First of all you dont need to upgrade firmware of ESP to get started with it.
Secondly if you want to learn Blynk with Arduino and ESP, then there are lot of tutorials on it. I m also a newbie and after trying long hours I successfully ran a blynk project followed from here:LED with Arduino and Blynk. After learning from this project I used other beautiful interfaces of Blynk like slider, joystick etc and amazed by the power of Blynk with Arduino.
Thirdly, as @Costas said, first learn ESP8266 standalone without Arduino, you may need FTDI serial Board for that. Again I am referring the same site for learning ESP here because of thier video presentation.
Dont forget to include blynk and ESP library in your Arduino code.