea at the time it’s only once the name is out in the open that you start to see the trouble with spelling, pronunciation and associations that come along with it.  Therefore a focus group of trusted friends or even strangers may be a great way to try it out before you make your final decision. 

    An online forum such as www.netmums.com may also be a great way to get opinions from strangers so that your chosen name remains secret amongst friends and family until the new arrival is here. 

     

     

    4. How do you and others associate with the name?

    It’s easy to eliminate most of the baby names you may have originally set upon due to association, making finding and deciding on your true favourite even more difficult.

    Name associations will soon fade once your little one arrives and all anyone, including you will see is them. So don’t be to quick to rule out what may have been your ‘first love’ name.

     

    5. What if the name doesn’t suit their personality?

    We are often lead to believe that it is extremely important to name our new baby as soon as we can, even before we leave the hospital and head home.  However it may be that due to the rush to name your new baby that further down the line the name doesn’t match their personality at all.

    Go with your instincts even if it wasn’t your first choice but feels right once the time comes.  Alternatively go against tradition and wait as long as you can before naming your child despite the pressure from others.  The worst case is you can always change it later on, though the paperwork you have to complete to make such a change may well encourage you to stick with your initial choice, they may well grow into it! 

      

     

     

    6. Pop culture can change everything

    So you’ve chosen the perfect name for your new arrival.  As they grow up it suits their personality and you’re glad you didn’t choose anything else, until something happens in the media that changes everything.  All of a sudden there is an association to your little one’s name that conjures up a certain image or notoriety you’d rather avoid being linked with your kid.

    Alternatively the celebrity use of the name may cause it to increase in popularity which is what you were trying to avoid when choosing it.

    The main thing is to remain confident in your choice, it was yours first and as we’ve already noted associations change.

     

     

     

    7. What will my child really be called when they’re older?

    Something to think about after choosing the perfect name is how will the name be shortened?  What potential nickname could your child end up with come school age.  It may be that you want to avoid a nickname or accept that your chosen name lends itself easily to a nickname you may or may not necessarily love.

    The downside to a nickname is it may change the way you feel about the name forever so think about this beforehand to avoid the regret. It may mean you choose something very different from the off.

      

    8. Will your choice of name truly stand out from the crowd?

    Often we think that the more unusual the name the more our child will stand out from the crowd and distinguish them from others in their classroom.  However if the name sounds like or rhymes with other popular names it may inevitably sound the same and get lost in a crowd.

    Consideration should also be given to the fact that the more unusual the name the more likely that others will not be so keen on the name (if this matters to you).  Unusual spellings of common names  make little difference, as no matter how difficult you make it for your child to spell its own name it will still be spoken the same making it just as common as the original version.

     

     

     

    9. The name you pick will be perfect no matter what

    It’s easy to obsess over the name that will be with your child for their entire life and in some ways rightly so.  But maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.  Once the baby is here many parents say that their final choice just felt right and that they couldn’t imagine their baby with any other name.  

    So leave your final decision until your little one is here, pull out your shortlist and let the stress melt away.  With your new little bundle safe in your arms your decision will come naturally with no cause for regrets. 

     

     

     

    In my line of work obviously I see a lot of different names, my absolute favourite being Anastasia.  But with two still fairly new royal children I certainly thought there would be a few more George and Charlottes but surprisingly this hasn’t been the case.

     

    My best selling girls names right now are Olivia, Ava and Evie, which pretty much fits with current trends.   

     

     

     

    My best selling boys names are Harry, Finley and Theo; which may well change looking at the up and coming names from 2017. 

     

    My claim to fame as far as names and signs go is that I once made a sign for a Qatar Princess; yes even royals like a name sign to mark their spot!

     

     

     

    To mark the spot with a special sign for your little one take a look at the full range here: http://florenceandgrace.co.uk

  2. With last week being National Gardening Week it got me thinking about my own garden and how lucky I am to have my very own garden retreat; my ‘She Shed’.

    Having started my business in the end of our garage with no natural light the thought of having my very own ‘she shed’ was an absolute dream.

    With no garden shed and an unusual shape patio in the corner of our garden sitting unused this seemed like the perfect spot to build my dream. After trawling through the options online and debating between a pre-built shed/studio or renting somewhere; which would pull me away from the house and ultimately the children when they were off school, not to mention the expense, a ‘She Shed’ seemed like the perfect solution.

