Treasuring the trash.

In case you missed it (how COULD you), Love Island UK 2019 is over.

It's gone. It's done. It'll be months before I can delight in new contestants with hair extensions that slightly differ from the colour of their actual hair, or who have veneers so shiny I fear the retinal damage they could cause upon meeting sunlight. There won't be any more proclamations that a "teeeexxxxxt" just arrived, or dramatic breakups set to absolute bangers from my new favourite Spotify playlist.

I won't know what Ovie's eaten for breakfast anymore, and that's enough to send me catapulting over the edge.

If I seem abnormally and ridiculously sad over a reality television show ending then, let me tell you, I am abnormally and ridiculously sad. For the last three months, Love Island was the punctuation of relief on the end of a long podcast edit, tough meeting, or writing day. Looking forward to plunging myself into an abyss of cringe-worthy challenges and teeth-grinding recouplings (and then dutifully analysing both with my sister Evelyn, one of my best friends Maddie, and the Shameless podcast group) is what has pulled me through this winter. Yes, it's frivolous, but Love Island has brought me a lot of joy this year, like it has every year since I jumped on board.

Part of me feels like admitting that is absurd, because Love Island is a television show, not a hobby, and it's slightly unusual to admit you derived happiness from watching other humans navigate the ins and outs of relationships. But then, the other part of me yells a little louder: if you're allowed to derive happiness from watching other humans navigate the ins and outs of the squiggly lines drawn on a football oval, you're sure as shit allowed to do that here, too.

Call me stupid, but I swear to the new Messiah of reality television (probably the love child of Caroline Flack and Matt Agnew): Love Island makes my life better. It. Just. Does.

Life - particularly in these colder, darker months - can feel a little flat. We trudge to work with a heaviness that doesn't exist in spring and summer. We trudge home with our heads tilted just a little lower, hands buried in our pockets, feet locked together. Is there any shame in looking forward to something sugary and fun when you walk through the door?

My day feels a little greyer since the finale, but for now I'll squeeze The Bachelor Australia into the Love Island UK hole that has been shot into my hyperbolic heart.

And then, I'll wait patiently, knowing the good people at ITV2 have heard my prayers for 2020: there will now be two seasons to keep me occupied for about half of the year.

Small wins, you guys. Small wins.

Mich xxxx

Emma Hackett