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Exclusive: James Jordan's emotional moment with toddler Ella as she turns three

Ola and James were fan favourites during their time on Strictly

james jordan
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
March 3, 2023
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What a week it's been for the Jordan family, as mum Ola and dad James celebrated their daughter Ella's third birthday with an incredible party.

The professional dancers, who made their names on Strictly Come Dancing, threw their toddler a wonderful 'Frozen' party with all their little girl's best friends. Ella had a ball at her exciting birthday bash.

In their weekly HELLO! Parenting column below, dad James reveals the most adorable moment with his little girl at the party. Make sure you watch our exclusive video with the Jordans too, which shows their fun-filled day at Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood celebrating Ella's birthday. 

WATCH: Ella is so cute meeting Winnie the Pooh for her birthday

Read about the famous family's week here…

Ella's birthday party

Ola: Ella loved her Frozen party. When she walked in, she went, 'Wow!'

James: All the kids had so much fun. Yes, it was Ella's party but 40 kids and the parents had so much fun watching Elsa, Ana and Olaf come in. It was one little girl's first time on a bouncy castle and her first invitation to a party.

Ella with characters from Frozen at her party

Ella at her amazing Frozen party     Photo credit: Florence Berry Photography

James: A few of our mates came with their kids and they overheard someone else say about the party, 'Well that's set the standard'!

Ola: Yeah, I'm not sure all the parents are happy with me. We set the bar quite high – we had entertainers, a bouncy castle, a ball pit, glitter tattoos…

James: But you know what, Ella didn't have a big party on her first or second birthdays.

Ola: This was her first party and I thought, 'Why not?'

James: And yeah, we spoilt her. There's no way we could do that every year.

Ola: I don't know how we'll top that next year.

Ella hugs Olaf at birthday tea party

Ella gets a hug from Olaf          Photo credit: Florence Berry Photography

James: At the end of the party, she came up to me and she said, 'Thank you for my party daddy.' It nearly made me cry.

Ola: He was like, 'Oh my god, did you hear what she just said to me?'

James: Ella did have a couple of tantrums at the party. She was in the ball pit and one of the big Polish boys tried to steal a ball from her and she was screaming. She wanted me to intervene but I didn't because she needs to fight her own battles. She cries a lot when she doesn't get her own way. In the end, another parent gave him another ball.

Ola: The party was two hours long. I'd had enough by the end, it was carnage!

James: We did teas and coffees for the adults… and prosecco. We bought six bottles and that all went!

Ola: After the party at bathtime Ella was covered in glitter from the glitter tattoos! Then when she went to bed, she was telling me all about her friends at the party, all of their names, it was really sweet.

MORE: Ola and James Jordan open up about toddler Ella's health issue: 'She struggles to hear'

The party dress battle

Ola: We did have a bit of a battle with Ella with her party dress. I bought this lovely sparkly, princessy dress for her but she didn't want to wear it so she picked another dress she liked from H&M. She wasn't having any of it, so then what do you do on the morning of her party?

Ella at her Frozen birthday party

Ella chose her own party dress       Photo credit: Florence Berry Photography

James: I would have put her in the dress we chose, but that's me. She would have forgotten about it after five minutes.

Ola: Well James was at the party setting up and I was at home battling with Ella. In the end, I just went, 'Ok, wear what you want.' I mean, she still looked pretty but it wasn't the dress that mummy wanted her to wear - but what do you do?

Presents galore!

Ola: Ella's party was on Sunday and her birthday was on the Monday, so we didn't give her presents till Monday. There was so much going on after the party with friends back at our house, we decided to wait until the next day.

She was given a lot of gifts at the party and opened those first, but there were so many it was a bit overwhelming for her. We ended up opening them for her!

So I've kept a few presents back and put them away in the cupboard - we'll give them to her slowly so she appreciates them. And then we gave her our present, her first bike, and she loved it.

MORE: Exclusive: Strictly's Ola and James Jordan on expanding family: 'Ella loves babies'

Ella's first time on a bike

Ella rides her new bike with dad James helping© Photo: Instagram

Ella rides her first ever bike

HELLO: How did Ella get on riding her new bike for the first time?

James: Well, she fell off straight away, so that scared her. Then she fell off a couple more times because she was being silly on the bike and riding towards the bushes. Ola kept telling me to stop her but I said, 'She's got to learn.' So I let her go into the bushes. And she did learn.

I don't want her to be scared of the bike, but she needs to be aware that she needs to stay straight. I know she's only three but she knows how to steer it - she thinks it's funny to go onto the leaves and grass.

I said, 'Ok well fine, but if you do that you'll fall off.' I kept telling her not to and she ignored me because she likes to push our buttons, so I let her see what happens if she does that.

Ola: And then she actually wanted him to be around for safety. She's good at pedalling but she wants James behind her now. She said, 'Come daddy, behind me, be here, be here!'

James: I want her to have the fear that it's dangerous if she falls off. I think that's important, like when they cross a road. I don't want her running into a road so I've made her scared of doing it that and hopefully, that will never happen.

That sort of stuff does happen – you hear about it all the time. When I was a kid, I remember a local girl ran out into the road between two cars and got hit by a car.

Ola: One of my best friends died when I was about five or six. He was hit by a car. It's really sad.

James: So that's why I teach her that.

Ella did so well for her first time on a bike though and we're very proud parents. We're definitely those parents that go, 'Look at my child, she's the best'! That is us and I know it is really annoying.

Ola: I used to hate it when people used to do that to me… 'Look at my child' on their phone, and I wasn't really interested.

James: It's hard because she's our everything now.

Visiting the Hundred Acre Wood

As part of her birthday celebrations, Ella was treated to a fantastic day at East Sussex's Ashdown Forest, which inspired AA Milne's Hundred Acre Wood in the Winne the Pooh books.

Ella with mum Ola smiling in forest

Ola and Ella at Ashdown Forest

James: It was such a lovely day. The best part for us was the special afternoon tea at Ashdown Park Hotel and there was a massive table like something out of Alice and Wonderland.

It was sensational, and the intimacy of the characters being around her was amazing. We are so lucky that we get to do things like this. The characters were the life-size puppets and cast from Disney's new Winnie the Pooh musical.

Then the hotel surprised Ella with a birthday cake and we sang happy birthday to her – she loved it.

ashdown forest

Ella had the best day meeting Winne the Pooh and friends

Being 'pushy parents'

James: Ella loves dancing and just the other day I put a song on and she was going for it with her dance moves! We said we need to get her into dance classes because she has something… don't know where she gets it from.

Ola: She's also doing gymnastics classes.

James: We had to become members of it. It's more the one for 'pushy parents' we were told. I was like, 'That's the one we want!' hahaha.

I personally think pushy parents are a great thing. If you look at all the successful sportspeople in the world, generally they had parents behind them. I call it 'supportive parents', not 'pushy'. If your child is going to make it at something, they either need to be super talented so they succeed regardless, or they need parents guiding them all the way – but parents like that are called pushy.

Ola: If you make your child do their homework or go to the right school, is that being a pushy parent?

James: My dad was a massive driving force in my dancing. He'd take me to competitions around the country with me and pay for the lessons. I wouldn't be where I am today if he hadn't done that, and my mum supporting me too. It's about being prepared to make sacrifices for your children. It's a tricky subject.

Ola: It's not always about the money; it's often about giving your children your time.

James: I'd like Ella to go into some kind of dance or sport.

Ola: Ella was so determined with her new bike – she pedaled all the way there and back on our walk. We think she rode for about 3k, and she's three!

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