    So after a glass of wine or two one night and a few rough sketches myself and my husband had planned a single storey building that would fit perfectly into the corner of our garden.  I am very fortunate that my husband Simon works in construction and therefore is very handy and was able to do it all from scratch. 

    My dream was built complete with full insulation, electrics and most recently wifi so that I can have the TV on while I work; it’s cosier than the house!

    To make it truly my own I have surrounded myself with nicknacks picked up from travels in our caravan.  It is purely used for my business, it has everything I need to design, make and create and at the end of the day I can shut the door and leave it all there.

    I documented the big build of my dream on Instagram and an Australian publishing company have asked to feature me in their upcoming book entitled ‘She Sheds’ which is very exciting.

    The ‘She Shed’ is a trend that is officially here to stay and one that comes in many forms of purpose.  Gone are the days of the ‘Man Shed’; us ladies are staking our claim on these garden retreats for our own pleasure.  Not just a place for us gardening lovers to store our tools or to create a traditional potting shed the ‘She Shed’ opens up a whole world of opportunity where sheds can be somewhere to curl up with a good book, enjoy a cuppa in style or a place to fulfil a dream creating a home studio style shed where you can start your own business or dabble in a talent or hobby you’ve waited years to get back into.

    Whatever the purpose of your ‘She Shed’ here are 7 Tips to help you create yours:

     

    1. Choose your shed 

     

    You may have an old shed you’ve been meaning to clear out for years and what better reason than the creation of your very own ‘She Shed’? Take advantage, clear out all those things you haven’t used in years, donate them to charity and create usable storage solutions for the things you want to keep.

    Don’t worry if you don’t already have a shed you can purchase some great easy build kits.

    A bigger job but one that could be very rewarding would be to design and build one from scratch, ensuring that it is completely to your design and taste while fulfilling the brief for what you have in store for it. 

     

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    2. Choose your colour 

     

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    The style of your shed starts with the exterior. Take an old shed from ordinary to wow with a fresh lick of paint.  Choose calming colours for your quiet space where you can embrace the treasures inside.  Add personality will small touches like window boxes of flowers, a welcome sign and anything else that reflects you.

     

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    3. Define the purpose of your shed

     

    Whatever your reason for creating a ‘She Shed’ keep this in mind throughout, ensuring your space is fit for purpose and a place you can indulge in a hobby that’s important to you or somewhere you can be productive when running your business from home.  

    If you’re simply revamping your shed into a more versatile potting area where you can enjoy building  your garden from within, this can bring life and personality to your garden and make it a pleasure to go outside and enjoy gardening.

    It may be that you have no huge desire to make your ‘She Shed’ into a productive space but one of peace and tranquility where you can go and enjoy a cup of tea and listen to the birds sing, or spend Summers evenings outdoors with a glass of wine or two.

     

    4. Add personality as you go 

     

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    The finishing touches for your ‘She Shed’ may not appear overnight but over years of visiting vintage markets and antique shops travelling looking for those specific things to complete the look.  

    It may be unusual storage ideas or a focal point to complete the look.  Whatever it is make your ‘She Shed’ a labour of love where you can add things over time and build a retreat that you love spending time in.

      

    5. Positioning can be everything 

     

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    Putting your shed in a secluded part of the garden surrounded by grassy plants, vines and window boxes full of flowers will help add to the tranquil vibe you are looking to create.  Be sure to bring the outside in too by decorating inside your shed with plants and flowers.  

    The sunshine is lovely but if you want somewhere cool and relaxing avoid positioning your shed in direct sunlight where it will become uncomfortable to spend time in.

     

    6. Make an entrance 

     

    As we’ve mentioned before finishing touches really add to the personality of your shed.  The entrance will enhance this.  Add fairy lights, curtains, flower pots and a door bell for a fun element.  

     

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    7. Make your shed part of you 

     

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    Lastly and probably most importantly your shed should reflect your own personality.  As you change and the purpose of your shed develops so too should the exterior to reflect the changes over the years of your ‘She Shed’.  After all this is your shed, there are no rules it’s all about being you.

    Don’t wait get your ‘She Shed’ started today.  If you’re struggling for inspiration check out my Pinterest board here and Instagram page here.

     

    For handmade signs to complete the look of your shed visit my shop: www.florenceandgrace.co.uk