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Ola and James Jordan reveal their parenting struggles with toddler Ella

Catch up on the Strictly stars' latest column

ola james jordan
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
August 25, 2021
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It's been a tough week for former Strictly stars James and Ola Jordan, who seem to have hit the terrible twos early with 18-month-old daughter Ella.

The family went on a shopping trip to the Bluewater centre to buy Ella some new shoes, and by the sounds of it, the outing was pretty hard work! Little Ella had a bit of a meltdown after the escalator ride, which was caught on camera by a member of the public (see photo below).

We've also got an adorable exclusive video of Ella trying on shoes and shopping with mum and dad.

MORE: James Jordan gets amazing tribute to baby Ella – and you have to see it

WATCH: Ola and James take Ella shoe shopping

In this week's HELLO! column, James and Ola tell us all about this tricky stage of parenting which is seeing them face power battles with Ella and sleepless nights. Parents up and down the country will definitely relate.

Shopping and tantrums!

All parents know that taking an 18-month-old shopping is challenging at the best of times, and Ola and James certainly had an interesting day out at Bluewater this week…

Ola tells us: "Going out to somewhere like Bluewater is a bit of a nightmare right now because Ella just wants to run away! She doesn't want to sit in the buggy and she doesn't want to listen. Forget about buying anything for myself because she'll never let me look at anything, so I just go in and get something for her."

James adds: "We had three people trying to keep her attention in the shop while fitting the shoes and measuring her foot! They were all laughing, but it's not funny when it's happening to you."

We sympathise. Ella did come home with some very cool Air Jordan trainers though.

MORE: Royal kids' most mischievous moments: Princess Charlotte, Prince George and more

ella trainers

Ella tries her new shoes on

James says: "Yes, it was It was quite funny because we're not really brand orientated people, and as soon as we walked out of the shop this woman went 'Oh my god, her shoes are so cool!'. We were like, 'Oh yeah, thank you'. Then we walked down a bit further and this other family said the same thing."

"So obviously, they're cool shoes!" says Ola.

Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Ella discovered the joy of riding an escalator.

Ola reveals: "James took Ella on the escalator, and wow, when she came off she was screaming! She wanted to go back on. She wants her way!

"Then after the shopping trip, I got a DM from someone saying they didn't want to disturb us in Bluewater, but they took a picture of us with Ella having a tantrum at the bottom of the escalator. She took a picture of James holding her up during her tantrum and I was laughing!"


James picks up Ella mid-tantrum at Bluewater

We have to admit, it's a funny snap. So how do Ola and James feel when Ella has a tantrum in public?

"We both go red, I can tell you that," says Ola. "If it's in a shopping centre, we both go, 'Oh my god, I hope no one recognises us'. It's really hard because you want to be this perfect parent, but you're never going to be, are you?"

MORE: The top 11 outdoor games for kids on Amazon right now

Ella's sleep regression

As if that wasn't enough to deal with, Ella has been waking up at night again leaving mum and dad feeling pretty shattered.

Ola says: "Ella is back to waking in the middle of the night. There were a few nights that were really good, but now she's waking again." James adds: "She woke up at 12am last night and then again at 6am."

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Sweet Ella in her bedroom

"Six is fine but that 12 o'clock isn't," Ola says. "The thing is, James said, 'No, don't give her a bottle', but then she screams and the screaming goes through your ears! So I give her a bottle, which is probably wrong, but as soon as she finishes it, she's gone."

"But then she becomes reliant on the milk, that's the problem," James tells us. "Then she doesn't want her breakfast. Normally she'll have four bottles in a day…"

So the couple are trying to reduce Ella's milk and up her food intake.

Ola explains: "Yesterday we said, 'No, we're not going to give her lots of milk'. She only had one during the day and one at night and she ate better.

"But the only thing that puts her to sleep is cuddles and the bottle. She wants my cuddles. She's so used to it now, so it's hard."

Dancing at home

Amongst the tantrums and sleepless nights there are lots of fun moments too, and sweet Ella is quite the entertainer at home.


The Jordan family

"She's showing off at the moment," James says as we chat on the phone. "When we both sit down on the sofa, she starts dancing for us." Ola adds: "She gets really excited when we sit down and watch her. She's a real show off I think."

So will they be enrolling Ella in toddler dance lessons soon then?

"At some point, yeah definitely," tells Ola. "And there's me thinking she was going to be a golfer…" says James.

Maybe she'll do both?

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