I deleted that first blog after three months and amassing over 100,000 page views. I just woke up one morning, decided I no longer liked the name (La Belle Dame Sans Merci - what a mouthful) and wanted to start afresh, to not only share my love of makeup and beauty, but my memories with my newborn baby boy Tyler Lee too.
Dolly Dowsie was created on March 27th and almost four years on it's still going strong. On April 30th 2015 I also created a second blog, Fawns & Fables, as a space to share my airy fairy world and photography.
A sense of purpose in life
I've been through some tough times in my life, times when I thought I was useless and contemplating not even wanting to be on this Earth anymore. I felt defeated, as though I was good at nothing and had nothing to give... then blogging came along.
I now feel as though I have a space in this world and this little blog of mine has contributed to that so much. It's allowed to express my thoughts, share my stories and photography and connect with people I'd have otherwise never met.
It means a lot to me to be able to get up in the morning and know that this space of mine is here, that people are reading and that they're genuinely interested in mine and my little family's adventures in this world.
Blogging and photography come hand in hand and luckily for me, this has lead me to discover my love for picture taking, editing and sharing.
I'd never picked up a DSLR before I began blogging - only ever using a digital camera to take selfies with friends on nights out, but now I can never seem to put my camera down. It's become a staple in my life and something I'm genuinely passionate about.
I still have a lot to learn but I'd love to be a professional photographer one day, specialising in natural light photography of people in beautiful outdoor settings. I love capturing people's memories in a still image, it's like capturing a moment in time forever and that's such a special thing to be.
I quit my job in January 2012, a year and two months before I began Dolly Dowsie, and little did I know that one day, this blog would end up being my job. Like literally, this is my full-time job and I'm really trying to make a go of it.
This blog has allowed me to stay at home with my children, whilst still doing something for myself. It's given me the freedom to plan my own timetable, have impromptu days out with my boys and has brought me so many fabulous opportunities.
The blog has also allowed me to try and review things that I otherwise wouldn't be able to afford and that's something I'm very grateful for.
I have to admit, I don't have many friends and somedays I think I may have some non-diagnosed social disorder because I find it so hard to communicate with people - this has lost me a lot of friends along the years...
But I could have never have expected, that when I began this blog, that it would bring me friends that I otherwise would never have met.
I've become great friends with a fellow blogger who lives locally, Louise from Tattooed Lady With A Baby, who read my blog about The Unexpected Loneliness of Becoming A Mother and got in touch with me. We now see each other almost every week and our boys have been friends since they were babies, it's such a lovely thing.
I also speak to a lovely UK blogger, Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks, almost daily and she's been a great support, and guru almost, when it comes to blogging - seriously, she's a fountain of knowledge! I also had the pleasure of meeting her when we had dinner with lots of other bloggers the night before Blogfest in London.
Another blogger I speak to a lot is based in Northern Ireland, Vicki from Wildflower Living, and only having met her once two years ago when we were both at Britmums, she very kindly sent Beau a gift when he was born and it's something I'll always remember. It was such a kind-hearted gesture.
I could never have imagined all the fantastic experiences that this blog would bring me. Yes it's something I work hard on on a daily basis - seriously, the tasks of blog work are never ending, especially as there are so many social media channels to care for too, but I never thought that people would read, interact and then offer me opportunities based on my little space on the internet.
I've had the pleasure of organising my own blogger's meet up, along with a fellow Cork blogger and what a fun day that was! Blogging has also led to me being invited to London twice for blogging events and also travelling to Frankfurt as part of my Pampers Baby Board member role.
I've also been invited to other blogger events, hotel stays and press invites, all of which I so grateful for and always enjoy. I'm still amazed when anyone offers me an opportunity - be it a review or experience, because I really do think myself as a nobody and always feel honoured to have been asked.
Blogging means a whole lot to me. It's more than having two virtual spaces for me to ramble along and share lots of pictures. It's given me a self-esteem, a community and a voice and when I look back on all the things I've been able to do because of this blog, I think "wow" - and for that, I'm very thankful.