Name Lara Horsley (nee Allport)
A.K.A The Queen of Brookvale ; )
Business The National Grid, The Drawing Arm and Brookvale Arts District
Location 24 Chard Road, Brookvale and have been since 2006!

What’s your favourite place on the Northern Beaches?
Fisherman’s beach, the Long Reef headland and rock shelf. I am here all the time, either by myself or with my husband and kids – it’s my happy place.

Is there something about you that would surprise people?
I really love birds and have become a bit of a bird nerd of late!

What’s something everyone should do at least once?
Make love in the open air!

It’s Sunday afternoon, where do we find you?
At home, preparing the Sunday Roast for my family after a nice long walk. I tend to roast every Sunday – traditional style – roast beef with Yorkshire puddings is a particular family favourite.

If you were down to your last $50 what would you spend it on?
Probably a really nice bottle of red wine!


How did The National Grid/The Drawing Arm happen? How long have you been operating?
Simon Barrett and I founded The National Grid in 2006 and The Drawing Arm in 2011. So they are 17 years and 11 years old respectively, I make them sound like children – they basically are – need looking after 24/7; )

Best business experience?
So many, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. On The National Grid side of things, consistently getting great feedback from happy clients and winning awards for great work, that feels good. For The Drawing Arm, having Reg Mombassa officially open us at our launch party, that was wonderful, he’s such legend.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Painting. I am actually hosting my first solo show after a twelve-year hiatus Friday 7th October at Our Place Gallery on Mitchel road in Brookvale. It’s a tribute show to my father who passed away last year.

Best part of your job or most enjoyable part of your job?
Although I still get nervous every time, I really LOVE presenting good work. I don’t mind if there’s one person or 15 people in the room, I get a real kick out of getting people excited with our creative work.

Most stressful part of your job?
Cash flow (yawn)

Weirdest thing that has ever happened at work?
Our studio, which we have been in for 17 years, used to be Manly Warringah Pest Control, we once had this guy come up the stairs with a giant funnel web spider in a jar – he told us he used to come here to donate venom for antidotes to lethal bites from Spiders! Needless to say, I was very pleased when the spider was removed from the building – and I pointed him in the right direction!

What’s the best part of working on the Northern Beaches? Why’d you chose to work here?
I love my 6 minute commute to my studio, it enables me to have that Long Reef walk every day, plus I am so close to home and school if the kids need me for something urgently.


What would you rate 10/10?
Life on the Northern Beaches, such a great community, so much to do and see, unbelievable natural beauty, great places to eat and drink, good schools – it’s really great living here and I never take it for granted.

What is the best advice you’ve received?
This is a sad one… when my father was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, he was told he had three to six months to live. A good friend of mine had been through it and encouraged me to have the ‘difficult conversations’ early. And we did, we had mum up and running with internet banking, we planned the funeral, we consolidated assets to make everything as simple and manageable for mum as possible. Dad actually managed to soldier on for 17 months after diagnosis, putting him in the top 2% of survival rates for this Cancer, but when the time came, we were better prepared, so I am grateful for that advice.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week?
My boys are a constant source of joy in my life, everyday they do something that makes my heart burst with gratitude. This week though, the best thing has been hanging my show with Jaimee Paul. I haven’t exhibited in so long, it felt really good. It was actually the 60 th exhibition I have helped hang, but this time, it was my work and my mums work – the images that we have created since dads passing, that have helped us with our grief.

Greatest strength?
Positivity and Optimism, I have my dad to thank for that.

Greatest weakness?
Saying NO. There’s a weird thing built into me that just wants to help and keep on giving, and sometime I absolute wear myself out trying to do it all.

Does anything scare you?
Funnel Web Spiders! Or anything happening to my boys, they are young now, but I know they’ll go through that inevitable ‘I am invincible’ stage and do stupid things, I am sacred of them getting hurt or into trouble.

What’s your most treasured possession?
My family. And a recent acquisition – I bought a Mark Seabrook original oil on timber artwork featuring Clint Eastwood from the Sergio Leone film ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ – and I absolutely LOVE it.

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?
Being with my friends and family – we love camping and regularly go with other families we are close to, we always have such a great time. I feel very lucky.

Which two famous people would you choose to be stuck in a lift with?
Carl Barron and my husband – at least while we were stuck in there we could have a good laugh 😉

What travel experiences are on your bucket list?
Tasmania – I really want to go! Maldives, I have always lusted after those glamourous over water bungalows. Africa, I’d love to take my boys on Safari.

How do you switch off?
Yellow Stone, Peaky Blinders, Stranger things, MasterChef. At the end of a long day, I just want to be entertained, TV really helps me switch off. It used to be reading, but that just puts me straight to sleep these days ; )

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Red Wine…

Who’s your personal hero?

My mum, she’s is going to be 80 next month and she is just such a legend. She’s as with it, witty,funny and beautiful as she has always been.

If you were an animal, what would you be?
A much-loved dog. I love nothing more than cuddles and good walks

How would you like to be remembered?
Like my dad is being remembered now, just a good human – a vessel of love in the world.

If we could ask you one more question, what would it be and what’s your answer?
What would you like to see more of in the world? Good Women in positions of power. I am by no means a feminist, but I feel that if our world’s leaders had more empathy, compassion and that selfless maternal instinct, so present in the good women I know, the world would be better off for it. Sorry chaps, I know many of you have these qualities too ; )