Some things I've learnt in the process:
- Google do the cheapest secure domain registration. It'll cost you US$10 to buy your domain, and it comes with the proxy registration so you won't get spammed.
- You can then use Google Apps for Your Domain to get free email. The other features -- Docs and Sites -- aren't really worth worrying about. I made a basic homepage in Sites as a placeholder until I figure out what to put there.
- For hosting your blog, your choices are basically wordpress.com or Blogger. Wordpress has beautiful themes, but charge $10 a year for pointing your domain at it. Blogger doesn't charge anything for using your own domain, and you can write your own template for it.