I take it by "Complete novice." you mean not just with Arduinos, but also electronics as well. If that is the case, I think it would best to start working with the Arduino powered by a 7VDC
AC adaptor (AKA wall wart). Rechargable batteries, especially LiPos, bring in their own extra considerations.
Furthermore, you'll want to learn some basic information about electronics. There are many online resources for that, including this page
by a forum regular that goes by "Grumpy_Mike", or other sites like Adafruit
, and the Playground section
. This isn't an exhaustive list of course, but it will give you a good start.